About to Fly Back to Argentina!
After our consulate visit this month, we received our passports back in the mail from the Argentine consulate with our new visas! We have all of our bags packed a week early and are ready to fly out on the 7th of June. Our Itinerary is very good as we will be flying out at 12:45 PM from DFW and will arrive in Cordoba the next day at 10:34 AM. We will have two connections one at JFK in New York and the second in Santiago de Chile. Please pray for us as we travel and pray for those that we will be talking to along the way about the Lord!
So Many Blessings!
An Opportunity to Share the Gospel
Part of our consulate appointment was our interview by the main official of the Argentine consulate. He wanted to hear my story of how I started learning Spanish and why we wanted to go to Argentina. I shared with him how I first committed to learn Spanish was because many years ago in 1994, I took a trip on a bus and sat next to a man that could not speak English and I didn’t know enough Spanish to share the Gospel with him well. Since then I poured my energy into learning Spanish and the Spanish Bible to be able to share the message of Salvation with any that I would meet later. I also shared with him how the Lord had called us to go to Argentina and share this message, baptize those who believed and to plant scriptural churches. We had a great conversation with him sharing our hearts and answering his questions.
Eyes as Big as Saucers!
Later in our interview I gave him and the lady that has been handling our case one of our flyers. I showed him where on our flyer he could find more information if he really wanted to know more about us and what we are working on in Argentina. Most people just quickly glance at one of our flyers and put it away, but he began to read the main points out loud on the first page! The first page of our flyer explains how someone could be saved. When he read the third line out loud, his eyes looked as big as saucers as he read how, because of our sin, we are separated from God and worthy of Hell! Please pray for him that we may have more conversations with him in the future!
Thoughts from Stacie
A Date to the Consulate in Houston
We had our consulate visit this month in Houston. They said we didn’t have to have the kids with us for our appointment so Scott and I decided to leave the kids with my parents for a few days and turn our consulate visit into a short getaway. The evening after our consulate appointment we enjoyed dinner and a classical concert together
A Want-to-Do List
This month I sat down with each of our kids and asked them if there were anything they wanted to do before we leave for Argentina. I explained that we might not be able to do it all but we could try. We took them to a rodeo and Bass Pro Shop. Scott took the boys axe throwing. We also visited with several friends. We even took the kids to the movies and watched Family Camp.
On Mothers’ Day we attended our sending church, Nevill’s Chapel, for the morning services. After the morning services we drove up to Idabel, Oklahoma and enjoyed being a part of their special May Missions focus. We also enjoyed getting to see my brother, Jason Clark’s family while we were there.
We celebrated Elisabeth’s 10th birthday on May 28th. We invited a lot of family over to help us celebrate with a party at the park. She had a wonderful time and really enjoyed being the center of attention. We enjoyed getting to see cousins and family that we hadn’t seen in a long time.
Over all we’ve had a lot of opportunities to say our goodbyes this month. We have all the visas and paperwork in order and are ready to fly out. It’s a bit surreal right now to think that we will be writing our next report in Argentina.
Thank you for praying!
We are packed up and ready to go with only our carry-on luggage left to organize. Please pray for our flights on June 7th, that all goes smoothly, and that we arrive safely with all our luggage.
Two Great Faith Promise Conferences
We could easily fill up several pages just talking about the great time that we had with God’s people during our sending church’s Faith Promise Conference as well as the following week with Sublett Road MBC.
Two Attempts to Fly Out
Our return flight was supposed to be on the 15th of February but upon arriving at the airport, there was a major problem with our ticketing. Our tickets had a 15 hour layover in Brazil which would have required us to have Brazilian visas and immigration papers and vaccines for the whole family including five year old. As this was the return portion of our tickets we should see a refund on it within 6 weeks.
Our second attempt was a week later going from Dallas to New York and then to Buenos Aires and then finally to Cordoba. We had absolutely no problems until we arrived at the Argentine airline in New York. They were having difficulties processing our paperwork and told us that we will need to speak to the Argentine Consulate. They were at least able to pull our checked luggage off of the plane before it left for Argentina and before they all went home for the day.
After two arduous days at the New York terminal and many flight delays and cancellations, we finally arrived back in Texas. We are currently trying to set up a consular visit to the Houston Consulate. Please pray that we can get updated papers from them that will show our Argentine proof of residency.
Thoughts from Stacie
When we bought two way tickets for this furlough we purposely planned our return trip to be after our church’s Faith Promise Conference. We wanted to have that week to spend time with our church family and to say our final good-byes.
The following weekend we spent with my parents at Walnut Street Baptist Church where my dad pastors. That Monday we went to Dallas to get our Covid Tests done and all came back negative. That Tuesday afternoon we thought we were all set to fly out.
