Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Hannah’s Homegoing
A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography

A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com

#AHANNAHPERCENT – Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

One year ago tonight Hannah moved to heaven. She passed into glory. O how we miss our beautiful daughter, and the boys miss their much-loved sister.

A close friend of ours, Jacob Betchol posted this tribute on his website today. I asked him if it would be okay for me to share it with you on my site, and he agreed. Thank you, Jacob!

We first met him when our son, David, and Jacob became close friends and debate partners at San Diego Christian College. Jacob is a talented photographer. He’s also a great friend and support to our family. He took some beautiful photos for our family about two years ago. He also took this stunning shot of Hannah for her graduation from IMPACT, and it ended up being used for her graduation to heaven as well.

Here’s Jacob’s website: lylphotography.com/Ahannahpercent and I copied his post below. I think you will enjoy what he has to share.

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly. Photo by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com/ahannahpercent

Jacob’s Post

Hannah stood alone at the front, radiating a smile. Beautifully framed she stood still, the air around her almost bright and airy. The memories and stories that friends and family shared about her, joined together into an encouraging melody. And as the stories swelled around her, it was as if her smile grew even larger.
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It was late afternoon, the sun was settling for the day. Its rays were long and colorful, and radiated with such beauty. That the posing and the click of the shutter were almost distractions from the creativity of the golden hour. When Hannah had asked me to photograph her for her graduation, it took me longer than usual to get back to her. I almost said no.

Photography was no longer just a passion, it was (and is) my vocation. So I had started saying no when people asked me to take photographs. The feeble excuses that it would add to my portfolio or would just take few minutes were falling flat. And yet, I found myself in Point Loma that day taking graduation photographs. My thank you for my efforts, a dirty chai, was sitting on an uneven stump slowly melting. I’m not sure why I said yes that day, but this story is not about that answer.

This is the story of a photograph worth taking. I’m so glad I agreed to photograph Hannah that day. It has been almost a year since I walked up to her portrait. My hand reaching into my suit pocket for my handkerchief wiping away the tears forming in the corner of my eye. Hannah was no longer with us, but her memory encourages me to this day. Little did I know, that a photograph from that graduation photo session would end up in front of the sanctuary for her graduation to heaven. That her smile would embody the stories shared then and even now.

Hannah’s family coined the word Ahannahpercent to embody her memory. If you know the Diaso family, you know that it is impossible to feel unwelcome in their home. Hannah was the sum of that welcoming grace. She always had a bright smile and a warm welcome. She cared for you and lived fully present in the moment. While it can be so easy to go through the motions, to say hello without being genuine or to offer a smile that is not caring. That is not living life Ahannahpercent.

She is an encouragement to me as I photograph wedding days. A reminder to be fully present and invested in the stories I am documenting. If I can be unashamedly excited and genuinely thrilled by the details of the day. I am photographing Ahannahpercent. It calls for going beyond platitudes and genuinely caring for people. One of Hannah’s good friends shares it best. I’ll let Susanna take it from here.

Thank You for Standing with us on this Journey!

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement over the last year and during these difficult days.

Our family has set up two memorials for Hannah. AHANNAHPERCENT: Hannah Diaso Memorial for scholarships to young women who are interested in serving the Lord in ministry. You can give to that fund by clicking the link above. The fund is managed by Mission to the World.

We are also working on raising funds for a Hannah Diaso Memorial Church. You can give to that outreach project by clicking on the above link.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

La Pieta
Dave & Dawn in St. Peter's Cathedral

Dave & Dawn in St. Peter’s Cathedral

Dawn and I had the opportunity to visit St. Peter’s Cathedral when we were in Rome. We actually walked up to the top of the dome, which gave us a good work out and breathtaking views.

One of my favorite pieces of art that I saw in the Cathedral is La Pieta, which I believe Michaelangelo sculpted. It depicts Mary with Christ laying across her after he had been crucified. In the sculpture, you see Mary’s sorrow. Dawn and I have thought in a different and more profound way about loss, since our daughter, Hannah passed away last year. We are coming up on the one year anniversary, which has brought many hard memories back. Hannah went to be with the Lord around midnight – the ending of one day, October 17 and the beginning of a new day October 18.

Identifying with Mary’s Sorrow
La Pieta

La Pieta

We are able to identify with Mary’s sorrow in a much deeper way. I think most of us tend to focus on the resurrection, which is supremely important to our faith. As Paul says, without the resurrection we would be fools. My point isn’t to minimize the significance of the resurrection rather highlight that Christ suffered as he bore our sins. It cost Him dearly. Also, those that were close to him at the time did not realize at first that Christ would be raised, even though He told them that he would.

Back to the sculpture, many have said that it not only captures the sorrow, the sadness of Mary, but also the hope. I think this is key. There is hope in the gospel, so much hope.

I don’t know what I would do in my sorrow if it were not for the hope that we have in Christ. Paul told us not to grieve as those who do not have hope. We do have much to help us lift up our eyes from where our help comes from.

Grief and Grieving
Dawn, Hannah & Dave at MTW's Link conference

Dawn, Hannah & Dave at MTW’s Link conference taken in September 2016

As I go through this period of grieving with my wife I notice that she is more expressive about her sadness. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Hannah, and I don’t miss her. Often, I wonder and even ask out loud, “why”? “What could have we done differently? Is there something we could have done to change the outcome?” I don’t really know the answer to those questions, but I do know that the Lord comforts me in my sorrow, just as I’m sure he comforted Mary as she wept when Christ was crucified.

The Bible even encourages by saying that we have a high priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV) Then the author of Hebrews continues in Hebrews 5:7,8, “In the days of his flesh, ‘Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”

It seems strange that there would be comfort in the cross. Comfort in the symbol that signified the most painful and most disgraceful way to die during that time period. There is pain in the cross and yet there is comfort because of the resurrection. Christ suffered on our behalf. He paid the debt for our sins. He rose on the third day as was prophesied. Because of His death and resurrection, we have hope, and those who place their faith in Christ have life everlasting. That’s why the Bible says, “O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, ESV).

Thanks be to God my friends. Thanks be to God who takes who comforts us in our sorrow and sadness and takes away the sting of death and gives us live!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Greece & MTW
Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Dawn and I just returned from a LEAD meeting in Athens, Greece. Every three years Mission to the World (MTW) holds a leadership meeting for all our missionaries from around the world and our national partners.

It’s an amazing time to come together as a group committed to reaching the world for Christ. We connected with missionaries that we know, and many that we hadn’t met yet. As a mission, we don’t have many opportunities like this to meet together as a missions body and work together, because they serve in other parts of the world. Some of them literally are living on the other side of the world.

One of the highlights for me was spending time with the other missionaries, hearing their stories and having the opportunity to pray with them and for them. Some of our people are working in very remote and difficult places. Missionaries need prayer. They need encouragement. It is not an easy job, and the church must unite with them (us) on Mission with God.

A Place Where Paul Once Preached
The Ruins in Corinth where Paul stood trial for his faith

The Ruins in Corinth where Paul stood trial for his faith

I found it amazing to be meeting in Greece. A place where Paul preached. We even had the opportunity to visit the Acropolis and Mars Hill. We also went to Corinth. While we were there Dawn and I reflected on the roots of our faith. We thought about how our daughter, Hannah is with Paul and other Biblical characters.

Sadly Greece is no longer following Christ. Less than 1% of the people are followers of the Messiah. Greece is a country that has lost its way and now needs to be won again. We do lift up our missionaries there and their national partners. Some wonderful servants of the Lord.

Goals for Growth – More Workers!
MTW LEAD 2017

MTW LEAD 2017

While at the LEAD conference our leadership highlighted some of our goals as a mission. Lloyd Kim, MTW’s coordinator encouraged us to pray and work for more than 2,000 new missionaries to go to the field. The goal is that the PCA would send 2,877 missionaries which is 1% of our membership. That’s a huge undertaking, and our leadership is beginning to put some tracks in place to move towards reaching 1%.

One of the keys is to have many people praying for God to touch people’s hearts and call them to serve on the foreign mission field. There are all kinds of ways that a person can serve today. You can check out some of the opportunities on our website: MTW.org/1

David & Dawn at the Acropolis in Athens

David & Dawn at the Acropolis in Athens

Lloyd Kim and our leadership team also rolled out a goal to work in a more collaborative way with others in order to see more churches planted and more people reached for Christ. We pray that by God’s grace there will be a Kingdom movement. A movement of the Lord where we truly see the world changed, on earth as it is in heaven.

Thanks for praying with us, and believing God for even greater things that are yet to come!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Earth Shakes Again
The Devastation caused by the earthquake

The Devastation caused by the earthquake

Amazingly 32 years to the day since the big earthquake of 1985 struck in Mexico City, another earthquake hit Mexico. The earth shook again on September 19, causing much damage in Mexico City and the surrounding areas. More than 300 people perished in this natural disaster.

Dawn and I lived in Mexico City from 1990 – 2000. Two of our children, Jonathan and Hannah were born there. We have many friends there who were affected by the fallen buildings. Yesterday some of our good friends, the Cisneros family told me that they have been without water for 6 days. I spoke to a pastor friend today, and he told me that surrounding his church many buildings had crumbled as the earth shook. They are mobilizing to provide relief to the families that were affected.

Sad to See Friends Suffer – A Startling Video!

 

It saddens us to see our friends suffer. The first time I visited Mexico City was in the summer of 1985. I was there with a group of seminary students just a month before the big earthquake hit. 10,000 people died due to the damage caused by that quake. I remember visiting the following summer and seeing all the fallen buildings. The buildings that had been damaged as the earth shook.

It was during the summer of 1985 that I first met my friends, the Cisneros family. They are a wonderful family. They love the Lord and have been true friends over the year. God used them to minister to us since Hannah passed away. Our heart goes out to them as they live through this trying time.

Pray for Mexico
Praying for Mexico!

Praying for Mexico!

Please join us in prayer for the many people who lost loved ones, and others who are without basic services and needs. I’d also like prayer for wisdom regarding a visit to Mexico City and Morelos to see the damage that was done, and to explore what more we can do to help.

Mission to the World (MTW) has sent a donation of $10,000 to aid the families and ministries that suffered loss. If you would like to make a gift towards the relief effort you can give to the MTW Compassion-Global Disaster Relief Account #40043 and earmark for Mexico relief.

Thank you, friends, for standing with us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Pain of Loss
The Cross on Mount Soledad in San Diego

The Cross on Mount Soledad in San Diego

Recently I was conversing with some of my missionary colleagues about death and grieving, and how most of us struggle with working through the sorrow of losing someone we love. The Bible tells us to not grieve as those without hope, but it does not tell us not to grieve. One of the phrases that was said a few times just a few days after Hannah had passed away is that “Hannah is more alive than ever.” While that is true, I didn’t feel that it helped me at the time. That phrase in some way seemed to make me feel like I shouldn’t be sad. I know it wasn’t meant that way, but I didn’t find it comforting. That is not to say that I lost hope entirely. Yet, I felt that it minimized the pain and the deep loss I had just experienced.

I should add that I’m more able to receive that word, and I find it more comforting now that I’ve had some time to grieve and process Hannah’s home going.

I still feel the sadness at times, and it hits me at unexpected times. It’s not as frequent as it once was. In some way, I find it hard to explain the emotions that I go through. The realization that my daughter is no longer here, and that I can’t talk to her anymore. We can’t do together any of those things we had dreamed of.

Lessons from the Cross
Dave with Hannah - My beautiful daughter that I love

Dave with Hannah – My beautiful daughter that I love

As I conversed with my missionary friends, one of them, Bill Yarbrough brought up some thoughts of a friend of his, who just happens to be a nun. She said that she feels we move on from the cross too quickly to the resurrection. We forget the pain involved in Jesus’s death on the cross, and that his mother and his friends felt deep sorrow. They didn’t realize at the time of his death that Jesus would rise from the dead. Thanks be to God that Jesus did rise on the third day!

Now that I lost my daughter, and I have suffered deep loss I am grateful for the man of sorrows, who’s acquainted with grief. He comforts me in my loss. He stays with me. He gives me hope, and lifts me out of the pit when I fall in. I believe the Lord has some awesome and wonderful mysteries for me to learn as He embraces me in my loss.

All of the Creation Groans for Redemption
Dave & Dawn - Thankful for my wife and that I don't have to go on this journey alone

Dave & Dawn – Thankful for my wife and that I don’t have to go on this journey alone

We live in this broken world, scarred by sin.

The enemy of our soul comes to kill, steal and destroy, and he will do anything he can to hurt us. This too is one of the effects of the fallen world we live in.

That is why all of creation groans for redemption. We long for the new creation. We long to be in the place where there will be no more loss, no more suffering, no more sorrow. The place where we will see our Savior, the lover of our soul face to face. We will be reunited with those we love.

I can’t wait to see my daughter again. I can’t wait to hug her again. If there are any tears they will be tears of joy!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God Comes Through Again!
Our #MTWMexico Team - Serving Together Throughout MexicoOur #MTWMexico Team - Serving Together Throughout Mexico

Our #MTWMexico Team – Serving Together Throughout Mexico

We prayed that the Lord would show up and He did! I’m on the plane with Dawn returning for Puerto Vallarta from our #MTWMexico retreat. It was a time to pray, to worship, to connect, to unwind as a missionary family.

