Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sweet Unity!

Hello All,

Let me begin this blog entry with this set of verses that most all of us recall.

"Now John answered Him, saying, 'Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side." Luke 9:38-40

I can just see the incredulity on Christ's face. I bet His first response was to crack a joke, something like: "Hey, go back there and get that demon back into that guy and then you cast him out with our secret formula! Oh and leave a card while you're at it!" Of course, the beauty of the response is that he who is not against us is on OUR SIDE! We're playing for the same team! We're shooting toward the same goal! Just because they are not part of our elite club, or an accepted part of our little group, does not mean that they are against us!

Honestly, here in the states, this is often how it feels. It is unfortunate, but it seems rare to find Christian people together with other Christians who are not part of "us!" And what makes matters worse ironically is that each denomination is big enough to have multiple churches in any given area, so that when there is need for a conference or a retreat, there are plenty of resources to gather from without leaving that denomination's influence! Who needs other denominations when you can have a Calvary Chapel Worship Conference and have 3 thousand strong coming to it!

Now, that being said, one cannot ignore that these denominations serve a tremendous purpose in the kingdom in that they offer an endless variety to an endlessly diverse constituency. How can we have unity and still remain distinctive?

While in Spain, I had the privilege of witnessing something special to my eyes. Back in December, our church gathered together with 2 other ministries in Southern Spain for a Christmas celebration. These two other ministries, one in Barbate and one in Algeciras, were not Calvary Chapels. To this day, I am not sure what denomination they come from. We shared a meal and laughed together. Somehow, knowing that each person in this room was loyal to Christ and to His body brought a tremendous love for people that we had not met. It was wonderful.

After the bountiful amount of food was consumed, each ministry took turns and reported what God had done through the individual ministries. Carlos shared about his most recent trip to Morocco and everyone enjoyed his stories. Ian from Algeciras shared about the Lighthouse, a wonderful ministry to backpackers on the road to Morocco. Robert, the Pastor of the Church which hosted this event did not share but his part was firmly established, especially since his congregation provided the Paella!

I was in awe of how we all sat there and rooted for each other. We did not argue about the methods employed or the differences that genuinely exist in the forms of our worship. We simply appreciated each other, and applauded the growing of the Kingdom of Christ through the faithful contributions of His Saints in Spain, laborers in the Harvest Field.

It's true that these churches all adhere to the basics of the faith and are not swayed by the winds of every doctrine. But in the vacuum of a country that is predominantly not Christian, those lines are much more clearly delineated. What a joy then that it was to sit there and know that these brothers and sisters, while not a part of "us" were for "us" anyway!

Today, I hope that I can help to bridge some of the gap that so engulfs the many denominations that serve in this country. I want to start by appreciating and applauding their efforts, regardless of how different they might be from my own. And then, I want to offer them my prayer support and my loyalty as a Christian brother. I hope in time that I can see a similar event happen here in the United States as the one I witnessed in Barbate. That would be a wonderful accomplishment for me, probably for all of us.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is There A Techie In The House?

Hello All,

Before I compose my next blog entry regarding lessons learned on the Mission Field, I wondered if I could get some help technology wise. I felt like I should try here first. Here's the situation:

When I plug in my external hard drive, the trash icon fills up, indicating that something is in the trash. I try to empty it and it tells me that the file is in use. I try to pull the file out and cannot because again, the file is in use. I have tried to restart, force empty (using option keys) and creating a new folder to put into the trash, so I could put the other "in use" folder in the new folder and dump it!!! Arghhh!!! Anyone have any ideas!?

I proudly run Apple computers, the drive is a Maxtor 300 GB. If you can help or know someone who can, have them email me at

Have a great weekend and feel free to empty your trash icon! Don't take that for granted!

Look for the next blog entry Sunday on The Unity Of The Church.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Keeping You Posted

Hello All,

I just wanted to give you a quick update on things around the Sanchez home. Things are close to getting back to normal. We are currently weighing ministry offers that have come to us. Sometime next week, we hope to have made a decision. Lela and I are blessed by the offers that we have, as they all serve to benefit our family in wonderful ways, and give us the opportunity to continue to grow in the things of the Lord. Lela is busy daily with the kids and the things of the house. In an attempt to help give them (Lela and the kids) a settled feeling, I have spent most of my time helping with that endeavor. We have never spent so much time at Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Target in our entire lives!

Renae is doing very well in school. She really enjoys The Packinghouse Academy. On President's day, she got a chance to enjoy her first American holiday. She complained that she wanted to go to school and wondered why there had to be holidays! I thought I would write that down, as I am sure the tenor of her complaints will be quite different in a few years!

Caleb has finally gotten over his time of sickness. The flu bug seemed to hit him the hardest of the three. This last week, he has rebounded with the usual joy that is his signature. His belly laughs and his unforgettable comments are becoming more commonplace as he continues to feel better.

Elizabeth is still a thief when it comes to candies, chocolates or soda! We cannot leave her alone for a second! The other day, I had brought Lela a short mocha from Starbucks. Lela left it on the counter, alone in the room with Elizabeth. Yes, you guessed it: Lela came back to pick up her drink, only to find it empty and Lizzy unusually full!

These are our days recently. We are trying to get back to normal, and that is slowly happening, though it has been difficult. We appreciate you checking in on us and writing to us. That has been a real blessing, as we also feel a tad bit disconnected. Lord willing, that will be rectified soon.

Well, that's all for now. I think that I have 2 more blog entries in me regarding the lessons that I learned while I was a missionary, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know what is happening with us.

We love you all and are so thankful for your ministry to us over this last year and a half especially. Hopefully, we will all get the chance to see each other soon.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, February 19, 2007

Spiritual And Not So Spiritual Warfare!

Hello All,

Before I write this, I want to reiterate that this series of blog entries relates only to what I have learned about missions over the last few years through stories and conference attendance. These do not reflect our personal experience, as I feel that we can say that ours was a charmed experience in some regards. Rather, I want to convey some of the lessons and struggles that I have personally witnessed or had occasion to listen to. I feel that our mission, our churches, the Spain Chain, and our Spain Team were, and are, model support systems that protected us from some of the horror stories that we could have experienced. That all being said, that is not the case for a great many missionaries. I write on their behalf.

I am intrigued by how the body of Christ can be so divisive against itself. It has always been that way from the very beginning of the Church. Social issues ate up the early church when it came serving food to widows. Then the twin doctrinal issues of circumcision and levitical compliance plagued at least the Galatian church of the first century, but was likely much more wide spread. Infighting, bickering, slander, gossip and the promulgation of half truth continue to take out the legs of people in the church today.

Magnify that on the mission field, where time zones and various activities keep people apart, making communication very difficult, leading to rumors, imaginations and suggestions that the missionary in question might be a rogue, Lone Ranger type character. Many times, not all times, this could not be further from the truth.

Missionaries have often told stories of the deep woundings that they have received from various organizations or churches, fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, and even family members. Often they are questioned about their ethics or their practices. This is the "not-so-Spiritual" warfare part, in that the attacks come from people who are well meaning perhaps, but terribly misguided.

On the other side of the coin, there is a tangible sense of spiritual reality that comes on the frontline of service. There were times when we felt a tangible sense of dread and fear, as though something was breathing down the back of our necks. Powers and principalities fought against us at various times, though we were never beaten back. Intense spiritual attack is par for the course when you are on the mission field. Many missionaries suffer from intense loneliness. Others keenly feel that they are not succeeding at any part of their mission, so a deep sense of discouragement and failure sweeps in. This is the enemy's playground.

Why do I share these things? I share these things in order to provoke sensitive relation and communication with our missionaries. Patience, understanding, and charitable (loving) hearts are necessary now more than ever. Encourage, don't disparage. Question how you can help, not why something has not happened as had been the plan.

Can some missionaries be a little sensitive? Perhaps. Can some supporters be a bit insensitive to their missionaries? Perhaps that is true as well. Maybe we can strive to meet in the middle so that our communication would always be a pleasure and a blessing to our missionaries. At least then, the real enemy can be fought with all strength and power in the name of Jesus.

In our experience, it was always a joy to see phrases like, "How can we be praying" or "Do you need anything?" Other times, there were people who called to simply ask how we were doing. If we were struggling, the best calls were the listeners with empathetic ears who offered a prayer at the end.

So many missionaries feel like they are not succeeding in their quest to serve the Lord. They face constant discouragement from various agencies. There are some who feel forgotten or abandoned. We can pray now that the Lord would strengthen, encourage and lift them up. And when we have occasion to speak or write, let us pray that our words would be seasoned with salt, filled with grace and encouragement, so that we might be conduits of God's ministry to them.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, February 16, 2007


Hello All,

Part of our preparation to go out onto the mission field, was to attend the Perspectives course which is held at William Carey University in Pasadena. You can check their website out here. Before I took this particular course, I had a very one dimensional view about what missions was. I had one model in mind, namely a church planting transplant of one culture to another. The "if only they could be more like us" attitude was what I subscribed to. This is not to say that this is what church planters believe or think. It is simply the way I thought.

Getting to participate in the Perspectives course really opened my eyes to what people were doing on the mission field. Each day, a new instructor came in and spoke about their stories. Such incredible diversity I had never imagined possible when speaking about missions. Missions, the term, became a catch all phrase for all sorts of activities. There were stories about setting up teas for Bedouins on the back of trucks near watering holes and teaching English in communist countries, at the request of the government! There were still other stories about providing shovels for the digging of new water sources in the desert, in the name of Jesus!

The stories all served a purpose. Each person used their giftings and talents as a natural seque into someone else's culture. When relationships had been established, then true evangelism and discipleship could take place. I heard this again just this morning, right here in our own backyard. There are people whose ministry begins at 3 AM every morning. These particular people minister to the pimps and prostitutes of Hollywood, by reaching out with the love of Jesus to a group of people who will not likely join a church anytime soon.

The concept of mission has become so broad today that you will have to work NOT to be involved, rather than the opposite being true. Mission is happening all around us. Let me explain how.

In the Bible, there are 4 modes of mission. First, there are people who have been sent and go willingly. Prophets in the Old Testament for example, were sent to deliver a message to a given group of people. Some went willingly. We went willingly to Spain! However, some are sent and go unwillingly! One might consider Jonah in this category biblically or a soldier in Iraq presently! Then, there are the ones that come from a far away land. There are willing migrants, much like the mixed multitude of the Exodus or our friends from south of the border today. There are also people who come unwillingly, conquered people in the Old Testament and refugees from other war torn nations today.

The point is that everywhere we look, a mission field is right there. We live in a diverse land, with representatives of nations right next door to us! Have you ever thought of your neighbors in this way? I have Filipino neighbors. I believe them to be representative of their nation. As we look at people on the mission field in foreign lands, we recognize that they are planted among people who are not their own. And while their objective is to reach that nation with the message of the gospel, their method may be unique.

Part of supporting these wonderful people, is to trust them and pray for their vision to be from the Lord. So many missionaries (none that I know personally) have been questioned about their methods and have been pressured to produce evangelistic results. While I would never be one to push for absolute autonomy of a missionary, (I believe that accountability is needed everywhere!) I would never be one to try and control or manipulate a man or woman of God who has given themselves over to a foreign mission assignment. Many are careful and discerning on purpose and since the danger or risk is theirs, I say lend support!

And I also say that our fields are just as ripe for harvest. The mission bell is being heard everywhere. The return of Christ draws ever more close. Let us be faithful to His call, wherever He may have us planted.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Hello All,

I wanted to begin to share with each of you my final thoughts about what it is that we learned while on the mission field. I ask that you might consider it as our final re-entry debrief and a natural seque into what will eventually be the subject matter of this site. Of the various lessons that I want to share about, the first of which involves the actual missionaries that we have met. Every story is different as to how the Lord worked in the hearts of the missionary to motivate them to go and every background is just as diverse. Each personality is completely unique, as is the actual work that that missionary or group of missionaries is engaged in.

The one thing that really unifies these people is a sense of purpose and destiny. An unusual focus that is born out of a significant work in their hearts that drives them to do what it is they do. You can see it in their eyes when they talk about their people, their land, their homes. It's a love and soon you can see, a dream that they are living, to serve the King of Kings, to represent Him to whatever nation they have come to embrace.

These people are there in various lands, most of them sustained by the offerings of a church or members of a church. Many people assume that missionaries are full time employees of a church somewhere. This is rarely the case. Most have raised their support over years, or live on what support comes in month by month. There are very few missionaries that I have run into that have a retirement plan or even a healthy savings account should anything happen to them.

But they serve with vigor and without consciousness of what might happen. Many serve in dangerous places, where the gospel is forbidden. Some serve where the gospel is tolerated, but not favored. Some, as we did, serve through translation and a local church plant. Some are all alone.

I share all of these things, not to emotionally produce sympathy. This would not be what the missionaries I know would want. I do however wish to raise the awareness of what a missionary does and how essential it is for us who cannot join them physically, to join them in our hearts and in every way that can bring joy and comfort to them.

Many of you who have checked in here have demonstrated a great love to us, your missionaries. As we transition from being full time missionaries to full time workers back here in the states, it will only be natural that a void will have been created. You have participated with missionaries. I urge you to continue. Our missionaries in Spain, and indeed wherever you have personal contact, continue to need our love and support. These people have laid down their ambitions, their agendas and have given themselves over to the Lord, to be spent by Him!

For our part, we continue to think about our friends in Jerez De La Frontera, Carlos, Yolanda, Yolee and Miqueas Casco. Their website is here. We also have friends who are in Australia, Jason and Kris Bauerenfiend. Their website is here. There are many others that we are in contact with, who have asked not to be included on the internet for various reasons, but whose work has not gone unappreciated.

