Archive for the ‘Church Planting’ Category

Renuevo – Bringing Renewal to the City
Renuevo church in Ensenada

This last week I was in the beautiful coastal port city of Ensenada, Mexico. I enjoyed spending some time getting to know the city better, and the opportunity to show some friends around. While there I met with Pastor Petri and some of the members from his team.

Petri is the pastor of Renuevo church, a new church plant in Ensenada. He is the supervisor of a school district by day and a pastor in the evenings and on the weekends. Renuevo just celebrated 2 years since they held their first service.

New births are exciting, although they can be messy at times. Things don’t always go as planned, but what encourages me about this new work is the people who are coming to Christ and growing in their faith. When the church celebrated their two year anniversary they took advantage to have a barbecue and to invite friends and family.

Celebrating Two Years
Petri enjoying a meal and a time to get to know the visitors after the church service

I enjoyed visiting with Petri as he excitedly showed me pictures of the visitors that came and how they were related to the people that invited them. Pray with us that these friends and families will come to know Jesus and that they will grow in their faith.

In May we will be baptizing at least 10 people from the church that want to make public their decision to follow Jesus. This is a big milestone for the church, and it’s also an opportunity for those that are making their profession of faith to invite their friends and family members so that they might give testimony. Hallelujah!

Testimonies are powerful as people share in a personal way how Jesus has changed their lives. It strengthens the faith of the believers, and it speaks to the heart of those who have not yet made the decision to follow Christ. Rejoice with us in God’s good work!

Join Us in Prayer!

Pray with us that Renuevo church will continue to give witness and see new people become Jesus followers. Pray for wisdom for Petri and his wife, Yudy as they lead the church.

Dave with Blanca & Federico

Dawn and I would also like to ask you to pray for a new church planting project we are working on in Mexicali. We have the church planter, Federico and his wife Blanca. I wrote about them recently. I’m working with the National Presbyterian Church to raise the necessary funds for this project. Fundraising is part of the task that goes into planting a church. We give thanks that the Lord promises to provide. He is our Jehovah Jireh! He is our provider!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Kingdom Growth along the Border and Beyond!
Petri preaching in Ensenada at Renuevo church
Petri preaching in Ensenada at Renuevo church

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit two or our church planters in two different cities. One in Ensenada, which is 1 1/2 hours from us. The other one is in Mexicali, which is about 2 1/2 hours from our home. So I had a lot of time in the car, but I also had a great time encouraging and connecting with our church planters and their team. God is on the move in these cities!

Renuevo in Ensenada – Pastor Petri & Yudy

On Sunday I was with Petri, his wife, Yudy and their church plant called Renuevo. They meet in Ensenada, which is a beautiful port city south of border. It is known as the Cinderella of the Pacific, because of its raw beauty and emerging potential. Yet, below the beauty, many people are huring and have deep spiritual needs.

Petri and his team are reaching out to professionals on the North side of the city. One of the things that excites me about their project is that there are literally no churches in the area of the city that they are planting in.

There’s a huge need, especially in the part of the city where the church plant is located. Petri is a bi-vocational church planter. He is the supervisor of the school district in Tecate, which is an hour north of Ensenada. Petri’s wife Yudy, is a teacher in this same school disctrict. It is not easy working a full time job in another city, and planting a church. Yet, the advantage is that Petri and Yudy have lived and worked in Ensenada for a number of years so they have deep roots in city. They still live in Ensenada even though they work in Tecate.

One of the things I enjoy about visiting the church is that Petri is an excellent teacher, and he does a great job of explaining and sharing the gospel each Sunday. There’s still much work to be done in Ensenada, but they are off to a good start. Pray that the Lord continues to open doors for them to share the gospel and that more and more people will come to Christ and become a part of the church.

A New Ministry in Mexicali

The other church planters that I visited are just beginning their work in Mexicali. Federico is a seminary student who will be graduating this May. He and his wife, Blanca went through our church planting discovery center in Mexico City in January. They were evaluated and approved as church planters.

Now comes the hard work. I’m partnering with them and the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico to raise the funds to start a new church planting project in Mexicali. Mexicali is the capital of Baja California and it is an important city for the State and for the country of Mexico.

You might remember that we started a new church that we built in memory of our daughter, Hannah in the outskirts of Mexicali. Now we would like to start another church towards the city’s center.

Join us in Prayer!

Since we are just beginning this project there are many things that still have to come togethter for this church plant to get moving forwar. We do have some traction. The wheels are starting to turn. We know that one of the most important needs that we have now is to bathe this project in prayer. Actually we need major prayer for both works. Please join us in lifting these needs before our Heavenly Father. Lift up Petri and Yudy and their team as well as Federico and Blanca.

Thanks so much dear friends for standing with us in prayer!

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

The Journey Continues!
Dave in Quito - The Middle of the World
Dave in Quito – The Middle of the World

The above statement has been our prayer, especially since our daughter Hannah moved to heaven. God is graciously answering our prayer! I’m heading out today (Thursday) for Colorado then to Cuba, so I wanted to get something out before I took off. This year has started with a bang, as I’ve already gone on ministry trips to Mexico City and Quito, Ecuador. Not much time to rest, and we’ve had the added adventure of taking care of Dawn’s mom, Alice.

It’s a new season for us, and we are just taking one day at a time as we seek to keep our eyes on Jesus. I prefer having Dawn join me on our trips. She is a catalyst in many ways, as she meets so many people in the most unusual ways. You could say, this is a time of growth for both of us. The Lord is teaching us new things as he is so faithful to do.

We do enjoy having Dawn’s mom with us. They are both extroverted so they meet many people in their endeavors. Dawn and I both like to use of our home to minister to others, family and friends.

Giving Thanks for the Lord’s Good Gifts!
The Newlyweds – Jonathan and Hannah with David, Jr., Dawn and Dave

I feel excited about these trips. I’ll be in Colorado Springs for a missions conference, but there’s the added bonus of being able to see my boys and our growing family. This season has been wonderful! Jonathan just married, Hannah and David is engaged to Emily! Many fun celebrations after our time of mourning. It’s not like the mourning completely leaves, but it is so good to receive the Lord’s healing touch through the wonderful young women that Jesus has brought into our family.

Family in Cuba
Dave and Dawn with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yanny
Dave and Dawn with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yanny

After I’m in Colorado I leave for Cuba and I’ll be there for 11 days. Dawn and I have grown to love our friends in Cuba. Some of the pastors we minister to there call us dad and mom. That’s a huge encouragement to us, and it gives us much joy to stay in contact with them and to strengthen the pastors there. They are amazing people who have gone through so much. They are still cut off from much of the rest of the world. Internet access is expensive, so it makes it difficult to communicate.

Dave & Dawn with Pastor Luis and his wife, May
Dave & Dawn with Pastor Luis and his wife, May

We are thankful that over this last year the internet presence in Cuba is slowly growing, and it’s becoming easier to communicate with our friends. The government restrictions make it challenging to travel to Cuba, but the Lord has used some of these difficulties to make the people hungry for the gospel. The Cubans we have met are good natured and fun loving people. It seems like they’ve had to learn to laugh in spite of their circumstances.

Join Us in Prayer!

Dawn and I would appreciate your prayers as I’m traveling and Dawn is at home with her mom. I need prayer covering especially for my time in Cuba. That the Lord will protect me both physically and spiritually while I’m there. Also, that we will see a breakthrough, that the Lord will do a mighty work in our friends and with those they minister to. Thank you so much for joining us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Ministry Orientation Workshop in Mexico City

The Ministry Orientation Workshop with church planting candidates and evaluators

I’m writing this post from Quito, Ecuador which is exciting, because it fits in with the vision the Lord gave me last year for church planting. Before I write about my time in Quito I’d like to talk with you about the Ministry Orientation Workshop that I was involved in last week in Mexico City.

Dawn and I love Mexico City. We have dear friends in this huge city where we lived for many years, so it’s always fun to visit.

The Ministry Orientation Workshop is an evaluation process we use to confirm the calling, gifting and competencies of candidates for church planting. Whenever I’m involved in this assessment process I’m reminded of all the challenges involved in planting a church. We put the candidates through a number of scenarios so that we can have the best opportunity to effectively evaluate whether the Lord is truly calling them to plant a church.

I’m thankful for a Good Mentor in Dr. Thomas Graham

Pastor Rafael Rodríguez giving some instructions to the group

My mentor Dr. Thomas Graham developed the first church planting assessment centers about 40 years ago. It’s wonderful to see so many church groups and missions using the process that he started all those years ago. Tom told me that he first developed this process for the Peace Core. He said that before they started using this process it seemed like all they needed was a warm handshake to approve you.

I studied my doctorate under Dr. Graham, and I also worked for him for a few years. I’m forever grateful for all the time he gave me and how he built into my life so that I could more effectively help others to be successful in church planting. Tom is definitely one of my heroes.

Evaluating the Call and Gifting of Potential Church Planters

The group working on one of the exercises that we assigned them

We had five couples and two single people go through our church planters workshop last week. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them personally and to hear their stories. It’s always thrilling for me to learn about all that the Lord has done in the lives of others to get them to where they are now. It’s not easy to plant a church, so although the process we put the candidates through can be pressure packed it’s an important time. This aids us to get to know them and to help to identify their strengths and weaknesses. It helps us to determine whether we believe they have the skills, knowledge, attitudes and gifts needed to plant a church.

Praying for More Churches in Mexicali and Beyond!

Dave the tall one in the middle with Blanca & Federico

I had one couple, Federico & Blanca Muñoz go through the church planters workshop. I’d love to see them plant a church in Mexicali, Mexico. This church plant will be in partnership with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. Our prayer is that we can start a church plant in Mexicali later this year. I’m grateful that Federico & Blanca were approved by our group of assessors.

Please continue to join us in prayer as we look to the Lord to start a church planting movement on the Border, the Baja and Beyond! That is why I am in Quito for some meetings on promoting and training leaders in Latin America so that more churches will be planted and that we will also have healthier churches. The Lord gave me a vision last year to trust him to see at least 1,000 churches planted. It’s an impossible goal that only our Lord Jesus can accomplish! Thank you Jesus for this great opportunity and that I can trust and believe in you for the impossible!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Ramping up for the New Year

One year anniversary celebration for Hechos 13 church

I don’t know how it is for you, but I often have a hard time getting in gear after the holidays. Part of it is engaging emotionally and even physically. Don’t get me wrong 2018 was an excellent year, but after slowing down and spending some quality time with my family it’s not easy to get psyched up again.

What’s a guy to do!?!

Today I’m headed to Mexico City for a weeklong church planters assessment with people who I love and enjoy ministering with. Then the following week I’m headed to Quito, Ecuador to connect with an amazing ministry, Red de Multiplicación (Multiplication Network).  I will be meeting with their leadership as we desire to partner with them with a goal of seeing more churches started and to create an environment to grow healthier churches. I appreciate your prayers for my time with them.

So you can see that there’s not much time to rest as the year begins with much activity!

Galatians 6 – One of my Favorites

One of the verses that the Lord has used to encourage me over the years as I start off a new year is found in Galatians 6.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9 ESV

I love Paul’s encouragement to not grow weary. And when I start thinking about the many good things that the Lord lets me be involved in then I start getting excited.

Wonderful Celebration: So Thankful for the Advance!

Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading Hechos 13

Even last night, Sunday night, I participated in the first year anniversary of a new church plant in Tijuana. The church plant is called, Hechos 13 (Acts 13). My good friend and partner in ministry, Pastor Daniel Nuñez is planting this church. Ministerios Transformación the ministry that Pastor Daniel leads has planted almost 40 churches over the last 11 years. We have a wonderful relationship and partnership for the gospel.

A number of other pastors from Ministerios Transformación were at the celebration as well, and it was so good to see them as well as the people from the local congregation. When I see the fruit of our labor then I start feeling excited!

As I drove home last night I began to give thanks for all that the Lord has done so far. Dawn and I also give thanks and we look forward to all that the Lord is going to do this next year. We are super excited about our growing relationship with Red de Multiplicación. This connection is allowing us to expand our reach, which is something that we’ve been praying for!

Join us in Prayer!

Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith togetherDawn & I appreciate your prayers as we walk on this journey of faith together

So as we kick off the ministry in this new year we ask you to join us in praying for the Lord’s leading and guidance. We truly want to be Spirit-led, and not driven purely by methods and plans. Our desire is that Jesus is in the middle of everything we do, and this his kingdom will expand on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!

We would also appreciate your prayers for Dawn and her mom, Alice. Alice had surgery on her neck in early December right after our son, Jonathan’s wedding. Dawn will be heading out to Pennsylvania to help her mom out while I travel to Mexico City and Quito. We do pray for the Lord’s continued and ongoing healing for Alice! Thank Jesus that he is our healer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnBorder.org