Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good Works Where Good Words Are Absent!

Hello Friends Of Spain -

I wanted to put up a few items that were to be put together in a newsletter, before we had this wonderful vehicle of communication. They were written just after the first month of being in Spain and there will be 3 in all. Two were written by me (Frank) and the other was written by my lovely wife of almost 9 years, Lela. This blog is titled "Good Works Where Good Words Are Absent!"

The elevator moment always feels so ackward. You enter into an enclosed space with a stranger that you know nothing about and you wait. In this case, we were all going to the Mercadona on the second floor. The man in the elevator with us was Spaniard through and through, tall and strong featured. I stood on one side with the shopping cart and Elizabeth and Lela stood on the other side with Renae and Caleb. The man looked at Elizabeth and said, “insert witty sounding spanish banter” and Lela and I joined him when he laughed. After the man exited the elevator, through my laughter, I asked Lela if she knew what he said. Through her laughter she replied, “I don’t have any clue,” to which I replied through my laughter, “Me neither!”

Unfortunately, while this is not an isolated distant memory, it is also not always this bad. However, the truth remains that we are unable to really communicate here in a verbal way, leaving us feeling painfully inadequate to the task. It begs the question as to how we might communicate the reality of Christ to the people of Jerez De La Frontera. The answer came to me at 4 AM one morning. (Ever notice that God rarely does mid-afternoons!)

Notice our mission verse: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3). Notice it does not say “speak good!” Consider also this verse spoken by Jesus to His disciples. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Notice again, “good works,” not “good words!” This is good news to a man who once told a group of teenagers in Juarez that they should pray, “Perdoname Mis Pescados” which means “Forgive my fish!!” Not necessarily a biblical concept, though forgiveness of “pecados” is!

Do good! There are small things like smiling when a policeman has just told you that you need 30 more documents that you don’t have. How about helping a young lady down some stairs with her oversized baby carriage? Helping a elderly man, overloaded with groceries from his car often brings a smile. Finding the man whose mail you have mistakenly received and pledging to always bring it to him inspires thought. Complimenting the copyist who is handling your 5 passports seems to lift the spirit. Even laughing out loud so that the neighbor comments that you have a joy in life plants the seeds of wonder in the heart of the Jerezana/Jerezano.

All of these things, done with frequency will likely open a conversation of broken spanish and broken english about the reason why anyone would do, act a certain way. And it is that moment, when authenticity of character, meets the explanation from the Word of God: We do this because our faith in Jesus demands it! We pray that the character that He has built in us will speak louder than any words that we could share and that it would always speak of the reality of Jesus our Lord.

Blessings to the friends of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

No comments: