The Joy of a Changed Life!

Pastor Ivan with the people from the church who were baptized

On Sunday, September 16th Mexico celebrated their independence. The church also celebrated our liberty. Christ makes us free!

One of the most gratifying things in life and ministry is seeing a life transformed. This Sunday Dawn and I joined our good friends Pastor Ivan & Rocio Casados and their church for a special day of celebration. While we were with them we heard the testimony of eight people who had given their lives to Christ. Then we saw their joy and excitement as they were baptized.

God in his grace and mercy had touched each of these new believers with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Margarito and Lizet’s Testimony

Margarito and Lizet

Ivan introduced Dawn and me to Margarito and Lizet. The Lord brought them to the church 6 months ago. They were walking along the road and they noticed a group building a home on a hill in the neighborhood. The group was very friendly and they asked Margarito and Lizet if they would like some tacos. They said, “sure.”

The friendliness of the group was attractive to Margarito and Lizet, so when they invited them to visit their church they agreed to come. Ivan didn’t know it at the time, but his new friends were going through tremendous struggles. They were constantly fighting, and getting on each other’s nerves. They were also very poor, and they were having a hard time staying in business selling their products. It’s seemed like everything was stacked against them.

Margarito and Lizet decided to give the church a try. When they visited the church they found a loving group of people. As Ivan and Rocio begin to minister to the couple they noticed the problems they were going through, but they knew that Christ has the power to restore. Ivan and Rocio sowed the seed of the gospel and Margarito and Lizet were ripe for the gospel.

When Dawn and I talked to Margarito and Lizet they were smiling and seemed to be genuinely happy and in love. They told us how much they used to fight, and how the Lord had graciously delivered them.

God’s Grace Brings About Change!

Pastor Ivan sharing the good news of Christ!

The other people that were being baptized also had inspiring testimonies. God is on the move in this church and beyond!

This is the reason we plant churches. It’s not to have a nice building, but because these churches are sharing the love of Christ, which is creating real life transformation. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for your faithfulness!

Continue to pray for Ivan and Rocio as they reach out in the community of Valle Verde and Bosque de Ribera.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Making a Difference in Plan Libertador
Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Dawn and I are truly enriched to have such wonderful friends and partners that we minister alongside. Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol have blessed us in so many ways! We continually give thanks for them and lift them up in prayer.

Four years ago the Lord brought us together, and we helped Victor and Sol build and start their new church. The Lord has been working through them and the ministry of the church as they seek to make a difference in the community. Both of them have a lot of energy and they possess many gifts.

One of the ways the church is seeking to make a difference in the community of Plan Libertador is they are tutoring students after school. Sol is a trained psychologist and has worked for many years with children in the school system in Tijuana. Since they planted the church she’s wanted to give more time to outreach in the community. She is truly making a difference in the lives of these students and their families.

Dawn and I were able to visit Sol this week, and it filled our hearts to see the bright smiles on the face of each young person there.

Victor also is meeting with and working with the community leaders, so that the church has an active voice and influence in Plan Libertador. He just met with these leaders this week and planned to pray with them as they met. I love Victor and Sol’s boldness and enthusiasm for the gospel.

The Power of Prayer
Dawn with Miroslava and her daughter, Mitchell

Dawn with Miroslava and her daughter, Mitchell

There’s also the powerful presence of the Lord in their church and those that they are ministering to. Some of the families in their church are going through some real tough trials. I’ve mentioned before 15-year-old Mitchell, who is battling with leukemia.

Mitchell has great faith for a young person going through such a trial. Every time we go to visit her in the hospital to pray with her, she has a beautiful smile on her face. Mitchell says that our visits and our prayers encourage her, and give her peace, but Dawn and I always leave astonished and strengthened by her faith. We are believing the Lord for her healing. We’ve seen the Lord work in her life and bring a measure of healing, but we are looking to Jesus for complete and total healing.

Mitchell was in the hospital in February when we first met her family. We prayed for her, and in a miraculous fashion, in just a few days she was able to leave the hospital. The doctor told Mitchell’s, parents, Miroslava and Salvador that they thought she was going to die in a few days. That was back in February. We were so encouraged when the Lord answered our prayers, and brought her a measure of healing, but battle rages on.

Join Us in Prayer!
Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Join Mitchell’s parents, along with Victor and Sol and the church as we lift up Mitchell and her family in prayer. Mitchell is in the hospital again receiving treatment for her leukemia. We cry out to the Lord from whom our help comes from. He is our healer, our deliverer, and our strong tower!

Pray for Victor and Sol as they minister to those in their church, and as they love on and reach out in their community.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dave & Dawn on a journey together

Dave & Dawn on a journey together

God Leads Wherever We Go!

Dawn and I just returned from a road trip. I originally thought that I would be able to post while traveling, but our schedule ended up being more full than I anticipated. I haven’t been able to post anything for the last two weeks, which is unusual for me!

Our trip was amazing in many ways. We took some time to rest and visit family and friends. We also were able to connect with one of the churches that partner with us in ministry.

The first stop on our trip was Fresno. My parents, Ron and Virginia still live in Fresno. My brother John and his wife and family are in the process of moving from Fresno to Morro Bay.

While in Fresno I was able to preach at Sierra View Presbyterian Church. This is one of the first churches, if not the first church to start supporting our ministry. Actually, they started supporting me before Dawn and I were married, so they’ve been partnering with us since 1988. That’s amazing and they are one of the reasons that we’ve been able to serve in ministry in Mexico City, Colorado, Europe, Cuba and on the Border and Beyond for all these years. Thank you, Jesus!

Since I grew up in Fresno, it’s always good to go back “home”, although I can’t say that I enjoy the heat. 😉 I’m thankful that the Lord has been so faithful and cared for my parents and my family for all these years.

The Lord Met Us in a Special Way in Portland

From Fresno, we headed North and ended up in Portland. We actually stayed in Vancouver, Washington while visiting some special friends in Portland.

Nathan & Barbi Carr with their three cute children, Annabella, Eliza and Hosea. A wonderful family!

Nathan & Barbi Carr with their three cute children, Annabella, Eliza, and Hosea. 

This visit was extra special, as we were able to spend time with Nathan and Barbi Carr and their family. Dawn and I first met Barbi when I worked at Greater Europe Mission in Colorado. We reconnected with Barbi and met her husband, Nathan after Hannah moved to heaven.

The Lord connected us, as something that Barbi wrote on Facebook caught my eye when I was flying back home from El Salvador. Dawn and I started communicating with them, and they’ve been a huge encouragement to us as we heal from the experience of our daughter’s early home going.

My beautiful flower in the rose garden

My beautiful flower in the rose garden

We’ve been wanting to visit them for a long time, so it was so good to finally be with them. I feel like it was healing in many ways to be with them and some of their friends. While we were with them we went to the rose garden, which is beautiful. I think it’s a little taste of heaven on earth, and every time we sense heaven it causes us to feel closer to Hannah. Thank you, Jesus, for your many surprises and good gifts.

As an added gift we also enjoyed some grandparent practice with their 3 cute children, and that was incredible! It makes me hope that my kids hurry, and give us some grandchildren soon! 🙂

Wonderful to End the Trip with My Brother and His family
John & Treena with Dawn & Dave

John & Treena with Dawn & Dave

Then on our drive back home we stopped in Morro Bay to visit my brother, John, his wife, Treena, and their daughter Baylee.

Morro Bay felt like a walk down memory lane. My family used to go there every summer to camp. It’s a beautiful little place with amazing surroundings, including the harbor and the beach which I’ve always loved. When I’m near the beach I feel more close to the Lord, and every time I go I think of it as my beach therapy.

Dawn and I have traveled a great deal for the ministry since Hannah moved to heaven, but almost all of our travels have been ministry related. Although we did have opportunities to minister on this trip as well, we had more time to decompress. It was also good to drive, and spend time together as a couple. This gave us time to pray, and to listen to some audiobooks along the way.

I thank the Lord for giving us the opportunity to go on this trip, and to have the experiences that we had. God is good. He’s a good, good Father, and he takes care of his children.

Thank you so much, Jesus for your grace and your healing work in our lives. One of the things that Dawn and I are learning is that grief, mourning is a long experience. It’s also exhausting at times, it takes the wind out of our sails. Yet, I see our Father loving us, and caring for us on this journey. He promises to one day make all things new. I long for that day. I long to see my savior face to face and to be able to hug my daughter again. Yet, I do feel like the Lord still has more for me to do here so I will continue to love and serve him until He calls me home!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Joy of Serving Jesus!
The View from Monte Sinai church and the people worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

The View from Monte Sinai church and the people worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

One of the principle joys that Dawn and I share in our ministry on the Border and Beyond is all the pastors and wonderful leaders we meet and get to work with. It’s humbling for us to come alongside so many servants of God who love and suffer for the work of Christ.

They may not have a big and bustling ministry, but the Lord is there and He is working through His people. These ministers and their churches are making an impact in the communities they serve in. We love ministering with these friends.

This last week Dawn and I visited a church on a hill on the outskirts of Tijuana. The church, Monte Sinai has a beautiful view of the city. It reminded me of the verse that says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14, ESV).

Pastor Deivis Pardo and Luz
David & Dawn with Luz and Deivis. Wonderful friends and ministers of the gospel

David & Dawn with Luz and Deivis. Wonderful friends and ministers of the gospel

Our friends Pastor Deivis Pardo and his wife, Luz are serving at this church. I enjoyed watching them in action. The church has a number of young people who are very active and involved in the life of the church. Some of them attended the worship workshop that we held in June. Dawn and I loved being able to worship with them, and we felt the presence of the Spirit as we worshipped.

Pastor Deivis invited me to preach. I love encouraging people to grow and to live out their faith as I share with them. I felt like they responded well to my message, which is wonderful. It’s so good to see the Lord work in His church!

Ministering Through the Word and Prayer
Dave preaching at Monte Sinai Church in Tijuana

Dave preaching at Monte Sinai Church in Tijuana

After the service, I invited the people to pray. First, I asked them to all join me in prayer, and then I told them if they’d like any more special prayer that Dawn and I would like to pray with them. It’s often during this time that we see God breakthrough in a person’s life.

This service was no different as we prayed and ministered to some of our new friends that came to us with their needs. I won’t share here all that they told us and asked us to pray for, but I would like to share part of what we experienced. After we spent some time praying with one of the lovely young women she told us that she felt like her heart was being tickled. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say anything quite like that before, but it sounds good!

I pray that more people will feel like their heart is being tickled after we pray for them. We pray for more! A greater outpouring on us and on those that we minister to. We pray that this church will truly be like a city set on a hill. A Church where people know that Jesus’ love emanates.

Thank you, Lord for the Joy of serving you, and the wonderful people that we serve with.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Fun-filled Week of VBS
Many smiles - a fun filled week on VBS in Ensenada

Many smiles – a fun-filled week on VBS in Ensenada

One of the favorite parts of our summer for the last 5 years in a row has been when the group from Skyview comes from Colorado to help us run VBS in Ensenada, Mexico. It’s a super busy week for us, but it’s a great time. The thing I most enjoy from the week are the stories. The stories of grace as I hear from the teachers and those leading the VBS how the Lord is working in the life of the children and their families.

A Changed Life!
Aideliz on the far right with her group of students

Aideliz on the far right with her group of students

One of our teacher’s this year, Aideliz shared with me what became my favorite story of grace from this year’s VBS. Aideliz told me that on the first day she asked the students to write down some words on a banner to describe who God is. One of the children, Adrian didn’t write anything. Aideliz asked Adrian why he hadn’t written anything down. He responded by saying, “I don’t believe in God, so there is nothing to write down.”

Aideliz prayed for Adrian and showed him and the other children in her class the love of Christ during the week. All of those involved, the group from Denver as well as those from the local church, are very loving.

The end of the week came and Aideliz asked Adrian what he thought about God. He said, “Now I believe.” Then Aideliz went on to tell Adrian how much God loved him, and how he gave his life for him. Adrian was just one of many children who were literally transformed by the gospel during the week.

The Love of Christ Taught and Lived Out
Our group of teachers and volunteers that ran the VBS

Our group of teachers and volunteers that ran the VBS

It’s not just the lessons that were taught about Jesus, but also the love that Aideliz and the other teachers and volunteers showed to Adrian and the rest of the children.

Since Renuevo is a new church plant they are reaching families that are unchurched, so many of the children that come to the VBS either don’t believe or they just haven’t had much of an opportunity to hear the good news.

On the final night of the VBS, we had a meeting with the parents, and a number of parents came. Petri, who is the pastor of the church explained to the parents what they were teaching during the week, as well as thanking the parents for entrusting their children to Petri and the team. After the meeting, some of the those that came expressed interest in attending the church the following Sunday. That’s part of our goal to show the love of Jesus to the people and to create a bridge for the gospel.

One of the many fun games that the children enjoyed!

One of the many fun games that the children enjoyed!

Continue to Pray for Bridges for the Gospel in Ensenada

Thank you for praying with us for Pastor Petri, his wife Yudy and his team from Renuevo. Pray that the Lord will continue to open doors and create bridges for the gospel in Ensenada. God is on the move!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Smiles & Laughter!

Many Smiles and Fun at our Summer VBS in Ensenada

One of my favorite things about our summer VBS in Ensenada is all the big smiles and the laughter. It’s a joy to see the children enjoying themselves and having fun!

I love the fact that we have a cross cultural bi-lingual team as a group of friends from Skyview Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado has come to Ensenada again this summer. This is the 5th summer in a row that Skyview has sent a team from their church.

The group from Skyview led by Tim & Kari Berglund has formed a close and loving relationship with the church here. The Lord has used them and their relationship to help start a new church plant in Ensenada, which is called Renuevo. Dawn and I are thrilled with what the Lord is doing here!

Loving the Unchurched

Game On! is the theme for this Summer’s VBS

This VBS is different from many in that most of the children involved are coming from unchurched families. Since the church just began last year they are reaching out to their friends, and the VBS has proven to be a wonderful opportunity to love on these children and their families.

You can see the love of Jesus shining through the many smiles!

Learning about Jesus and Fun Activities at our Summer VBS

This year we have 70 children participating in the VBS. That’s a big group for this young and growing church. Renuevo means to renew or renewal. The church has a vision to see families, communities and the city renewed by the gospel.

They are reaching out to many young families, who are in need of hope and help as they raise their children.

Join Us in Prayer

Many Fun Activities that aid the Learning

We appreciate your prayers for this week. That many of these children will come to know the Savior, and that their families will also come to know Christ. Pray that the love of Christ shines brightly through all those involved in leading and serving the children and their families. We know that only Jesus and the message of the gospel can fill the emptiness and the needs that these families have.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Crossing New Frontiers

Dave with the new leadership of the NPCM at the General Assembly meeting

Even though Dawn and I have lived and ministered in Mexico there are still many places that neither one of us has visited. Well, Dawn didn’t join me on this trip, but now I can cross another city, Ciudad Valles off of my bucket list. I’ve come to Cd. Valles for the General Assembly meeting of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (NPCM). I’m here with 300 other pastors and leaders.

The mission that Dawn and I serve with Mission to the World (MTW) has partnered with the NPCM for the last 25 years to plant churches in the most unreached parts of Mexico. The Lord has accomplished a lot through our partnership over the years. New churches have been planted in Mexico City, Monterrey, Acapulco, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Durango, and Juarez. We are also starting new works in La Paz, Ensenada, Tijuana, Mexicali and other parts of Northern Mexico.

Partnering to See Life Transformation

Dave addressing the assembly of the NPCM in Cd. Valles

Today I had the opportunity to address the assembly and thank them for our partnership and speak of some of the projects that we’ve worked on and others that we are beginning. It was a blessing and a privilege for me to be able to share with the group.

It’s fun for me to be here, because I’m reconnecting with so many old friends from when Dawn and I served in Mexico City from 1990 – 2000. These relationships also open doors for potential future ministry. There’s such a huge need for more churches to be planted, and for more people to be reached for the kingdom. Our prayer, our cry is that communities will be transformed by the gospel as individuals and families have an encounter with Jesus. It’s a work that only Jesus can do.

Join Us in Prayer

Dave with a good friend, Fernando Sanchez

One of the things I’m reminded of when I’m here is the need for more workers. There’s more work than I, or even our whole MTW Mexico mission force can handle. We need continued and ongoing wisdom so we can best discern where to put our energy. Join us in praying for these needs, so that we will see greater kingdom expansion.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I have to take a bus for 3 1/2 hours to Tampico, and then I have two plane fights to get back home. I appreciate your prayers that my trip goes well. Then when I get home Dawn and I need to start getting ready for the group from Skyview Presbyterian Church in Colorado who will be coming to help lead VBS in Ensenada. It’s a fun week, but very busy. We need an extra boost of energy!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org