We boarded our plane bound for Argentina around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday evening. We were seated in the rear quarter of the plane; however, we were able to sit in “A” and “B” which made it a little more private for Shelli and me. The flight was totally uneventful – it was one of the smoothest flights I’ve ever taken. We made have had two little bumps in the entire 10 hour and 45 minute flight. The food was gross and the individual screens were not great. Both Shelli and I tried to sleep on and off throughout the flight but the seats simply were not very comfortable.
Once we arrived, we had to get in the line to pay the reciprocity fee to enter the country. This is basically another tax. Argentina charges US citizens the same amount that the US charges for Argentina citizens to visit the US. This line took some time but we survived only to be greeted by another line to clear immigration. We retrieved our four pieces of luggage without any difficulty. The customs declaration form is very specific that you have to declare any new items that you are bringing into the country and if you do not declare and they inspect your luggage, you can be subjected to a hefty fine. We had items in all four suitcases for the Greenwood family (legos, Dewalt drill, plumbing products, security cameras, tools, food, school supplies, etc.) We had several hundred dollars of new supplies for the Greenwoods. We had taken everything out of its original packaging except for the DeWalt drill and plumbing products.
As God would have it… we approached the suitcase scanning machines we noticed quite a scene unfolding. There were 10 scanning machines and a line behind each one. The line on the left appeared to be moving really fast so Shelli and I got into that line and approached the scanning machine. Once at the machine I noticed the man wasn’t even watching the scanner; he was looking over his shoulder. Our four suitcases and two carry-ons went through the machine and he never even looked at our luggage. Once we had retrieved our luggage we could see what the distraction was – a Hollywood movie star had been on the same flight that we were on and he was being “mobbed” by the paparazzi. The flashbulbs were going off like a strobe light. The guy at the scanning machine never even new we passed through… therefore, we did not have to pay any custom fees. God is good all of the time.
The Greenwood family picked us up and then we travelled the 45 minutes to Pilar (North of Buenos Aires). We were given a tour of their house and then left to unpack our suitcases. It was like Christmas for the children with all of the items that we unpacked from our suitcases. After lunch, Shelli and I took a one hour nap, showered, and then took a drive to see the city of 270,000 people here in Pilar. James and I went to visit some of the men of the church who were painting. After spending a couple of hours with them, we returned to the Greenwood home to visit for the evening and eat supper.
Today, Friday, has been wonderful. We went to lunch at a local steak restaurant. It was delicious. We then dropped off Amy, Lauren, and Shelli for the ladies event at the church. James took me to several different available properties and a Nazarene Camp. Property is so expensive here! This church needs property and a building and God will have to provide this need for this growing congregation. We returned from our tour of the various available properties to set-up for the Missions Conference tonight. Amy and Shelli told us that a lady had been saved today. There were 11 member ladies and 10 visiting ladies at the event. Shelli “survived” her speaking engagement. Although nervous, she had diligently prepared and I’m proud of her for allowing herself to be pushed outside her comfort zone to try to be a blessing to other ladies.
Now we are preparing for our meeting at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The first ever missions conference will begin. It is going to be a missions conference and evangelistic meeting at the same time. Tomorrow we have a men’s BBQ during the day and then the conference continues tomorrow evening.