Monday, August 24, 2009

The Next Chapter

Hello All,

The last few weeks at church, many of my conversations after church have begun thusly: "So, I hear you are leaving?" After answering "yes" the inevitable question of "why" emerges. Some of my answers amused me more than the inquisitive one. "Well, I usually leave when church is over!" I am still laughing at myself for that one!

The truth is that Lela and I and our kids are leaving Orange County effective August 31st and moving back to the Inland Empire. Our immediate goal is to begin a Bible study, with the hope of seeing what God would do with such a venture. Details on that study will be shared here at a future time.

How we came to this point is a long story. Back in the early part of this year, Lela and I, reflecting upon where we were, began to ponder our next step in ministry. We wanted to honor our desire to be the best parents possible, we wanted the kids near their grandparents and we wanted to work in the areas of our gifting, so as to best serve the Lord. I presented this conversation to Pastor Chris and we mused over it for a few months. Around May, we, Pastor Chris, myself and the board of directors, mutually decided that God had a move in mind. We pursued a few options, but each came short for one reason or another. Around mid-June, we presented a seminal idea of a Church plant in my home town of Colton. Discussions began in earnest, as it seemed that everyone was supportive and Lela and I were actually beginning to look forward to the work of such an endeavor.

The discussions came to an abrupt halt due to my sister's illness and subsequent death. We knew that they needed to continue, but at the time, we just did not have the heart. After the funeral, we presented a proposal to the board, who quickly came to a resolution for a healthy, majority portion of financial support. Our gratitude to the Kingsfield Board for their support, patience and wisdom in their oversight of this venture cannot be underscored.

That brings me to this: This final board decision came about just over a week ago. The timing is perfect, but certainly short, as our lease in Ladera is up and the kids need to begin school somewhere in the next several days. As a result, there is a seeming hastiness, but not all is as it seems and not all will come to as abrupt an end. For the next 3 months, I will continue to be at Kingsfield Church on a frequent basis, teaching the men for the Morning Fill and playing drums with Mr. Brook James on alternating Sundays. That is, unless something radical happens and a vibrant church emerges...who knows!

On the Kingsfield side, I want to let you friends know how much we love and value each of you. I apologize for not being able to share with you all sooner or in a more personal manner. As I mentioned earlier, many of you have come to me over these last several months. Suffice it say for now, that these last three years of my life have been amazing, mostly due to the fact that you are all truly faithful, remarkable believers. It has been a pleasure for Lela and I to be counted among you, and to have had the opportunity to minister, in our small way, to you. Thank you for embracing us from day 1. We have felt great love and that will never be forgotten. In a way, I envy Pastor Aaron Hale, my dear friend, who has come to Kingsfield. I pray that he, Johannah and Los Ninos Hale, will enjoy the warmth of Kingsfield love to an even greater measure.

On the Ladera side, we cannot have asked for better friends and a better community of people. These last two years have been remarkable. Thank you all (and you know who you are!) for your friendship, your generous hearts and your open garages that make this neighborhood sincerely amazing to live in. Your names were an added bonus to all that God did in our lives here. We didn't know that you guys would each be such important parts of our lives. I fear that we will never find as great a neighborhood as this one has been, or at the very least, I fear that my standards may be set too high as a result of having been here among you all. Many of the snapshots in my mind will include alley meals, studies at the McGranahan's and that awesome birthday celebration at Aliso Beach, where the men beat the ladies at Catchphrase! EPIC!

On the other side, we are beginning a Bible study and committing ourselves to watching God unfold what He wants to unfold in our lives and in the lives of those that He would bring into our midst. I pray that what we have seen in the past, will only be a tasty foreshadowing of what God will show in the future. I am as excited and scared as I can be! I cannot wait to see what happens next! It could be a church, it could be a series of Bible studies. The Lord will guide us from here along with the hearts of those who might sense a call to join us. I can't wait to see what names will accompany this group! I'm excited!

Well, there is much to do. This week, come Wednesday night, we will be neck deep in moving out of our place. This weekend, we'll be moving to Lela's gracious Dad and Mom's home in Mentone. There is a lot to pray about from there. I pray that I can count on each of you for that part.

Here's to the God who answers prayers, unfolds vision and does wonders!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Monday, August 17, 2009

Where Do We Go Now?

Hello All,

Yes, it's a Guns n Roses song lyric, but it also aptly describes this blog. For the last several weeks, I have employed this blog to announce news of my sister's condition, and ultimately her memorial service. During that time, we had the highest traffic that this site has ever seen, numbering well over 4,000 hits. On one day, we had over 800 views to our site! It was truly unbelievable. Of course, we are now back down to our usual number of views, and I thank you for checking in on us...whoever you are!

But, as the title suggests, it's time to return to the usual fare normally presented on this site. I will say that a lasting memorial of my sister Leah remains on this page over to the right where all of our YouTube videos are. I loaded the slideshow that we had at Leah's memorial onto our YouTube channel, in case you wanted to check it out. It was done beautifully by our friend Billy Gedney, who graciously volunteered his time and talents to bring those pictures into digital reality.

Now, moving on, there really is a LOT to tell you...But, I can't just yet! Until then, I thought I would pound out a "tidbits" blog, just to get my fingers back into blogging shape. So here it goes:

- Tonight, my kids performed a show in our alley with their friends. It was a dance/lip sync routine. It was absolutely hilarious! It made me happy, not just because it was incredibly cute, but because it was my daughter Renae who really showed no fear of being in front of people! It was great to see her enjoying the performance. Afterward, they signed autographs and had a "Meet The Dancers" after show hang. It was precious.

- It's summer and that means Baseball. I am not much of a fan, but around August, when there is nothing else going sports-wise, I dig in and see what the Dodgers are doing. I will always love the Dodgers in August and I plan to take the kids to a game soon.

- Speaking of Baseball, does anyone else think that Baseball needs to move a bit faster? I have some suggestions:

• More than 2 foul balls after a full count = Strikeout

• Once in the batter's box, you cannot get out.

• New pitcher gets 5 tosses instead of the customary 10...they've been warming up for awhile...

• Nobody ever gets to argue any calls...ever!

• Intentional walk is a card pulled out of the Pitcher's back pocket.

• No more off-speed pitches!

• Strikeout and then throw the ball directly back to the pitcher. Going around the horn is ridiculous!


• Extra innings!? Let's get sudden death going! First team to get one out of the infield wins!

• No stopping for signs. In ear monitors will allow the base coaches to communicate...using WORDS!

- It's currently 11:16PM as I write this. Tonight, we gave the kids the ability to stay up as late as they wanted to. Both Caleb and Lizzy are out. Renae is going strong, drawing away in her room! She is SO her Father's Daughter!

- I have been traveling through the Old Testament with my kids at Bible BedTime. We are currently in Exodus. Certain parts can be so incredibly funny when intersperced with creative license. The kids loved when Pharoah's daughter kept closing the lid on crying Moses. They loved the way Moses tried to roast marshmallows after the burning bush incident. ("That gives me an idea!?") Currently, we are learning about the plagues and the humor is helping them remember! It's cool.

- My brother Mike came over to our home yesterday and purchased some tunes from the iTunes music store. Usually, Mike is from Mars and I am from Venus when it comes to music. Tonight however, I must admit that I am digging one of his purchases. It's the music of Josh Garrels, the album is "Over Oceans" and the tune that I'm loving at this late hour is "Break Bread." The whole album has a Jack Johnson vibe to it, if you like that sort of thing!

- Speaking of music, I love the Chick Corea Elektric Band. One of my favorite songs is "Got A Match." Here's a guy that plays the entire HIMSELF! Sickening!

- When next you pray, please lift up my lovely wife Lela. She had a root canal today and has been suffering with jaw pain for the last several weeks, needing a root canal, but thinking it was a crown issue. I pray that she'll feel relief real soon. Pray that with me!

- Finally, it's 11:45 and Renae is OUT! So much for making it to 3AM...

I guess, I better hit the hay as well!

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Touch Of Eternity

Hello Friends,

Last night was Leah's memorial service. I don't think that I will say anything more seemingly contradictory than this, but her memorial service was a phenomenal time! Generally, "memorial" and "phenomenal time" do not occur in the same sentence. I really believe though that the experience is aptly described by these words. I'll explain further in a moment.

First, I want to thank you for all of your support of our family over these past weeks, culminating in an overwhelmingly beautiful coronation last night. I know that I speak for the family when I say that just your presence alone was touching beyond words. But then, there were the words of encouragement and love that lasted well over an hour after the ceremony was over. The flood that swept over us was a healing wave that God gave to each of us. Thank you so much.

Additionally, I wanted to thank the people that did not make it to me after the service, but that did make it. I wish that time would have permitted a personal greeting, but I recognize the time constraints that keep such things from being a reality. Needless to say, I saw many more from the stage than had time to come and visit my "hug line."

Finally, a few notes of thanks to Pat Watson, Billy Gedney, Terry Oelrich, Ed and April Sanabia, Steve and Isy Nieves, who did sound, the slideshow, the photo collage and the music with us last night. You gave the night such beauty and helped bring to us the life that Leah experiences now without interupption. Of course, I would be remiss not to mention Pastor Ed Rea and his secretary Jean Fowke, who opened the doors wide open and gave us the opportunity to hold the service there at the Packinghouse.

To me, the pinnacle moment from this service, that I will always remember, came at a time that wasn't supposed to happen. We had practiced two songs, "When The Tears Fall" and "I Will Rise." The latter of the two spoke of angels singing of the worthiness of God. I was excited to sing this song, as I felt that it expressed a chorus that Leah would be singing. That song was mighty and beautiful. But then, what I thought was a mistake, opened the doors to the moment of the night.

My brother Richard started into the song "Mighty To Save" and it was so right! It was perfect! Immediately, with the fresh spontaneity of the theme and the fact that Jesus had "conquered the grave," the entire assembly stood to their feet and raised their hands to heaven. The whole band joined in, while I raised my own hands, mostly because I did not know the chords! I would not have wanted to play in that moment anyway! I wanted my hands to be free and I wanted to raise them to the Lord in thanksgiving for what He had done for my sister and what He will one day do for me.

When those hands went up, I had a picture come into my mind of us releasing Leah into heaven, though she has been there for a little over a week! I felt that in that moment, my picture of her was completely lost in the praise of our King. In that moment, all the sadness morphed into uncontrollable joy and I felt that wonderful smile of God that comes when His people worship Him with one heart! It was great to be there.

Thank you again for joining us and making that moment so special.

Frank Sanchez