Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Behold How Good..."

Hello All,

What a picture perfect weekend we have had here in Spain! Two absolutely glorious days, brought to a climactic end with a pre-Christmas celebration in Barbate. Barbate is about an hour and a half from Jerez and it is the location of Iglesia Evangelica El Arca, pastored by Robert Shamell. We have a little bit of history with Pastor Robert, as our outreach team from Redlands came into Barbate on our first trip here back in 2004. Then, earlier this year, the Shamell family invited us to come and share at their evening service. There were a few really funny incidents that came about from that trip. Ask us sometime about Lela's embarrasing moment and we will tell you...I'm getting off track.

Pastor Shamell is a German Pastor with a great, infectious personality and love for the Lord. When we received the invitation to come to Barbate as a Church, it was an easy answer for us. Aside from the wonderful event, there would also be a breathtaking drive through the Spanish countryside, which is an unbelievable opportunity in and of itself.

After our morning service, we carpooled into Barbate. When we arrived the food was almost entirely set out. It was about 2PM, which is the normal dinner time for Spaniards. Fos us Americans though our bodies are usually screaming for food by that time! Needless to say, I was ready to devour everything! The banquet of Spanish food was presented and was awesome as usual. The most impressive food today was the Paella, which is Spanish rice with shellfish but I made sure that my opinion was well educated! After the food, and a lot of fellowship, came the desert portion of course, and the highlights were Lela's banana bread and Yolee's cheesecake. I was in heaven!

Everyone rolled to their seats and then the 2 visiting ministries, Calvario De Jerez and the Light House, presented some information for the church which is supportive of both. Carlos lead off with a slide show of his last trip to Morocco. As usual, the stories that Carlos tells about Morocco bring an excited hush to any crowd. This was really good for me, as the DVD player that I was working with was not cooperating. It's always embarrasing when something that should work does not work, and your the one in charge of it! Now I know how it feels to be a sound man! Well, the player finally got to working and the pictures were on the screen, but they were on sideways! It was classic looking out at all the people with their head tilted to the right!

After this, Ian Hardy, Pastor/Overseer of "The Light House/El Faro" shared a presentation about their ministry in Algeciras. Ian and his wife came with their new 3 week old daughter Elizabeth, so it's obvious they have taste in names! The ministry of the Light House is centered around the tourist industry of Morocco, as Algeciras is the most frequently used port to go to Morocco. The Light House invites all backpackers to enjoy a cheap meal and some conversation. Through the gift of hospitality, Ian has been able to share the love of Christ with many who come through Algeciras on their way to Moroccan adventures. Ian is a gentle man and it was great to spend some time with him.

After Ian finished, Ruth Shamell asked me to sing a song with Lela as we had done on our last trip. I was very reluctant and tried my best to beg out of it, citing lack of guitar and chord sheets. However, as it turns out, she does not give up very easily! She got a guitar, Lela quickly wrote out some words and I jotted down some chords. Lela, Yolee and I shared one of our theme songs to end the time together. The song is Kevin Green's tune "I Will Trust In You," "Confiare En Ti." It was the only one that we could remember under the circumstances. Then Yolee and Andre did one final song, which is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I don't know the name, but it's a song from Brazil that Yolee and Andre sing wonderfully for our church's worship service.

All in all, it was a fantastic time together. During the entire day I kept thinking about the verse that David penned so many centuries before in the Psalms.

" Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

These churches are not all part of the same denomination, nor are they of the same service construction. The giftings and ministries are vastly different. Yet, we can come together, enjoy a feast, rejoice in the effective ministry of God's servants and love one another because of Christ's work in our lives. It was a true joy to participate today with the body of Christ and celebrate His first coming in such a joyous fashion. We wish you could have been here!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

No comments: