Longtime missionary Florine Sanchez, 84, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on July 15, 2008. A celebration of her life took place on July 25, at Calvary Chapel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Florine was born January 18, 1924, in Portland, Oregon. She met George Sanchez Jr. while attending Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. The two married on August 25, 1944, in Los Angeles. During the next five years they pastored churches and served in radio ministries in Texas and California. During their tenure at one small church, they lived in a Sunday school room and cooked meals in the church kitchen.
In 1949, Florine and George moved to Quito, Ecuador as missionaries with radio station HCJB. They also assisted Youth for Christ in Mexico City for eight months in 1951. They returned to Ecuador from Mexico via the Banana Freight Line, a company that transported missionaries as passengers free of charge.
George returned from a three-week jungle excursion in 1954 to discover that Florine was gravely ill with a severe case of hepatitis A. Her illness prompted their return to California, where they went to work pastoring a small Spanish-speaking church in Fresno.
At the invitation of The Navigators’ founder, Dawson Trotman, George and Florine joined The Navigators in 1956. The following year they moved to Costa Rica to launch The Navigators’ ministry in Latin America. They returned to the United States in 1961, ministering to students at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and directing The Navigators’ overseas work from the ministry’s headquarters in Colorado Springs.
In 1968, Florine and George began a couples’ ministry in Denver and developed a number of seminars on biblical interpersonal relationships. Thus their ministry shifted to a counseling emphasis for the next ten years. They then took a one-year leave of absence from The Navigators in 1978, to pastor a Mennonite Brethren church in Fresno. Upon their return to Colorado, they resumed leadership in the area of international ministries. They officially retired to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1988, but continued an active personal ministry with couples, businessmen, and pastors until 2002.
Florine is survived by her children, Sandra, Tom and wife Brenda, and Steve and wife Nancy, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Her husband, George, followed her to heaven on September 24, 2008.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Desert Springs Church of Albuquerque (www.desertspringschurch.org), or Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque (www.calvaryabq.org).
Throughout much of her adult life, Florine struggled with ill health and physical limitations. As a result, she was able to encourage and challenge others to a new level of intimacy with Christ. Following are some of her life lessons and thoughts on finishing the race well.
Florine’s life verse: He who offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving (offers praise) glorifies (honors) me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23Florine in 1990).
On a lifestyle of prayer: “I came to realize that I could have a life centered around prayer. Not necessarily organized prayer, not with a list or with people, just a constant awareness of God’s presence and interest, communicating with Him constantly.”
Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man avails much in its working (James 5:16).
On praying without ceasing: “I ask God to remind me, bring to my mind what and who I need to pray for. It is then my responsibility to be faithful and actively pray about whatever or whomever God brings to mind. I also ask God to help me listen to Him, to hear His voice and respond immediately.”
Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
On praise that glorifies God: “I have come to believe that praise is a basic minimum for all believers. Sacrificial praise above, through, and in any and all circumstances should be the bottom line, the basis of a Christians outlook on life and relationship with God.”
Let me see you in the sanctuary; let me see how mighty and glorious you are, because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. So will I bless you while I live: I will lift up my hands in your name (Psalm 63:2-4).
On walking with Him: “Walk with Him one day at a time and see what comes next. Trust God to get you through all the unknowns. Live with the focus of praise, thanksgiving and worship all the time and in all circumstances.”
In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).
On physical limitations: “Don’t focus on the doing, producing or serving because these are only a by-product of your relationship with Christ. Remember when you can’t ‘do’ anything anymore, you can still praise and honor the Lord.”
Of the glorious majesty of your honor, and of your wondrous works, will I meditate (Psalm 145:5).