Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

An Amazing Day!
The Hannah Diaso Memorial Church just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

The Hannah Diaso Memorial Church just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

I find it next to impossible to fully express our experience in building the memorial church for our daughter, Hannah. It was wonderful, but it also brought a wide range of emotions.

I felt sad and happy, I felt sorrow and joy, I felt grief and hopeful. On top of all those emotions, I also felt a sense of pride that we could build the church in a community just outside of Mexicali, Mexico. I felt very loved by all those who participated. The Lord gave us about 60 in all counting those that came from both sides of the border.

So Much Love!

Many participated in building the church on a hot day just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

Many participated in building the church on a hot day just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

At the end of the first day, I told one of our Mexican friends, Sol Carrola how much it meant to me that she came all the way from Tijuana to help us build the church. We helped Sol and her husband, Victor to build a now thriving church in Rosarito three years ago. I’m going to be preaching at their three-year anniversary celebration service this Sunday.

I told Sol that I felt very loved that she was helping out, and as I expressed my gratitude I started to cry. She told me that they did love us, and wanted my family and me to feel loved. I started crying even more. God is so good to us!

Thankful for All Who Joined Us!
Jonathan & David working hard on the church

Jonathan & David working hard on the church

Both David and Jonathan, our two boys were able to fly out to be with us and help us build the church. Also David’s girlfriend, Emily and Jonathan’s girlfriend, Hannah joined in the fun. Chivis, our close friend from Mexico City, who was one of Hannah’s closest friends flew out to join us. Jim DeWitt a close friend, and also a colleague with Mission to the World made the trip from Michigan to show his love and support. Marissa, who Hannah knew from Colorado came from St. Louis.

My 82-year-old dad got on a plane and came down from Fresno. When my dad told me he was coming I about started crying. When I told Dawn and the boys that grandpa was coming they cried as well. It’s a miracle that my dad could be with us. Last year on March 1 or thereabouts I received a phone call from my mom telling that the doctor said that my dad only had 6 months to a year to live. God has healed my dad! One of the last doctor’s reports he received, the doctor said that the cancer was regressing. The doctor went on to say that it must be divine intervention because it wasn’t because of anything he had done! God is so good!

Elissa and Dawn along with other friends and family

Elissa and Dawn along with Stephany, Kim, Jonathan, Hannah, and Emily with some of the local children

There were also other close friends that joined us locally. Two of Hannah’s friends from her IMPACT 195 discipleship came, Elissa and Stephany. Some of my best friends from Mexico also joined us.

The Impact and Legacy of Hannah’s Life
Praying for Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna as we gave them the keys to the church!

Praying for Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna as we gave them the keys to the church!

As we shared at the end of the time and reflected some on Hannah’s life, one of the things that was mentioned over and over was how loving and welcoming Hannah was. Our prayer is that this new church will bring life to the community and that all who come will feel welcome!

Both of my boys have expressed that they would much rather visit this church and remember Hannah than to go out to the cemetery to remember her.

We believe that this is going to be a life-giving church. Our family and those that joined us enjoyed getting to know Pastor Mere and his wife Edna. God is going to use them in a powerful way as they plant this church. Join us in praying for them. The inauguration service for the church will be on Sunday, May 6th.

On behalf of my family, I want to thank all who prayed for us as we prepared for this big project. I want to thank all who gave, and there were many. We give thanks for you, and we give thanks to the Lord!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

Mixed Emotions on This Day
One of our goals for 2018 is to build a church in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

Our daughter, Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

Today is a special day in the life of our family. Under normal circumstances, this would be a day of celebration. You see, on this day, April 9 my daughter, Hannah would have turned 24. The key phrase there is “would have,” but Hannah moved to heaven on October 18, 2016.

Now it is a day with mixed emotions!

Sorrow & Hope!
Hannah #AHannahPercent

Hannah We love you #AHannahPercent

Dawn and I along with our boys, David and Jonathan continue to give thanks for Hannah. We are grateful she was born. We give thanks for all she has meant to us, and the gift she is and was to us. Yet, there is also sadness and sorrow, because she is no longer here. As much as we wish we could, we can not change the fact that she has gone on ahead of us to be with the Lord.

For believers mourning is strange, in that, on the one hand, we have hope. All is not lost. We will see Hannah again! Hallelujah! Hannah is experiencing the greatest celebration possible today! Yet, because we love her so dearly we miss her. Each of my family members wishes we could take her out for a meal today, buy her a birthday cake and watch her joyfully blow out the candles. We would love to buy a gift for her and watch her open it.

Rather we are forced to wait. It’s not easy to wait. We do grieve, we do mourn, but not as those without hope.

The strange thing is on these days that should be days of celebration they become days of reflection. Days to remember what once was, and even what we dreamt for together.

Don’t get me wrong there are many good memories when I think about my daughter’s short life. These good memories are mingled in with some painful moments as well. It’s a mixed bag.

Tough Questions
Our last picture as a family together before Hannah moved to heaven

Our last picture as a family together before Hannah moved to heaven

I find that from time to time I want to ask, “Why?” “Why, Lord?” Why did this happen?” “Where were you in the midst of it all?”

I realize although these questions are inevitable, they are not good questions to focus on. The Lord was definitely with us in the midst of it all, even though it didn’t always seem like it. He has assured me of that, and he has said that he will never leave me nor forsake me. I believe those words are true.

The why questions are harder.

I’m not sure if the Lord will ever fully answer that question this side of heaven. We live in a broken world marred by sin. All of creation groans until the day of redemption. We are not the only ones who are crying out to the Lord as we grieve. We groan and we wait for the redemption as Romans 8:22-23 states.

Good Memories, Longing for More

On these days I find it harder to reflect on the good memories of Hannah. I’m not sure why? As I write this, I’m processing and in a sense thinking out loud. There are many good memories, but I think I just miss her so much, so even the good memories cause an ache of sorts.

My son, David wrote a wonderful reflection about his sister today. He shares many positive memories he has of Hannah. Although I cried as I read it, I found it encouraging. It’s worth checking out, My Little Sister.

I often think of King David after his young son died. David said he will not return to me, but one day I will go to him. That’s my hope to see my savior face to face and to see my daughter again one day.

The Lord is My Rock!
Dave with Hannah - My beautiful daughter that I love

Dave with Hannah – My beautiful daughter that I love. We had a special relationship. I do miss her so much.

Thank you, Lord, that you are near the broken hearted. You are with my family and me in our pain. You are carrying us through the valley of the shadow of death. You have a purpose, and it is a good purpose even if I don’t understand it.

When I reflect and think about our life and our grief it always comes back to our rock. He’s the rock of our salvation!

For some reason, this reminds me that a dear friend today, who I love encouraged me to be strong. In some instances, it could be hurtful to say something like that, but as I read those words I felt loved. I started to cry as I read those words, because I know the friend that wrote them loves Dawn and me, and that they look up to us. They want to encourage us.

Also, I realize that being strong doesn’t mean that I don’t cry, or that I don’t get sad or mourn. It means that even though “my world” may be falling apart around me that I keep my eyes on Jesus. He’s my rock. He lifts me up. He says that when I am weak then I am strong! I rejoice in my refuge in whom I run to in times of need.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me, for loving my family in the midst of all the pain, and what at times even seems like hell on earth. Yet, this is temporary. It will soon pass!

“For this momentary affliction is peparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparision, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18 ESV)

Dawn, David Jr., Jonathan and I thank you for going on this journey with us. It’s not an easy one, so thank you for staying with us through all the ups and downs. God is good! So Good!!

The Hannah Diaso Memorial Church

We are excited to build the church in Hannah’s memory this week. Please pray for us as we make the final preparations and work with our friends at Ministerios Transformación to see this new church bring the light of Christ into a community filled with many needs.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

More Loss in Oaxaca
These two ladies, Alicia and Laura lost their home in the Earthquake. They are standing on the foundation of what once was Laura’s home.

These two ladies, Alicia and Laura lost their home in the Earthquake. They are standing on the foundation of what once was Laura’s home.

Last week I wrote about the two cities I visited outside of Mexico City that suffered much loss during the earthquakes. One church in Jojutla that was totally destroyed. The shock waves that came from the quake caused major structural damage to the other church we visited in Joquicingo. I visited those two churches on the first two days.

The next two and a half days I visited the people in the State of Oaxaca. This part of Mexico was hit very hard by the earthquakes. Even the aftershocks were bad. The people told me one day the aftershocks started at 7 AM and they lasted all day until about 4 PM. This was after many had lost their homes, and endured the loss of loved ones.

Can you imagine the fear that would cause? The panic?

Thousands of Homes Destroyed
Some of the people I met in Ixtepec from one of the churches

Some of the people I met in Ixtepec from one of the churches

The first city we visited was Ixtepec. Our new friends told us that close to 2,000 homes were destroyed during the earthquake in this city. We met some of the people who lost their homes. They are having to make due until they can rebuild. One of them Laura is staying with some friends. The government is helping many people rebuild, but Laura was denied government assistance, because of the way her home was built.

Wow! I felt horrible for the people there. The earthquake causes lasting damage, and it takes people a long time to climb out of the hole they find themselves in.

Laura is not the only person that was left without a home and without help. While we were visiting a number of disgruntled citizens organized a protest and they were blocking the highway because they wanted the government to do another assessment of the damage done. They felt like they needed more help, and I’m sure that many of them do.

The Church – A Place of Refuge

Later that evening we went to Tehuantepec and visited a church there, Jesus of Nazareth church. This church was damaged, but not nearly as severely as the churches I visited the previous day. The interesting thing about this church is they became a center for other churches and organizations to send aid, and they began to distribute food and other necessities in the surrounding area. Always good to see the light of Christ shine in the midst of dark and difficult places.

Horrible to Think of the Loss of so Many Lives!
Juchitán is close to the epicenter and the city suffered much loss

Juchitán is close to the epicenter and the city suffered much loss

The next day we visited a few more cities, and one of the cities we saw was Juchitan. 300 people died during the earthquake in Juchitan. My friends, who were from the church that had helped with outreach said that it was like a large funeral as so many people in the city were mourning their loved ones. As we walked through the city we could see piles of debris from all the fallen homes and buildings.

A government building on the town square of Juchitán that was damaged

A government building on the town square of Juchitán that was damaged

It was shocking, and it saddened my heart to think of all the loss. I mean my family knows loss since our daughter recently moved to heaven. Yet I can’t imagine losing so many people at the same time, plus losing the comfort of your home. What do you do? Where do you go?

The Light of Christ Shines Brightly in the Darkness

Thankfully the church was there in the time of need, and they are still doing what they can to help and to share the love of Christ.

I’ve learned we don’t always have all the answers to life’s hard questions. We don’t always know why? Yet, God is there. The Lord demonstrates His love through His people. We rejoice in His good work.

Continue to pray with me for these dear people who suffered so much loss. Many of them still do not know Jesus. We pray that their eyes will be opened!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God Works in the Midst of Loss
Dave with Pastor Adolfo Arias, Mario Silva and Pastor Amador Lopez in front of the church that is being rebuilt in Jojutla

Dave with Pastor Adolfo Arias, Mario Silva and Pastor Amador Lopez in front of the church that is being rebuilt in Jojutla

Last week I experienced both heart wrenching and heartwarming emotions as I visited the areas that were hit the hardest by the Mexico earthquakes. It was heart wrenching to see the lost homes, churches and businesses. There were also lives that were lost.

Even in the midst of all the heartache and sorrow I heard stories of redemption that truly warmed my heart. It was so good to see first hand how the church was reaching out in the their community.

On September 19, 1985 a catastrophic earthquake hit Mexico City, and 10,000 lives were lost. Many of my friends lived through that tragedy, so the memories are still very real. With this new set of earthquakes that again fell in September one of them on the 19th and the other on the 7th in 2017, it not only caused a lot of damage, but it frayed nerves. I sensed while I was there that many were fearful that there may still be more earthquakes to come.

My friends told me how Mexico came together and united after these earthquakes. They all pitched in and helped those in need.

Total Loss in Jojutla
On February 25th they laid the cornerstone and inaugurated the new church they are building in Jojutla

On February 25th they laid the cornerstone and inaugurated the new church they are building in Jojutla

One of the areas I visited was Jojutla which is about three hours from Mexico City in the State of Morelos. The church there, which is called Principe de Paz, “Prince of Peace,” was totally destroyed. There was nothing left, and they have had to start rebuilding from the foundation up.

Yet, even in the midst of their sadness and sorrow over their loss they began to reach out in the community. Donations came in and they were able to provide meals to people in need until December 15th. The love of Christ was displayed in a powerful way through the church. New families have come to Christ as a result of their loving outreach.

Rebuilding in Joquicingo
Some of the damage to the church caused by the earthquake in Joquicingo

Some of the damage to the church caused by the earthquake in Joquicingo

In another town we visited Joquicingo in the State of Mexico, which was also about 3 hours from Mexico City close to Toluca. The church there was not destroyed, but the columns holding up the church were badly damaged, so they are having to rebuild and reinforce the church. They believe that it will take them a year to finish rebuilding.

Twenty two people in this church also lost their homes. Yet despite the loss and hardship sister churches rallied around them and sent them aid. The hospital in the city was damaged, so they were able to organize medical brigades as other churches came to their aid. They opened a farmacy in the church, since the hospital was not able to provide the medicine that many of the people needed. They said that there is still a shortage of insulin for those with diabetes, and they continue to help the people in the community.

Joquicingo, Mexico

Joquicingo, Mexico

The love shown by the church was attractive, and this church has also seen new people come into the church and come to faith.

I loved the opportunity to meet the people, and to encourage them and pray for them. When you are going through a trial, it helps to know that there are others who are concerned for your welfare.

My prayer for these two churches and these two communities is that the love of Christ would continue to shine as they rebuild again, and they climb out of the rubble all around them.

In my next post I will write about the churches and places we visited in the State of Oaxaca. That’s where many lives were lost, because they were so close to the epicenter.

Continue to pray with me for these dear friends who lost much, and who are seeking to show the love of Christ in communities that are hurting and in need of a Savior.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Spirit is on the Move in Mexico City
Mario & Silvia with their son, Daniel

Mario & Silvia with their son, Daniel

Dawn and I are seeking to grow in being more sensitive to the Spirit as we go through the day. We are realizing more and more that much of ministry happens in the unplanned moments as we go through our day.

I’m in Mexico City this week! I love this city, because of all our friends here and the many years we lived here.

On Friday Mario Silva and I went out for breakfast at the local VIPS so we could talk. Well, we ordered and just began to eat our breakfast when I noticed a woman sitting at a table near us, and she was crying. I asked her if she was okay, and she said that she was going through a really hard time. Mario and I invited her to sit with us.

We soon found out that her name was Gaby. When we asked her what was going on, through tears she shared, that her husband who is a successful doctor has been sleeping around. Gaby went on to say that she found out recently that he was using Cocaine.

She was broken.

The Love of Christ Lifts Us Out of the Pit

4A5A59BE-5936-4084-8D85-1694D35DE032Mario and I began to share with her how much God loved her, and that was part of the reason she sat near us that morning. It was in the Lord’s loving plan for her to meet us, so we could share the love of Christ with her, and give her hope.

Then after we spent some time with her encouraging her, we also shared the gospel with her, and we told her the only way to fix her life was to let Christ into it. That’s where it all begins!

We asked Gaby if she would like to pray with us to receive Christ and she said yes! I had the privilege along with Mario to lead her in prayer to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior!

Pray for Gaby’s Spiritual Growth & More Divine Appointments

Mario’s wife, Silvia is a very godly and committed follower of Jesus, so we told Gaby we’d like to connect her with Silvia so she could help her grow in her new found faith, and give her some wise counsel as Gaby seeks to navigate some of the challenges she is facing in her life.

Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Seeking to share the love of Christ wherever we are, and whenever the Lord opens the door!

Dawn is usually the one to meet people in restaurants and share the gospel with them. She’s been a good example for me. I’d say on average Dawn shares her faith with at least one person every time we go to a restaurant and often with even more people. It was encouraging that even though my extroverted wife wasn’t with me that the Lord opened this door for us. Can you say, “Divine Appointment”?

Thanking Jesus! Every time something like this happens I believe it’s one more way that the Lord is redeeming our daughter’s early home going. It’s made Dawn and me even more bold to share the love of Christ with a lost and hurting world. Yay Jesus! 😃

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Journey Continues!
Dave leading one of our training sessions for the incubator

Dave leading one of our training sessions for the incubator

Today I’m off to Mexico City. Dawn isn’t joining me on this trip. We enjoy traveling and ministering together, but I’m going to visiting some of the sites where the earthquakes from last Fall caused the most damage, so we decided it would be better for Dawn to stay behind. Her mom is with her, so I’m sure they will enjoy the time together.

 

A Wonderful Accomplishment!
The Pastors who took the Incubator Church Planting Training and Finished!

The Pastors who took the Incubator Church Planting Training and Finished!

Last week we accomplished a first for us. We finished up our incubator church planting training!

The incubator takes close to two years to cover the 16 modules that we train on. There were 10 people that took the course and 8 of them finished and graduated. I could tell that the guys were excited to graduate from the course. We gave each of them the opportunity to share their highlights. It was gratifying for us to listen to their testimonies.

One of the things we focused on throughout the training was the importance of being Christ-centered and gospel-centered. That the gospel and grace must permeate everything we do both inside the church and as we reach out to a world that is in deep need of a Savior.

Beautiful to See the Church Come Together
Pastor Jorge Aleman leading one fo the Sessions

Pastor Jorge Aleman leading one fo the Sessions

The participants that took the incubator training were from two main groups, Ministerios Transformación and the Presbyterian Church. Even though they come from different church traditions it was so good to see them come together to learn. They forged a friendship among themselves.

One of the pastors that helped us to teach the course is Pastor Jorge Aleman from Monterrey, Mexico. I’m thankful for the effort Jorge made to fly out and lead. He has some great experience in the church and he is a gifted communicator. Jorge encouraged the guys to invite one another to preach at one another’s church and to continue to further develop their friendship.

Church planting is the best way to do evangelism and to reach a city for Christ. If we want to have successful church plants we need healthy, fully trained and equipped pastors. That is one of the major goals of the incubator, to prepare the church planter for the ministry that the Lord has called him to.

Join Us In Prayer!
Prayer is an important part of the Incubator training

Prayer is an important part of the Incubator training

Dawn and I appreciate your prayers as we continue to coach, mentor and train these friends and partners in the ministry. Pray that they will be effective in their respective churches. They are all at various stages in their church plant. There is one common goal among them they desire to have healthy and growing churches. That is our prayer as well!

Thanks so much for joining us on this journey! Remember to pray for me as I head off to Mexico City to minister in and around the city for the next 10 days. I will also be in Oaxaca for 3 of those days. Much of the earthquake damage occurred in Oaxaca.

Lord, do pour out your Spirit and do I mighty work as I seek to minister and represent Christ and his church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Staying on the Move
Pastor Abraham Velazquez leading worship

Pastor Abraham Velazquez leading worship

Sometimes there is so much going on it’s hard to stay up on my posts. I’m also trying to write a book, but I haven’t yet figured out how to squeeze time in to give it the necessary attention. I’d appreciate your prayers that the dream of publishing a book would become a reality. Also, If you have any suggestions on how to fit it into a busy on the go schedule let me know.

Dawn and I will be leaving for Phoenix in just a couple of hours. We will be connecting with a church in the area and we’ll be attending a church planters network meeting. It promises to be a good time with some outstanding friends and ministers of the gospel. To top it off we also will be celebrating our 29th anniversary on Monday, March 5.

Dave preaching in Tijuana

Dave preaching in Tijuana

Brokenness and Healing

Last weekend, Dawn and I had the privilege of visiting Pastor Abraham Velazquez’s church in Tijuana. We’ve grown to love Abraham and his wife, Martha. It’s always special when we can be with them. 

I had the opportunity to preach at their church. The sermon was on Isaiah 54, Breakthrough for the Broken! My family and I have experienced our share of brokenness over the last couple of years since Hannah moved to heaven. This passage gives us hope for a better tomorrow. The barren one, the broken one is told to sing and cry aloud, because the Lord is going to deliver her.

The passage goes on to say prepare yourself for growth. Enlarge your tent. Get your house ready, because I’m going to bring an increase. I am going to bless you!

Isaiah 54:1-3

“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)

One of the practices that Dawn and I have to look for the promises in the Bible and to use them in our prayers. These promises give us hope, especially when things go awry. Does that ever happen to you? I would like to encourage you to remember the promises of God and to repeat them often.

Breakthrough for the Broken in Tijuana
Ministerios Transformación Rojo Gomez church in Tijuana

Ministerios Transformación Rojo Gomez church in Tijuana

It was such a good time to minister at Pastor Abraham’s church. After the sermon, we had a time of prayer, and it was so encouraging as people shared their testimonies. One of the leaders in the church said that he had been having nightmares that he was going to die. He felt a release and peace after the prayer. I sent him a note the next day and he told me that he slept well and that he didn’t have any nightmares!

Another young man shared about the abuse he had suffered in his family growing up. He was bitter, but he felt the need to forgive his family so I was able to lead him in prayer to confess and forgive. He also needed Jesus so I had the pleasure of leading him to Christ! God is so good, and he is definitely on the move.

I learned while I was at the church that Pastor Mere Godinez, the pastor of the church we are building for Hannah used to attend this church in Tijuana. Abraham and Mere grew up together. They attended church together, and they are both in the ministry now. Wow, Lord! Thanks for all that you are doing. Praise you!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org