Archive for February, 2019

Our Familia in Cuba Needs Our Prayers!
Mario & Yani with their team of church planters

Our familia – Mario & Yani with their team of church planters. From the top left moving clockwise: Junior & Kendra with Mario & Yany; Jorge & Rachel with Dave; Mario & Yany with Dave; Dave next to Yoiset & Osmeiki

Yesterday (Sunday), Cuba held an election to legalize gay marriage. The results of the election are to be released today. I decided to write about this because it is affecting many of my friends, our familia in Cuba.

Some of the pastors in Cuba are undergoing persecution because the church is opposing the legalization of gay marriage. While I was with my friends a couple of weeks ago, they told me what was going on, and it concerns me. We need to be praying for our brothers and the church in Cuba.

The Challenges of Dealing with the LGBT Agenda
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Pastor Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the gay LGBT agenda making headway around the world. I’m willing to admit that the church has done a poor job of showing love to the LGBT community. We’ve struggled to figure out how to lovingly show that we do not agree with the LGBT lifestyle. I mean the Bible calls it sin, yet there are many other sins the Bible refers to, and in those cases, we seem to more effectively show love and grace to the person without agreeing with what he or she is doing. This is something the church has to do a better job addressing.

I don’t want to focus so much on the overall problem of the church and the LGBT community in this post. My focus here is what’s going on in Cuba and how we can pray for our brothers and sisters there.

While I was in Cuba I learned that the government allowed the gay community to hold a march and to also hold a huge rally in a stadium supporting their cause. When the church asked for the same privilege they were denied.

The church sent a letter to the governing officials stating their case and asking for the opportunity to represent for their view in public. They wanted to present their side of the argument, but they were denied. They were not allowed to organize a march and they were not allowed to hold a rally.

It’s interesting that in 1960 when things shifted dramatically in Cuba that pastors, Catholic clergy and homosexuals were imprisoned. This left the church without their main leaders for a number of years. Most families didn’t even know where these pastors were for three years or more. We can also see the cultural shift here, at one point the government saw the homosexual community as a threat to their society. Now there has been this huge swing, and they are actually promoting the LGBT agenda. They have denied the right of the church to promote what the Bible teaches about the family.

Our Battle is Spiritual
Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

I think that in large part this is the agenda of the god of this world. He is the enemy of the church and the enemy of our soul. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6 that our struggle, our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

Our friends many of whom refer to us as part of their family have come under oppression during these days because they have refused to support the LGBT lifestyle.

I must admit barring a miracle this new law allowing gay marriage is going to pass. Of course, our God is a God of miracles so he can do the impossible.

Great Sacrifices Made for the Gospel
Some of the wonderful friends the Lord has given us that have become family

Some of our wonderful friends that the Lord has given us who have become family. What a precious gift they are!

My heart goes out to our family on this small island. They’ve suffered so much for the sake of the gospel. They’ve made sacrifices so that the gospel might be proclaimed. Sacrifices that most of us can’t even conceive of. Dawn and I admire their commitment to Christ and his church. I feel that it challenges our faith in a good way.

The church in Cuba is growing in large part, because of their willingness to serve and minister despite the huge costs. Christ paid the ultimate price so that we might have life. They are following in Christ’s footsteps so that others might hear the good news and come to faith. I give thanks to the Lord for their example and their amazing faith and commitment to follow Jesus.

Join us in Prayer!
Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Join us in praying for our Cuban familia, made up of many pastors and leaders and those under their care. Pray that the church continues to grow despite the opposition and that the Lord sustains the pastors, especially those who are experiencing persecution. We live in this crazy mixed up world, where men wear beautiful gowns (see Oscars Ceremony Sunday night) and people call wrong right and right wrong.

Our hope is that Jesus is on the throne. He rules! Jesus promised us in this world we would have many trials, but he also said cheer up, because I have overcome the world! (John 16:33) Thank you, Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our group with the church planters in Havana
Our group with the church planters in Havana

This morning I drank my coffee from a cup that a friend from Cuba, Ailyn gave me that says I ❤️ Cuba. I just returned from this Carribean Island last Wednesday night. I thought I would never love a people as much as I love my Mexican hermanos, where Dawn and I have lived and served over the last 30 years. Yet, I must admit our Cuban friends have stolen our hearts! And as Dawn and I travel especially in Latin America we are finding a growing love for those we meet and minister with there also. God is on the move and it’s fun to be part of what he is doing!

Hannah, Havana and Beyond!
The church planters doing an exercise during the Discovery Center in Havana

The church planters doing an exercise during the Discovery Center in Havana

Still to this day I’m not sure how to reconcile my daughter, Hannah’s early homegoing. God is bringing us healing along the journey, but there’s so much we don’t understand! Why do I mention this here, after writing my first paragraph about my growing love for Cuba? Well, just before Hannah moved to heaven Dawn and I began to pray that the Lord would increase our reach, and extend our borders.

On January 1 of 2017, just 2 months after Hannah moved to heaven Dawn and I were with our two sons, David and Jonathan and we heard a sermon on Isaiah 54, which speaks of how God is going to enlarge the tent of the barren woman. It addresses loss, the inability to have children, and the Lord’s wonderful promise for redemption and an increase! We claimed that passage as a promise for our family and our ministry, and we prayed for a breakthrough.

“”Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.”

