Archive for December, 2016

Tragedy of Death and Hope in 2016
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Our last family photo with Hannah

When I look back over this last year there are a number of wonderful accomplishments that we’ve seen the Lord do. Unfortunately, all of these achievements are overshadowed by Hannah’s death. It makes me feel like we are ending 2016 on a down note. There have been plenty of down days since Hannah’s passing. Yet, I see the Lord picking each of us up, Dawn, David Jr., Jonathan and me.

Yes, death is a terrible, even demonic and cruel thing. I believe and feel that this is true in a more intense way that I ever have. While I recognize the pain and the tragedy of death, and Hannah’s early homegoing I see the Lord lifting us up from the ashes. We are down, but not out. I believe our family has drawn closer to the Lord than we have ever been. In many ways I sense that God is not done with us, but just beginning. He is going to bring something beautiful out of our pain, even if we can’t see what that is yet.

We may be going through “The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” but this shadow has not completely snuffed out the light. Jesus did some amazing things in 2016 that we should celebrate.

Accomplishments by God’s Grace
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

This year by God’s grace we:

  • Helped start our 5th new church planting project with Ministerios Transformación since 2012. It was Ministerios Transformación’s 29th church!
  • Pastor Obed Lares and his wife Cesiah are off to a great start in this new church in Rosarito, just South of Tijuana.
  • Partnered with in planting, coaching and training Pastor Daniel Nuñez and the ministry of Ministerios Transformación
  • Coached and partnered with Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol who are seeing people come to Christ and lives transformed in the church plant they are serving at in Plan Libertador that we helped start in 2015. Every time I talk to Victor and Sol I come away encouraged.
  • Coached and partnered with Pastor Ivan Casados and his wife, Rocio. They are making a difference as they are reaching out in Ribera del Bosque. We helped plant their church in 2014.
  • Coached and helped launch a new work called Renuevo in Ensenada. Pastor Petri and his wife, Yudy are leading this new church planting project.
  • Led 1 medical missions brigade with Redeemer San Diego & La Nueva Jerusalén in Ensenada, Mexico. We ministered to more than 80 adults and children, and 9 of them gave their lives to Christ.
  • Led one summer VBS in Ensenada with Skyview Presbyterian and La Nueva Jerusalén for 50 children and presented the gospel to them along with their families
  • Started a two-year incubator training for 10 church planters in Tijuana
  • Began a coaching network for pastors and their wives in Mexico
  • Began to coach pastors and train coaches in Cuba – this is a new and exciting ministry that the Lord is opening up for us.
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly

I don’t fully know why we experienced such a huge loss this year, but I believe one reason is because our enemy is not happy with all that God is doing. He desires to discourage us and defeat us. Yet, our Lord lifts us up and gives us victory. All our many friends are praying for us, which sustains us. So I will praise Jesus. Hallelujah!

My family and I stand with Job in stating, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15a)

Thanks for joining us on this journey. Praise God with us for sustaining us, and giving us so many victories in Christ.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s gift of healing during this time of Christmas
David & Dawn with Frank Batista

David & Dawn with Frank Batista

Dawn is gifted in sensing when people are in pain physically or emotionally. She loves to pray for people and minister to them when they are struggling, and God gave us many opportunities to pray for Christians and those that are seeking while we were in Cuba. The Lord heard our prayer, and brought healing to the people. Hannah and Dawn used to minister together to our friends as they both loved encouraging people and to see God touch people.

God’s healing Touch for Rosa
David & Dawn with Oniel, Heidy and Rosa

David & Dawn with Oniel, Heidy and Rosa

The first night we were in Havana, Cuba Dawn noticed that Rosa the 12 year old daughter of Pastor Oniel Rojas and his wife, Heidy, wasn’t feeling well. Dawn asked Rosa and her family what was wrong, and she said her arm was bothering her. Dawn felt the need to pray for Rosa’s shoulder. She couldn’t move her arm and she has experienced a lot of pain over the last two months.

Dawn and Yoli Nuñez, who is our friend and partner in ministry from Tijuana, spent some time in prayer for Rosa with her parents, Oniel & Heidy. Then Dawn called us over to pray with them and we prayed some more. As we prayed Rosa’s pain went down from a 10 to a 6. The next day when we saw her parents they were very excited as they said that Rosa was able sleep through the night for the first time in a long time. She was also able to move her arm and put her cloths on by herself for the first time in a while. Rosa said the pain was gone.

Then Rosa went to the doctor with her mom in the morning. The doctor was surprised that Rosa was no longer experiencing any pain. He took X-Rays and they came out normal. Before she had a growth in her shoulder, but now it was gone. He compared the X-Rays to how she was before and although he was surprised he said they looked completely normal and declared her healed and healthy. Thank you Jesus for hearing our prayer!

Oniel and Heidy were so excited that God brought healing to their daughter.

God Touches Lelois in a Special Way
Dawn praying for Lelois

Dawn praying for Lelois

Then a couple of days later we were with our friend Frank Batista (photo above), who I met last April when I was in Cuba. Frank showed Dawn and me around and we enjoyed spending time with him and his family. On Saturday we went to buy some presents at the market. When we went to buy t-shirts Dawn noticed the woman selling the t-shirts was in pain, Lelois.

Dawn asked her how she was feeling, and she admitted that her stomach was bothering her. Dawn wanted to see if she could pray for her. Lelois said yes, so she began to pray for her. When she prayed Lelois felt the power of God in her body. Both Dawn and Lelois sensed the Spirit rushing through them and touching them. After Dawn prayed for her she asked Lelois how she felt and she said her pain went down from a 10 to a 3. Also because she felt God’s tender touch tears came to her eyes. With tears streaming down her face she felt God’s love.

Then Frank and I prayed for her and she no longer had any pain. It was very encouraging to see the way the Lord used my wife’s boldness. Lelois said she’d like a Bible, and she was interested in learning more about the gospel.

We give thanks to the Lord for his mighty work in Cuba!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org


The Two Sides of Cuba
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Cuban Church planters with Discovery Center Staff

I continue to both amazed and saddened when I spend time in Cuba. I’m amazed by all that the Lord is doing in this country that has experienced so much oppression. They’ve suffered greatly, despite what some in the media write. It saddens me to hear the stories and learn of all they’ve had to live through. As one of my friends said, “there is equality, we all have the same, we all share the same misery.” Yet, despite this they are a wonderful and resilient people. The Cubans we met are good-natured, and enjoyable to be around.

The other thing that I observed is that God has used all their suffering, and all the things they lack to make it crystal clear to the people that they need something greater than themselves. They need a deliverer. They need a savior, and many are turning their lives over to Christ.

Quality and Choice Servants of the Lord
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Dawn with Oniel Rojas and his wife, Heidy and their daughter, Rosa. Oniel is the leader of the movement we worked with in Cuba

The church planters that Dawn and I met during the Discovery Center are such quality people. Their love for Jesus is so evident. Some of them are amazing evangelists, and the Lord is already using them to reach many for Christ. Even though we went to minister to them and encourage them their testimony lifted us up. Dawn and I felt humbled as we heard their stories, and of their love for the Lord.

The church is not allowed to build church buildings in Cuba, but they can meet to study the Bible and to worship in their homes. The house church is exploding in Cuba. Missiologist say that Cuba is the only country in the Western Hemisphere where a true church planing movement is occurring. Yet, there is a need for training, coaching and encouragement. We give thanks to the Lord that we can play a role in the work there.

Second Trip to Cuba

I first went to Cuba in April, and I fell in love with the people. At the time, I thought I’d love to be able to bring my wife and my daughter to Cuba with me. Unfortunately, I will never have the opportunity to bring Hannah, but the Lord did open the door for me to bring Dawn, and we had a wonderful experience together.

God’s Strength in Our Weakness
The church planting candidates working on a project during the Discovery Center

The church planting candidates working on a project during the Discovery Center

Thank you Jesus for giving us the strength to be able to go and minister in the midst of our sorrow! One of our friends and colleagues in the gospel ministry, Ivan Villalta said it was a miracle that Dawn and I were in Cuba helping with the Discovery Center, since we just lost Hannah only a few weeks ago. That encouraged me that he said that. Yes, it’s not easy to minister in the midst of our pain, but we are finding God’s grace is strengthening us and carrying us through it all.

When I told Mario & Yany one of the church planting couples about Hannah passing away, they said it was clear that the Spirit was giving us strength to be able to continue to minister during this difficult season of life.

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Dawn and I appreciate your love and prayers for us. God is using you to lift us up!

Just as we felt we were able to bring the love and blessing of our Lord to our friends in Cuba, they definitely blessed us and helped lift our spirits. Hallelujah!

The Lord did so many amazing things in Cuba that I have more to write, but I will save it for another post. Please continue to pray for us this week as we are back at home, and celebrating our first Christmas without Hannah.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Celebration and Mourning
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

The day before Hannah died, we had reason to celebrate. Ministerios Transformacion’s 29th church held their inaugural service. A church that we helped to build, and plant. We were so excited for the new birth and for our friends Pastor Obed Lares and his wife, Cesiah.

I’m not going to lie that even though this is a great achievement for kingdom advancement, that because of the circumstances it was hard to celebrate. We were and we are thankful for this new work, but the shock of Hannah’s early departure totally knocked us off balance. Her home going caught us by surprise. We’ve been trying to sort life out since then.

Getting Back in the Battle
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly.

The Lord in his graciousness is bringing healing, but it is a slow process. Dawn and I are getting back in the battle. We are starting to minister to others. Yet, our hearts aren’t always there.

Today we head out to Mexico City. Then on Tuesday we arrive in Havana, Cuba to connect with some friends there. The Lord is opening some wonderful doors for us in Cuba. I will write more about that later.

Over the last month and a half Dawn and I needed to slow down. We’ve needed to mourn and grieve. We still are in the process of doing that, but as time goes on we are grieving while serving. Some days we feel more up than others. Things that used to bring us joy, now don’t. Yet we are not despairing.

Death is a terrible thing. The Apostle Paul says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). Later in same chapter Paul,goes on to say, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54, 55). Glory to God that in Christ we have victory over death, as painful as it might feel today, Jesus has removed the sting of death.

We give thanks that the ministry is not dependent on us. The church continues to grow. Yet, the Lord is so loving and gracious. He carefully teaches us and draws us to himself.

Join us in Prayer!

Please join us in prayer as we learn this new way. We are learning what we call our “new normal”. We need wisdom and grace, as we move forward in ministry. We pray that we will see many more churches planted. Many more people reached for Christ, many more that become disciples. We pray that the Lord will use, even Hannah’s  untimely death to spur others on to love and good deeds. O Lord, do be glorified! Be lifted up, and build your church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org