Archive for the ‘Church Planting’ Category

The Commissioning
IMG_0091

Petri with his core team behind him during commissioning service

Today (Sunday) was both an exhilarating and a painful day. Dawn and I went to Ensenada today to be with our friends. I’ve tried to keep you updated about the new church planting project in Ensenada, Renuevo that Jesus ‘Petri’ Petrikowski is leading. The Lord gave us the opportunity to participate in the commissioning of Petri and Yudy and their team as they leave La Nueva Jerusalén to start their new church.

They’ve been meeting as a core group now for a number of months, and the group is growing and coming together. Petri and Yudy felt like it was time for them to start meeting on Sundays as they continue to move forward on this new church plant. I’ve been concerned for Petri and Yudy, because I’ve not been able to support them as much as I would have liked to since Hannah passed away. Yet, they’ve just kept on going.

Surprised Again by God’s Good Work
IMG_0093

It was a privilege for me to pray for Petri & Yudy and the church planting core team  of Renuevo

I’m pleasantly surprised by the progress they are making, and it brings me great joy to see the Lord working through them.

The ministry continues and I know it’s not dependent on me, which is a good thing.

After the commissioning service Dawn and I were able to meet with the core group, and they are excited for what lies ahead. We enjoyed the opportunity to plan, dream and pray with them. They are all very special friends who love us and they love Hannah.

Another Painful First

In a sense that was the painful part of the day. Today marked the first day that Dawn had been to Ensenada since Hannah went to be with the Lord. She woke up today feeling sad and heavy.

I will let Dawn share the story herself from what she wrote.

Dave wrote at the bottom of this post (referring to a post on the Hannah Diaso Memorial page on Facebook) the verse that says, “joy comes in the morning.” Unfortunately, the joy has not yet come for me yet this morning. Dave wants to go to Ensenada today to a special church service, because of an upcoming new church plant. I am hating the idea to have to face another first going to Ensenada for the first time now without Hannah.

She loved going to Ensenada to minister with us there, and Ensenada was the last place she went to minister with us in Mexico before she died.

I woke up crying today and I am missing Hannah terribly. Recently it seems like the longer that it has been since she “moved to heaven”, the harder it has been for me.

Please pray that God shows me what I should do with myself during these upcoming challenging days. This morning all I want to do is go to heaven. Life on earth can be so very painful and difficult– seemingly unbearable at times.😰

God Loves Us and He Cares for Us
IMG_0092

Dawn and I enjoyed spending some time with our friends and eating some good fish tacos after the service

The Lord did minister to Dawn today, really to both of us. When she got out of the car to go into the church she started sobbing, but we were met there by some loving friends that knew Hannah. Our friends loved on Dawn, and they lifted up Dawn’s spirit and we both ended up feeling much better.

This day was a little harder than most, but we are still in the thick of the grieving process. Still a number of difficult firsts to pass through. Jesus is with us in these moments and he uses his people to love on us and minister to us. Thank you so much for praying for us and for praying for this amazing work in Ensenada!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

A Cross Border, Cross-cultural Encounter
img_6550

Redeemer SD youth group with Colegio Grecia youth in Ensenada

Last Saturday I took a youth group from Redeemer San Diego Church to Ensenada to connect with our friends Petri and Yudy. The Lord gave us an outstanding day.

Petri and Yudy invited youth from the school they work at Colegio Grecia to meet the youth from San Diego. They played soccer, basketball and volleyball together. Then we went for some savory tacos at one of the homes of the families represented. There were close to 40 youth from Colegio Grecia that showed up, and many of their parents came as well.

It was an all around fun day, and the event went a long ways towards creating a bridge between the two groups and it opened up the door for future opportunities.

Petri and Yudy are working hard at loving on their friends in Ensenada. They want to build bridges with their co-workers and their families and show them the love of Christ.

A Sentimental Trip
img_2016

Hannah with Yudy

This was the first time I had been back in Ensenada, since Hannah died. I couldn’t keep from reminiscing and remembering the good times we enjoyed in Ensenada with our beautiful daughter and our friends there. Hannah loved all our friends there and she had a special relationship with Yudy. I enjoyed the day, and I kept busy enough during our time together that I didn’t have too much time to over think the days gone by. Yet, there was still some sorrow that my daughter, our daughter couldn’t be with us.

