Archive for the ‘Ministry Partners’ Category

Giving Thanks for our Wonderful Partners!

This morning I was reading Philippians 1, which is one of my favorite passages. Even though I’ve read it many times before today verses 4 and 5 jumped off the page, and especially the phrase, because of your partnership in the gospel.

Paul says he is thankful for the church and he is praying for them and then verse 5 says, “because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Phil. 1:5

It is my custom to pray in the morning for our ministry partners, and often the Lord gives me a passage or a word, something encouraging to share with them as I pray. Then I send a message to them letting them know that we are praying for them, and that the Lord encouraged me with this passage or this word today.

Our Growing Family & Redemption!

Dawn and I have grown to have a deep love for these partners, and many of them have become like family to us. We have partners in various cities in Cuba, Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. It seems like the net, the family keeps growing as we are beginning to develop relationships with pastors and leaders in Honduras and Guatemala as well. Only the Lord truly knows where these gospel centered relationships will take us.

I often feel when the Lord extends our family through these deep relationships that it’s a way He is redeeming our pain and all that we’ve suffered through the loss of our beautiful and dear daughter, Hannah.

It’s interesting to me that the passage that struck me this morning includes Philippians 1:6, which is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Our family decided to put verse 6 on Hannah’s tombstone.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 ESV

Renuevo – New Life in Ensenada

Last Sunday, Dawn and I along with her mom, her brother and his family joined us in Ensenada. We joined our new church plant Renuevo for their service. I preached on God’s goodness and his desire to have an intimate relationship with us from John 10. At the end of the service I led them in prayer and we celebrated the Lord’s supper together. I guided the church through a time of confession and forgiveness during our time of prayer. I love the opportunity to see people break down walls through the gospel which leads to confession, repentance, forgiveness and freedom in Christ.

The Lord gave us a wonderful and special time of celebration together!

When the service was over I talked to a new family that recently started attending the church as a result of our summer VBS. I noticed that they didn’t take communion with us, so I asked them about their relationship with Christ. This gave me the opportunity to share the gospel with them, and to lead them in prayer to receive Christ and confess their need for the only living and true Savior, Jesus Christ.

I love seeing people come to faith, and start their journey with Jesus!

After everyone had left Dawn and I went out for a meal with the leadership team of Renuevo, which is led by Pastor Petri and his wife, Yudy. Such a great group! We always enjoy the opportunity to break bread with them.

Our experience with them, reminded me of all of our dear partners in the gospel. People that we’ve grown to love, and who we have a strong and growing relationship with!

Extend Our Borders!

Paul writes about his deep love and the importance of his partnership with the church in Philippi. I echo his sentiment when he says the following in Philippians 1:7.

It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace…”

Dawn and I are so blessed and grateful to have such wonderful partners and a growing family in Ensenada, Tijuana, Mexicali, Mexico City and Beyond! The Lord has answered our prayers to see our borders expanded. Now we have close and growing partners beyond Mexico’s borders throughout Latin America.

I’m flying to Cuba this week to encourage and minister with our partners there. We covet your prayers, as the Lord continues to open more doors!

Thank you, Jesus! Your love overwhelms us at times, and we experience it in tangible ways through these relationships, through these partners in the gospel!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God is on the Move in Amazing Ways

I’m writing this as I fly from Mexico to Colombia, and by the time you read this I will be in Colombia. We are excited about all the Lord is doing in our lives right now!

There are periods when the ministry is slow and not as invigorating as we’d like. Yet during those times we have to stay at it, and continue to plant and water that we might see growth and fruit down the road. Dawn and I feel like we are in a period of growth now. We are reaping some of the fruit from the seed we have sown. There is so much going on in our family and in the ministry. God is on the move in some amazing ways.

Pastor Petri leading Renuevo Church

Over the last week I connected with four of the church planters we are working with, who are ministering all along the border. Sunday I was at the church plant in Ensenada, Renuevo. We celebrated the Lord’s supper together. It’s encouraging to see that church grow and mature.

I also connected with two of our new church planters, which is energizing for me. To see something new started, even though it requires more time and work it is thrilling.

Pastor Federico and Blanca getting set up for Mexicali

(From left to right) – Junior, Dámaris, Federico, Blanca, David & Daniel

On Monday I was with Federico, Blanca and their four children helping them to find furniture to get set up in Mexicali.

After we spent the day picking up some of the furniture they needed we were able to stop and have some tacos. I enjoyed spending time with the family and helping them get set up. Their 14 year old son, Daniel, said that the Lord was going to bless my life threefold. He said this as he observed me help his family and as I was able to be a blessing to them. Those words really touched me at a deep level, and I almost started to cry. I held it in, which maybe isn’t good. I guess it’s part of my struggle as a guy to show much emotion at times like that.

I genuinely enjoyed working with Federico and Blanca, and helping them to move into a nice place so that they can reach out in that community. Yet, the words of their son touched me in deep way. It was a moment that money can’t buy. They were simple words, but the Lord used the words of a young boy to minister to my spirit.

There are a lot of challenges to starting a church, and there is some stress that goes with it. I’m still raising money for this project, which in my weaker moments causes me to worry. Yet in the midst of this I’m excited and looking forward to what God is going to do. I think Federico, Blanca and their children are growing in their faith as they trust the Lord for his provision and to raise up this church.

Pastor Davis & Luz – A new church in Tijuana

Pastor Davis & some of the people we are working with in Tijuana. From left to right, Davis, David, Blanca, Stan, Aaron & Liliana

It also gave me great joy to meet with and encourage Pastor Davis and Luz as they are working towards planting a church in Tijuana. As I encourage and minister to them it strengthens me as well. God is so good to bless us when we serve him. I’m not saying that we don’t experience hardship on the journey, but rather that He is a good good Father and he desires to give good things to his children.

Jesus taught about this and he used the Father’s goodness as an example when he taught us to pray in the gospels.

Davis and Luz have been beaten down a lot in the ministry. The same could be said for Federico and Blanca. Unfortunately, many of the challenges that they’ve encountered have come from inside the church not from outside. It’s one of the reasons why we need new gospel centered, Spirit filled churches. We need to live out the love of Christ as we live and serve. This type of church is authentic Christianity and it is attractive to the watching world.

Join us in Prayer

Join us in prayer for these special friends who are chosen by God to serve him and to see the kingdom of God extended on the earth. We continue to pray that it will be on earth as it is in heaven. We know there is love and not hatred, jealousy and unkindness in heaven, so we pray that we will live out and experience this type of love on the earth.

There are two big requests that we have as we ask for prayer. One is that these couples get set up for healthy living situations, so that they can minister and reach out in the community. The other is for the provision that we still need in order to fund these church plants. Thanks so much for standing with us in prayer.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Work in Mitla

SIL Missionaries in Mitla, Oaxaca

I made it back home from my ministry trip to Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico. I must admit I’m tired, and it wasn’t an easy trip, but I’m encouraged by what the Lord did through my time in Oaxaca. It was amazing for me to get to know and learn more about the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) missionaries.

I was in the city of Mitla in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. SIL has a center there for much of the training and the translation they do. I enjoyed training the SIL missionaries and getting to know their stories.

Of course, while I was gone it seemed like the whole world’s attention was on the caravan arriving on the border. Which is ironic, since that’s where I live, but I wasn’t here when all the action was beginning.

My Highlights From Mitla

Ryan teaching a complicated (for me) training module on translation

One of the highlights for me was when one of the participants was leading his practice teaching session. He decided to do a lesson on some technical ideas related to translation. I was immediately lost. All the people at my table lit up with excitement and looked at me. I could tell that this was something they loved, and they take a healthy bit of pride in their trade.

They were so excited that they could help me as I looked on bewildered as Ryan led the session. I didn’t understand much of anything that they were talking about, but they assured me it was basic or beginners level. Well, even though I didn’t have a clue it was enjoyable to see them get so worked up about their craft.

The Many Languages of Mexico

Having some fun putting our learning to music

I learned during my time with my new friends that there are approximately 365 languages spoken in Mexico. That is the 5th highest number of languages spoken among all the countries in the world. The Bible has been translated in 150 of the languages in Mexico. SIL is currently working on 70 more languages. Some of the translations take 34 years or more, which is hard to imagine.

These missionaries go into villages with almost no access to the outside world for months at a time while they are working on the translation projects. Since I’ve always done my missionary work in large cities it’s hard to imagine living and working in these remote areas.

Join Us in Prayer

Mitla, known as the city of the dead

I thank the Lord for the work of SIL and the opportunity the Lord gave me to train and get to know these very committed servants. Dawn and I would appreciate your prayers for the ministry of SIL and for future opportunities to partner together with them and others for the kingdom.