First Flight Itinerary Fell Through
We showed up at the airport for our flight. The problem with that flight was the 15 hour layover in Brazil where we would have had to met all their Visa requirements. We had to cancel those tickets and find another flight without that long layover in Brazil. It was interesting the next day to find out that the city we would have had our layover was having major storms and mud slides.
A couple days later Scott and I were at Walmart picking up a few things we needed for our flight. The cashier asked us if we were traveling. That opened up the door for us to explain who we are and what we are doing and invite her to Walnut Street. As we were walking out another lady quickly stopped us and handed us a paper with a prayer request on it. There wasn’t much detail but she asked us to pray for James and his mother Margie. Then as we were showing our receipt to the greeter he started talking to us about church and asked us questions. We invited him to church as well.
Second Flight Itinerary Almost Successful
We are so grateful to the Reynolds for opening up their home to us Monday night. Sis. Kelli offered to drive us to the airport early Tuesday morning for our flight to New York. We landed at the JFK and ran to catch the flight to Argentina. Scott explained what happened there. Basically we were denied entry into Argentina until we were able to get things cleared up with the consulate.
Stuck in New York
With around 28 suitcases counting our carry-on and bag packs we were stuck in New York. We had too much luggage and no vehicle for us to get a hotel. We also had to find a flight with 7 seats available.
Airport Slumber Party
At least that is how Joanna felt. Joanna dubbed the terminal we spent the night in as the napping room. She later told us that she wanted to go back to the airport where she got to stay up all night and play.
I guess it is a matter of perspective. She was happy to have watched Paw Patrol on three different airplanes “even the one we didn’t fly in”, meaning the flight to Dallas that was canceled while taxiing on the runway. I would say that’s turning lemons into lemonade or rather being stuck in an airport into a slumber party.
Our passports were finished early
Thank you so much for the prayers last month about us getting our passports back on time. All of the kids had to have their passports renewed during our short time back in the US. The passports were all finished and came back to us almost two months earlier than they estimated! Again thank you for your prayers!
Three Great State Meetings
One of the things that was such a great blessing to us was getting to be present for the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas state meetings. It felt surreal this month getting to see so many individuals that we love so much! We felt several times that reuniting with so many friends at the association meetiis a very small taste of what the glad reunion day in Heaven will be like when we get to reunite with our friends and loved ones that we haven’t seen in so many years.
We also had a wonderful time with Stacie’s family. It’s been several years since Stacie’s whole family were all together for Thanksgiving. Not only were we able to spend time with all 7 of our own children at Stacie’s parents but also her brother’s and sister’s families came in to have Thanksgiving Dinner with us as well.
Thoughts from Stacie
Trip Down Memory Lane
We have been so many places this month as we attended three different State meetings. In between meetings we tried to throw in a few fun things as well. One of the activities we were able to attend was the annual Heritage Syrup Festival in Henderson, Texas. I have wonderful memories of attending the Syrup Festival as a child and it was fun to share those experiences with our children. Joanna was a little nervous about riding the carousel at the Henderson Depot Museum until she found out that I rode that same carousel when I was a little girl. It’s fun to relive those childhood memories through the eyes of our children.
Scott and I were married on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1996. This year our 25th Anniversary was on a Sunday and we were honored to be guests at Longbranch Missionary Baptist Church where Dr. Ray O. Brooks still pastors at almost 99 years old. We truly enjoyed visiting with them.
That evening we headed northward to visit Scott’s family up in Michigan. That also became a trip down memory lane as 25 years ago we went North for our honeymoon. We reminisced over all the places we stopped at along the way. It was kind of fitting to start the month in the town where I grew up and end it where Scott grew up.
Mission Conference and Marriage Conference
At the beginning of the month we were able to attend MTM, (Missionary Training Ministry) in Mountain View, Arkansas. This ministry is a great blessing to all missionaries and sending churches.
Later in the month my wife and I were able to attend the Homebuilder marriage retreat. This is something that we wanted to do for years but were not able to do before. It was a great weekend to spend together away from the kids for a few days. The kids had a lot of fun with their grandparents while we were away.
Passports Sent off for Renewal
One of the things that was on our list to finish early was the renewal of the kids’ passports. Passports for children are only good for 5 years. The renewal process takes between 16 and 12 weeks to renew and have back. That is one more thing that we can cross off our list!
Oklahoma State Meeting and Time with the Churches
We were able to attend the Oklahoma state association meeting held in Vian, OK. It was a great blessing to be able to reconnect with so many brethren that we had not seen in so long! We are also thankful for the opportunities this month to share and fellowship with several chuches in the area!
