Lo Mejor del Trigo #25
Lo Mejor del Trigo #25 - Torres de Matamoros

Lo Mejor del Trigo #25 – Torres de Matamoros

This weekend Lo Mejor del Trigo built their 25th church. They are half way to their goal!

Scott Griffiths from the Mariners church led the group that came down to build this church. Scott and the Mariners have partnered with LMT for a number of years. They were also involved in the first church that LMT started.

In Jacob Griffith’s Memory
Scott Griffiths and pastor Daniel Nuñez sharing during the service

Scott Griffiths and pastor Daniel Nuñez sharing during the service for Jacob

This church is also significant, because it was built in memory of Scott’s son, Jacob Griffith. Jacob lost his life last year in a tragic plane crash. He was on the plane with his father-in-law and brother-in-law. Jacob’s wife was pregnant with their son.

A number of the people who participated on this project were friends and family members of Scott & Jacob.

Sunday night they held a celebratory memorial service for Jacob. I had the privilege of attending the service. As we worshipped and shared some memories from Jacob’s life many eyes teared up. It was a special time.

What a great way to celebrate and honor someone’s life through a church that represents life.

Pray for Pastor Gilberto Garcia
Pastor Gilberto Garcia

Pastor Gilberto Garcia

Pastor Gilberto Garcia is leading LMT number 25. They will hold their inaugural service on June 14th. I can’t wait to be there to celebrate the church in Tijuana in the community of Torres de Matamoros.

Join us in prayer as Gilberto and his wife, Maribel reach out into the community. Gilberto told me that they already have a solid core group of 30 people as they start this new church planting project.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God Changes Lives for His Glory
The group of pastors and leaders in San Antonio de las Minas

The group of pastors and leaders in San Antonio de las Minas

Life Transformation with 10 leaders in San Antonio de las Minas near Ensenada. Last week the Lord gave me the privilege of going through the Keys to a Transformed Life with the pastors from Lo Mejor del Trigo.

Our friends from Ministerios Fuente de Gracia (Ministry of Fountain of Grace) led us during the week. God showed up! It was thrilling to be a part of this group.

Wonderful Partners in Ministry

I’ve worked very closely with pastor Daniel Nuñez and many of the pastors with Lo Mejor del Trigo over the last 4 years. They are wonderful partners in the gospel, and I thank the Lord for what he is doing in and through these pastors.

As I’ve come alongside these leaders I’ve seen the needs they have. We’ve shared together over meals and while ministering together. I feel honored that I am able to get the time with them. They are outstanding leaders who love Jesus. Most of them are bi-vocational pastors, which is extremely difficult.

God Works Through Repentance & Confession
Learning together

Learning together

Martin Luther said that, “all of life is repentance.” In fact forgiveness and repentance were among the key lessons that we learned while in San Antonio de las Minas. We shared deeply in small groups. We confessed our sins to one another. In that time God showed up in a special way and met us at our point of need hallelujah.

Confession isn’t easy. It is painful, but God meets us there. As we humble ourselves he enters in and brings healing.

This verse comes to mind from Micah 6:8,

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

The Lord desires that we walk humbly before him. He works in and through our humility. Thanks be to God!

I look forward to what the Lord is going to do in the lives of these pastors, and how it will strengthen their churches. O Lord, do a great work through these men. Do a great work first in their families and then in their churches. Be Glorified in their lives, and let the spark that was ignited this last week be only the beginning!

One of the things that we are praying for on the border and the Baja is for life transformation which will bring about revival. Join us as we look to the Lord for a work that only he can do.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A New Work in La Paz
Pastor Victor Gonzalez on the left with Peter Boling and the core group for the new church

Pastor Victor Gonzalez on the left with Peter Boling and the core group for the new church

Last week church planter Victor Gonzalez arrived with his family to La Paz, Baja California. This is a project we have partnered with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico and the Center for Church Planting on for the last two years to get it off the ground.

La Paz means the peace in Spanish. We pray for God’s peace to reign in this city!

Your Prayers are Key!

Your prayers and the prayers and work of others have played a huge part in getting this project going.

La Paz is a key city. It’s the Capitol of Southern Baja California. This will be the first Presbyterian church in this city.

Victor and his wife, Fanny found a house in the area they are targeting for the church plant in their first week there. It will take them some time to settle in, but even this time is key as they develop relationships and get to know the city.

Lord, Open the Doors – Prepare the Way
Dave & Peter (the small guys in the back) with Benjamin & Blanca Romero and Victor & Fanny and Karis Gonzalez in Los Cabos

Dave & Peter Boling (in the back) with pastor Benjamin & Blanca Romero and Victor & Fanny and Karis Gonzalez in Los Cabos preparing for new church planting project for La Paz, Baja California Sur

Our prayer as Victor and Fanny begin this work is that the Lord goes before them so that the gospel will go out in power. That many people will come to Christ through the witness of this church, and that this will help spark a movement in La Paz and Los Cabos.

Fellow missionary Peter Boling is coming alongside Victor and Fanny and helping them as they get settled and work on first steps.

Continue to lift up our friends. We know the enemy doesn’t like it when we invade what he thinks is his territory. The Kingdom of God is on the move!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God is at Work, Hallelujah!
The Sunset at Imperial Beach

The light removes the darkness

I’m amazed by how the gospel advances in spite of the opposition we face. Our family has been going through some major trials, but we see God at work right before our eyes. It lifts us up!

The Lord is doing a mighty work through the churches that we’ve come alongside and helped to start. When Dawn and I meet with the pastors we come away encouraged by their stories of grace. Yet they also tell us of the difficulties they are encountering.

Dave & Dawn with Sol & Victor

Dave & Dawn with Sol & Victor

Someone said that, “dogs don’t bark at parked cars.” In the same way the enemy of our soul doesn’t come after us if we aren’t on the move.

Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol are leading the church in Rosarito in the community of Plan Libertador. They have a young man who is serving with them, Cristobal, who has a heart for the Lord. Cristobal is going to Bible school preparing for the ministry, but he’s also been supporting the work in Rosarito.

The Church is Advancing
Cristobal sharing from the Word at Lo Mejor del Trigo Plan Libertador in Rosarito

Cristobal sharing from the Word at Lo Mejor del Trigo Plan Libertador in Rosarito

The week before the inaugural service on Palm Sunday, Cristobal was staying at the church to care for it. This was quite a sacrifice as the church has no running water, so he was roughing it. The problem is that often when these new churches are built if no one is there to watch over the property thieves will break in and take advantage of the situation.

While Cristobal was at the church before they held the first service an expensive car drove up to the church. This church is built in a undeveloped community, and the road isn’t paved, so they don’t get many luxurious cars coming through.

The car stopped in front of the church, and a woman dressed very nicely got out. She didn’t look like she belonged.

The woman began to talk to Cristobal about the church, and she told him that she would give him a large sum of money if he would leave the church and go with her. She didn’t want the church to open. Her offer was a deliberate attempt to stop the work of the church.

Cristobal didn’t take her up on her offer. She offered him a substantial amount of money, but he knew where his true treasure lies.

When I heard this story, I thought, wow! The enemy doesn’t like the church invading his territory. The kingdom is advancing, Hallelujah! The light is growing and even a small amount of light drives back the darkness.

Join Us in Prayer

Continue in prayer for pastor Victor and Sol as they lead this new work. Pray for Cristobal as he is just starting up his Bible school semester this week. Praise the Lord with us that the church is growing and that the kingdom is advancing. The gates of hell shall not prevail.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God calls to come before him and to rest in him

God calls to come before him in prayer

Persistence Pays Off

Over the last week I was reading through the book of Luke. The Lord nudged me about the necessity of persistent prayer, especially as I read Luke 18:1-8. The parable of the widow who would not give up is a wonderful story. It is a reminder for us not lose heart in prayer.

“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭18:1-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God’s Goodness & Mercy

I love this story of God’s goodness and mercy. A few things stand out to me as I look this passage over.

  • We are prone to lose heart in prayer.
  • Jesus’ encouragement is to be humble and to not give up.
  • Keep coming before the Lord. He is working in us, and changing us as we come before him.
  • God is a loving and just God. He hears our prayers, and he will answer.
  • Jesus argues from the lesser to the greater. If an unjust judge will answer the widow’s plea, how much more will the loving and merciful God hear our cry as we come before him.
  • Of course the answer may not always look like we’d like, but he does respond in a way that brings glory to himself and is ultimately good for us.
  • Do you believe that God wants to give you good gifts? James 1:17 also confirms that he does.

This passage lifts me up. I realize that my prayers, our prayers are not in vain. God is at work even when it seems like it’s not so.

The Sunset at Imperial Beach

The Sunset at Imperial Beach

Thank You for Your Prayers

Thank you dear friend for joining us in prayer. These last two years have been among the toughest that our family has ever faced. We see God doing some amazing things, yet it’s not been easy.  I believe your prayers sustain us as we continue on this journey. Do not lose heart, keep knocking on the door. Keep coming before our loving and just Lord!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Amazed By God’s Work
Dave & Dawn with Sol & Victor

Dave & Dawn with Sol & Victor

I continue to be amazed by God’s work of transformation on the border. What a wonderful God we serve!

The new church plant in Rosarito, Lo Mejor del Trigo Plan Libertador is off to a great start. Dawn and I had dinner with Pastor Victor Bravo and Sol this last week. It was so good to hear more of their story as well as what God is doing in their church.

The church is only four weeks old, and they already have 20 adults and 15 children coming to their service. Today (Sunday) they celebrated día del niño (children’s day). They blessed many children in the community, and in doing so shared the love of Christ.

Vision for a Greater Work
Dave with Pastor Victor in front of the church

Dave with Pastor Victor in front of the church

When Dawn & I talk to Victor and Sol about the church their faces light up and they start telling us about their vision for the church. They want to offer after school tutoring for children in the community. A huge need.

Soon a big factory will be opening near the church, and they want to reach out to the people who will work in that factory and minister to them and their families. Those are just some of the ideas they have.

I’ve seen over the years that building a firm foundation, having a good beginning plays a big part in determining the success of the church.

Lift Up Victor & Sol in Prayer

Continue to hold up Victor and Sol as they lead the church and reach out in the community. Pray that the Lord continues to give them a large vision for their church and that he enables them through his Spirit to see their vision realized.

God is a big God, and he has big plans for Victor and Sol and the church in Plan Libertador!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Work in and Through Oriesa in Ensenada
Oriesa ministering the love of Christ in Ensenada!

Oriesa sharing the love of Christ in Ensenada!

Oriesa Wiyono, a young medical student, who is currently working as paramedic in San Diego wrote a beautiful piece about what God did in and through her while she was in Ensenada, Mexico. I asked her if I could share what she wrote on my blog, and she agreed, so I’ve copied it below. You can check out her blog site here…

Dawn, Hannah and I had such a wonderful experience while we were in Ensenada with the team from Redeemer Presbyterian Church and La Nueva Jerusalen. I love reading how God used the trip to touch of the lives of those that went on the trip.

Oriesa’s Testimony
Oriesa with Christina Tan, Teresa Tan, Patricia Lee & Tiffany Lu

Oriesa with Christina Tan, Teresa Tan,
Patricia Lee & Tiffany Lu

Jose is this 5′0 foot, brown skin, hazel eyed man with this funny and bright infectious personality about him. When I had told him that I drive an ambulance in the states, he tells me that I should drive “rapido y furioso” like the Fast and Furious movie as he proceeds to make an artificial honk and wail siren sound. Jose lives with his wife, his daughter with down syndrome, he serves as an elder at his church and he currently attends school in order to obtain his high school degree in hopes that he may return to the seminary program he once was a part of. During our seafood dinner near the Ensenada Coast, he shared with me stories about misfortunes along with blessings in his life. While on the topic of medical missions, he proceeded to ask a question that would greatly impact my perspective during the trip.

“…would you rather share the gospel or provide medical care for the people in Ensenada?”

“Provide medical care,” I said, “I.. uh….it’s easier.”

As I answered, I felt a sheer rush of guilt that had gripped my heart. A team nurse on the trip named Patricia had shared with me that the one big thing that we are unable to do in heaven that we can do on earth is to share the gospel, but here I was, afraid, timid and worried about the sake of my comfort and embarrassment. I felt my cheeks go flush as they often did. I’d been exposed and made bare to a man who I barely knew, who barely knew me. I gritted my teeth and told Jose that I was scared to share the gospel because a rejection–to me feels as if someone was to reject my whole entire being and essentially everything that I live for. I mean… it took me 22 years to understand such a backwards paradigm of love, how am I to share it with someone in such a short period of time? But as I thought about it on the drive home, the concept of His love is so simple. It really is.

The past 22 years of my life has been Christ teaching me this one thing–Jesus loves me, but it is I that has rejected Him countless times, spat in His face, ran away, crucified Him, sought pleasures in worldly things and treasured His gifts more than I treasured my Savior. How selfish of me.. I took advantage of His love and I ran away like a shameless robber.

I then remembered that Jesus said in John 15:18-21:

If the world hates you, remember that is has hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? A slave is not greater than the master. Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.

Jose then told me that we are all brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. And because of that we have this mission to extend the same kind of grace and rejoice in the glory of Christ with believers as we all have a calling to bring one another and the wanderers back home with the different gifts and talents He has equipped us with. Fear is inevitable, but don’t use it as an excuse to not extend the gift of salvation to someone else. He further reminded me that rejection is normal because as one body and as siblings, we fight, reject one other, spew out venom without words, take each other for granted (the provision of free medical care), we take the toys we want from each other’s grasp and we run–much like how we all have done to Christ…

But all the more, this ought to point me to the big picture of the magnitude and grace of His love.

You know.. if I were in their shoes, if I was lost, wondering and searching, I think I would like to know this:

“Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son to make a simple point: never mind what you’ve done, just come home.” – Unka Glen

With that said, everything we have done in Mexico is up to the Lord. Despite being able to see 445 patients in 4 days and being able to say that 40 people came to Christ, our works and efforts through calling these people, inviting them out to church, providing medical care, praying for them and following up with them are futile without Him. So how many will actually come back, attend the church and further their relationship with their Savior? None of us will know for sure, but we know God is always good and in Him, all things are possible.

IMG_9440So as I sit here having done nothing to live such a privileged life, I realize that I would often think back to the degree of injustice and poverty and it makes me so angry. However, being able to hear stories like Jose’s and just being able to see such an impoverished city has definitely opened my eyes to the Lord’s heart of compassion for the sick, widows, orphans and those in need. Im learning to be thankful for every drop of clean running water that I have, paved roads, clean toilets, insulated housing etc.. but it’s so easy to get caught up in safety, security and all these little things that we have or don’t have when at the core of everything–Jesus is all you need. He loves you. He will sustain you. He is enough.

The past 4 days in Ensenada have been humbling to say the least. When I was able to see the provision of medical care alongside the sharing of the gospel, I was so touched and that’s when I understood the power of short term missions. When I had returned, a lot of people asked me the purpose of giving someone high BP meds for two weeks–but see, that misses the purpose entirely. The mission had always been and will always be to share the gospel. Medical treatment lasts for a while, but Jesus heals for a lifetime.

That’s all there is to it.

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