These people carry the gospel to foreign lands. I pray, that we as their family in Christ, would continue to hold them up in prayer, support them with what we can give joyfully, and keep in touch with them. In this way, we can join and help them continue the work that the Lord has given them to do.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Finally Back Up And Running!

Hello All,

First, thank you to the many who have been so good about checking in with us. It's such a blessing as we remain in this state of transition. This is one of the more difficult challenges that missionaries face, namely the leaving of one ministry and the entrance into another. It is especially challenging when it was absolutely not in our plans to leave! This week, we had a week that was very similar to weeks that we had in Spain, but the blessing was and is, that our family has been here to surround and encourage us physically. I can't tell you how much that means to us.

As I wrote in the last post, we had a water leak last Saturday. One week later, we know that it was caused by a large rodent, who at present, is buried in our back yard! The good news, it seems, is that insurance will cover the damage and life might get back to normal soon.

In the midst of all this, we have been here, there and everywhere, just trying to balance out. We are praying over where the Lord might take us next, and we are excited about the possibilites that are being presented to us. I hope to have news soon with that regard.

Saturday, I spoke for the morning and evening sessions for Calvary Chapel Murrieta's High School Winter Camp. It is always an honor to speak for my friend Armando Garcia, who is the High School Pastor at Calvary Chapel. A great bonus is getting to see my brother Richard and my sister-in-law Lenna, who work with Armando. I'll have pictures and a post on that soon, when I find my camera!

And then, finally, I will get some posts out this week about some of the lessons learned about missionary life. I want to finish that while all of that is fresh. I think it might be important for me to remember, as I attempt to remain active in things regarding missions. I hope it will also be informative as you consider how to remain active supporting missions.

That's all for now. Talk with you soon.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, February 05, 2007

"What's That Squishy Sound!?"

Hello All,

Saturday began well. My brother and I were out and about, collecting furniture for the house. We came back to deliver some of it and Lela had noticed that some of the brand new flooring had begun to buckle and had become uneven in the kitchen. Later on in the day, after my brother and I had finished our "rounds," we came back to the house and were able to see even more buckling. Long story short, it was a water leak!

We are now in the middle of trying to assess the damage and are again out of our house temporarily, maybe until Thursday or so! It is certainly a trying time, and yet, I feel we are strangely fortunate that things are not worse than they are!

In the middle of all that, all three kids are sick with high fevers! Renae brought it home from school last week and we have found that while she may not share other things, like toys, she will always share her illnesses! We went to the Doctor's office today and got all three their anti-biotics.

All these things must and will pass. In their presence, there are lessons to be learned, and character to be added. When they are gone, a good plan from God will have been unveiled, and there will be a good story, a testimony that will have been gained. That story will likely encourage someone that we don't even know yet. It might already have!

The Lord is good, all the time, everywhere, and in every situation.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Friday, February 02, 2007

Watching & Waiting

Hello All,

It seems that getting back online will take a few more days than we thought after all. Our new phone/cable/internet provider, AT&T, tells us that while we might receive our internet equipment by today, we will not be able to use it until next Wednesday! Very strange indeed! I asked the nice service lady over the phone, "So, I might have it in my possession, but I cannot use it!?" She said, "That's correct sir." Alrighty, just for those who have emailed, please know that we will respond when we can, but getting to the various coffee shops is a bit of a stretch, especially with only one car! Thanks for your patience.

As we are forced to wait through things, at first, we are all immediately resistant. We want to get moving, get connected, get life happening again. But it's these moments of forced waiting that revive our visions and fuel our passions for the Lord. Our delay in waiting for anything is a microcosm of what we are going to do in ministry. We wait to see what the Lord would unveil. At times, it's frustrating, but at the end of the day, doing anything for God's Kingdom is not a decision that anyone should rush into. As Christians, we need more prayer and contemplation. Then, and only then do we need more decisive action. I am thankful to have to wait and to watch, so that I might see all that the Lord is doing. When the time is right, I know that He will move upon us in a way that will compel us to move spiritually.

It reminds me of Abraham's servant in the book of Genesis. One verse really encapsulates what I am experiencing right now. He had set a "fleece" before the Lord. "The woman who offers me a drink and then offers to draw water for my camels will be the woman for Isaac." To draw water for a stranger and 10 camels was an ambitious unheard of offer! Rebekah comes out and makes the outrageous offer. If I were Abraham's servant, I would have said before she did anything, "Alright, you are the one! Let's go!" However, he was much more wise.

"And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not." Genesis 24:21

He wanted to see whether she would complete her promise. And only time would tell that tale. That is what we are doing: God, let us remain silent to see whether you have made our journey prosperous or not! We pray that you would continue to join us in that regard. Time will tell.

In the meantime, if you see me in a coffee shop in your area, you'll know why!

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez