House is for sale – no buyer yet

House for saleHello friends and supporters,

Asking for your prayers. We were always told houses in the Nashville market were selling in a couple of days, then the holiday season hit, and everything slowed down to a trickle. Needless to say, the house has been on the market 10 days now, and we have had no interest whatsoever. I know God’s got this, and that we only need one buyer, not a dozen, but please agree with us in prayer that the house will be sold, and soon. The whole timeline of the move depends on the house selling first. (At least in our plans, which we’re OK with changing if needed.)

But it’s still hard not to to feel at least a bit anxious, so your prayers are appreciated. We are also looking for a few partners to help support us financially for the first year. Please pray that God raises up the right people.

Blessings!

Mark

D-Day Minus 2 Months

Fall2Mendoza in the fall, Central Plaza

Hello dear friends and supporters,

We are now officially two months from THE MOVE. How time has flown!

I spent the day today painting doors. We hired out some of the painting for the hallways, kitchen and bathroom, got the roof fixed, the porch railing fixed, and are on track to put the house on the market Monday. Karina spent the day cleaning up the rooms that were left a mess after the yard sale last weekend.

I had a great conference call today with two of the Argentina Partnership pastors, Ray Duran and John Aurelli, plus 3 guys from Argentina who are interested in the Vineyard. Besides our plant, we will have 2 other Vineyard churches starting up next year in Argentina (where currently there are none)! One is being birthed out of what used to be the only Vineyard there and that closed a year ago. They are in Buenos Aires, and the new pastor, Cristian Mansilla, is already meeting with 5 other couples in his home. The other pastor, Ezequiel Ferreira is in Entre Rios province and he already has an established church, but is a huge fan of the Vineyard and wants his church to be one. (In fact they are already calling themselves “La Viña”.)

The tragic side of this was there would have been another church starting in the southern province of Rio Negro, but the brother who was going to be the pastor  died last week after complications from a surgery! His name was Marco and his wife, Sandra, is left alone. He was only in his 40’s and they had no kids. They had come from a Vineyard in Chile and had started a home group with the intent of becoming a Vineyard church. I didn’t know them personally but we had a lot of conversations recently over Facebook and by phone.

Please pray for Argentina. God is going to be doing great things next year!

Also please pray that our house sells quickly (although we really can’t move out until early January) and for a good price.

Blessings,

Mark

October Update

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Hello dear friends and supporters. This has been a crazy, busy time and we are less than 3 months from D-Day!

This post is for those of you who have asked how you can pray for us. We have made the decision to try to leave for Mendoza by January 15. This is for a few reasons. One is that we had been praying for a place to live when we landed there as we will need to be looking for a house to buy, and it would seem God has provided a two-month rental unit for the months of January and February!

Another reason is that at that point both of us will have completed our obligations to our “regular day jobs” and so it sort of makes sense financially. A third reason is really symbolic, but it will be a year almost to the day when Mark received the word from the Lord leading us to move to Mendoza. At the time we felt it would take us a year to get ready.

Our realtor has suggested to put the house on the market in November, for an early January closing date. And so these days we have had roofers, carpenters and painters, each of them a blessing and an answer to prayer coming to help us with repairs and improvements. A few weeks ago we also had a yard sale to sell many things we won’t need anymore. Unfortunately the second day we got rained out, so we’ll do this again one more time this coming Friday and Saturday (Nov 3 & 4). We have a LOT of things that need to find new owners!

These two things (house and belongings), among others have caused a great deal of stress, so we ask if you would:

1) Please pray for the peace of God to rule in our hearts and to be able to trust Him through all the millions of details.

2) We need to find an honest shipping company that won’t charge us an exorbitant price. So far we have had quotes from two, but had to send them back to be reworked. Please pray we will find the right company.

3) Please pray that the house will sell for what it needs to, and that it will go smoothly.

4) We need wisdom on what things to take and what things to leave. Did I mention that we still have a LOT of stuff?

