Archive for the ‘Reflections & Musings’ Category

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

 

Today would have been our daughter, Hannah’s 24th birthday. Our son, David wrote a beautiful reflection on his relationship with Hannah, and things he learned from her life, so I wanted to share them with you here.

How can you sum up a life? Today marks what would have been her 24th birthday. The memories, the tears, the laughs. 22 years of memories can never be summed up in words. My memories with her will never leave me. I thought the best way I could share with you how important she was […]

via My Little Sister — AHANNAHPERCENT

Celebrating 29 years! Amazing!
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Dawn and I are celebrating 29 years today! We. walk on this winding road of faith together. We give thanks for all our friends who are on the journey with us!

Today Dawn and I are celebrating our 29th anniversary! We are in Phoenix, so it will be a first for us enjoying our anniversary here.

It’s possible that my anniversary has put me in a reflective mood, but I posted some thoughts about my family today on Facebook on the Hannah Diaso Memorial page. As I began to write the thoughts just kind of flowed, so I thought I would post them here as well. Let me know what you think 🤔.

First, I’d just like to thank my wife for these 29 years together. Especially the last two years have been so difficult, and when I think of it we’ve had about 5 years of what sometimes appeared to be ‘hell on earth’. Yet instead of all this turmoil, all this pain drawing us apart it has drawn together. The Lord has used my wife to help me to grow in my faith and in my love for Christ. She is passionate, zealous and bold which at times pushes me to uncomfortable places, but it’s kept me from becoming complacent. It’s caused my relationship with Jesus to flourish and we are experiencing things in ministry that we’ve never seen before. It’s super encouraging to see all the Lord is doing! She’s also an amazing mother to our three children. These are some of the reasons that I love and respect my loving wife, Dawn!

Here’s to 29 more years together or more if we live that long!

Reflections on My Happy Family!
My happy family when Hannah was still with us. This was taken around April 2015 by our good friend Jacob Betchol

My happy family when Hannah was still with us. This was taken around April 2015 by our good friend Jacob Betchol

I love this happy picture of my family. I have it on my iPad homepage, so I see it every day. Yet, today I realize that when my daughter moved to heaven this was taken from me.

I’ve always taken pride, hopefully a healthy pride, in my family. It made me feel good knowing that my family was healthy and happy. I’m reminded that in John 10:10 that the thief, the enemy of our soul comes to steal, kill and destroy.

It’s hard to put to words, but I feel that in my idea of a healthy and happy family has been taken from me. Even in some ways I feel disappointed as a father. Not necessarily that I’ve failed, actually the Lord has encouraged me various times through various means that I am a good father. Yet, this isn’t what I hoped for or envisioned for my family.

I believe my family is doing remarkably well despite the terrible loss that we’ve suffered. I’m surprised and amazed at the maturity David & Jonathan have displayed! I’m encouraged by their faith and strength in the Lord.

My marriage to my bride is also stronger than ever today as we celebrate 29 years together. It’s been hard very hard to walk through the valley of shadow of death, but we are doing it, and we are doing it together.

Part of the challenge of losing someone so near, so dear, so loved is that it shatters many dreams. It shatters many of the things that I hoped for. It’s a pain that doesn’t ever fully seem to leave, even though it does get better.

I’m not writing this from a place of deep sadness, although it does sadden me that I can’t see my daughter’s beautiful smile any more. I’m in a more pensive and reflective place today. And I’m reminded when I look at the picture of my family laughing and having fun together, I realize too that I no longer have that seemingly ideal family.

The Lord is comforting each of us as we continue on this journey. In many ways I feel like he has cared for us and blessed us beyond measure since Hannah moved to heaven. I feel like as the enemy meant this to harm us, but that God is using it for our good. He is drawing us closer and closer to him. He’s given us a better perspective on the fact that life is short, and we should be careful not to live in fear and not to live just to please others.

He’s caused me to realize the importance of running hard after the Lord, to grow to love him in a deeper and more profound way. To make our love and service of Christ our ultimate goal in life, even if it doesn’t fit with a conventional comfortable life.

I do give thanks and my family gives thanks for the myriad of friends and family who have prayed for us and encouraged us as we’ve been on this long and winding road.

We need the Lord so desperately, and we we are so grateful for those who love us and have expressed their love to us in so many ways! Thank you, dear friends! We do love and appreciate you.

In His Loving Grip, Dave for the family

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Faithfulness and Healing Touch
Dawn and I give thanks for all the wonderful pastors and partners we serve with in Mexico

Dawn and I give thanks for all the wonderful pastors and partners we serve with in Mexico

As we begin 2018 I give thanks for all that the Lord did in 2017. This last year has not been an easy year for Dawn and me. It’s been painful to mourn our daughter, Hannah’s moving to heaven. Yet, I believe the Lord has also brought us a tremendous amount of healing. I give thanks for the comforting arms of the Lord. I’m grateful for so many friends who have reached out to us and loved us.

Even though it has been a year where we’ve needed much encouragement, much love, and much prayer which has been like a salve to our wound, we’ve also seen advance in the ministry.

Milestones in 2017
Redeemer San Diego Medical Missions Team

Redeemer San Diego Medical Missions Team

Some of the ministry milestones for 2017 are:

  • Renuevo Church launching in Ensenada in April
  • Redeemer San Diego sending their youth group down to Ensenada to connect with Renuevo to reach out to teenagers through sports and a fun day.
  • Redeemer San Diego partnering with Renuevo and bringing down a medical team to treat those with physical and spiritual needs. The doctor’s and the team that come down are so loving, and do such a wonderful job of sharing the love of Christ with their patients.
  • Skyview Presbyterian coming to Ensenada for the fourth year to help Renuevo lead a summer VBS.
  • Trained a number of pastors through the incubator that’s geared for church planters.
  • Coached church planters in Tijuana and Ensenada.
  • Raised the funds and helped build classrooms for one of the church plants in Rosarito that we started 2 1/2 years ago.
  • Worked with our friends in Cuba to aid in training coaches.
  • Gave leadership to MTW Mexico
Goals and Dreams for 2018
One of our goals for 2018 is to build a church in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

One of our goals for 2018 is to build a church in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

One of our biggest goals for 2018 is to plant a church in Hannah’s memory. We are still working on raising all the funds for the church plant. I spoke with pastor Daniel Nuñez this past week, and we’ve decided that we will build the new church on the weekend of April 13 – 15.

We also have a goal to get our church plant in La Paz, Mexico started in early 2018.

A goal that we have for MTW Mexico is to mobilize a minimum of one new missionary family to join our work in Mexico.

There are other dreams that we are praying for as we enter 2018. I’m starting to work on writing a book. I’ve actually begun working on it, but it’s been a challenge to figure out how to find time to write with all that’s going on.

Dawn and I have a trip to Mexico City this week from January 11 – 16, and from there, we will be going to Havana, Cuba from the 16 – 22. We need major prayer as we minister here on the Border, the Baja and Beyond. I feel that we need prayer especially as we begin to travel. Last year, we feel like we got a little worn out from all the traveling by the end of the year, so we hope to do a better job managing our schedule this year.

Thank you so much for loving us and standing with us dear friends!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dawn with Hannah

Dawn with Hannah

Dawn shared this a couple of days ago on Facebook, and I thought she did a wonderful job of expressing her own pain, and how she can identify with Mary the mother of Jesus. Since we are in the Christmas season, and also seeking to raise awareness of the funds we are raising for the church we are planning on building in Mexico in Hannah’s memory. I just talked to pastor Daniel Nuñez with Ministerios Transformación earlier today, and we are hoping to build the church on the weekend of April 14th.

Dawn’s Reflections on Mary and Her Journey

Since Hannah has moved to heaven so young I feel that I can relate to Mary more than I ever could before. I believe that only a mother that has also had their child move to heaven before them- knows the grief involved in this long and painful journey. (Although I believe that the journey of grief after losing a spouse would be even more painful and more difficult than that of losing a child. At the moment I am wondering if losing a parent- especially as a child might be most difficult still.)

There are more parents than I had realized who have lost a child. Every parent that has been through this painful experience that Dave and I have met, join us in saying that none of us wanted to be members of this club. Not one of us would have chosen to be part of this club for parents who have had a child move to heaven before them. Somehow, this makes me feel a deep love and respect for both Mary and Joseph since they both had to join this club as well. I believe that they both experienced much more grief than most of us have ever considered or experienced.

Facebook reminded me of this quote below that I posted a few years ago. Wow, I never anticipated that as my life progressed that I would grow to identify with and appreciate Mary’s sacrifices that she made for us all so much more.

I believe that Mary experienced more emotional pain and grief though- than I will probably ever be able to identify with. What a sacrificial and Godly life she lead- and so very much behind the scenes. Walking beside my husband through this journey of grief has been and continues to be sobering. Previously, it never crossed my mind to be appreciative of the sacrifices that Joseph made for us. This experience has taught me some painful lessons and linked to Mary and Joseph in a deeper and more profound way.

Mary and Jesus – The Father’s Greater purpose!

Facebook reminded me of this quote below that I posted a few years ago.

E3434D46-7BA6-4542-9015-887B2122743E“Mary must surely have spoken to her baby, Jesus, and said, “I wanted Your pathway smooth. I wanted Your steps on earth to be easy. I wanted you to have a painless and perfect life. But I sense the presence of Your heavenly Father here with us, and He has a far greater purpose for You than I can ever imagine.”

-The Miracle of Christmas

La Pieta

Michelangelo’s La Pieta

Dawn’s reflection reminds me of our experience at the Vatican this September when we saw Michelangelo’s La Pieta. An amazing sculpture that tells the story of Mary’s pain over the loss of her son. We give thanks that the story doesn’t end there, that Jesus did rise on the third day, which gives all of those in Christ hope.

Click to make a donation

Click to make a donation

We are at year-end, this is a great time to give towards the Hannah Diaso Memorial Church Plant. Our goal is to raise $30,000, and we were recently given a matching gift, which helps us get closer to reaching the goal. Dawn and I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider a gift today. You can give a donation by clicking on this link.

Thank you for praying for us and for taking the time to consider our request.

In His Grip, Dave & Dawn

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

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.
______

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