Archive for the ‘Journey’ Category

A guest post by Jonathan Diaso
Jonathan with his papa, Dave

This is a guest post written by my son, Jonathan Diaso. He wrote this in memory of his sister, Hannah Elizabeth Diaso. Last Friday, October 18th was the 3rd year anniversary of when Hannah moved to heaven.

I love how Jonathan shares his journey and how the Lord used his sister in his life. I asked Jonathan if it would be okay to share it with you on my blog, and he agreed!


I used to be a Christian – How I left the Church and Finally Found Jesus
Hannah and Jonathan

I still wonder to this day how I was churched since I was born, but never actually knew Jesus on a personal level. Some of you may have a similar experience and some of you may think the idea of “knowing Jesus” is crazy. You might also be wondering how leaving the church led me to Jesus. God has put this on my heart to share with those who have been to church and never really encountered Jesus, those who have never been to church and also those who have a negative perspective on the word Church or Christianity. While I love Jesus there are concerns I have regarding the word “Christian”. What makes a person a Christian anyhow? 

You may have been told that if you do all the right things then Jesus will love you. Whether this emphasis was intended by the church or not I often felt this way. Jesus opened my eyes by showing me that I am welcome “As is”. I do not have to earn his love as he loved me before I was even born. I do good things, because I am loved by God not so that God will love me back. I believe we have a hard time rationalizing this as how many of your friends would love you back if you did not show them affection? “The Christian does not believe that God will love us because we are good rather that he will make us good because he loves us” (C.S. Lewis). God loves you as you are and not as you should be. 

My Christian friends and I would meet up years ago and discuss which biblical laws we were or were not following, we tried to be good people. C.S. Lewis explains this very well, “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good”. The Bible talks about the law of works or what I call the do good things gospel and this type of Christianity does not work. While this method seeks to fix the side effects of how we should behave, this process forgets the purpose as to why we do these things. I once heard the statement, “Some people have just enough Jesus to be miserable”. 

I am a Christian, I go to church (in-fact I love my church family), but being a Christian far exceeds attending Church. My Church reads this card every service, “If you are a… Saint, Sinner, Loser, Gambler, Lost, Fearful, ADHD, Liar, Hypocrite, Bastard, Lover, Cutter, Tweaker, Alcoholic, Adopted, Abandoned, Leftover, Divorced, LGBT, Alone, Old, Young, Driven, Cheater, Success, Infected, Rejected, Pierced and Tatted or Just a Misfit… YOU ARE WELCOME HERE” (The Sanctuary Church). I believe that all are welcome in God’s house and are loved where they are at. In other words you come in a mess and God says, “I am going to make your mess a message.” 

Why do I bring this all up today? Three years ago my sister Hannah moved to heaven. Hannah accepted everyone and brought the gospel to outcasts. At Hannah’s prayer vigil I heard many stories of how Hannah had impacted those around her. One of them shared by her friend Jake stood out to me, “No one loved those around her more than Hannah, she knew how to love the margins. When we were out doing ministry Hannah felt God speak to her and she knew she needed to go pray for a man sitting nearby. The man that stood out to Hannah was covered in tattoos (even a tear tattoo next to his eye, commonly a prison tattoo). Plainly put, this man was someone that people often try to avoid. Hannah Did not care what he looked like, what his background was, whether he did good things with his life, how he dressed etc. Hannah knew that God’s love transcended social status and she knew how to bring the message of the Gospel to people of all colors, races and social statuses. When Hannah prayed for this stranger he began to cry, he could not understand why my sister cared about him. He likely knew he did not earn or deserve her love that day. Hannah went up to him without fear of how he would react, she knew that Jesus would do the rest.” Jake did share with me that he would not let her go by herself, which was still a smart call. Jake was amazed by the passion and love that this young woman carried. 

Jonathan gave Hannah this Bible, and as you can see in the text she loved it!

Hannah was highly influential in my life as I attribute much of who I am today to her example over the years. Hannah reminded me later in life that it is not enough to be a Christian and to try to be good people so that we can make it to heaven. We were put on this earth for a reason and God wants to use you and me to love those around us and yes this means loving people before they earn it. I spent many years of my life trying to be a good Christian, hiding my issues in attempt to be accepted and loved by other Christians. I now know that, God does not need to use guilt and shame, because love and grace do a damn good job. There is a famous song that goes, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross”. While this is a powerful line used to thank Jesus for what he did, we actually have a need to know how much it cost for him to die on that cross. When you and I realize how much it cost we also realize our value. Before you and I did anything to earn his love, God sent his son to die for you and me. “Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!” (Romans 5:8, TPT). While I left the church years ago, I encountered Jesus in various ways since. While I am still in process and in pursuit of a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father, God is still molding me daily to be more like Christ. Christianity is no longer a religion for me. This is the story of how one woman in her short life impacted her older brother and many others around her in an incredible way. If you want to know Jesus on a more personal level send me a message. This could change your life.

Hannah, I love you!

Celebrating 30 Years of Marriage!
Celebrating our 30 year anniversary!
Celebrating our 30 year anniversary!

Dawn and I just celebrated our anniversary yesterday, March 5. We hit an amazing milestone of 30 years of marital bliss. I can’t say that it’s always blissful, but it’s defintely worth working through those difficult days.

It’s Been Quite a Journey
Our family as we served in Mexico City
Our family in the early days as we served in Mexico City

We’ve endured more than most couples. Our first year of marriage we lived in Fresno, California. Then our second year we lived in three different cities in three different States: Fresno, California; Detroit, Michigan; McAllen, Texas. Our first son, David Jr. was born in McAllen.

When David was 5 months old in April of 1991 we moved to Mexico City where we lived for the next 3 plus years. While in Mexico City both Jonathan and Hannah were born. When Hannah was about one month old we drove from Mexico to McLean, Virginia. That was quite an adventure. Three children in diapers traveling across Mexico and then onto the US. After about 6 months in Virginia we drove across country to Fresno.

Sometimes, when I look back on it all, I wonder what we were thinking!!! We were very driven, and we had more energy back then!

After about 6 months in Fresno, I drove with my dad and David jr. back to Mexico City, while Dawn flew to Mexico with Jonathan and Hannah. When we arrived the house we thought we had rented fell through, so we didn’t have a place to live. I don’t remember how long it took us to find a home, but we did eventually find a great place to live and serve.

On our second term in Mexico City, I was kidnapped. You can read the full story by clicking here: kidnapped 1 &, kidnapped 2. Then about a year and a half later I was held up at gunpoint and had my car stolen. They took me on a short joy ride during that robbery as well. I also wrote about that and you can read that story by clicking on this link: kidnapped 3.

From Mexico City to Colorado
The last picture we have of our family together before Hannah moved to heaven
The last picture we have of our family together before Hannah moved to heaven

From Mexico City we moved to Colorado Springs. Those years were relatively calm compared to our first 10 years of marriage. Of course, we did raise three teenagers in Colorado Springs which is never easy.

Then just over six years ago we moved from Colorado to where we are now serving on the San Diego – Tijuana border and beyond. I like to add beyond, because we travel and work throughout Mexico and in other Latin American countries. It’s an amazing and growing ministry!

Our Life on the Border and Beyond!
Our growing family: David jr., Hannah, Jonathan, Dawn and Dave
Our growing family: David jr., Hannah (Jonathan’s wife & our new daughter), Jonathan, Dawn and Dave

We love living and serving on the border, yet it hasn’t been easy. As most of you know if you’ve been following us that two years ago our beautiful daughter, Hannah moved to heaven. That’s not something you necessarily get over. In fact this last week I’ve especially been missing Hannah. Sometimes I feel sad, and sometimes I feel frustrated and upset. It’s extremely hard on Dawn as well. This is an area we can always use prayer for as we mourn our daughter’s early home going.

When I began writing this post I was going to go a different direction with it, but I trust the Lord led me to write a summary of our lives and some of the trials and adventures we’ve been on. Of course, there have been many wonderful moments and seasons as well.

Giving Thanks for the Gift Dawn has been to Me
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together
Dawn and I are seeking to show and share the love of Christ wherever we are, and whenever the Lord opens the door!

I guess, my main point here is that I chose well and that the Lord has blessed me in many ways by giving me Dawn. I don’t think that too many women could have survived all that we’ve been through. Unfortunately, many marriages don’t stand the test of time. By God’s grace, in spite of all that we’ve been through our love for one another has grown over the years. We are still growing. You don’t stop. We are still striving to have a greater love and passion for the Lord and for one another.

I give thanks today for the gift that my wife is to me, and to my children. We are stronger together, and it’s so encouraging to see where the Lord is taking us and the doors he is opening for us! Thank you for following us and praying for us. We couldn’t do it without the support and prayers of faithful friends!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Many Opportunities to Minister as We Traveled

Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Dawn and I walk on this winding road on mission with the Lord. Seeking to share the love of Christ wherever we are, and whenever the Lord opens the door!

We began our trip to South America in Montevideo, Uruguay. As I wrote in my last post we believe it was an advance for us attending the Red de Multiplicación conference. So good to see various church traditions coming together for the cause of Christ in the Latin world!

After our time in Uruguay, Dawn and I flew to Bogotá, Colombia. Dawn loves to share her faith, and she boldly does it while we travel. It’s amazing to watch how the Lord prepares the people that we meet.

Ripe for the Harvest

The love of Christ can and does change people hearts!

The love of Christ can and does change people’s  hearts!

On the flight from Montevideo to Bogotá, a young woman, Veronica sat next to Dawn on the plane. We were all tired when we first boarded the plane as it was an early morning flight. When they brought us a meal a little later, Dawn began to interact with Veronica. As the two of them talked about their family background when Dawn told her that our daughter, Hannah had moved to heaven Veronica began to cry. She is a very tender and caring person.

She told Dawn about some of the trouble she had experienced with her boyfriend and her family. One thing we learned on our trip is how common it is in both Uruguay and Colombia for couples to live together and not get married. Colombia has one of the highest rates in the world at 80%.

As Dawn and Veronica continued their conversation she told Dawn that her grandmother had been praying for her. She was running away from her troubles, but she felt like God was trying to get her attention.

Dawn shared more with her and told her about Jesus love for her, and the gift of eternal life that Christ came to give us through his death and resurrection. Veronica was ripe. The Lord had been working in her heart. Dawn prayed for her, and Veronica cried some more as she felt the Lord’s peace and presence.

After Dawn explained the message of the gospel to Veronica she led Veronica in prayer to receive the greatest gift ever given. The gift of eternal life in Christ. The Lord’s peace filled Veronica’s heart.

The Gospel Does Bring Change & Transformation!

Dave & Dawn in Bogotá Colombia

Dave & Dawn in Bogotá Colombia

I’m thankful for Dawn’s boldness to share the love of Christ wherever we are. We don’t always have a whole flight to share with the people we meet.

As we were getting ready for another flight Dawn felt led to give a woman a Bible tract, and she explained briefly what the tract contained. The lady told Dawn that she thought God was trying to get her attention because she had just sat next to a Christian woman on her previous flight. Wow! Amazing how the Lord works!

One more airplane gospel story. We had a long layover in Bogotá before we flew home, so we went to a restaurant to hang out and wait for our flight. Dawn noticed the woman sitting next to us had been on our previous flight, so she felt like she should take the opportunity to share with her.

When Dawn and I share with people we often weave in the story of our family and how our daughter moved to heaven. We talk to them about the importance of having faith in Christ. That’s what has sustained us since Hannah’s early homegoing.

Dawn told the young woman that she recognized her from our previous flight. She began to tell her some about our family and God’s plan. The woman was surprisingly open and she told us she had just prayed in the morning that the Lord would guide her. She is from Manizales, Colombia where we had just come from so we gave her the contact info for our friends that live there. Amazing in just that short time the gospel connection that we were able to make. Thank you Jesus!

Pray for More Open Doors, More Fruit

Luis, Kerly and their son David. Our friends from Manizales, Colombia

Luis, Kerly and their son David. Our friends from Manizales, Colombia

It’s so important to sow the seed of the gospel. It doesn’t always land on fertile ground, but it is surprising as we pray to see how the Lord often leads us to people who are open and ready. Our prayer is that the Lord will continue to open the doors for us, and we will see more and more people come to Christ as we sow the seed.

There are many other exciting experiences we had as we ministered in Uruguay and Colombia. I hope to continue to share more about our trip in my next post.

Please join us as we pray and minister wherever the Lord takes us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Work through Pastor Victor and Sol

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

We just celebrated the three year anniversary of Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol’s church this past Sunday. It was an amazing day! I wrote about it in my last post: Much to Celebrate in Mexico!

The Lord is changing people’s lives through the ministry of Victor and Sol and their church. One of the outreaches that they have is to children, who have been abandoned or whose parents, because of poor life choices aren’t able to take care of their children.

In this video Sol shares about this ministry to the children, and the part she plays in showing the love of Christ to these families in need. At the end of the video, she highlights how the Lord got a hold of Raul and transformed his life and brought him back with his two boys. I wrote about Raul’s testimony in an earlier post: Tears of Grace.

Video – Sol’s Ministry of Love to Needy Families

The Ministry Continues in the Community of Plan Libertador!

I spoke with Sol today, and she told me that the ministry to the children and their families is starting to grow and take place in their church. This past November we were able to help Victor and Sol build a room for children’s ministry right next to their church building. Victor and Sol have the vision and hope to see lives transformed as they offer the love of Christ in practical ways to the people in the community of Plan Libertador, where the church is located. The people that live in Plan Libertador have many physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Continue to pray for Victor and Sol as they minister the good news of the gospel in a community with astounding needs. Christ is able to change lives and to meet all their needs. Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Faithfulness and Healing Touch

Dawn and I give thanks for all the wonderful pastors and partners we serve with in Mexico

Dawn and I give thanks for all the wonderful pastors and partners we serve with in Mexico

As we begin 2018 I give thanks for all that the Lord did in 2017. This last year has not been an easy year for Dawn and me. It’s been painful to mourn our daughter, Hannah’s moving to heaven. Yet, I believe the Lord has also brought us a tremendous amount of healing. I give thanks for the comforting arms of the Lord. I’m grateful for so many friends who have reached out to us and loved us.

Even though it has been a year where we’ve needed much encouragement, much love, and much prayer which has been like a salve to our wound, we’ve also seen advance in the ministry.

Milestones in 2017

Redeemer San Diego Medical Missions Team

Redeemer San Diego Medical Missions Team

Some of the ministry milestones for 2017 are:

  • Renuevo Church launching in Ensenada in April
  • Redeemer San Diego sending their youth group down to Ensenada to connect with Renuevo to reach out to teenagers through sports and a fun day.
  • Redeemer San Diego partnering with Renuevo and bringing down a medical team to treat those with physical and spiritual needs. The doctor’s and the team that come down are so loving, and do such a wonderful job of sharing the love of Christ with their patients.
  • Skyview Presbyterian coming to Ensenada for the fourth year to help Renuevo lead a summer VBS.
  • Trained a number of pastors through the incubator that’s geared for church planters.
  • Coached church planters in Tijuana and Ensenada.
  • Raised the funds and helped build classrooms for one of the church plants in Rosarito that we started 2 1/2 years ago.
  • Worked with our friends in Cuba to aid in training coaches.
  • Gave leadership to MTW Mexico
Goals and Dreams for 2018

One of our goals for 2018 is to build a church in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

One of our goals for 2018 is to build a church in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

One of our biggest goals for 2018 is to plant a church in Hannah’s memory. We are still working on raising all the funds for the church plant. I spoke with pastor Daniel Nuñez this past week, and we’ve decided that we will build the new church on the weekend of April 13 – 15.

We also have a goal to get our church plant in La Paz, Mexico started in early 2018.

A goal that we have for MTW Mexico is to mobilize a minimum of one new missionary family to join our work in Mexico.

There are other dreams that we are praying for as we enter 2018. I’m starting to work on writing a book. I’ve actually begun working on it, but it’s been a challenge to figure out how to find time to write with all that’s going on.

Dawn and I have a trip to Mexico City this week from January 11 – 16, and from there, we will be going to Havana, Cuba from the 16 – 22. We need major prayer as we minister here on the Border, the Baja and Beyond. I feel that we need prayer especially as we begin to travel. Last year, we feel like we got a little worn out from all the traveling by the end of the year, so we hope to do a better job managing our schedule this year.

Thank you so much for loving us and standing with us dear friends!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

I Must Keep My Eyes on Jesus

A fun time at our Christmas posada with our friends - the day the music came back to life!

A fun time at our Christmas posada with our friends – the day the music came back to life!

Don Mclean’s song, American Pie, sings about the day the music died. The song uses poetry to tell a tale of sorts about the tragic day that Buddy Holly and Richie Valens died in a plane crash. The other day I listened to American Pie and thought about the day the music died for me when my sweet daughter moved to heaven. That was a sad and horrific day for each of us, David, Jonathan, Dawn and me. We have many friends and family that have mourned with us over this past year.

God is been so good to us this year, despite our sorrow. He has been so near to us and comforted us in so many ways. That’s not to say that it’s been easy. It’s been the hardest year of our lives, but the Lord carries us through it.

There are moments when I think I wish more had changed, that we would see even more redemption than we’ve seen. The Lord has reminded me that I must keep my eyes on him. That I walk by faith and not by sight. Even though we are walking in victory, it doesn’t always feel that way. God has a plan and purpose for us and it’s a good one.

What would I do without this hope? What would I do without the hope of eternity? What would I do without the hope of one day being reunited with Hannah?

I give thanks for the Lord’s nearness and his healing power.

Music and Laughter in Our Home Again!

David before and after the mordida!

David before and after the mordida with our friend Andy!

Last week we had more than 40 people in our home for a Christmas, Posada party. The night of the party it dawned on me that this was the first time we had had a party in our home since Hannah moved to heaven! I thought, Wow! That is a victory for us! That is progress.

The party was even more special because one of our son’s, David was able to be with us for the Posada. David loves the fiesta, and he is the Lord’s gift to us on Christmas, December 24th, which is his birthday. We were able to celebrate David’s birthday as well. One of the traditions that they have in Mexico is the “mordida”, which means a little bite of your birthday cake. Inevitably when the person being honored goes to take the “mordida” bite someone will lovingly shove his face into the cake. Since my children grew up in Mexico, they grew to love this tradition. Also, they still love to have fun!

Usually, it is a little push and a little bite, but this time David’s whole face got shoved into the cake. David loved it!

It was so good to hear laughter in our house again and to have so many friends enjoying the time and celebrating the season. You might say it was the day the music came back to life. The Lord continues to do his amazing healing work in our lives. It’s a long journey, much longer than I would like.

Remembering Hannah

 

I asked David Jr. to share one of his favorite photos of Hannah with me, and here it is.

I asked David Jr. to share one of his favorite photos of Hannah with me, and here it is.

Today David and I went to visit Hannah’s gravesite, which I like to do on occasion, although it tends to be a somber experience. We left the cemetery feeling sad and quiet. It’s a reminder we are not home yet. There is still pain in this world, and part of that pain is being separated from those we love. Even though it wasn’t an especially uplifting time, I’m glad I could share that moment with my son.

As I mentioned above I was hoping that we would have seen even more redemption of Hannah’s moving to heaven. It’s there, but I have my moments of doubt, and at those times I can get down. I’m thankful for my family and that we have so many friends holding us up.

