Archive for the ‘Reflections & Musings’ Category

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

Even the Rocks Give Testimony
Dave & Dawn in St. Peter's Cathedral

Dave & Dawn in St. Peter’s Cathedral

I found my first trip to Rome to be a spiritual experience. I wasn’t expecting it, but as Dawn and I saw the beautiful sites and history, so much inspired by our Faith, and the Story of the Bible. To see Mary, Joseph and Jesus in paintings and sculptures in the Pantheon one of the oldest buildings in the world, speaks to the longevity, the endurance of the Church. God has preserved His Church.

This truth is even more evident in the Vatican. Regardless of the missteps of the Church over the centuries, it’s amazing to think of how the Lord God Almighty has preserved His Church. The Church today exists in many forms around the world, and although there have been sects and offshoots there are many that still faithfully preach the foundational message of the Gospel.

The Message Found in the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo's masterpiece found in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s masterpiece found in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel is not only beautiful, but it tells the story of the Bible from the Creation of the World and Man to Moses and the Law to Christ and his life, death and resurrection. On the front wall of the Sistine Chapel the largest painting depicts the final judgement something that we tend to shy away from today in our churches. It seems that many churches today are timid and afraid to talk about sin. They either under emphasize sin and it’s effect on the world, or they over emphasize it and forget God’s grace. The other issues the church is reluctant to address today are hell and the final judgment. All these themes are amazingly and strikingly captured in Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

The Challenge of Preaching the Full Gospel in Our Age
Inside St. Peter's Cathedral

Inside St. Peter’s Cathedral

I believe part of the reason we shy from these themes in the church today is that they were not preached with love and balance in the past. We’ve also been influenced by our culture and we live in an age of tolerance. Anything that divides we tend to stay away from.

I understand being sensitive and careful in how we communicate the gospel with our culture. Yet, if people fail to see the darkness of sin and the despair of hell, they will not appreciate fully what Christ did for us. Christ death and resurrection are minimized if we don’t realize how lost we are without his saving grace found in his death and resurrection.

Pray to Grow and Know God in a Deeper Way
Worship in Spirit and Truth

Worship in Spirit and Truth

My desire is to grow in loving God, represented in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I want to know Him more and love Him in a greater way. Jesus says in John 10 that His sheep know His voice. I definitely want to know His voice and be able discern the difference between His voice and all the other many voices calling for my attention. I pray that my love for Christ will exceed my desire for man’s approval. That is not easy. It’s hard to be called names, or for people to think you are foolish when you follow Christ. Yet, this often happens to those who love Jesus. It happened to Jesus himself.

Pray with me and my family as we seek to put God’s kingdom first. I must admit that often I fail miserably. I don’t love as Christ loved, but as He works in me I see transformation and His Spirit doing a Holy and wonderful work in my family and in me. Praise be to God! Thanks for praying with us and for us!

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

I Need God’s Grace
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The Cross on Mt. Soledad in San Diego

This year more than past years remembering that Christ was called a man of sorrows acquainted with grief has ministered to me. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3)

I recognize more than ever that I need the Lord’s grace and tender mercies. I long for His healing touch.

Our Ongoing Mourning

My family and I continue to struggle with Hannah’s passing, or as we’ve begun to say her moving to heaven. Recently the thought occurred to me that it doesn’t matter if I get angry or sad or somewhere in between, none of that will bring my daughter back to me. As King David said after washing his face, changing his clothes and worshipping the Lord in reference to his son who had passed away in 2 Samuel 12:23, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

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We Miss Our Beautiful Hannah, but We are Glad She is Celebrating Now

No matter how much I long for it, Hannah will not return to me. I do miss her every day. I do long to see her and hug her again.

These are some of the reasons why I love that the Bible says that Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. I feel through all of this the Lord is saying to me in a very personal and tender way, “I know your pain, I know your anguish. Hannah’s death was not in vain.” What a wonderful comfort. What a wonderful savior!

The Pain of the Ultimate Loss
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Our family in Mexico City

A few weeks ago Dawn and I went to see the movie, The Shack. I read the book a number of years ago, but I didn’t remember the story all that well. I’m aware of the controversy surrounding both, but that is not my purpose for mentioning it here.

As I watched the movie with Dawn I was surprised by how much the story ministered to me. It touched me as I saw a father grapple with the loss of his daughter. His sorrow, his anger and even his disappointment with God. There was a point in the movie where one of the characters playing God said, “It’s not your fault.” That is something I’ve wrestled with in pondering the why’s behind Hannah’s passing. I too sensed during a time of prayer that the Lord said to me, “It’s not your fault.” I think they are words that I need to be reminded of often.

A father is supposed to protect his child from harm, so when the ultimate harm comes there is a sense of failure. I wasn’t able to protect and keep my daughter from the tragedy of death. That’s so painful! Thank you for the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with grief. Thank you for being there for me.

Thank you for this day when we remember how Christ suffered on the cross for our sins. Good Friday seems like an oxymoron when we consider what it is referring to, but as many have said before, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming. Hallelujah!”

This hope that we have in Christ. This hope that David declared in recognizing that one day he would go to see his son, that is the hope that sustains us! We give thanks to the Lord for such a wonderful hope!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org