Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

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

The Joy of a Changed Life!

Pastor Ivan with the people from the church who were baptized

On Sunday, September 16th Mexico celebrated their independence. The church also celebrated our liberty. Christ makes us free!

One of the most gratifying things in life and ministry is seeing a life transformed. This Sunday Dawn and I joined our good friends Pastor Ivan & Rocio Casados and their church for a special day of celebration. While we were with them we heard the testimony of eight people who had given their lives to Christ. Then we saw their joy and excitement as they were baptized.

God in his grace and mercy had touched each of these new believers with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Margarito and Lizet’s Testimony

Margarito and Lizet

Ivan introduced Dawn and me to Margarito and Lizet. The Lord brought them to the church 6 months ago. They were walking along the road and they noticed a group building a home on a hill in the neighborhood. The group was very friendly and they asked Margarito and Lizet if they would like some tacos. They said, “sure.”

The friendliness of the group was attractive to Margarito and Lizet, so when they invited them to visit their church they agreed to come. Ivan didn’t know it at the time, but his new friends were going through tremendous struggles. They were constantly fighting, and getting on each other’s nerves. They were also very poor, and they were having a hard time staying in business selling their products. It’s seemed like everything was stacked against them.

Margarito and Lizet decided to give the church a try. When they visited the church they found a loving group of people. As Ivan and Rocio begin to minister to the couple they noticed the problems they were going through, but they knew that Christ has the power to restore. Ivan and Rocio sowed the seed of the gospel and Margarito and Lizet were ripe for the gospel.

When Dawn and I talked to Margarito and Lizet they were smiling and seemed to be genuinely happy and in love. They told us how much they used to fight, and how the Lord had graciously delivered them.

God’s Grace Brings About Change!

Pastor Ivan sharing the good news of Christ!

The other people that were being baptized also had inspiring testimonies. God is on the move in this church and beyond!

This is the reason we plant churches. It’s not to have a nice building, but because these churches are sharing the love of Christ, which is creating real life transformation. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for your faithfulness!

Continue to pray for Ivan and Rocio as they reach out in the community of Valle Verde and Bosque de Ribera.

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

The Joy of Serving Jesus!
The View from Monte Sinai church and the people worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

The View from Monte Sinai church and the people worshipping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

One of the principle joys that Dawn and I share in our ministry on the Border and Beyond is all the pastors and wonderful leaders we meet and get to work with. It’s humbling for us to come alongside so many servants of God who love and suffer for the work of Christ.

They may not have a big and bustling ministry, but the Lord is there and He is working through His people. These ministers and their churches are making an impact in the communities they serve in. We love ministering with these friends.

This last week Dawn and I visited a church on a hill on the outskirts of Tijuana. The church, Monte Sinai has a beautiful view of the city. It reminded me of the verse that says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14, ESV).

Pastor Deivis Pardo and Luz
David & Dawn with Luz and Deivis. Wonderful friends and ministers of the gospel

David & Dawn with Luz and Deivis. Wonderful friends and ministers of the gospel

Our friends Pastor Deivis Pardo and his wife, Luz are serving at this church. I enjoyed watching them in action. The church has a number of young people who are very active and involved in the life of the church. Some of them attended the worship workshop that we held in June. Dawn and I loved being able to worship with them, and we felt the presence of the Spirit as we worshipped.

Pastor Deivis invited me to preach. I love encouraging people to grow and to live out their faith as I share with them. I felt like they responded well to my message, which is wonderful. It’s so good to see the Lord work in His church!

Ministering Through the Word and Prayer
Dave preaching at Monte Sinai Church in Tijuana

Dave preaching at Monte Sinai Church in Tijuana

After the service, I invited the people to pray. First, I asked them to all join me in prayer, and then I told them if they’d like any more special prayer that Dawn and I would like to pray with them. It’s often during this time that we see God breakthrough in a person’s life.

This service was no different as we prayed and ministered to some of our new friends that came to us with their needs. I won’t share here all that they told us and asked us to pray for, but I would like to share part of what we experienced. After we spent some time praying with one of the lovely young women she told us that she felt like her heart was being tickled. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say anything quite like that before, but it sounds good!

I pray that more people will feel like their heart is being tickled after we pray for them. We pray for more! A greater outpouring on us and on those that we minister to. We pray that this church will truly be like a city set on a hill. A Church where people know that Jesus’ love emanates.

Thank you, Lord for the Joy of serving you, and the wonderful people that we serve with.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Fun-filled Week of VBS
Many smiles - a fun filled week on VBS in Ensenada

Many smiles – a fun-filled week on VBS in Ensenada

One of the favorite parts of our summer for the last 5 years in a row has been when the group from Skyview comes from Colorado to help us run VBS in Ensenada, Mexico. It’s a super busy week for us, but it’s a great time. The thing I most enjoy from the week are the stories. The stories of grace as I hear from the teachers and those leading the VBS how the Lord is working in the life of the children and their families.

A Changed Life!
Aideliz on the far right with her group of students

Aideliz on the far right with her group of students

One of our teacher’s this year, Aideliz shared with me what became my favorite story of grace from this year’s VBS. Aideliz told me that on the first day she asked the students to write down some words on a banner to describe who God is. One of the children, Adrian didn’t write anything. Aideliz asked Adrian why he hadn’t written anything down. He responded by saying, “I don’t believe in God, so there is nothing to write down.”

Aideliz prayed for Adrian and showed him and the other children in her class the love of Christ during the week. All of those involved, the group from Denver as well as those from the local church, are very loving.

The end of the week came and Aideliz asked Adrian what he thought about God. He said, “Now I believe.” Then Aideliz went on to tell Adrian how much God loved him, and how he gave his life for him. Adrian was just one of many children who were literally transformed by the gospel during the week.

The Love of Christ Taught and Lived Out
Our group of teachers and volunteers that ran the VBS

Our group of teachers and volunteers that ran the VBS

It’s not just the lessons that were taught about Jesus, but also the love that Aideliz and the other teachers and volunteers showed to Adrian and the rest of the children.

Since Renuevo is a new church plant they are reaching families that are unchurched, so many of the children that come to the VBS either don’t believe or they just haven’t had much of an opportunity to hear the good news.

On the final night of the VBS, we had a meeting with the parents, and a number of parents came. Petri, who is the pastor of the church explained to the parents what they were teaching during the week, as well as thanking the parents for entrusting their children to Petri and the team. After the meeting, some of the those that came expressed interest in attending the church the following Sunday. That’s part of our goal to show the love of Jesus to the people and to create a bridge for the gospel.

One of the many fun games that the children enjoyed!

One of the many fun games that the children enjoyed!

Continue to Pray for Bridges for the Gospel in Ensenada

Thank you for praying with us for Pastor Petri, his wife Yudy and his team from Renuevo. Pray that the Lord will continue to open doors and create bridges for the gospel in Ensenada. God is on the move!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org