5) At some point we need to make a trip to Atlanta to the Consulate to get our paperwork done for the move. Please pray that it goes smoothly.

6) I’m going to keep this short, but there could be a lot more things to add. So I’ll just finish with the main one and that is that God would show us strategically where we need to live, and that He will be preparing the hearts of the future followers of Jesus that we will encounter.

Thank you for signing up for this blog. The next post (which will be soon) will be about how this whole adventure began. In the meantime, may God bless you richly! We thank you for your prayers.

Mark and Karina

A Little Bit About Mendoza

I thought in today’s installment I would give you a short overview of Mendoza.

Mendoza is the capital of the province of the same name in western Argentina. It is situated at an elevation of 2,497 feet (761 meters) at the foot of the Andes Mountains. While it is the fourth largest metro area in Argentina, the city itself is small, around 200,000 people. It is dwarfed by its adjacent suburbs, bringing the metro area total to about 1.3 million.

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The city was founded in 1561 by Spaniards coming over the mountains from Chile. It has grown into a major cultural and economic center for the region with its three universities, museums and theaters, and its olive oil and internationally famous wine industries.

In 1861 Mendoza was destroyed by an earthquake, with heavy loss of life. The city was rebuilt, incorporating innovative urban designs that would better tolerate such seismic activity. Mendoza was rebuilt with large squares and with wider streets and sidewalks than any other city in Argentina. Although the climate is dry, literally a desert, irrigation has permitted local cultivation of gardens, orchards, and vineyards.

You would never know it’s a desert town because of irrigation ditches that run beside every main road to water the more than 80,000 trees and provide the glorious fountains that adorn every main plaza, as well as provide water to the vineyards Mendoza is famous for. In fact, the region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of the nine Great Wine Capitals of the world.

 

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A bustling city of wide, leafy avenues, atmospheric plazas and cosmopolitan cafes, Mendoza has a beautiful ambiance, a change from much of the bare feel of many Argentine cities. The Siesta (afternoon nap) is still taken in Mendoza, mostly because of the summer heat. Most businesses close around 12:30 and then re-open at about 5:00pm and stay open until 8:30. Although temperatures go into the 90’s in the summer, in the winter it averages in the low 40’s with periodically minor snowfalls.

It is also a tourism gateway to the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, as well as skiing and other winter sports. From the city to you can clearly see the towering foothills of the Andes, with glimpses of some of the snow-covered peaks beyond.

Aconcagua

Mendoza is a strategically located city, being 644 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital and only 236 mi from Santiago, the capital of Chile. It has an international airport with flights to/from Buenos Aires taking less than 2 hours and less than 1 hour to/from Santiago.

mendoza map square

Argentina is currently in a political and economic crisis. There is a 32% poverty rate and rampant crime and violence. The current government is making some progress to fix the economy and eliminate corruption, but it’s very slow. 35 years ago there was a great revival in Argentina with thousands coming to the Lord, but as with most revivals, it eventually ran out of steam, and now there are many desperate people who need Jesus. We believe there is no better time than this to be planting a church where people can come to know Jesus in a genuine and personal way.

Please pray that God will lead us to those people.

Mark

The Scouting Trip Pt. 2

Luggage

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole month now since our trip to Mendoza. The confirmation of the move is still very clear in our minds.

The photo is all the luggage we took: 4 suitcases plus 2 carry-ons plus 2 guitars! Thankfully we had to pay only minimal extra bag fees.

I wanted to say something about the people we met there. Three months ago we didn’t know a single person in Mendoza. Then we started meeting people online, and in this trip we finally got to meet them face to face.

Millers

I can’t say enough good things about our hosts who I already mentioned, Debbie and Bill Miller, pictured above. The fact that they opened up their house to us and fed us without even knowing us was amazing. They are great people and we felt an instant bond in the Spirit.

