Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Yellow Hola Yelling Man

Hello All,

As promised, here is the story surrounding this surly character. He's not actually surly; I just wanted to use that word. But he is an iconic figure from Kingsfield's recently completed Vacation Bible School. He is Pastor Pablo. He is me...I am him...we are each other, though he is not Pastor Frank...wow, this is much more deep than I originally considered!

The concept of Pastor Pablo was born a week and some change prior to VBS. The theme of VBS was "The Most Amazing Race" and it was centered around the theme of missions. The second day was set in Latin America, which provided the context for Pastor Pablo. The character was the brain child of one Tatum Norman, who has a flair for all things dramatic. If I am not mistaken, she actually wrote the full drama from the week, but only wrote a line and a half for good ol' Pastor Pablo, which shows just how much trust she has in my ability to memorize lines. (She made a very good decision!)

I will say that I felt a little pigeonholed, being asked to play a man from South America. I truly believed that I could have just as easily played a Swedish Pastor. I fought this blatant stereotype, but in the end, found little acceptance, so I played the part of Pastor Pablo.

Prior to playing the part of Pastor Pablo, I played the part of the resident sound man, playing the soundtrack for the worship team, consisting of some of our finest youth. Kingsfield Church has a truly bright future when it comes to worship teams. Our VBS featured the sounds of The Brothers Worrell, Nick and Brody, and the sight of the worship leaders of hand motions, led most prominently by Alex Nogy, who also happens to be one of the greatest babysitters on Earth. In the sound booth with me on several of the days, were the rest of Kingsfield's staff, sans Brenda, who was actually running the entire event. Lela got into the action as well, volunteering to watch some of the smaller Kingsfeldians. All told, beside the staff, there were probably 30 other dedicated volunteers who attended each day.

I thought that it was great to watch, as a staff, the entire event unfold without us being in front. Even Brenda, our children's director moved aside and let another emcee each day! The staff served as sound people, lighting engineers and song show runners. It was good for us to stand back, because a whole lot of people showed their giftedness in ministering to the kids that came each day.

This of course did not remain that way, as I was called to play my part on the second day of VBS. My line was simply to say "Hola" and "Thanks for the futbols. The little children will appreciate this gift from you." Of course, I could not just say "Hola" in plain voice. I needed something special, memorable, iconic. So, even though I don't consider myself an actor, I did draw from people who are actors, who speak often of referencing certain characters to bring their characters for life.

Who did I "channel?" I wanted to reference a few people. For charm, I wanted a little Ricardo Montalban...you know, from Fantasy Island fame? No, not Tattoo! The other guy! "Smiles, smiles everybody." Now, I needed some flamboyancy to add to that charm. The only people I could think of were Charo and Rip Taylor. So, put Ricardo and Charo and Rip in a blender and you get Pastor Pablo. Pastor Pablo was Mr. Ostentatious.

I came out of the back and yelled "Hola," all the way to the front. I caught a glimpse of my son, who noted that Pastor Pablo bore a striking resemblance to his Daddy. His big smile and laugh made this dramatic effort worth it, even if I don't win a Tony. I recited my lines and left the same way that I came in, except that I was yelling, "Adios."

What I did not expect was what I would experience the rest of that morning. I was walking back to my office and I heard a group of kids yell "Hola!" Carrying the phone around and answering it and I heard a scream "Hola." All that morning, all I heard from every corner of the building was "Hola!" It was hilarious!

The kids referred to me as Pastor Pablo for the rest of that week. It was very cool, as I became a part of their culture for that week. Pastor Frank, as influential as he might be and he's not really that much, paled in comparison to Pastor Pablo during that week in the eyes of the kids.

So much really happened that I cannot take this entire entry to speak about. What I valued the most was the opportunity to witness this event up close, as part of the scenery and the story of this week in the minds of the kids. As a Pastor, I was able to sit in a duck blind, and see the joy on their faces, created by a fairly simple background by Hollywood standards, but a ton of work by some very dedicated, passionate children's volunteers.

I grew daily to appreciate the love that was being poured out on the kids of Kingsfield. People who I would normally see come into the sanctuary, who I would nod at or shake a hand, were going from virtual strangers to ministry partners. Kids who were a part of the Youth Group, that I knew, were now becoming people that I looked at in an entirely different light. I saw them as future leaders of ministries, valuable resources in the hands of the Lord. From the fun kids who did the dramas to the ones who led the groups, to the one who took over a thousand photos of the entire week. These even became the impetus behind my venture into Facebook, where I have attempted to stay connected.

In addition, I saw the great value of Mrs. Brenda Paternostro, playing the part of many, many unthanked, unappreciated Children's Directors throughout a million churches. Watching her work and coordinate this giant undertaking was just inspiring. Her heart to transmit the love for global missions to the hearts of the Kingsfield kids is not only admirable, but deserves the Highest Commendation, as Mission is the heart of God Himself.

This week of VBS inspired and moved my heart. Sitting and watching the kids express their love for the Lord in worship, and attend themselves to the lessons that were prepared for them, brought great joy and hope to my heart. I am not sure if it's the only outreach that can be effective, but I believe it to be effective nonetheless, not just for the kids, but for us Pastors as well.

Of course, I would like the chance to explore other characters next year. I have been attempting to play a Transylvanian Pastor named Bela! Hopefully, I'll get the chance.

Blessings... To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Total Words: 1,187!

No comments: