Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"For Such A Time As This..."

Hello All,

Most of you who know me, know that I read a lot, for such is the nature of the job for any Pastor. Every message for any Pastor will entail several hours worth of reading. By the way, please appreciate what your Pastor does. Every Sunday that 30 minute sermon has been born from a great amount of prayer and reading. Anyway, not only do I read a lot for every message, but I thoroughly enjoy reading for leisure. At present, I am reading several books and beginning a book I have wanted to start since I took the Perspectives course a year ago.

The book is by Thomas Cahill and it is called "How The Irish Saved Civilization." I know what your thinking: How about reading a book on Spain!? I am presently reading two books on Spain, so I am covered there. (It helps not having any television!) But this book really interested me when I heard about it. The book does not claim to be Christian as far as I can tell, but in the foreward to the book, the author wrote something that really stirred my heart and I want to share it with you. What follows are the words of Thomas Cahill himself.

"We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage-almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance."

Cahill goes on to talk about the substance of the present series of books that he is writing, and how history might have turned out if not for "the gift givers, arriving in the moment of crisis...leaving us a world more varied and complex, more awesome and delightful, more beautiful and strong than the one they had found."

This set of paragraphs got my mind thinking about the famous line of Mordecai to Queen Esther, who had been elevated to the position of the Queen. Having discovered a plot against her people, it was in her power to act, perhaps even to save them. That line often is used with somewhat of a negative connotation, but it truly was a tremendous opportunity that she had.

Then I thought about us. Our family. Our friends. Fellow missionaries who are equally stirred for the country of Spain, right now trying to enter the country. We are coming to give gifts, namely gifts of salvation and blessing to this nation. We have come in a moment of crisis for this country. I had a long talk with my language tutor the other night about the future of this country. He could not say that he was optimistic. He was burdened with the political scene and the low morality that is plaguing many Spanish hearts. In the eyes of this Spaniard, things could get much worse before they get better.

And then I thought about it: Could it be that our lives now will impact what happens in Spain for eternity? Could we be here for such a time as this? Could we be bringing gifts that will alter the destiny of this country? Only time will tell and perhaps, some historian someday will talk about a movement of God's Spirit that was so amazing that it changed the heart of a society and the direction of national life. Lord let it be, even in our days! I will ask for all and hope for all with all my strength! But if not, we ask for the courage to be ones that leave the world that we have found "more beautiful and strong" because of our lives, lived out in Christ before the Spaniards who are watching.

How about you? My friends, my family. I propose that you are people of destiny as much as we are. Your station may not be Spain, but it is the station which God has placed you in. I pray that your heart will be stirred to be the "gift givers" in your world today.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, May 27, 2006

El Torre De Poniente En Cadiz

More Pics From "Kha-Thees"

I have no idea what this building is...I took the picture so I could remember where we parked!!

"Now kids, there be whales out there..." Actually, the kids are looking out for sharks. They are really fascinated by sharks these days.

This is the outskirts of the old city.

A Quick Trip To Cadiz

Hello All,

This last Friday night, we braved the roads of Spain and took a little family outing into Cadiz. Cadiz is about 30 minutes from us and is very reminiscent to the feel of San Francisco. We decided we needed to do a family outing once a week, just to keep our minds from getting too centralized in Jerez. So we thought we would get out to Cadiz.

An interesting thing about Cadiz (pronounced "Kha-thees) is that the ancient city underwater, is thought to be the Biblical city of Tarshish, where Jonah was headed before he got the first submarine ride in the Bible! And, even more compelling, is that there is a whale watching industry in Cadiz which lures many tourists annually into the waters of the Atlantic. Could it be? Who knows how close Jonah got to Cadiz, but that would be really cool if a Cadizian whale got him!

Anyway, we were there for a few hours before the kids tired out. We were able to watch a Catholic processional go through the town in front of the main Cathedral, where we spent about a half hour. We were unable to figure out what was going on, but it was loud and slow moving. At the steps of the Cathedral, I stood at the giant doors and figured for a joke, that I would knock on the door and see if anyone would answer. I turned around to watch the processional and then turned back around to see the door wide open! I figured it was an invitation and I did go in and managed to take a few shots.

There are a great many tourists in Cadiz at this time. We did see quite a few people who spoke English, which was refreshing, and made us think that coming back would be great for exploration, as well as meeting some people who spoke our language.

As I said, the kids got tired and hungry, so we ended the night with some fine scottish food from McDonalds and then headed home. Thank the Lord, our little Silver Hornet did just great both ways and we look forward to more voyages soon.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,

Monday, May 22, 2006

Calvario De Jerez

Hello All,

This is a picture taken shortly before we left back in December. This is our church leadership, and actually, almost the entire church! Much of the reason is due to her troubled history. Calvario De Jerez has been through many trials and tribulations since it's inception. From a church split over the rejection of the Faith Movement's teaching to personal character attacks upon Pastor Carlos, this church has been through much over her 6 year existence. In all that time, Pastor Carlos has been faithful to teach the Word to the church and to be an example of godliness to them. What has remained are fruitful believers, who are faithful brothers and sisters.

Today, our church has about 20 members, several of which are from outside of Spain, themselves members of spanish speaking countries. We have 3 Bolivians, 2 Guatemalans, 3 Brazilians and a woman from Uruguay. Each of these people have come in order to find work, which is abundant, especially in elder home care. We are grateful for each one, as they are each fine witnesses in the community among their employers and an encouragement to the leadership of the church.

Our family came here to bless this church and to work alongside her Pastor. What has happened more often than not is that they have blessed us in greater measure. It is a privilege to stand and work alongside them.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Children On The Mission Field

Hello All -

Sorry it got kind of quiet here this last several days. I was all geared up to put out another "exciting" blog entry together for you guys on Wednesday night after church. Due to an unscheduled near "foot-echtomy," I was unable to do so. Elizabeth, our youngest clocking in at 17 months old, pulled a 3 foot mini-bookshelf off balance and onto her foot. At the time, one hour before Wednesday night service, I had gone to the third floor to print off my notes, and Lela was getting something for Caleb in the kitchen. When it happened, thankfully my 4 year old daughter Renae was very close and stopped the piece of furniture from falling full force onto Lizzy's feet, but she could not hold the weight. My wife got there just a second after it fell and screamed; I ran down the stairs, heart stopped, and scared for what I was about to find. Lizzy's foot immediately swelled and she cried for a good 15 minutes. It was decided at that time to take her to the clinic.

Yolee, our good friend, translator and fellow worship leader, volunteered to come with us, which of course now meant the speaker AND the worship team would not be making service!! We all got into the Silver Hornet and drove to the Doctor's office where x-rays were taken within 15 minutes of arrival. All turned out just fine, as the x-rays revealed no break or fracture. The doctor told us to just make sure we kept her off of her feet the next couple of days. "Oh sure, and while we're at it, we'll go ahead and keep the sun from rising too!!" But even that turned out well, as Lizzy naturally kept her foot up and did not attempt to put any weight on it at all. Slowly, she is finding her way around, but that was quite a scare.

It is really not scary to be here in Jerez as adults. We blend in fine and are having a good time. Often, I find that my fear is for our kids more than anything. I want them to be safe, I want them to have friends and enjoy life. As I have now watched several falls, bandaged a few bad scrapes and even seen both Renae and Caleb dart out onto the streets with cars coming, I realize that I must trust the Lord to be our help. Kids are going to be kids and I can shelter them and protect them as much as is humanly possible, and they still might get into danger! But His eye is never turned. He never slumbers nor sleeps and He is our present help in time of need. I find this most comforting after the week we have had.

Well, I gotta go. Today we are celebrating Caleb's 3rd birthday. We love our little guy, who has been blessed with a wonderful disposition and an awesome smile. I have said since we had him that he was a little lady killer and would be blessed with great fashion sense having an older and a younger sister! That means he will likely never have a mullet like his Dad did back in the 80's! We love him and ask that you would just offer a prayer for him, that God would separate Caleb unto Himself for service and that His life would bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ all of His days.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, May 15, 2006

La Ferria Experience III

Hello All -

Well, whether or not it was worth all the buzz or not, La Ferria sure was an amazing draw here in Jerez De La Frontera. We were able to go on Friday night. We walked a good 2 miles before we started to see signs of life. The downtown area was virtually lifeless, the bars and sidewalk restaurants, usual hubs of activity, were closed for the event. As we drew closer, signs of life slowly emerged in the form of the horse and carriage riders, and the young Spanish men and women in their traditional Flamenco attire.

Coming to the fairgrounds itself, the place was teeming with activity, like a beehive, just buzzing in the air. I want to say that this was one of the loudest experiences I have ever had where no spandex or loud guitars were employed! As you walked in, the hooves of horses occupied most of the sound spectrum. What was left of the sound spectrum were the thousands of people talking and the bars on the right and the left of the walkway, blaring flamenco and "regatone" music. "Regatone" is a crossing of mediterranean dance music and rap. It is the popular music of the youth.

The bars were each overflowing with people enjoying their tappas (appetizers) and their famous Jerez wine. The young and the old occupied the same spaces together, talking and enjoying the evening. Some bars were more lively than others and as you walked by, you were able to witness many people dancing flamenco, which is truly a beautiful, artful sight.

We finally got to the kids part, which had all the typical rides and attractions one would see at a fairground. As you can see in the accompanying photo, our kids enjoyed the little Spanish car ride...twice!! It occurred to me at this moment just how easy it would be to lose our kids here and not really know where to turn to find them. A worse fear was how they would feel if they were lost away from their family. This ruined any chance I had of enjoying the Fair at this point, as all I could do was make sure the kids were right there next to me at every possible second! But as all kids, they walked around fearlessly, if not ignorantly of the dangers that surrounded them. Thankfully, none of those dangers came to fruition and we all made it home intact.

La Ferria was an interesting experience, one that captures the hearts and minds of the people of this town. It is a highly anticipated event and is also an event that causes sadness at it's passing. Many of the youth are said to cry at the end of Ferria and talk all year about the coming of the event again. It is a microcosm of Spanish society. Fulfillment is found in community, traditions of the past and a celebration of the present with little thought to what happens in the future. Now that La Ferria is over, things will return to the way they were and the only thought of the future will be the next Ferria.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

La Ferria Experience II

La Ferria Experience!

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Spain Chain

Hello Al,

Just a quick post to let you know that we do have a monthly email that goes out to all who desire to receive it. If you happen to want to get yourself on the Spain Chain, just send us an email and put "Spain Chain" in the subject line. You will be added and will receive the next month's edition in your email box around the last week of the month. I am currently composing the May edition, so if you wanted to get added, now would be the time to email us. You can do so at

Tonight, we are going to La Ferria for the first time. It has the entire city abuzz. I have heard people talking about it at one of our favorite lunch stops, the gym and the market. It is a big happening. Lord willing, I will be posting pictures tomorrow for everyone. Until then...

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

La Ferria

Hello All,

It seems that we have come at a pretty eventful season in the life of the Jerezanos. You will remember that we arrived during Holy Week festivities, arriving on the high and holy Wednesday Night Catholic Mass prior to Easter Sunday. Due to a rain out, we were unable to observe and report anything back to you. Then, about a week or so ago, we had the Spanish version of Labor Day. That was a real relaxing day, as people flocked to the zoo and to the beach and to the other sites around the city of Jerez De La Frontera.

Then, just a few days ago, two events merged into one. First, it was Mother's Day Sunday here. Our church had a really excellent service, complete communion and a presentation of really thoughtful gifts to our Mothers in the congregation. Each Mom had submitted a few pictures of their kids to the "Mothers Day Commitee" and those photos were cut and then laminated into bookmarks. At the end of the morning, the kids got up and recited some verses to bless their mother's hearts.

But that was not the end of the day, for that same day signaled the beginning of La Ferria. It is the city fair, with a lighting ceremony which is really quite ornate. Thousands and thousands and thousands of tiny lights lit up the Jerez skyline, as the fair came to life. Fireworks, like the 4th of July went off in the background, and it seemed all of Jerez was in celebration mode. There were at least 4 to 5,000 people at this event, many of them dressed in beautiful, traditional Flamenco dresses and suits, revealing a very deep appreciation for the roots of this city. Ferria's impact is felt all over the city. Many of the businesses have set different hours and the city center, usually bustling with activity, is very quiet this week. The whole city seems to revolve around this event. There is a palatable excitement in the air.

Going out there to witness this event and seeing all of these people of Jerez, really gave me a sense as to how big this city is and how much opportunity exists here for God to do a great work. We have so many desires and plans and we pray that God will establish us here, so that we can commit to long term projects. Please pray along with us in that regard, and in the hope that some day people of Jerez would have another, much more eternal reason to celebrate.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hello All,

Let me introduce you to Pastor Carlos Casco. In this blog and in our Spain Chain letters, there are numerous references to he and his family, so I wanted to devote some space to the man himself. I first met Carlos over the phone about 3 years ago. Our church missions team was preparing to come to Spain, and after a series of emails, it was time for a phone call. Carlos struck me as such a patient man, so willing to help and serve. We came with the church team back in 2003 and discovered a man who was tireless in his service to us and to the Lord. He just never stopped! We were all amazed, but I have found that this was just the normal operation of this missionary.

Carlos has been in Spain for 8 years, originally sent out from Calvary Chapel in Albequergue. Prior to coming here, he had been in Mexico for several years, serving as a translator for a Bible College plant. He was literally trained by translation work, first at CC Albuquerque and then at the Bible College in Chiapas Mexico. Carlos was serving with a brother who was fresh out of Bible College himself. He felt a call to Mexico, and asked Carlos to join him as translator. Carlos agreed and formed a rather vigorous translation routine. Carlos would receive the message in English in advance, and have the message typed in Spanish by his older daughter. He would then check the message over and have it retyped. Then he would give that message back to the brother he was translating for. By the time he actually got to the first service, Carlos had already gone over the material 4 or 5 times. Then the services would be an additional 3 times! But Carlos did not stop there. Usually, after the Sunday morning services, Carlos would take the morning messages to various other churches around Chiapas in the evening and through the following week. When one does this for a few years, one really gets the hang of sermon preparation.

Today, Carlos is a dedicated teacher of the Word of God, and has been faithfully taking care of the flock of God assembled here in Jerez. And while this congregation locally has been small, the audience for Carlos’ teachings internationally have been much larger. At present, we are preparing teachings for an upcoming Bolivian conference that Carlos will be teaching at in the summer. He has also given permission for his mp3s to be broadcast on Latin American Spanish radio. And, I just finished digitizing the latest batch of mp3s that will be included on the Firefighters for Christ website where several teachings already exist! For those of you Spanish speakers, you can access these files at

It has been a pleasure to work alongside Pastor Carlos. He is a truly dedicated servant of the Lord who has been a tremendous blessing to our family.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May 3rd...

Hello All,

It has been 3 months since we turned in our "residency work exemption authorization visa." I just bring it up to remind you to pray that the Lord would allow our paperwork to be processed quickly, even miraculously. It would be such a great confirming word of our calling here to Jerez if we received a call from the consulate sooner than later. I am sure that I don't need to tell you what comfort that would be. Until that time, we are happily bopping from one duty to another.

For example, today I went and resigned our rental contract with our landlord Antonio. Antonio, along with his wife Marguerite, are living the retired life in a nearby city. Antonio used to work as a chef for the London Parliament, and is really quite a young man to be retired. They are enjoying retired life and are really very kind people. Today, Antonio and I walked together to the lawyer's office for this minor detail. I sat there and watched as the young lady lawyer worked through the contract details on her computer screen. She spoke very, very fast, even for an Andulus! At one point, she looked at her screen and began talking, seemingly concerned over something. Antonio grunted in understanding and turned to me with a concerned look. He said, "Frank, we cannot do the contract. The Police are looking for you." At first, I just said, "What?" But as the moment turned to seconds, both Antonio and the lady looked at me as though what was said, was said in earnest. Antonio commented that this was what the computer had told them. I could feel my concern grow and Antonio opened up a big smile and said, "Got you." It was so funny! He got me good and we got a tremendous laugh out of it.

It is for the relationships like this one, that are just starting to get fun, that I would love to stay here with my family, and these friends. So, we ask for your prayers in that regard. If you haven't prayed on this for a while, let this be a reminder. If you have been praying diligently, please stay on course. We are hopeful that it will be resolved favorably soon.

Now, just a note for the next several blog entries. I wanted to take some time to introduce you to our church families here in Jerez. Please take a look on Friday, as I will begin a two part introduction to the Pastor of Calvario De Jerez, Carlos Casco. I hope that you will check it out and be blessed by the life of this awesome missionary.

Until then...

Blessings To The Friends of Spain,
Frank Sanchez