Thoughts from Stacie
I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with what day it is. Time is passing so quickly. Some of the plans we had for October got moved on us. While I hate to mention the “C” word, but one person at a meeting we attended early in the month had gotten sick and tested positive for Covid. So we had to change some of our travel plans just in case we had gotten too close to that individual during the meeting. Thankfully none of us got sick and we were able to enjoy the extra time with our oldest two children. Joshua and Ruth both had a day off at the same time so we were able to plan a family field trip to a Heritage Village and the Zoo. It was such a blessing to have all our children together. We also enjoyed having one Sunday that we were able to attend Church altogether as a family.
Weekend Get Away It has been at least 4 and a half years since Scott and I have been able to spend more than just a few hours together away from our children. In Argentina we weren’t comfortable leaving them all overnight much less for a weekend. So we took advantage while on furlough of having family nearby to watch our children while we got away for a much needed alone time as as a couple. The retreat really helped us step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and take a good look at our marriage and family. The end of November Scott and I will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary. I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than spending quality time together at a marriage retreat in Branson.
We made it safely back to the US!
Thank You for Praying!
We are very thankful for your prayers as we travelled! We would not have made it had it not been for God’s people praying!
A Large To-Do List
We have already crossed of at least 11 important things off our list in the first week and a half of being back. Pray for us that we will be able to find a time to rest.
Faith Promise Conference and a Great Conversation
It was a great blessing to be invited out to West Monroe, Louisiana by Hyde Park Baptist Church for their faith promise conference. The whole time spent there was a tremendous blessing to us. What a blessing to have a time to be with God’s people!
Please pray for a lady that we spoke with on our last night in West Monroe. We were recommended a Mexican restaurant in town to eat on Sunday night. We spoke with the waitress in Spanish and later had the opportunity to speak with the owner for at least ten minutes after our meal. Please pray for her and her family! Her name is Norma and her mother’s name is Rosa. Her mother and father are in Mexico with COVID. The concern for them was evident as we spoke. Pray that the Lord will continue to touch her heart with the need for the Savior!
1,000 Gospel of John booklets printed
Thoughts from Stacie
So a lot actually happened in September but it feels like multiple months. Actually just the trip itself and all the airports we had to go through felt like it belongs in it’s own month but there really was a whole lot that went on besides that. The first thing we had to do was prepare to go. At the beginning of the month we had to make sure all bills we normally pay monthly were paid ahead for six months. Then we started going through our things and deciding what we were going to take and what we would leave behind. Once we had our belongings somewhat organized we then had to pull out and dust off all our suitcases from the different areas of the house where we had them stored for safe keeping.
Then we had to determine which instruments we were going to bring and which we would leave behind. Then we had to figure out how to pack the instruments. We waited to pack the rest of our things until the Friday we had our Covid Tests done. That in itself was a fun experience. (I don’t have room in this report for all the experiences we went through to get to the United States. That will have to wait for a blog post… or two… or three.)
An Argentine friend of ours that was about to travel to Europe around the same time we were recommended her friend to us that could do our required Covid Tests and get our results back the same day. They were expensive but worth the speed we were able to get the results back in. The younger three children had their throat swabbed but the rest of us had the ones that go in the nose. That was quite an experience but praise the Lord, all tests came back negative and we finally felt free to finish packing.
Crazy Travel Drama
So I’m going to have to do a blog post of all the crazy stuff that happened in order for us to leave Argentina. Getting to the first airport with all our luggage and children was quite an event. It took a trip by car to get our luggage and half the family to the airport. Then being held up at a traffic checkpoint, finally getting released with just a warning, and finally parking the car, picking up the two remaining children, and a crazy taxi ride to the airport. Then we had to fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina get off the plane, retrieve all our suitcases, find transportation to the next airport for our departure flight (Another long story in which one taxi driver almost dropped me and three children off at a Holiday Inn.)
Once we finally got to the airport there was a whole lot of things we had to do just to leave the country but to spare the details and make a long story short… We barely made our flight by the skin of our teeth. I was the last passenger to board the plane with flight personel running with me with a two way radio saying they are with the last passenger. It was such a relief to finally be on board that plane. There was a couple of other things that occurred during the flight but I will save that for a future blog post.
We arrived in Houston and had no problem catching our final flight to Dallas. My parents and our daughter, Ruth, met us at the airport. We were also surprised by Bro. Chase Reynolds and Bro. Jonathon Smith greeting us with a basket of goodies and they were there to help Scott retrieve and load our luggage into the van my parents brought to pick us up. Of course a crazy trip wouldn’t be complete without a tire blowing out on our way to my parents’ house from the airport.
We did finally made it to my parents’ house in Hillsboro and were so happy to spend a few days with our eldest son and daughter and even getting to see my brother’s and sister’s families before we headed off to the Missions Conference in West Monroe, Lousiana. God is good and we praise Him for helping us make it safely to see our family and friends.