Building Bridges for Today and the Future
img_6529

Both groups had a great time playing sports such as soccer

Even though this was the first time the youth had met each other, some of them were at the point of tears when they had to say goodbye. Young people somehow manage to  break through barriers and create bonds quickly. That was gratifying to see how the Lord used the event in their lives.

On the way home the youth from Redeemer shared how much they enjoyed the experience, and how they hope to see their new friends again soon. Even though we had to wait five hours to cross back into the U.S., because the border line was so long it didn’t seem to dampen the groups enthusiasm.

Petri shared with me after the trip that one of the mom’s from the group in Mexico told him, “thank you for organizing such a valuable event for the growth of our children. Count on us for other events that you hold, including the medical trips.” Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

Growing Together in the Gospel
IMG_6381.jpg

Dave leading a Session on the Gospel, the Cycle of Renewal

God’s deep love for us is beyond comprehension. His grace is indescribable. The more we ponder what Jesus did for us on the cross through his death and resurrection, we find ourselves marveling at such an amazing and sacrificial love. These are all aspects of the gospel.

I’m sure it’s not too hard to believe that even ministers need the gospel. Actually, that’s a key point, the more the pastor understands the work of Jesus on the cross. The more he meditates on the depth of such love, and what it means for us. As he applies it to his own life, he is more effectively able to share it with others.

This was one of the key themes we covered last week during our incubator training. It fell to me to cover explaining how each of us is renewed by the gospel. We talked about the cycle of renewal – the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, we respond in repentance, which leads us to faith, which leads us to worship, and in response in faith and adoration we obey.

Some of the simplest points of the gospel are also the hardest to apply. I’m not sure why, but I think one reason is that there’s something in us that thinks we can earn God’s favor. We quickly forget, it’s through grace. That’s why Luther said, “we have to beat the gospel into ourselves,” and that “all of life is repentance.” A number of people have also said that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves.

How Do We Reach Our Neighbor with God’s Love?
IMG_6373.jpg

Jorge Aleman leading the group through a discussion on philosophy of ministry

Another theme that we covered was how to develop a philosophy of ministry. Related to that is the importance of considering the seeker, the not yet Christian in all our activities. In other words, when you are planting a church it’s good to keep in mind as you design your activities that there will be seekers there. There will be those who are interested, but don’t yet have faith.

The world is changing and it’s more apparent now than ever that we live in a hostile deeply divided world. The church planter has to keep all these things in mind as he reaches out to the community that the Lord has called him to minister in.

God has given us a wonderful group of guys that are going through the incubator church planting training. It’s always enjoyable to be around this group. I come away enriched from all the interaction.

IMG_6375.jpg

Some of our pastors who are going through the incubator training

Prayer and Opposition

Thanks for praying! We experienced our share of attacks, set-backs as we prepared for the training. My phone died for two days. It’s not easy to live without a phone, especially in the middle of a training event. One of our colleagues forgot his passport, which meant we had to change some of our plans for our prep work. I got sick the week of the training event. The Lord led me to a doctor in Mexico that prescribed some medication, and by the second day I was feeling much better.

The latest setback is our van is not running well, and since it has 208,000 miles on it I’m working with our mechanic to see whether it’s worth it fix it. We will see! Still waiting on that. Dawn and I appreciate your ongoing prayer for that need.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Coaches Needed

IMG_6264.jpg

Dave leading a session on coaching with Alcides De La Cruz

Why do we leave leaders to struggle on their own? Why do some leaders isolate themselves from others? The casualties of those leaving the ministry every month are astonishingly high. The difference in effectiveness between ministers who have the support of a coach, and those that don’t is remarkable.

These are some of the reasons we believe that it is imperative that leaders in the church should have a coach. When I first arrived in Tijuana, I was talking to one of my missionary colleagues who’s also been a coach to me, Gary Watanabe. I explained to Gary how the church was growing so fast here that I couldn’t keep up, and that I couldn’t coach all the leaders myself. Gary encouraged me to explore ways to multiply myself, to multiply coaches.

Through Gary I met Tom Wood and Jim Moon with Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM). Tom Wood has developed some outstanding training for coaching church planters and leaders. The Gospel is at the center of their training, which is refreshing!

Multiplying Coaches in Mexico & Cuba
IMG_6232.jpg

Dave with Jim Moon and Josue Mayo

I began working with Tom, Jim and Gary on bringing the Gospel Coach training to Mexico. In December of 2015 we held our first training event in Tijuana and Monterrey, Mexico.

Jim Moon invited me and some of us who minister in Mexico to go to Cuba to see how they were applying the Gospel Coach in Cuba. That was a life transforming trip for me as the Lord introduced me to the wonderful people of Cuba, and showed me how he was at work there. The church is growing in amazing ways in Cuba.

This relationship with Jim Moon who heads up the Spanish ministry for CMM has continued to grow and flourish. Last weekend I worked with Jim and MTW missionary Jamie Burkemper to lead training in the Gospel Coach in Juarez, Mexico. Forty leaders came to the training.

We find as people are exposed to the concepts of coaching the Lord grabs them, and they desire to grow in their capacity to coach others. They also realize how important it is for them to have a coach.

God is Using Our Story
IMG_6212 2.jpg

One of the small group exercises during the coaching training

One of the emphasis that I love about the Gospel Coach training is the focus on the gospel. I led a module on the history of the gospel, and during my session I shared about Hannah’s passing. The Lord used the story of our family and the hope we have in the gospel to encourage our friends. One of my prayers has been that the Lord will use Hannah’s death to bring glory to himself. I know her death isn’t in vain, but as a father I long for evidence of God’s greater purpose. Jesus is already showing up, and showing himself strong as I share how he has sustained us during this time of sorrow and sadness. Thank you Jesus!

We see the light of Christ shining brightly as Dawn and I minister together. Dawn loves to pray for and encourage others. She has a knack for coming alongside those we meet, and showing them the love of Christ. We are much more effective as we team up and serve together. Jesus is giving us moments of light as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Thank you for praying for us as we seek to follow Jesus. We are serving as we grieve. God’s grace is sufficient. Thanks be to the Lord!

We pray that coaches will continue to multiply in Mexico and Cuba and wherever else the Lord opens up the doors for us to minister!

In His Holy Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Battle Rages, but We are Victorious in Christ
IMG_6198.jpg

Pastor Obed Lares and Cesiah

I am convinced that our Lord is doing a good work, despite all the pain and all the sorrow we are going through with the loss of our daughter, Hannah. I don’t know why it was Hannah’s time to go, but I do know that the enemy of our soul will do anything to try to slow us down and defeat us.

The day before Hannah died we celebrated the inauguration of church number 29 with our friends from Ministerios Transformación. On that same weekend we finished building the church. We helped Pastor Obed Lares and his wife, Cesiah launch their new church plant.

The Joy of New Birth
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

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

That was a joyous time to see new life, the birth of a new church. Hard to believe that the following day our daughter would be with Jesus in Heaven. We don’t understand, but we know that God is a good and loving God and that we can trust him.

I just met with Obed and Cesiah earlier this week, and I felt so encouraged hearing how the church is growing as they reach out in the community. They’ve had some obstacles to overcome. The church doesn’t have power yet. On Sundays they plug into their neighbors outlets.

The recent rain also slows down the progress. Yet God is on the move there in the community in Rosarito, Mexico.

Obed and Cesiah are very gifted and sensitive to the Holy Spirit as he guides and directs them. When we were together they shared stories about some of the new people who are coming to the church, and how the Lord is touching their lives. As Obed shared, “people are coming to church, because they want to find God. They want an encounter with him.”

Join Us In Prayer

The light of Christ is shining brightly in this community. This is one of the reasons we get attacked. It’s a reminder of how important prayer is. We need protection as do Obed and Cesiah.

Please join us in lifting up Obed and Cesiah as they reach out and share the love of Christ  with the community. Pray that the Lord will protect them and their family. Pray for our protection as well.

Dawn and I are in Juarez, Mexico this week training pastors and leaders in coaching.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Tragedy of Death and Hope in 2016
img_3511

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


The Two Sides of Cuba
img_5993

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
IMG_5825.JPG

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.

img_5902

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