Over the last few months, I’ve made it aware that one of the ways we are seeking to honor Hannah’s memory is by starting a new church in Mexico. We are in the process of raising $30,000 so we can build the church. We would like to build it in the Spring of 2018, and we are inviting all of our friends to join us by giving towards this church plant and to come and help us build it! This also a plays a part in the redemption of Hannah’s early homegoing.

Click to make a donation

Click to make a donation

You can give by clicking on this link

Thank you, dear friends, for standing with us. We pray that you will have an unbelievably fruitful and blessed 2018!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Hannah’s Homegoing

A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography

A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com

#AHANNAHPERCENT – Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

One year ago tonight Hannah moved to heaven. She passed into glory. O how we miss our beautiful daughter, and the boys miss their much-loved sister.

A close friend of ours, Jacob Betchol posted this tribute on his website today. I asked him if it would be okay for me to share it with you on my site, and he agreed. Thank you, Jacob!

We first met him when our son, David, and Jacob became close friends and debate partners at San Diego Christian College. Jacob is a talented photographer. He’s also a great friend and support to our family. He took some beautiful photos for our family about two years ago. He also took this stunning shot of Hannah for her graduation from IMPACT, and it ended up being used for her graduation to heaven as well.

Here’s Jacob’s website: lylphotography.com/Ahannahpercent and I copied his post below. I think you will enjoy what he has to share.

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly. Photo by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com/ahannahpercent

Jacob’s Post

Hannah stood alone at the front, radiating a smile. Beautifully framed she stood still, the air around her almost bright and airy. The memories and stories that friends and family shared about her, joined together into an encouraging melody. And as the stories swelled around her, it was as if her smile grew even larger.
______

It was late afternoon, the sun was settling for the day. Its rays were long and colorful, and radiated with such beauty. That the posing and the click of the shutter were almost distractions from the creativity of the golden hour. When Hannah had asked me to photograph her for her graduation, it took me longer than usual to get back to her. I almost said no.

Photography was no longer just a passion, it was (and is) my vocation. So I had started saying no when people asked me to take photographs. The feeble excuses that it would add to my portfolio or would just take few minutes were falling flat. And yet, I found myself in Point Loma that day taking graduation photographs. My thank you for my efforts, a dirty chai, was sitting on an uneven stump slowly melting. I’m not sure why I said yes that day, but this story is not about that answer.

This is the story of a photograph worth taking. I’m so glad I agreed to photograph Hannah that day. It has been almost a year since I walked up to her portrait. My hand reaching into my suit pocket for my handkerchief wiping away the tears forming in the corner of my eye. Hannah was no longer with us, but her memory encourages me to this day. Little did I know, that a photograph from that graduation photo session would end up in front of the sanctuary for her graduation to heaven. That her smile would embody the stories shared then and even now.

Hannah’s family coined the word Ahannahpercent to embody her memory. If you know the Diaso family, you know that it is impossible to feel unwelcome in their home. Hannah was the sum of that welcoming grace. She always had a bright smile and a warm welcome. She cared for you and lived fully present in the moment. While it can be so easy to go through the motions, to say hello without being genuine or to offer a smile that is not caring. That is not living life Ahannahpercent.

She is an encouragement to me as I photograph wedding days. A reminder to be fully present and invested in the stories I am documenting. If I can be unashamedly excited and genuinely thrilled by the details of the day. I am photographing Ahannahpercent. It calls for going beyond platitudes and genuinely caring for people. One of Hannah’s good friends shares it best. I’ll let Susanna take it from here.

Thank You for Standing with us on this Journey!

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement over the last year and during these difficult days.

Our family has set up two memorials for Hannah. AHANNAHPERCENT: Hannah Diaso Memorial for scholarships to young women who are interested in serving the Lord in ministry. You can give to that fund by clicking the link above. The fund is managed by Mission to the World.

We are also working on raising funds for a Hannah Diaso Memorial Church. You can give to that outreach project by clicking on the above link.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org