Monday, January 29, 2007

We'll Be Back Soon!

Hello All,

Just getting into the phone till internet till Friday...We love you...Keep praying for the Lord's direction.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ah, The Joy Of Jet Lag!

Hello All,

There is nothing like Jet Lag! Around 6 every evening, one feels like everything is simply shutting down for the night. Your mind no longer cooperates, your body can only slink itself into whatever soft surface will have it! They say (That nebulous authority figure which has spoken over every area of life) that it takes 1 day for every hour difference. That means we'll start to feel normal beginning in February! At least we can look forward to that!

In the meantime, we are back in the Southern California area, living in the Finfrock house. Dan and Debbie, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma have been such a wonderful support to us and we are so thankful that they continue to allow us these prolonged stays. Their gracious hospitality is legendary and we have been the thankful recipients once again. At the same time, we are readying our house in Highland for re-occupation. We are assembling the necessary furniture and have begun doing some painting. By the end of this week, we should be able to move back in to our Rustic Lane home. To all who have donated, offered to donate or offered finances specifically toward this end, Thank You very much! We are so grateful for the body of believers who have taken the initiative to bless.

With regards to things in Spain, we ask for your prayers to continue to be with Pastor Carlos Casco and his family, as well as the church in Jerez De La Frontera. We received word Saturday morning that one of the members of the Church, a wonderful brother, Domingo Avila, had lost his mother. We are saddened by his loss and we have been praying for Domingo and his family at this difficult time. At the same time, Pastor Carlos and his family are busy moving into our place or rather, their place! They have quite a task before them, and we are praying that they will be able to move in in as smooth a way as is possible.

Speaking of the Casco Family, their website is up and running here. There is a permanent link on the right hand side and I would encourage you to check out what is happening there. The Casco Family took us in, treated us like their own from the very beginning, and in a way, really took the place of the body that we are apart of here, there in Jerez. Our experience has left us bonded to them for the rest of our lives. We will never forget their graciousness and their giving spirit, which was the norm, not the exception. They are missionaries of the best kind, faithful and willing to be ambassadors for Christ in a very difficult place to minister. For our part, we wish to continue to bring attention to their ministry as much as we possibly can, for lacking the ability to be there physically, we have not lost a desire to support them. So please, take a look.

Oh, another issue with Jet Lag: Long Blog entries!! Wow! It doesn't explain when I am not lagging and there are long entries, but I'll blame this one on that!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

We Made It!

Hello All,

26 hours, 3 kids, 3 planes, 9 pieces of luggage, 3 security checkpoints, and customs, we made it!
Thank you for your prayers!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,

Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Last Entry From Spain

Hello All,

What a surreal dream we are living right now. It's really an amazing thing to experience. Today, Carlos and I finalized all that was left to handle regarding our business here in Spain. As we did so, we said goodbye to the banker, the bar owners, and the various friends who have made up the cast of this little drama over the last year. It finally hit me at the bank how sad this is. Before me was the printout of the beginning of our account, the day it began. I remember it was a hot day and I sat in that bank with Carlos, Johnny Love and my Father-in-Law Dan Finfrock. We opened an account with Carlos' neighbor, who spoke so fast it shocked me! Today, it was a cool, almost cold morning and it was just me and Carlos. After a year of being here, I understand how to listen and I understood most of what he said. I stood to say goodbye and it was a difficult moment.

Today, it will only get more difficult as the Avila family will be dropping by, as well as Maria and her son Juan. Of course, we will spend a little more time with the Casco family. I fully intend to be strong, but I am afraid that my intentions may not be sufficient. We are sad to leave such wonderful people...

And yet, there is hope. Always there is hope in Christ. Whatever, wherever, with whomever we partner next, we feel a sense of optimism and excitement about these next few years. We know that while we cannot be here in Spain physically, we will be here in spirit and we intend to continue to contribute in any way that we can. There are already plans in the making for a few technical support phone calls when I return. I will do all I can to help this ministry here in Spain, that much is sure. From whatever place the Lord intends us to be, we desire to be fruitful in His hands and useful in His kingdom, but always with an eye toward this country of Spain.

With that in mind, we ask for your prayers. Prayers for direction, provision and vision would be appreciated over the next several weeks and months. It's odd because we left knowing where and what we would do when we left California. We never thought about having to return so soon, so prayers are most appropriate right now.

Of a more immediate concern is our travel plans over the next 72 hours. We leave Jerez around 10PM California time, Tuesday evening. We arrive there, Lord willing, around 7PM California time, Wednesday evening! In between time, there are layovers in Madrid and Chicago and likely very poor Airline food over the Atlantic! Oh, did I mention we are bringing the kids with us!? Yeah, pray for that as well!!

When I get back to California, I will put up a "We Made It" entry, but I will try to begin to process my final thoughts about this chapter in our lives next week. After that, we will see what progresses with regard to the future of this website. And then after that, I will do my best to get a Spain Chain email out. If you are not part of the Chain and you wish to be, please email me at and I will get you added before the next edition.

Finally, thank you all for your prayers, your support and your love which has been palatably felt by us here in this land. We can never repay you, nor express our thanks enough for the emails, the cards, and even the comments on the blog. You have made this experience a joy for each of us. Thank you.

See you soon!!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, January 15, 2007

Our Last Sunday

Hello All,

It's always strange when you are on the cusp of leaving "forever." We left the Packinghouse "forever" just over a year ago! When it happened at the Packinghouse, there was a resignation beyond hope of change; Yesterday, there was a similar feeling. Our family was sent out around the 26 of September 2005; Yesterday, we were sent back! Oh the irony of it all!

The service was "business as usual," just the way I like it. We began with worship and sang the normal songs. We did do one of our "greatest hits" as it were, but beside that, we did the tunes that are the most accessible to the church in Jerez today. We ended with what has become my favorite song, not because it is a beautiful song alone, but because of what it expresses. Let's see if you can catch the spirit of the song without translation.

Quiero subir al monte Santo de Sion, y entonar un nuevo cantico a mi Dios.

Mas de palabras, mi vida quiero entregar.
Purifica mi corazon para entrar, en Tu presencia, contemplar Tu grandeza.

Te adoro Senor en espiritu y en verdad.
Me postro a Tus pies en la belleza de Tu Santidad.

Te doy mi loor que sea una suave fragancia.

Y un sonido agradable a Ti pues digno Eres.

It's sincerely one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, but it's the words that strike a tone in my heart. The thought of being in the presence of God's Holy presence, physically before His feet, offering up a sweet fragrance and a song of thanksgiving to Him physically, is overwhelming but that which our hearts desire the most.

I looked out during one of the choruses to see everyone pouring out their hearts before the Lord. When we had first come, there were 2 steady families amongst us. We have added 3 families to that number in the time that we have been here and there we all stood in a holy moment before the Lord.

After worship, Carlos had our family up before the congregation and he and Yolee laid hands on us, sending us out from the congregation, back to "a fruitful life of service in the states." It was surreal and powerful.

I suppose that this is the way it is always to be. From one season to another, we enter into each other's lives, to pour out what God has poured into us. When He deems it time to conclude the task, it is always obvious. Joy can be had in understanding this truth.

And yet, there will always be on this earth the yearning for a fellowship that will never end. It would seem that God has designed it this way, to make us hunger for a time when the warmth of fellowship will not end. It's not even that we should desire the fellowship of friends or people, but the Spirit which testifies with our Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ, manifested and enjoyed on the Earth through wonderful friends and family of like mind, converted by Christ's Spirit.

It is ultimately Christ's life that we all share and enjoy so much. It is ultimately Christ who we love and long for. The fellowship which we share is only a taste, just a shadow of His goodness and wonder that we are to share in for eternity.

Toward that end, Calvario De Jerez, thank you for your love and acceptance of us. You have treated us like family, cared for us and been the surrogate Aunts, Uncles, Grandmas and Grandpas. Thank you for your patience with us, putting up with our ridiculous spanish skills and yet doing all you could to understand us. Your impact on our life can never be measured. Thank you will all of our hearts. I pray that through technology and through the learning process that we will be able to remain in each other's lives until that day when we climb into the beauty of God's Holiness together and offer Him our praises before His feet. Dios Te Bendiga!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Master Of Understatement!

Hello All,

The words, "just a little dust" reverberate through my skull to this moment. Carlos is preparing to move into my house. Today we went all over the city, updating accounts, taking our names of off this and that. It was arduous, but always a pleasure to hang with Carlos. He is the man when it comes to awesome ministry experiences. It blows my mind what he has gone through in the 20 years plus years that he has been on the mission field. And while one never looks forward to standing in bank lines, with Carlos, it's never boring!

But it was Tuesday night that was exciting in our house. Up on the
third floor, Carlos replicated a storage area in the wall that he has in his present house. He started cutting away and at first did not seem like dust was going to be a problem. I got closer to the saw and all of a sudden a huge cloud of orange dust enveloped my face. At that point, we did not have masks on, and we were soon out on the terrace of the third floor, gasping for air! It's a that point that Carlos said, "I might have underestimated how messy this is going to be!" Yeah, I hear you there brother!

Of course, the kids were so excited about the whole process. To keep them off the third floor, we told them that a bear was likely behind the wall and that we would have to "shoe it" away. (I know, what great Pastors we are!) At one point, Renae, ever the curious one came up when all the noise and dust was at it's most dense. I'm
sure that in her very active imagination, the noise of the saw and the dust were all indicative of bear activity. So she came sneaking up. About this same time, overwhelmed with dust, I half lunged over the top of the separator between the floor and the stairwell, coughing and convulsing. Renae saw me, probably thought I was the deposed bear, and screamed to high heaven! It was classic! If I wasn't inhaling a ton of dust at the time, I would have been laughing my head off!

The other memorable thing for the kids was the masks. They were immediately impressed with our masks, Renae the vocal leader of the "Can we wear the masks?" coalition! Of course, ours were absolutely disgusting, so that was out of the question. But I did promise to get some for them today. After our business was completed this morning, we went over to Valenzuela's to buy some masks. "And for only a euro, you too can please your children!"

Of course, I couldn't let this opportunity pass without getting matching "Mommy/Daddy" models! I think I might use this for our next family portrait!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, January 08, 2007

No Room? Make Room!

Hello All,

Imagine that you are living in a town where the car to parking space ratio is 5 to 1. Imagine a society built upon, as the norm, parallel parking! Now, imagine having the resilience necessary to find a parking spot, no matter what and you have a great picture of the "Survival Of The
Fittest" mentality of the parking wars. Note the car above for example. He just parked on the sidewalk, brazenly daring anyone to do something about it. It's likely that he was parked there for at least an hour and a half.

Now, here is how it starts: All the avaliable spots are taken near the "Bar Moy." Legitimate parallel parkers have innocently parked correctly and left their car to enjoy the world famous "Serranito." Well, the lack of space will not dissuade Spaniard #2, for what we would see as technically "illegal," he would see as an opportunity to be sure that his hazard lights are working. Put on the hazards, and go sit for an hour. However, he will not be the only one.

Soon several other Spaniards, drawn by the power of the one serranito to rule them all, succumb to the need to park near the center of power. Before you know it, this is what the street looks like, cars double parked, sometimes TRIPLE parked on the street! So what does one do in the event that you are the one legitimately parked? You stand by your car and you honk. Eventually, someone will hear and come out to investigate to see if they are the double parked culprit. It has happened a few times where I have seen several faces emerge from several little shops to see if someone has honked because of their car! It's actually amusing when we are not pressed for time.

One morning recently, the entire street was shut down for about 5 minutes in both directions because of the Double Park Shuffle! It was pretty funny and pretty typical in this town. But to the credit of most Spaniards, they handle it with humor and recognize that it's not worth getting excited about. For the most part, their road rage consists of honking their horns quite a bit and leaving it at that.

As we leave Jerez, I might miss the parking wars a bit...then again, a good parking space might be a welcome sight!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, January 05, 2007

El Dia De Los Reyes

Hello All,

All of you in America, who love the Christmas season, are sad at it's passing. I for one am always glad and most thankful for January! To my Grinch's chagrin, Christmas, or "Navidades," continues on into the first week of January with the celebrating of the Day Of The Kings. It is the commemoration of when the Magi came bearing gifts to the home of the infant Jesus. The holiday actually occurs tomorrow, January 6th and most Spaniard children will be awakening early for one more set of gifts to open. Actually, as a parent, it would be kind of a good thing if you really blew it at Christmas with the gift of socks!

In any event, January 5th is the day of the celebration of the arrival of the Kings, called "La Cabalgata De Los Reyes Magos." Yolee invited us to join her, Angel and Miriam Avila for a walk out to where this procession was to take place. All I had heard was that there was going to be a float with candy thrown to the gathered crowd. Turns out there were many floats, a ton of candy and a multitude of Spaniards! It was sort of "The Tournament Of Roses Parade" meets "Disneyland" meets "Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory!"

Here is the first float of the evening. I could see in the distance people on the float throwing candy out to the throng of people and I immediately thought, "Maybe this is not the best idea!" Talk about being a little late! As the float approached, the crowd readied themselves for the incoming sugar projectiles. Most people brought their own bags for the collection of the sweet treats. As the float passed by, the candies came at all kinds of speeds toward us. When the candy came out of the air, all the people scambled to the ground to pick up the hard candies that were the norm for the evening. A quick note of interjection: I have been suffering from a bad back all week, so bending over and getting candies was not a consideration tonight. As a result, I had to grab candies out of the air. Fortunately, I was an outfielder for my high school baseball team. Unfortunately, I was never very good at catching fly balls!