Our times of prayer and worship were awesome. I felt the Lord’s Spirit moving strongly among us as we met together. It started on the first day and it continued to build.

We had the opportunity to hear from every missionary that serves in Mexico in the following cities and regions: Juarez, Reynosa, McAllen, Acapulco, Tijuana, Ensenada, La Paz, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Durango. So good to hear what the Lord is doing in our midst. Churches being planted, mercy ministries meeting people at their point of need. Stories of lives transformed and faithful service.

Two of our missionaries have served in Mexico for more than 40 years, which is amazing to think of.

Reaching Mexico and Beyond Together
Coming together to pray for one another - Praying for Pastor Rafael Rodriquez and his wife, Martha

Coming together to pray for one another – Praying for Pastor Rafael Rodriquez and his wife, Martha

One of the many things that encouraged me was a sense of coming together and serving together. Missionaries tend to be independent, which makes working together a challenge at times, but I believe there is growing realization that while people need some freedom that we are stronger together. A sense of wanting to be more connected and more unified as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment in Mexico and Beyond.

This is something we are still working on, in becoming more unified. I feel that it is an important need for prayer.

Growing in Our Love for Christ
A Wonderful time of praise and worship as we grow in our love for our Savior

A Wonderful time of praise and worship as we grow in our love for our Savior

We encouraged our missionary friends to continue to grow in their love for Christ. This is an important aspect of growth for each of us. We want to minister out of a foundation of a deep and abiding love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My prayer this years has become, “O Lord, that I (we) will love Christ as the Father loves Him.” It’s an impossible goal in one sense, but the Bible calls us to be holy as God is holy, so there is a precedent for asking for such things.

There is a sense in which our daughter, Hannah’s death has propelled me towards the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s not that I wasn’t growing in that direction before her passing, but it definitely drove me further into his arms. I love growing in love with Christ, and I desire that for all my friends and my missionary colleagues.

Thank you Jesus for the great and might work that you did in my life and in our lives at the #MTWMexico retreat. What a great group of people who you’ve given us. You are the Lord of Lord and King of Kings, Worthy of all praise and glory!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Samson Against Incredible Odds
MTW Tijuana-42.jpg

Renuevo – Ensenada, Baja California

This week, as I was praying the Lord reminded me of the story of Samson and the mighty jawbone. I say mighty because Samson took on 1,000 Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone.

I can see Samson there with his muscles ripping through his shirt as he took on 1,000. Even with all that power and might, it’s hard to imagine one person taking on so many. Imagine the odds? How does that happen? I find some humor in Samson’s weapon of choice being a donkey’s jawbone!

This passage reminds me of so many things that we do where we feel the odds are stacked against us. The enemy is ready to pounce on us, and he does. Yet, if God is for us, who can be against us? Is there anything too great for the Lord or the strength of his might?

Samson’s Battle with the Philistines

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck down a thousand men. And Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey have I struck down a thousand men.” As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand, And that place was called Ramath-lehi. —Judges 15:14-17 ESV

Samson was a flawed hero, to say the least, and yet God in his grace used him. This is just as mysterious and amazing as Samson being victorious against such odds!

God’s Mighty Work on the Baja

 

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Pastor Petri and Yudy

I think of some of the ministries we are involved in, and they have humble beginnings and yet God is using them mightily. This past Sunday Dawn and I visited our new church plant, Renuevo which is in Ensenada. Pastor Petri Petrikowski is leading this outreach with his wife, Yudy. They are just beginning, so it’s still a small work, but lives are beginning to be touched by the gospel of grace. People’s lives are being transformed.

It always encourages us when we can visit and meet the people and see how they are encountering the Lord there. Friends that were far away from Christ are being drawn into the Lord’s saving grace. God is so good!

When we look at the Samson story we realize that when God is on our side, we are already on the winning side. We already have a majority. The enormity of the odds 1,000 to 1 is only possible because God is there and He is working. That’s always been how we attain victory!

We see lives transformed through the work of the church not because we are so great, but because the God who is great and awesome and mighty is on our side. Hallelujah!

Also, I’m reminded of the importance of prayer to this amazing God that we serve. Please continue to stand with us in prayer! Pray for Petri and Yudy as they lead Renuevo in Ensenada. Pray for Dawn and me as we come alongside workers like Petri and Yudy to encourage, coach and train them so that they will grow in grace and in their effectiveness! We do give thanks that God can use even a donkey’s jawbone to defeat the enemy and give us victory!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org