Archive for the ‘Church Planting’ Category

Greece & MTW
Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Dawn and I just returned from a LEAD meeting in Athens, Greece. Every three years Mission to the World (MTW) holds a leadership meeting for all our missionaries from around the world and our national partners.

It’s an amazing time to come together as a group committed to reaching the world for Christ. We connected with missionaries that we know, and many that we hadn’t met yet. As a mission, we don’t have many opportunities like this to meet together as a missions body and work together, because they serve in other parts of the world. Some of them literally are living on the other side of the world.

One of the highlights for me was spending time with the other missionaries, hearing their stories and having the opportunity to pray with them and for them. Some of our people are working in very remote and difficult places. Missionaries need prayer. They need encouragement. It is not an easy job, and the church must unite with them (us) on Mission with God.

A Place Where Paul Once Preached
The Ruins in Corinth where Paul stood trial for his faith

The Ruins in Corinth where Paul stood trial for his faith

I found it amazing to be meeting in Greece. A place where Paul preached. We even had the opportunity to visit the Acropolis and Mars Hill. We also went to Corinth. While we were there Dawn and I reflected on the roots of our faith. We thought about how our daughter, Hannah is with Paul and other Biblical characters.

Sadly Greece is no longer following Christ. Less than 1% of the people are followers of the Messiah. Greece is a country that has lost its way and now needs to be won again. We do lift up our missionaries there and their national partners. Some wonderful servants of the Lord.

Goals for Growth – More Workers!
MTW LEAD 2017

MTW LEAD 2017

While at the LEAD conference our leadership highlighted some of our goals as a mission. Lloyd Kim, MTW’s coordinator encouraged us to pray and work for more than 2,000 new missionaries to go to the field. The goal is that the PCA would send 2,877 missionaries which is 1% of our membership. That’s a huge undertaking, and our leadership is beginning to put some tracks in place to move towards reaching 1%.

One of the keys is to have many people praying for God to touch people’s hearts and call them to serve on the foreign mission field. There are all kinds of ways that a person can serve today. You can check out some of the opportunities on our website: MTW.org/1

David & Dawn at the Acropolis in Athens

David & Dawn at the Acropolis in Athens

Lloyd Kim and our leadership team also rolled out a goal to work in a more collaborative way with others in order to see more churches planted and more people reached for Christ. We pray that by God’s grace there will be a Kingdom movement. A movement of the Lord where we truly see the world changed, on earth as it is in heaven.

Thanks for praying with us, and believing God for even greater things that are yet to come!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Samson Against Incredible Odds
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Renuevo – Ensenada, Baja California

This week, as I was praying the Lord reminded me of the story of Samson and the mighty jawbone. I say mighty because Samson took on 1,000 Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone.

I can see Samson there with his muscles ripping through his shirt as he took on 1,000. Even with all that power and might, it’s hard to imagine one person taking on so many. Imagine the odds? How does that happen? I find some humor in Samson’s weapon of choice being a donkey’s jawbone!

This passage reminds me of so many things that we do where we feel the odds are stacked against us. The enemy is ready to pounce on us, and he does. Yet, if God is for us, who can be against us? Is there anything too great for the Lord or the strength of his might?

Samson’s Battle with the Philistines

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck down a thousand men. And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand, And that place was called Ramath-lehi. —Judges 15:14-17 ESV

Samson was a flawed hero, to say the least, and yet God in his grace used him. This is just as mysterious and amazing as Samson being victorious against such odds!

God’s Mighty Work on the Baja

 

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Pastor Petri and Yudy

I think of some of the ministries we are involved in, and they have humble beginnings and yet God is using them mightily. This past Sunday Dawn and I visited our new church plant, Renuevo which is in Ensenada. Pastor Petri Petrikowski is leading this outreach with his wife, Yudy. They are just beginning, so it’s still a small work, but lives are beginning to be touched by the gospel of grace. People’s lives are being transformed.

It always encourages us when we can visit and meet the people and see how they are encountering the Lord there. Friends that were far away from Christ are being drawn into the Lord’s saving grace. God is so good!

When we look at the Samson story we realize that when God is on our side, we are already on the winning side. We already have a majority. The enormity of the odds 1,000 to 1 is only possible because God is there and He is working. That’s always been how we attain victory!

We see lives transformed through the work of the church not because we are so great, but because the God who is great and awesome and mighty is on our side. Hallelujah!

Also, I’m reminded of the importance of prayer to this amazing God that we serve. Please continue to stand with us in prayer! Pray for Petri and Yudy as they lead Renuevo in Ensenada. Pray for Dawn and me as we come alongside workers like Petri and Yudy to encourage, coach and train them so that they will grow in grace and in their effectiveness! We do give thanks that God can use even a donkey’s jawbone to defeat the enemy and give us victory!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

The Incubator Church Planters Training
Incubator church planters training

Incubator church planters training

I always get encouraged when I hear one of our pastors refer to a principle that he learned during one of our training events. It means that they are beginning to process and apply what they found helpful to their specific ministry situation.

Last week we had the wonderful opportunity to train some of the pastors and church planters in our incubator church planting training. I love the seeing the guys connect and interact and to begin to think through how they can use the information in their context.

Our prayer is that we will have healthy and growing churches. In order for this to happen, it’s essential that we have well-equipped pastors and leaders.

Christ Centered Biblical Counseling & Conflict
Dave with Pastor Saul Lopez

Dave with Pastor Saul Lopez

The topics we covered during this training session dealt with Gospel Centered Biblical Counseling and Conflict. These are two keys areas that pastors deal with regularly. I enjoyed hearing the interaction as we discussed some of the difficult conversations they are dealing with in the church they serve at.

If you attend one of their churches, don’t worry names were not shared. We just shared the situations, and then how to navigate through the issues they were dealing with in a Christ centered healthy way. There are no copy and paste answers to most situations we face. Prayer is always key and seeking out the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy of our soul loves to help foment division via conflict. I think it’s one of his primary means of attacking the church. Too often people run from conflict rather than choosing to wade in and work towards reconciliation. We grow as we work through the difficult conversations. This is one of the many reasons learning to deal with conflict is so important.

Join Us In Prayer
Pastor Jorge Aleman leading a session on Christ-centered Biblical Counseling

Pastor Jorge Aleman leading a session on Christ-centered Biblical Counseling

Thank you for standing with us in prayer. These pastors are under a lot of pressure from various sides. They need our prayers to stay strong and to walk closely with the Lord as they look to him for wisdom.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Summer VBS in Ensenada
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Singing to the Creator of the Universe 

This was our fourth year of VBS in Ensenada with Skyview from Denver and the church in Ensenada. We started with La Nueva Jerusalén, but this year we have a new church plant called, Renuevo. This is a sister church plant with a strong relationship with La Nueva Jerusalén.

There are some new challenges in running a VBS with a new church plant. There aren’t as many church members to draw from or as many children that are part of the group. Yet, Petri and Yudy did a wonderful job along with their core team of recruiting friends and new believers to get involved. Many of the people who helped lead weren’t in a church as little as 6 months ago!

God the Creator of All
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Yudy teaching the eager children 

Most of the children that came are from families that are not yet involved in a church. Maybe they are interested, seeking or were just looking for something for their children to do that was positive during the summer months. The VBS had a different feel this time around.

The theme of the VBS was on creation. God created with world, and the galaxies. The idea of God’s involvement in creation was new to many of the children. One of the teachers, Luz Angela said that she asked the children she was teaching who created the chicken, and they responded the mother chicken. The concept of God creating the chicken was foreign to them.

Reaching New Families
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Petri sharing with the parents about the importance of teaching their children about the Creator

One of the highlights of the week was parents night, on Wednesday night. Forty parents showed up. Petri and Yudy said they didn’t know how many to expect. They thought maybe only 10 or 15 would come.

Petri talked to the parents about the importance of forming their children’s character and teaching them about having a relationship with God. He told them one of the most important things is that the parents themselves set the example and grow personally in their relationship with the creator of the Universe.

The parents responded very enthusiastically. One of them mentioned that their child came home and had all kinds of questions. Their son asked if God created the world does that mean he created the fly as well? It opened the door for positive interaction among parents and their children.

Praying for Renewal in Ensenada
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Kari Berglund from Denver leading the children with Diane Farris

Petri at the end of the evening was able to invite them all to be a part of the new project, Renuevo. Renuevo means renew. They are working to bring about renewal in Ensenada! So encouraging to see God’s work and the hunger.

The parents were also invited to the closing ceremony on Friday. There was an equally strong showing. The parents were proud of their children as they finished up the week and received their certificate for being involved in the summer VBS.

Thankful for Skyview from Denver!
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Thankful for our friends from Skyview Church

The group from Skyview plays a key role as they show love to the children and lead the crafts and activities. They’ve also developed a wonderful relationship with the team from Renuevo. The love of Christ is very apparent as these two groups come together to work on VBS and to enjoy the week together.

Thanks for praying for us. Please continue to pray for Petri and Yudy and their team as they seek to bring renewal to Ensenada through the good news of the gospel.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org
We Began The Trip With Some Fear
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Special Moments with dear friends

Dawn and I felt some apprehension as we returned to Colorado for the first time since Hannah moved to heaven. We saw many dear friends, who love us. Through tears Dawn and I retold the story of how Hannah passed from this life to the next. I would say it wasn’t an easy trip, but God showed up as he always does. He brought healing through our tears.

Maybe what we didn’t expect is as we shared our hearts, and friends empathized with us it strengthened us. We were afraid of being pulled down into the valley of the shadow of death, but rather the Lord lifted us up.

Comforted in Our Grieving
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Thankful for Opportunities to share our story like pictured here at Village 7 

Upon arriving to Colorado Springs we attended a conference for grieving parents. Then the next day, Dawn participated in a workshop of grieving mothers. When she arrived Saturday morning and saw all the pictures that had been made into button to be pinned on their clothes. Photos of all the children that passed away too early from our perspective. When Dawn saw those, she lost it. She wasn’t sure she would be able to make it through the workshop. Yet, the women were very loving and supportive and once she got through that she had a great day.

Overall, it was so good to see our friends. We loved visiting with people who care for us, friends who have been praying for us!

 

We enjoyed speaking in two churches, Cheyenne Mountain and Village Seven. We shared our story with them and many others. We told how our hearts still ache for the loss of our precious Hannah. Yet, that’s not the whole story, because the Lord has been healing and redeeming Hannah’s untimely passing.

Encouraged by All That The Lord is Doing
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Raising Funds for the Hannah Diaso Memorial Church!

It encouraged us as we shared about the changed lives through the church planting work and other ministries on the border, the Baja and Beyond. I think it lifted our spirits, because those who came, and listened were excited with us and for us. Also, we challenged people with getting involved in helping us to raise the funds, $30,000 so we can plant a new church in early 2018 that will be a memorial church. A church to honor Hannah’s memory and her legacy! In doing so we know that it will also bring glory to our loving Father.

Dawn and I realized anew that we can’t do what we do without an army of friends standing with us!

An Exciting Week Lies Ahead of Us

 

It seems like we just got back home in time to catch our breath, as we head out today to Ensenada with Skyview Presbyterian for a week of ministry. Pray for our time there, and that the Lord will use it in a powerful way to extend his kingdom in Baja California.

Yes, we were afraid, but God came through again. He rescued us, and he continues to redeem our pain and our suffering for that we give thanks!

Thank you as well, dear friend! What would we do without your faithful prayers and encouragement?

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Stories of Grace Through the Camera
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Pastor Victor and his wife, Sol with their son, Abraham serving the Lord in Rosarito and Tijuana, Mexico

Last week a film crew came out to take photos and video shots of the ministry on the border and throughout our work in Mexico. It was an exhilarating time as we met with and interviewed our partners and church planters. We started out in Ensenada and we got some beautiful shots of the city and our church planters Petri & Yudy Petrikowski. Then we headed back up to Rosarito and Tijuana to interview Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol.

 

I wish I could take you with me to meet these wonderful friends. Every time I’m with them I come away encouraged. God fills me up because they are fun to be with, and also because of the way the Lord is transforming lives through their ministry.

God Breaks Through in Rosarito
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Victor and Sol shared with us about a ministry to an orphanage called Nueva Generación (New Generation). They formed a partnership relationship with Luis Salinas, who leads the orphanage a few years ago. The partnership has grown as their church has grown. Now on average 17 orphans attend their church every Sunday.

 

Sol is a psychologist and she has worked with the children and the parents. She ministers the love of Christ to these parents who are caught in addictions, prostitution, and poverty, which has kept them from being able to care for their children. The children experience the love of Christ and hear the good news of the gospel and they are transformed by God’s grace. The goal is also to see their parents break free from their addictions and destructive life style.

Brokenness and Healing
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Raul reunited with his two sons!

We met one of the father’s, his name is Raul. He has an amazing story. Sadly he was caught in a cycle of addiction, which led to poverty and an inability to take care of his children. Raul’s wife left him. Through the work of the orphanage and the love shown to him through Victor and Sol, he came to Christ. He eventually was set free of his addictions and began to work again. It took him more than 10 years to break free, and now he is back in his two boys life.

 

Raul shared through tears about his struggle with alcohol and drugs. He felt sad that he had let his boys down, and not been able to take care of them for so many years. But God broke through! This brought more tears as he reflected on the Lord’s great love and grace.

A life transformed!

A family reunited!

Wow! So good to see God’s grace set the captives free.

When we talk about planting churches we pray for transformed lives and transformed communities as the love of Christ shines brightly in dark places.

Unfortunately, there are many Raul’s in Tijuana and Rosarito. There is much work left to be done! Yet, we are seeing progress as the Lord works in and through the churches and ministries on the border. Thank you, Jesus!

I give thanks for faithful servants like Victor and Sol who are not content just to hold services on Sunday. They desire to see the gospel penetrate and make a difference in the community. My prayer is, our prayer is that the Lord will raise up an army of ministers like Pastor Victor and Sol. He is doing that through ministries like, Ministerios Transformación who have planted 31 churches in 11 years and have a vision to plant many more! Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave Diaso

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

The Gospel is Changing Lives in Cuba
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Dave with Jim Moon Jr., Yamil & Yuneisi Domínguez, Melissa, Ariadna & Frank Batista

Every time I go to Cuba I feel like God rocks my world. I’m both challenged and encouraged by the people and how I see the Lord working in the lives of the people.

I’m planning on writing more about my trip later, but I wanted to share this short video that I put together with the help of my Cuban friends, Frank Batista and Yamil Domínguez. The video focuses on the Gospel Coach training that we are partnering with them on. By the way, Havana is spelled with a b instead of a v in Cuba.

Gospel Coach in Havana (Habana), Cuba

Gospel Coach Habana from David Diaso on Vimeo.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org