Thank you so much for praying or us! God hears and answers each and every one.
We are very thankful to have our tickets purchased for returning to the US for our first furlough.
There are three main focuses that we plan on accomplishing during our time in the US is to:
1. See family that we have not seen in a long time.
2. Take care of the business end that is behind the scenes, such as renewing passports, drivers licences and many etceteras following.
3. Visit with as many of the churches as possible that have been holding us up in prayer during our first term.
We plan on arriving in the the US on the 20th of September and returning to Cordoba on the 16th of February.
(Interesting trivia side note: It was on February 16th of 1992 that I accepted the Lord and was saved!)
Gospel of John booklets sent off to be printed
This is a project that we have worked on and tweaked and re-edited several times during the last couple of years. At the time of this report we have worked back and forth performing minor layout edits and are waiting for the final product to come back to us. When the books are finished we will have 1000 copies in this first printing. We are very excited about the possibilities of having them in our hands to be able to use. They will be a wonderful blessing!
“Nobody is doing this!”
Most people prepare a book to be printed in order to sell it. When the printer brought me a sample copy of the “Gospel of John” booklet, he told me how impressed he was with not only the completeness of the content of the book but the fact that we are planning on giving this work away for free. He told me, “none of the other groups are doing anything like this.” People are many times unaccustomed to something of value being freely offered without any personal ulterior motive. Our motive is that people come to know Jesus as Savior and to begin to walk with Him in a life of discipleship.
A Lot to Get Finished Up Before Flying Out
We have been busy getting preparations arranged for both leaving the field for 5 months as well as planning our time there. We are thankful for a landlord who is very flexible in allowing us to pay our rent and many expenses in advance and to keep an eye on things for us while we will be gone. We will be continuing our language classes and the kids’ violin classes by Zoom while we are in the US. It will be very important for us to maintain contact with individuals here in Argentina while we are away so as to not go backwards too much during our absence from the place. We are planning to keep our podcast audio messages going out on the normal schedule while we are on furlough. The idea of being back in the US for only 5 months and getting all accomplished that we are planning feels daunting to say the least, but we have a great big God that daily strengthens us with His presence.
“My mother is blind. I will share your audio messages with her.”
This is what the friendly delivery driver told me after I handed him one of our flyers and shared a little about Jesus. He got really excited that we had so much available to scan and listen to. He explained to me that his mother was blind and liked listening to messages. He also told me that they were Jehovah Witnesses. Please pray for them that they may hear the truth and believe. Here in Argentina we have met several people who affiliated as a Jehovah Witness that had no idea what their church taught. Once a Jehovah Witness had knocked on my door and argued with me saying that he believed that Jesus was God in the flesh and that he was sure that they didn’t teach otherwise.
“I really like the flyer that you gave me.”
One day last week, my daughter and I went to a shop downtown that I had not been to in a few months. The man that works there had mentioned to me that gone through some of the messages that were on the flyer. Please pray for the salvation of people to whom we are speaking. Many times we will share the message with people around us and not know whether or not we are making an impact. Keep faithful in your part of the world sharing the most important message that has ever been written!
Thoughts from Stacie
It’s hard to know how to prepare for future events as plans can change so quickly. I didn’t want to get my hopes up about our first furlough. It almost looked like we might not be able to go on furlough this year. We’ve lived here in Argentina three years and we really need to come back and see our family. We were advised to go ahead and get our tickets. If we wait for a “perfect” time to travel it may never come. Then again it could even get worse. Now that we have our tickets we are able to focus on getting ready to travel.
It’s surreal to think that in only a few weeks we will be back in the United States. Pray for us as we will need to stay healthy and all 7 of us need to pass the Covid Tests in order to fly out.
Homeschooling and Flexible Schedule
One advantage we have for travel and ministry is Homeschool flexibility. We are able to travel really any time of the year and not have to worry about the kids missing school because we can homeschool anywhere any time. Our children have grown so much in the past three years. We are looking forward to picking them up some more curriculum that we will be able to use during our second term.
The only classes we will be missing will be the older children’s band classes but we will be returning to Argentina at the perfect time for the children to start band again in the new year. We will also miss the Homeschool Co-op that we were helping with but we’ll be starting a new year and semester of the co-op after our return. We’re really only missing a couple of months before the Argentine summer break begins.
Difference in Seasons
In August we had some really cold days of Winter and a few warm days. It’s hard to adjust to sudden temperature changes. Probably one of the crazy things we’re trying to anticipate is that we will be leaving Argentina in the Spring and arriving in the United States in the Fall all within a 24 hour period. Then in February we’ll be doing the same thing. We’ll be leaving the United States towards the end of winter and arriving in Argentina the end of Summer. Please pray for us as we really won’t have a lot of time for our bodies to adjust before we jump into another change.