Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

The Man of Sorrows

Isaiah refers to Christ as the man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief in Isaiah 53:3.

The passion of Christ – pinterest hearhim.net. This picture is gruesome. It’s hard to look at. I questioned whether I should post it or not, but this is the very thing we wrestle with understanding Christ’s suffering for our sins!

I feel that often I shied away from focusing on this aspect of Christ. There’s part of me that reacts like Peter when I think of Christ’s suffering.

When Jesus told the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed, Peter took him aside and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Then Jesus responded and he rebuked Peter. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:22-23 ESV)

The reason I can see myself identifying with Peter is there’s a part of me that believes the hero of the story should not die. This is one of the reasons we like movies that have a strong hero, or even a super hero. These leaders conquer their foe.

Christ Conquers Sin, Death & Satan on the Cross

At first glance it appears like Christ is losing, that he is being conquered when he is hanging on the cross of Calvary. And if the story ended on Friday it indeed would be a sad story. This story is different, the one who for a while seems to have lost is raised on the third day, so that we might have life.

This brings me great comfort and I hope it brings you comfort as well. This hero is different. He died so that we might live. He bore our griefs and he carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities as the prophet Isaiah foresees 600 years before the actual crucifixcion. His suffering brings us peace, healing and hope.

How could we make it in this world without hope.

The passion of Christ from Pinterest hearhim.net. The gentle Christ. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Dawn and I along with David and Jonathan have become acquainted with grief when Hannah moved to heaven. Jesus does comfort us in our grief and he gives us hope. He walks with us in the journey. He truly is our savior, even though we’ve gone astray and went our own way. He runs after us in his divine grace and draws us in.

If you have yet to trust this Christ, the suffering one, who died on the cross for your sins I would encourage you to do it today. Then you will experience the true peace that Christ came to bring. He will make you more than a conqueror. There are so many good and wonderful promises in the Bible for those who do believe. These promises are all yes and amen!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our Familia in Cuba Needs Our Prayers!

Mario & Yani with their team of church planters

Our familia – Mario & Yani with their team of church planters. From the top left moving clockwise: Junior & Kendra with Mario & Yany; Jorge & Rachel with Dave; Mario & Yany with Dave; Dave next to Yoiset & Osmeiki

Yesterday (Sunday), Cuba held an election to legalize gay marriage. The results of the election are to be released today. I decided to write about this because it is affecting many of my friends, our familia in Cuba.

Some of the pastors in Cuba are undergoing persecution because the church is opposing the legalization of gay marriage. While I was with my friends a couple of weeks ago, they told me what was going on, and it concerns me. We need to be praying for our brothers and the church in Cuba.

The Challenges of Dealing with the LGBT Agenda

Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Pastor Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the gay LGBT agenda making headway around the world. I’m willing to admit that the church has done a poor job of showing love to the LGBT community. We’ve struggled to figure out how to lovingly show that we do not agree with the LGBT lifestyle. I mean the Bible calls it sin, yet there are many other sins the Bible refers to, and in those cases, we seem to more effectively show love and grace to the person without agreeing with what he or she is doing. This is something the church has to do a better job addressing.

I don’t want to focus so much on the overall problem of the church and the LGBT community in this post. My focus here is what’s going on in Cuba and how we can pray for our brothers and sisters there.

While I was in Cuba I learned that the government allowed the gay community to hold a march and to also hold a huge rally in a stadium supporting their cause. When the church asked for the same privilege they were denied.

The church sent a letter to the governing officials stating their case and asking for the opportunity to represent for their view in public. They wanted to present their side of the argument, but they were denied. They were not allowed to organize a march and they were not allowed to hold a rally.

It’s interesting that in 1960 when things shifted dramatically in Cuba that pastors, Catholic clergy and homosexuals were imprisoned. This left the church without their main leaders for a number of years. Most families didn’t even know where these pastors were for three years or more. We can also see the cultural shift here, at one point the government saw the homosexual community as a threat to their society. Now there has been this huge swing, and they are actually promoting the LGBT agenda. They have denied the right of the church to promote what the Bible teaches about the family.

Our Battle is Spiritual

Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

I think that in large part this is the agenda of the god of this world. He is the enemy of the church and the enemy of our soul. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6 that our struggle, our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

Our friends many of whom refer to us as part of their family have come under oppression during these days because they have refused to support the LGBT lifestyle.

I must admit barring a miracle this new law allowing gay marriage is going to pass. Of course, our God is a God of miracles so he can do the impossible.

Great Sacrifices Made for the Gospel

Some of the wonderful friends the Lord has given us that have become family

Some of our wonderful friends that the Lord has given us who have become family. What a precious gift they are!

My heart goes out to our family on this small island. They’ve suffered so much for the sake of the gospel. They’ve made sacrifices so that the gospel might be proclaimed. Sacrifices that most of us can’t even conceive of. Dawn and I admire their commitment to Christ and his church. I feel that it challenges our faith in a good way.

The church in Cuba is growing in large part, because of their willingness to serve and minister despite the huge costs. Christ paid the ultimate price so that we might have life. They are following in Christ’s footsteps so that others might hear the good news and come to faith. I give thanks to the Lord for their example and their amazing faith and commitment to follow Jesus.

Join us in Prayer!

Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Join us in praying for our Cuban familia, made up of many pastors and leaders and those under their care. Pray that the church continues to grow despite the opposition and that the Lord sustains the pastors, especially those who are experiencing persecution. We live in this crazy mixed up world, where men wear beautiful gowns (see Oscars Ceremony Sunday night) and people call wrong right and right wrong.

Our hope is that Jesus is on the throne. He rules! Jesus promised us in this world we would have many trials, but he also said cheer up, because I have overcome the world! (John 16:33) Thank you, Jesus!

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