Some of the other people we met were: a Baptist pastor from Chicago, Adrian Ferrari who just planted a church in one of the Mendoza suburbs. He had us over for dinner and we were also able to meet his wife Krystal and his 5 kids (including a newborn baby!). They have been in Mendoza for less than a year.

Ferraris

Another pastor we met was Cristian Mikkan who is from Mendoza but lived for a time in the US. He started a modern Hillsong type church in an auditorium right in the downtown area less than 3 years ago and they are growing and doing great!  (Sorry the picture is so fuzzy.)

Cristian

We also spent time with the daughter and son in law of the Millers who we were staying with. He is also a Mendoza native and an architect. And finally Daniel, another man from Mendoza who used to live in Nashville. We actually ended up praying together and I he was very encouraged by our time with him.

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Anyway, all these new friends were all extremely encouraging and said they would support us in any way they could. I think after each encounter we were more convinced that this is the right thing. There were also a few other contacts we had that we didn’t have time to meet with. And I later found out I have a high school classmate who lives in Mendoza. We got in touch later through Facebook.

All these connections – God is so amazing!

We spent quite a bit of time driving around the neighborhoods and got a feel of where the safe and unsafe places are to live are, as well as getting familiar with the main avenues and the public transportation (which is very good – buses and trams). We did realize that, because of how bad the economy is, things in general are very expensive. Like gas: $6 a gallon!

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So we came back with a love for the city of Mendoza and its people. We also got some invaluable advice regarding the specifics of the move. One of the main things is we realized we can rent a container and ship our household items, because things like furniture and appliances are very expensive down there. Still we’d come out way ahead, as compared to selling everything here at yard sale prices and buying it all again down there, which was our original plan. We will probably ship a car as well because used cars cost way more than they do here.

To end, in summary, we can hardly wait to go back! We are so ready. I think these next eight months will go by very fast!

The Scouting Trip – Pt. I

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Thanks to the generosity of our own church and the two churches from the Argentina Partnership (Vineyard), this past May we were able to go on a scouting trip to see what Mendoza was like and get a feel for the place. I had never been there before, and Karina had been there once as a little girl. We flew out on May 22  and after an overnight flight we landed in Santiago, Chile at 6:00 in the morning. We had set up an 8:00 clock meeting with Roger Cunningham, who pastors the largest Vineyard church there, as well as being one of the founding pastors of the movement in Chile.  We spent a couple of hours chatting with him and he was very encouraging, promising his support and praying a blessing over us. We felt very encouraged by this and by him taking the time to meet with us.

Andes

We then flew over the Andes mountains to Mendoza, which is less than an hour flight. When our feet were finally on the ground we prayed a prayer claiming the city for Jesus and his kingdom. (It was a very powerful moment.) We were met at the airport by Debbie Miller, whose husband co-pastors a large Evangelical church in Mendoza. They are friends of the parents of a family at our church. When we met her through Facebook, she insisted we stay with them, even though they didn’t even know us personally!

They were great hosts and were able to explain to us a lot of the basics of living there, plus she drove us around the first day to help us get familiar with the city.

We were there for most of 4 days, and were able to meet some key people and get to know some of the neighborhoods that we might want to live in. Mendoza itself is small, about 250 thousand people and you can drive from one and of the city to the other in about 20 minutes. It has the feel of a big city but it’s not crowded at all. It is very beautiful with tree lined streets and lots of plazas. Even the airport was tiny, but clean and modern.

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This trip was such a confirmation and we now are very much confident we are doing the right thing. We felt right at home and completely love the city.

Part II to follow.

The Big Adventure

Back in January 2017 we received an impression from God that we were to move to Mendoza, Argentina and plant a Vineyard church. We welcomed this as His invitation to join in His ongoing work in this beautiful land.

We moved to Mendoza in January of  2018. This blog is a place where you can keep in touch with the progress of the church plant. You can subscribe to our mailing list in the sidebar to get regular updates and prayer requests.

– Mark and Karina