We’d also appreciate your prayers as we head to Colorado this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with our two boys, David and Jonathan. Then our son Jonathan will be married on December 1, and I will be performing the wedding ceremony.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Multiplication in Mexico and Beyond

Group of Pastors and leaders that went through the Red de Multiplicación training in Comalcalco, Mexico near Villahermosa

This past week has been a special time for Dawn and me. On October 3, we landed in Villahermosa, Mexico, which is in southeastern Mexico. It’s the first time in all our years in Mexico that Dawn and I have spent any time in this part of Mexico. We enjoyed getting to know the people and learning about the ministry and the culture.

The first few days we helped lead some training on church health with a team of trainers with Red de Multiplicación, “Multiplication Ministries.” We’ve begun to partner with Red de Multiplicación as they are working with churches throughout Mexico and in many countries in Latin America. The Lord has used them to see more than 1,000 churches planted! We are thrilled to play a part in this movement!

An Increased Vision!

Dave leading a training module on small groups

Recently through prayer and a good friend’s prompting the Lord put it on my heart to be involved in helping to see at least 1,000 churches planted. Dawn and I believe the best way to do that is to collaborate and partner with other like minded ministries.

Over the last few years we’ve gotten to know the ministry of Red de Multiplicación and how they are ministering with many different denominations. It’s been refreshing to see the church focus on their main mission of making much of Christ, by proclaiming the gospel and discipling people into the kingdom. It’s unique in some ways, because each denomination maintains their distinctiveness, and they work towards their goals. Red de Multiplicación comes alongside them to help them with a greater vision for church planting, and to provide training.

This encourages Dawn and me. We believe it’s in part an answer to our prayer.

Praying for More: The Tip of the Iceberg

Ben Meyer who is a missionary and a leader for Red de Multiplicación in Mexico. He’s leading a training module on vision.

While we were in Villahermosa this last week we were working with pastors and leaders from the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in this part of the country. They are facing some challenges in seeing the church grow, yet there does seem to be a growing desire for more. This increased appetite for more is taking place among others as well. Our prayer is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Even though the church is growing, and churches are being planted there’s a need for so much more. We do pray that the Lord will bring increase.

Dave with the leaders from Quintana Roo, Mexico

After leaving Villahermosa I was able to go to Playa del Carmen for Mission to the World’s Americas area retreat. While here I was able to meet with another group of Presbyterian pastors and leaders who are interested in seeing more churches planted in this part of Mexico. They too would like to receive church planting training through Red de Multiplicación. Thank you, Jesus, and please continue to bring the increase!

When we see the Lord working in this way we can’t help but think the Lord is redeeming our daughter, Hannah’s early home-going. Now we’d also add our young friend, Mitchell to that list. The Lord is always working. He’s on the move!

I hope to write soon about some of the other amazing experiences Dawn an I had while we were in Villahermosa, Mexico.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Mourning for a Dear Friend

Our beautiful young friend Mitchell moved to heaven on October 1

Today my heart is heavy, because we lost a dear young friend. Our 15 year old friend, Mitchell was battling leukemia. Dawn and I were praying for her, and we truly believed the Lord was going to heal her. I envisioned writing a different post regarding Mitchell, about how the Lord miraculously healed her. There’s so much we don’t understand about life, but I have to go back to what I know to be true, that God is a God of love. He has a good plan for us, and not a plan for evil. He is in control, even when it seems that the world is out of control and that we are living in chaos.

Mitchell for me was a real hero!

Mitchell happy to receive her backpack for school

Each time Dawn and I saw her she had this big beautiful smile. She also had an amazingly positive attitude. It was hard to believe that she was so sick. It was difficult to comprehend that she was approaching death’s door.

She loved and she showed concern for the other patients and her doctors. She prayed for them and she shared the love of Christ with everyone she came in contact with in the hospital. It was impossible to miss her infectious, gentle and caring spirit. Mitchell was mature beyond her years!

One of her doctors was cold and hardened at times, and he shared with Mitchell and Miroslava that he didn’t believe in God. Yet, Mitchell and Miroslava lovingly shared with the doctor and he began to soften. Seed has been planted and the Lord has begun to work in his heart.

The last few times Dawn and I visited Mitchell in the hospital we had the opportunity to pray with one of the other young patients, Erwin. He joined with us as we prayed. Also, a young girl who was in the bed next to Mitchell was crying and weeping loudly from her pain. We could see the concern for her in Mitchell’s eyes. She was such a loving and gentle young woman.

Then Dawn went over to comfort the young girl. Dawn prayed with her and began to show her Christ’s love.

When we left the hospital on that day Mitchell was weak, but we didn’t think it would be the last time we’d see her on this side of heaven. The young girl next to Mitchell said as we left, “God is going to heal me.” We do pray that he will. I believe that the Lord was using all the prayer, as we know that Mitchell and her mom where praying day and night, to raise the level of hope in that hospital.

Mitchell’s Strong Faith

Mitchell loved to pray and on this day she prayed with us for Juan who has problems with his kidneys, and the Lord ministered to Juan through Mitchell

I admire Mitchell’s strong faith in the midst of such difficult circumstances. I told Mitchell that she was like Daniel in the Bible. Daniel was a young man taken into captivity when he was about 15 years old, the same age as Mitchell. Daniel maintained his strong faith, and became a man of influence in Babylon.

That’s why or one of the reasons Mitchell is my hero, and why I admire he so much!

God’s Comfort in Times of Pain

The last two days I was with Mitchell’s family: her dad, Salvador; her mom, Miroslava; her sister, Kenia along with other family and friends. It was so hard to see their tears. Their deep and painful sorrow as they mourn. I prayed with them and sought to encourage them in Christ.

Yesterday they brought Mitchell’s body to their home and in the evening they had the wake. My good friends, Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol minister at the church that Salvador and Miroslava attend. Victor and Sol have walked through this painful journey with the family. The whole church has been coming together weekly to pray for Mitchell’s healing. Both Victor and Sol shared the love of Christ at the funeral service. It was a message of hope. I’m proud of Victor and Sol for the important work they do in the community of Plan Libertador.

They gave me an opportunity to share as well. It was so hard, but I’m grateful for the Lord’s grace that sustains me and the hope we have in Christ. Sol told me that I could minister to them in a special way, because of what Dawn and I went through with Hannah. I’m grateful the Lord can redeem our experience in this way. It also brought up some painful memories for me as we approach our daughter, Hannah’s 2 year mark of her moving to heaven.

Mourning for Mitchell and her Family

They held the wake in the front of Salvador & Miroslava’s home in Rosarito

As I was leaving Salvador and Miroslava’s home I felt so sad and concerned for the family. Even though I wasn’t crying at the time, in some ways it was like an overwhelming hopeless feeling. Even as I write this the tears start to well up in my eyes as I think of this precious family and the journey before them. Dawn and I have grown to love this family. We are deeply concerned for their well being.

Dawn and I personally know the grief they are passing through. The pain of losing a child, and I think there’s nothing more painful for a parent to go through. And I realize our children aren’t “lost”, but at times it feels that way. As I mentioned we are coming up on two years with Hannah, and there are still days that I feel heavy as I miss her.

I felt for the family as I left. I wondered whether they would be able to bear the pain and to sustain their faith in the midst of this fiery trial. I wish there was something more I could do to spare them. At that moment the Lord gently reminded me that he was able and that he would sustain them. I felt His peace at that moment.

Thank you Lord for that assurance. You are truly a good God.

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Earlier that day, on Tuesday morning, the day after Mitchell moved to heaven the Lord directed me to read Psalm 118 and I found it very comforting. The words found there gave me hope, and reminded me of the Lord’s unfailing love.

In the first four verses of Psalm 118 the Psalmist repeats the phrase, “His steadfast love endures forever.” The Lord is encouraging his people his church to remember and to declare the truth that, “His steadfast love endures forever!” If God is for us who can be against us? We have victory in Christ. We are more than overcomers. This is all true for those in Christ, Hallelujah and Amen!

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalms‬ ‭118:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Cry of Our Heart!

Pastor Victor and Sol with Sofia

Pastor Victor and Sol with Sofia

One of the cries of our heart is for more of the Lord. A greater presence and power as we live and love. We have this confidence that the Lord hears our prayers. Dawn and I pray that this will not only be true of us but of those that we minister with. “O Lord, in your grace pour out your Spirit in a greater measure upon us and those we serve with.”

God’s Good Work Through Ministerios Transformación

Pastor Victor Bravo encouraging his congregation!

Pastor Victor Bravo encouraging his congregation!

Recently I wrote about our good friends, Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife Sol. Dawn and I enjoy being with them, seeing and experiencing how God is moving among them. This last Sunday we worshipped with Victor and Sol and their congregation. We celebrated Victor’s birthday along with the church. Our Mexican friends love the fiesta, and we’ve grown to love it as well.

