Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Well, We Made It!!

Hello All -

After 20 hours of travel and roughly 3 hours of sleep, we have made it to Jerez! We started in LAX, Tuesday at 1:30PM. A special thanks to Johnny Love and Ed and April Sanabia for taking us to LAX. From LAX, we went straight to London's Heathrow Airport, skipped over to Barcelona and then took a final jaunt down to Jerez. I won't lie to you: it was grueling. The fact that Elizabeth and Caleb are so near the same age and experimentation level added to the challenge. But then the trade off was the growth of Renae, who was an awesome help, dutifully carrying her red carry-on with a real grown up sense about her. She's only four you know! Before you call the child labor authorites, just remember that she is big enough by her own estimation for just about anything and this year she also gets coke and gum on her birthday!

The challenges did not just come physically though. They also came mentally at us. For some reason, our tickets were processed incorrectly, so it was a struggle at every stop. We had to explain what was just explained to us at the last check in point to a new person, most of whom were definitely not employee of the month candidates! In fact, I believe I have met the oldest living heart donor today! And then there was the palatable tension of our fellow travellers. This was unusual to us, as last time, everybody seemed so at ease, more typical of the European mindset. Lela was harassed by a 20 year old to move her stuff from the overhead storage bin and I was berated by an older man for reclining my seat back too far for his taste. I felt that in all instances, we responded godly, but it was a further challenge to our Christianity. In fact, just to end that story arc, both the 20 year old and the older gentlemen really changed their tune toward us at the end of the 9 hour first leg. The 20 year old eagerly helped Lela with her carry-ons, and the older man was very pleasant to me and our kids.

This trip was definitely easier in some senses though. The amount of things brought over, the very level headed send off from family and friends, and the sense of knowing a place and belonging that made things instantly comfortable. We drove into town and were absolutely oriented to the town. My spanish even felt a lot better than last time, which really surprised me. But then there was the wonderful blessing of seeing our church family over here. They were at the Casco residence, getting ready for church when we got into town. The beautiful sense of love and family just swept over me and as I walked into our house for the first time in 4 months, I felt at home.

And the best part is that all of our luggage came and met us at the airport! That was a great surprise, as many of you remember that when we returned from Jerez, it took 4 days to recover all of our luggage! Oh, I know: Some of you are thinking about Paul being shipwrecked and then bitten by a snake, and then stoned. Ok, I'll stop complaining and start being thankful for the joy in our hearts, which is even greater than our exhaustion, for the opportunity to be here in Jerez, if even for a short time.

Thank you all for your prayers, love and support, without which we would be unable to do anything of any spiritual value.

I'll write more in a couple of days, as there seems to be quite a stir in the city. My next report will be on what the Spainiards call "Santa Semana" or "Holy Week."

Until then, blessings and love to you all.

Frank Sanchez, Spain Time: 11:PM

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