Isaiah‬ ‭54:1-3‬ ‭ESV (emphasis mine)

Enlarging Our Reach!

Since that time we’ve been able to minister in Cuba, El Salvador, Uruguay, Colombia, and Ecuador. It’s not just geographically that we’ve seen an increase, but also in the depth or our ministry. The Lord has connected us with some wonderful people in these countries. The place that especially stands out apart from Mexico is Cuba.

Our Growing Family!
Our dear friends and growing family in Cuba!
Our dear friends and growing family in Cuba!

Dawn and I are amazed at the depth of relationship the Lord has given us in Cuba. It’s amazing, because despite only being able to go to Cuba once or twice a year, through email and WhatsApp we’ve been able to communicate and stay in touch with our unbelievable friends there. Some of them have become like family to us.

The Call to be a Spiritual Father & Mother
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Some of the couples now call us their parents. People need to be loved and encouraged all over the world, but especially those who live in a country that makes internet access and communication so difficult. One particular pastor Luis and his wife, May told me while I was there on this last trip, that there has been a marked difference in their ministry since they met Dawn and me last year. Luis and May are very gifted, and the Lord is using them in remarkable ways. So it’s surprising for me to learn that they feel there has been an increase in their effectiveness in ministry over the last year!

They’ve suffered much as they’ve ministered over the years. I don’t know if I’ve personally ever met people who have sacrificed as much for the gospel as our friends in Cuba. They’ve gone without food. They’ve walked for hours in the hot sun each day to reach an unreached community. Now they have sun spots, sun damaged skin from being in the sun so long without the ability to purchase sunscreen to protect themselves. These friends and others call us their parents, which is a real privilege for us. They have truly stolen our hearts.

Mario & Yani Ministering in Cabaiguan
Mario & Yani with their team of church planters
Mario & Yany with their team of church planters. From top left clockwise: Junior & Kendra with Yany & Mario, Jorge & Rachel with Dave, Dave with Mario & Yany, Dave next to Yoiset & Osmeiki

One of the other young couples who live and minister in Cabaiguan, Mario and Yany are doing a wonderful job in their community. They are leading a team of four young church planting couples. Dawn and I first met Mario and Yany less than two months after Hannah moved to heaven. Yany was only 20 years old then. When Dawn first met Yany, tears streamed down Dawn’s face as meeting Yany reminded her of our daughter and what could have been, as Hannah had a growing interest in ministry. We’ve grown to love Mario and Yany, and it’s such a joy to be able to encourage them in their work.

Dave with Mario & Yani and Sara who is married to Pastor Justo. Justo and Sara are also great friends who train others to plant churches in Cuba!
Dave with Mario & Yany and Sara who is married to Pastor Justo. Justo and Sara are also great friends who train church planters and leaders to plant churches in Cuba!

A little over a year ago Yany’s mom died of cancer leaving Yany without a mom at a young age. Dawn and Yany have bonded over the loss of a mother and a daughter. The two of them have come together to encourage and love one another even as they mourn.

Join Us in Prayer for Cuba and Beyond!

There are other friends in Cuba who we also feel close to, and every year we go back we meet new friends. Our Cuban family continues to grow and we get to know all our friends there better. What a wonderful gift the Lord has given us. This is part of the answer to our hearts cry. Part of the answer to our prayers that the Lord would enlarge our tent! Thank you so much for praying with us. God does indeed hear our prayers. He is concerned about the longings our heart. He does bring healing even in the valley of the shadow of death. Praise be to Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our Growing Family

Some of our pastor friends in Cuba – starting from the bottom Justo, Luis & May and Oniel

I’m on my way to Havana as I write this. Once I’m in Cuba I will have very limited if any access to the internet. I don’t usually like to write my posts on the phone while I’m traveling, but I believe that I need a lot of prayer covering. I will be in Havana from today until Friday the 8th. Then I will be going to some smaller communities to visit and encourage some friends who are pastors.

These friends have become like family to Dawn and me. Since they are isolated in many ways, because of the lack of internet access and because of some of what they’ve had to live through they need encouragement. We all need someone to help us along the way, but it’s even more pronounced on this Island.

Our Role as Spiritual Parents

Pastor Mario and Yany with their daughter, Lorena

Dawn and I have grown to love these dear friends. A number of them now call us dad and mom. This is something that’s more common in Latin cultures. It’s also a growing part of or ministry especially since Hannah moved to heaven. It’s like the Lord has called us to be spiritual parents to a number of people. We enjoy encouraging and loving these friends. It is a true gift from the Lord! Jesus has given us friends to love on in Mexico who see us as spiritual parents.

Join us in Prayer!

Dawn and I would also appreciate your prayers for Dawn and her mom as they had to stay behind. We know that we are in a new season as Dawn’s mom, Alice is not able to live by herself. It’s a privilege to have her in our home and care for her. At least for the time being Dawn is not able to travel as much with me. We trust in the Lord’s guidance and leading during this season.

Lately Dawn and I have been separated some. This will change after I get back from this trip, but it is something we are seeking to manage the best we can now.

I’m not expecting that I will be able to write and post once I’m in Cuba. So it will most likely be a week or more before I post again.

I believe that the Lord is going to do something very special during my time there. I look forward to writing about God’s great and mighty work once I return. Thank you so much for standing with us and praying for us! We praise Jesus for his love and his desire to bring change and transformation to the nations!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org