Pastor Victor and Sol are a part of a larger network of churches called, Ministerios Transformación. I’ve written about this ministry before. We’ve helped them plant 6 churches over the last 6 years, and we’ve also helped them in other ways through training, coaching, and encouragement.

The last church we planted in Mexicali, which we built in our daughter, Hannah’s memory is part of Ministerios Transformación.

A Big Vision – 50 Churches

Pastor Daniel Nuñez praying for Pastor Victor

Pastor Daniel Nuñez praying for Pastor Victor

The lead pastor for Ministerios Transformación is Daniel Nuñez. Daniel was also at the church on Sunday and he preached a message from Hebrews on the importance of working with and supporting the pastor in the church. Daniel is a man of vision, and any time he has a chance to share with others he cast his vision to plant 50 churches. When I first met Daniel 8 years ago he had planted 7 churches, and in just a few weeks they will be planting number 37! Wow! That’s exciting! Thank you, Jesus!

Dawn and I enjoy the opportunity to partner with Daniel and Victor and Sol to help them make their dream, their vision a reality. Our prayer, as well as theirs, is that these churches aren’t just lifeless buildings, but vibrant centers of grace that bring light into communities. We realize to do that we all need much grace and a powerful move of God’s Spirit among the people.

Making a Difference in the Community

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol, who is a trained psychologist with years of experience working in some of the best schools in Rosarito and Tijuana is reaching out in the community by tutoring children. Sol loves what she does. She’s passionate about it. She was making a good salary working for the school system. Yet, she was willing to put all that aside to use her skills to love on needy children in the community. Dawn and I were able to visit Sol with her students recently, and it was fun to see her at work.

Lives are literally being changed as Victor and Sol along with the people in their church show the love of Christ in the community of Plan Libertador. Victor and Sol are an awesome representative of what the other churches in the network of Ministerios Transformación are doing. We give thanks for them, and for how the Lord is working. He truly does hear our prayer! Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Making a Difference in Plan Libertador

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Dawn and I are truly enriched to have such wonderful friends and partners that we minister alongside. Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol have blessed us in so many ways! We continually give thanks for them and lift them up in prayer.

Four years ago the Lord brought us together, and we helped Victor and Sol build and start their new church. The Lord has been working through them and the ministry of the church as they seek to make a difference in the community. Both of them have a lot of energy and they possess many gifts.

One of the ways the church is seeking to make a difference in the community of Plan Libertador is they are tutoring students after school. Sol is a trained psychologist and has worked for many years with children in the school system in Tijuana. Since they planted the church she’s wanted to give more time to outreach in the community. She is truly making a difference in the lives of these students and their families.

Dawn and I were able to visit Sol this week, and it filled our hearts to see the bright smiles on the face of each young person there.

Victor also is meeting with and working with the community leaders, so that the church has an active voice and influence in Plan Libertador. He just met with these leaders this week and planned to pray with them as they met. I love Victor and Sol’s boldness and enthusiasm for the gospel.

The Power of Prayer

Dawn with Miroslava and her daughter, Mitchell

Dawn with Miroslava and her daughter, Mitchell

There’s also the powerful presence of the Lord in their church and those that they are ministering to. Some of the families in their church are going through some real tough trials. I’ve mentioned before 15-year-old Mitchell, who is battling with leukemia.

Mitchell has great faith for a young person going through such a trial. Every time we go to visit her in the hospital to pray with her, she has a beautiful smile on her face. Mitchell says that our visits and our prayers encourage her, and give her peace, but Dawn and I always leave astonished and strengthened by her faith. We are believing the Lord for her healing. We’ve seen the Lord work in her life and bring a measure of healing, but we are looking to Jesus for complete and total healing.

Mitchell was in the hospital in February when we first met her family. We prayed for her, and in a miraculous fashion, in just a few days she was able to leave the hospital. The doctor told Mitchell’s, parents, Miroslava and Salvador that they thought she was going to die in a few days. That was back in February. We were so encouraged when the Lord answered our prayers, and brought her a measure of healing, but battle rages on.

Join Us in Prayer!

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Join Mitchell’s parents, along with Victor and Sol and the church as we lift up Mitchell and her family in prayer. Mitchell is in the hospital again receiving treatment for her leukemia. We cry out to the Lord from whom our help comes from. He is our healer, our deliverer, and our strong tower!

Pray for Victor and Sol as they minister to those in their church, and as they love on and reach out in their community.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org