All in all, it was a fun night with everyone walking away, or in my case limping away, with at least a "caramelo" to chew on. Most walked away with enough candy to last a week! The kids had a great time checking out the lively floats and the various animals, not knowing that they were participating in another country's celebration. Too bad they will not be celebrating tomorrow with more gifts. What they don't know won't hurt them but at least those socks will keep their feet warm!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

You Just Never Know!

Hello All,

As you have seen here over the last few days, it has been announced that we are leaving Jerez. As such, I did not want to cover new ground in Genesis for our Wednesday Night study, but instead have chosen to pick out two messages from the past. Doing this will free me from doing a fresh new study, essentially freeing up time to further assist Carlos in the computer room and praparing things for our next move. Unfortunately a low back strain has slowed me up these last few days as well, so concentrating on a new topic would have been a "stretch" anyway! (Sorry, pun intended!) But it is always an ackward thing. How does one make such a choice effectively? I could never be a full time guest speaker. There are so many variables to consider.

As the struggle continued in my mind, I felt a strong and clear leading toward I John 1:8 & 9. I reviewed my 3 year old notes from the PackingHouse College Group days, made some revisions, put in new illustrations, and copied off the translator copy for Carlos.

Now, in all that time, I am doubting continually that I have chosen the right text. And then to make matters worse, every sermon I read, from Spurgeon's to J.C. Ryle's, is a million times better on the subject. Still, I felt compelled and assured that this is the message I was supposed to give.

And then the night started and it was the same people who come every week, who are godly and all walking with the Lord. I am thinking that this is going to be a remedial course for them, but someone must need it. Then as we are in the middle of "We Fall Down," "Postrados" in Spanish, three girls walk in who are visiting a family from our congregation. They are from Latin America and are here for a time.

It was then that I sensed that this message must be for them! To be honest, I don't know the end of this story. I may be totally wrong, as the message could just as well been for me! But I know that I had to give it and that it had to be tonight, for this audience. I wish I could tell you that those girls got saved and they led 40 other significant women to the Lord, who bore the next "insert favorite anecdotal spiritual hero here!" But it is likely that I will never know the impact of this decision, that I believe is filled with destiny.

I hope that each of you have the same sense of destiny. I hope that the words and exhortations and the songs and the poetry that the Lord entrusts to you to share, will be shared by you when He calls on you to do so. I admit that I hope to see the fruit of why I shared what I shared tonight. That is always encouraging. But if I don't, I assure you that I sleep better tonight for having shared it!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, January 01, 2007

Godspeed Andre!

Hello All,
Aside from being New Years Eve yesterday, it was also the last day for Andre to be with our congregation for a while. Yesterday afternoon, he left for Brazil, his native country, to finish his third semester of Bible College. Andre did his first two semesters in Germany under the teaching ministry of David Guzik. He is now among his family and in a new situation. We ask for your prayers for this special young man.

Pastor Carlos relayed a few stories about Andre that really make him stand out in my book. When he first got saved, he found our church through the Calvary Chapel website. He called out of the blue and asked if he could come out from where he was
living to attend services. He was able to make Wednesday night his service, as he was working at a Pizza place during that time.

Turns out that Andre made a train trip once a week for quite a long time, which eventually led to him coming to live with Pastor Carlos and receive discipleship from him. Carlos helped him through the completion of his High School credits and has been instrumental in his spiritual success.

I remember meeting Andre for the first time back in 2003 when our church came to Spain for the first time. Immediately, I was taken aback by the fire that was in Andre's heart then. He spoke of
wanting to serve the Lord with his life, even then wanting to go to Bible College. I was amazed at the joy that Andre possessed and the love for Jesus was that was so evident in his life.

Nothing has changed at all. Andre remains commited and focused. He has a natural gift and enthusiasm for evangelism and he is a fine worship leader. In fact, during these last 3 months, it has been a pleasure to sit back and enjoy worship together as a family, as Andre and Yolee have done a fantastic job of leading the congregation in praise. In a way, I credit Andre with being my daughter's first real worship leader, as she has taken to raising her hands during worship often. I am thinking that she will always think of Calvario De Jerez as a template for her future worship experiences, and Andre has been an integral part in that.

Pray for Andre over these next few months, especially that God will use him among his family, many of whom are unsaved. Pray that in the comforts of home, that he would not lose his fire or passion. Finally, pray that the Lord would allow this next semester of Bible College to be an incredible time of growth for Andre, not so much in what he will know, but in his love for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

Thanks for everything Andre. We love you brother and will look forward to seeing you again soon.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez