Archive for November, 2012

Pastor Juvenal Gonzalez on the mobile church bus

Pastor Juvenal Gonzalez on the mobile church bus

Church on a bus, what a concept! Have you ever worshipped on a bus?

Yesterday I was in Tijuana learning about some new friends ministry, and they told me how they hold church services on a bus. This is a creative way to plant new churches.

When the church is just starting, and doesn’t have enough people and funding to build a church they hold service on a bus. I guess, it’s church on the go, although the bus is parked when they are worshipping.

Pastor Juvenal Gonzalez and missionary Jim Shankula showed me one of the buses they use to reach people for Christ in new communities. They also use tarps for a tent like covering, which works better when the weather is good.

What do you think about having church on a bus? It is a creative way to reach people when resources are limited.

Paul speaks of becoming all things to all people to reach them.

“…I have become all things to all people, that I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22,23, ESV)

The seats on the bus are cushioned!

Cushioned seats! One advantage to church on a bus

God’s heart as Paul expresses it here is to “think outside the box” in sharing the good news of the gospel. I and those that minister with me share this desire. I know there are limits on how far we should go with this.

I’m curious to know what you think about the practical implications of becoming all things to all people, to save some? How do we live that out?

We continue to pray for the kingdom of God to be expanded on both sides of the border.

What are some of the creative ways you’ve seen or experienced in worship? Or, Maybe you have a creative idea that we should consider in reaching people for Christ on the border. I’d love to hear it!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Emily with Edgardo Avila pastor of the Spanish church

Emily with Edgardo Avila pastor of the Spanish church

Our intern, Emily Gryder has served with us since July 7th. She will be leaving this coming Friday. The Lord has used her to connect with many of the Hispanics that we are working with. We are so encouraged by how Emily has served.

We started the summer with our first intern, Zach Lutz. Zach did a great job as well, and he opened the door for many of the things that Emily is now doing.

Zach and Emily started up a weekly VBS for neighborhood kids in City Heights. Emily has kept that going with an after school kids club.

Another area where Emily has really helped us is with our English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. She has been our main teacher over the last several months. Oliva, who I wrote about in a recent post, came to Christ through Emily opening the door with ESL classes, and then inviting Oliva to the Spanish service.

Emily has also befriended and discipled, Hilary, one of the youth in the church.

She’s had numerous experiences such as building a home for the homeless, building a church, feeding the poor, etc. You can catch up on more of Emily’s exploits on her blog: Chosen by Grace.

Emily with Oliva and Elizabeth

Emily with Oliva and Elizabeth

I’m amazed that Emily has been able to do so much at her young age. She’s still a teenager herself.

Dawn and I believe in the importance of building into young people, and giving them opportunities to serve in missions. Their time on the border gives them a broad and unique experience.

We do give thanks for Emily, who’s been living with us since mid-September. When Emily first came Ray and Michele Call spent a lot of time with Zach and Emily. We are grateful for all the time and energy they gave to both of our interns. We are also thankful for Tom and Debbie Steller, who provided housing for Emily until we arrived.

Join us in thanking the Lord for Emily, and praying for her as she heads back to her family in North Carolina. Pray also that the Lord raises up more workers as we work to see a renewed San Diego-Tijuana border.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dave & Dawn at San Diego Harbor

Dave & Dawn at San Diego Harbor

Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Friend!

Faithful friends like you standing with us in prayer make it possible for my wife and I to do this work. You encourage us in a tangible and a powerful way! We thank the Lord for you on this Thanksgiving.

Dawn and I are thrilled to have made it to the border over these last few months. It’s been a wonderful experience, although not an easy one. God has already done some amazing things in our short time here. I’ve been privileged to chronicle His work through this blog. We look forward with much anticipation to what lies ahead.

I echo Paul’s words of thanksgiving found in Philippians 1:3-5 (ESV)

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Emily, Oliva, Elizabeth and Dawn (from left to right)

Emily, Oliva, Elizabeth and Dawn (from left to right)

It was so good to hear Oliva share her testimony in front of the church this past Sunday.

She was looking for a job in a Spanish newspaper. In the process of looking for some job opportunities she saw something about an English class. That perked her interest. She decided to go.

Our ESL team which includes Ray Call and our intern, Emily Gryder received Oliva with open arms. She felt very welcomed. Then Emily invited Oliva to a Bible study on Friday nights. Oliva thought, “Church on Friday night?” She wasn’t sure about it, but she decided to go check it out.

Our intern, Emily has done a great job over the last several months. She really has loved on and ministered to Oliva.

While at the Friday night service Oliva met Edgardo Avila. He is the pastor that leads the Spanish-speaking ministry. Edgardo’s wife, Elizabeth was very warm to her. Before you know it, Oliva was attending church on Sunday mornings!

She said she grew up in a church, but she really didn’t understand the gospel message. The Lord used the ESL program and some of the people connected with it to lead Oliva to Christ. She understood the difference between knowing about God, and having a relationship with God. She put her faith in the risen Lord.

Now Oliva prays for her grown children and prayers that they will come to church, and get to know Jesus. Let’s join her in prayer that her children and grand children will come to a saving knowledge of Christ! One of Oliva’s daughters has already come to visit the church. God is indeed on the move!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Wow! It was so encouraging to be part of building the Lo Mejor Del Trigo church in eastern Tijuana. I wrote about the birth of the new church in earlier posts. God is so good!

Check out this video that shows the progression of the building of the church. More than 70 people participated in this project over two weekends. Now they are worshipping in the community of Pipila, which is in eastern Tijuana.

The church is off to a good start. Join me in prayer that it will grow, and that the Lord will give Pastor Rodrigo and his family his grace and wisdom as he leads the church.

When we are involved in kingdom work, in working to see new churches raised up it’s important to remember who is building the church. Jesus gives a wonderful promise in Matthew, 16:18 when he’s speaking to Peter and the disciples,

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Isn’t that a wonderful promise? Even the gates of hell, our fiercest foe and enemy shall not defeat Christ’s church. Stay the course my dear friends, and keep your eyes on Jesus. We are on the winning side!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Katie Clinebill

Katie Clinebill

One of our young friends, Katie Clinebill was featured on 15 Seconds of Fame. Katie is a great young lady who has a heart to love and serve the Lord. Our son, Jonathan, met Katie on a Brio missions trip to Peru a few years ago.

She has a beautiful voice, and it’s fun to listen to her worship the Lord through,  Mumford & Sons I Will Wait. 

One of my favorite authors, John Piper writes in his book, Let the Nations Be Glad,

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”    http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/25423.John_Piper

I think you will enjoy worshipping with our friend Katie. I pray that all around the world God will work and bring more worshippers to himself. Our heart is especially concerned that there be more worshippers on the border.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Daniel Nuñez with the pastors of Lo Mejor Del Trigo

Daniel Nuñez with the pastors of Lo Mejor Del Trigo

In one of my last post I wrote about how great it was to work on and complete the church building in eastern Tijuana. Another amazing thing was to meet with the 17 pastors of the Lo Mejor Del Trigo (The Best of the Wheat) churches.

Daniel Nuñez has become a great friend and partner in ministry. He leads the Lo Mejor Del Trigo movement in Tijuana. Daniel has a vision to plant 50 churches in 20 years. The Lord has blessed Daniel and given him 17 churches so far!

On Saturday morning they had their monthly pastors meeting. Daniel invited me to meet the pastors.

I feel privileged to connect with these pastors, and to begin looking for ways I can be a resource to them. I’m hoping that through my relationship with them it will strengthen them, encourage them and help them and their churches to be more effective in ministry. We will look for ways to connect them with some of the people and resources that Harbor and other churches have.

“O Lord, give me wisdom so that I can be used of you to strengthen and encourage them. I pray that through our relationship and connections we can see the kingdom of God expanded on the earth. Lord, shower us with your rich and powerful blessings!”

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

I just came across this encouraging video report about the decrease in drug violence in Tijuana. In general I believe things are improving throughout Mexico. This news is in line with some of the other reports on Tijuana that have come out recently.

I read a report earlier this week that said that things in Juarez have improved dramatically. Juarez was considered the murder capital of the world just a couple of years ago. An example of the changes in this city that lies across the border from El Paso, Texas is that there were less murders in Juarez last month than there were in the city of Chicago.

This is big news, because a number of churches and ministries have shied away from the border and Mexico in recent years. Maybe now the tide will turn, and people will start coming back. The border obviously still needs the gospel!

“O Lord, continue your healing work in Mexico and bring renewal to the border and beyond! Please guide and lead us. Make even more clear to us the part we should play in this work of transformation and renewal. Amen”

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

What happened? What Lies Ahead?

What happened? What Lies Ahead?

I found myself nervous yesterday and then a little down as things progressed with the election. This morning I needed to remind myself that God is still on the throne, and that I am not to trust in horses, chariots or man. My hope is in the Lord.

I realize that some may be happy with the results, although it’s hard to imagine how increased taxes as well as some of moral issues at stake could make your day. 😉

I purposely steer clear of political matters on my blog, not because I don’t have opinions, but that’s not the purpose for my site. Yet I do think it’s of great importance to remember who is on the throne. To remember who our hope and trust is in.

If God is on the throne, and he is! Then we don’t need to worry. Maybe there is cause for concern, and obviously our laws and elected officials have an influence on us. There is also a sense in which even the best elected officials will fail, no matter who they are. David who is arguably the greatest king the world has ever known experienced failure, which had an adverse affect on his people.

King David wrote the following words of encouragement in Psalm 20:7 (ESV),

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

Another great but flawed king, king Solomon, wrote these words in Proverbs,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 ESV)… “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1 ESV).

Peter who wasn’t a king, a fisherman, and follower of Christ encourages us to be good witnesses as we follow our leaders, and I think we are only able to do this as we remember who ultimately is in control.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

I added emphasis, because these promises are such good reminders, and needed exhortations.

I believe the problem for many of us including myself is that we look to people and things to solve our problems and meet our deepest needs. We want those who govern us to be righteous people, and that is not a bad desire. Yet if you look to man or things you will always be disappointed. When we look to  anything other than the Lord to fulfill our needs we are ultimately making an idol out of these things. Only the Lord can meet our deepest needs.

Keep the faith. Keep fighting. Keep your eyes on Jesus. And to reiterate Peter’s words, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Pastor Rodrigo & Daniel Nuñez leading the new church

Pastor Rodrigo & Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading the new church

Yesterday Lo Mejor Del Trigo (LMT) launched a new church plant in the neighborhood of Pipila. Pipila is in eastern Tijuana.

Harbor helped build the church. God gave us the opportunity to go out into the community to invite people to come and see. Then we shared testimonies and a short gospel presentation. It was a privilege to be a part of this new work, and to see the Lord’s Spirit moving in this place.

It was also such a blessing to work with so many who wanted to help build this church!

Pastor Rodrigo led the first service yesterday. A number of people came to celebrate. It’s so encouraging to see the gospel going forth in this community. The new birth of a church. We pray that the church will help to bring about spiritual, cultural and social renewal to the community of Pipila.

The church is full for it's inaugural celebration service!

The church is full for it’s inaugural celebration service!

Thanks for being a part of the expansion of the kingdom of God in TJ. The Lord uses your prayer and support to strengthen and to move this ministry forward. Yet in many ways we know the battle is just beginning, so we must not grow weary in doing good for God’s glory!

The church is built on the rock, which is Christ Jesus our Lord. He is our hope. He is the one we lift up high and proclaim to the nations. Amen and Amen!

In His Grip

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org