“Manos Amigas” Friends Hands
Pastor Luis & May with a number of people who have been helped by the gifts that have been sent.

Our familia is so grateful for the gifts that we’ve been able to send to them so far. Pastor Lucas* and Maria sent us some photos of a number of the families that they have been able to help because of our gifts. You can see that they are holding their hands up in the photos, and I didn’t know what that meant. So I asked them, and they explained that they are praying for the Lord to send the hands of a friend to help them. So they are holding up their hands to say thank you for the friends’ hands who have helped them.

Lucas and Maria told me that they have always prayed and dreamed of having a ministry out of their church that would be called, “Manos Amigas” Friends Hands.

Then they went on to explain that Leti (Dawn) and I are extending our hands to help them. Each of you that are helping are also extending your hands to help our Cuban familia.

There is still time to extend your hands to help the families and the elderly in Cuba by giving a gift today!

Our Cuban familia continues to suffer through the coronavirus. The situation is worse there than it is in other countries, because there was already a food shortage before the COVID-19 crisis hit.

Dave with Pastor Lucas & Maria and their children, David & Zuri

Pastor Lucas and his wife, Maria told us how difficult it is for them to get milk, yogurt, cereal and many of the foods that children eat for breakfast. They said that their daughter, Zuri was asking them if there was any milk in the United States. The reason Zuri asked this question is because she is going to be celebrating her 7th birthday soon. The government subsidizes the milk until the child turns seven. Then the price of the milk goes up from .25 centavos to 30 pesos, so it’s about impossible for families to buy milk for their children once they are older than seven.

Families end up sending their children to school without having breakfast, or maybe they’ll have a cup of coffee. Lucas and Maria do everything they can to provide a snack for the children when they come to church on Sunday morning since most of them come hungry.

The Scarcity of Food is Daunting
Pastor Rene on the upper right photo with some of the people from his church

Dawn and I have been staying in close contact with a number of pastors like Pastor Rene (photo above) to make sure that they have enough food for themselves and the people in their congregation. The scarcity is daunting, but they’ve been able to use the money that we’ve sent to help families and the elderly.

We plan on sending more help this week. You can help feed families in Cuba by clicking on the link below and giving.

Dave talking to Pastor Justo

Our good friend, Pastor Justo is one of the pastors that I was able to talk to this week. He had to go outside of his house to get a wifi connection so he could talk to me. We were able to make a video call. Unfortunately, Justo had to wear a mask the whole time, because in Cuba they are giving out fines to the people if they don’t wear a mask when they are outside.

It’s such a different world and now things have worsened with the restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Extend Your Hands to Help

Our Cuban familia needs your help and your prayers. Please click on the donate button to give and to extend your hands to help these families.

Thank you!

Thank you for praying for the needs of Cuba and our Cuban familia. Dawn and I appreciate you, and we are thankful that you are joining us on this journey of faith!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Scarcity in Cuba

Our heart is breaking this week as we receive messages from our familia, our pastor familia in Cuba. Daily we are receiving news about the lack of transportation, food, and basic necessities during the lockdown due to COVID-19.

Even while I was on the Big Island last month, in March they were already dealing with the scarcity of many basic needs. There were long lines for chicken to the point in one city two women fought over getting their food. One of the women was killed in the altercation.

Compassion for Neighbors in Crisis
Dave with Pastor Luis & May and their two children, David & Zuri

Now some families are literally starving. Just a couple of days ago. One of the pastors, Lucas* and Maria* who we work with heard a child of one of their neighbors crying in the night. Maria told Lucas that she sensed that the child was crying because of hunger. The next day she went to their home and sure enough, they didn’t have any food to give to the children.

Maria went home and brought them some hot rice and beans. She said when their neighbor saw her with the hot food she came out of her house with tears in her eyes. She told Maria that a few days ago her husband left her for another woman. Now she was all alone with her two children to fend for herself in the middle of this crisis.

Maria said when she heard her neighbor’s story she lifted up a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord and said, “thank you Lord for David and Leti.” All of our friends in Latin America call Dawn, “Leti”. Maria gave thanks for how the Lord used us, because we had just sent them some financial help. We felt led to do this, because of our love and concern for them. We call them our familia. It was disconcerting to hear all the stories of desperation.

You can Help!
Dave with Pastor Mario & Yany (bottom right) in Cabaiguan one of the areas hit the hardest by the Coronavirus

Dawn and I would like to encourage you to send help as well. The average salary in Cuba is $25 a month, many receive less than that, so even a small gift helps. To send a gift we have a tax deductible 501(c)3 nonprofit, called Beyond Borders.

Donate
  • Via check write your check out to Beyond Borders
    • Send the check to Beyond Borders
    • 665 Crescent Dr. Chula Vista, CA 91911

Also, please join us in prayer for the needs of our pastors, their congregation and the people of Cuba. They are wonderful people who have tremendous needs now. There are many pastors who live day to day, hand to mouth and they aren’t able to work to generate any income because of the Coronavirus. Our pastors, their congregation and their neighbors are all in need of food and can use our financial support during this crisis.

Maria told us that after she brought her neighbor a hot meal. She later gave her some of the items they had just purchased with the money we sent, rice, oil, salt, sugar, bread, and some ground pork. The neighbor cried the whole time with tears of gratitude.

When I shared this with Dawn she started crying. She was moved to compassion for our familia and the people in need in Cuba. Dawn was concerned about where the money would come from to help this precious family and so many others who are in need.

Join us in making a difference in Cuba today! Make a donation to help those who are in need and faithfully serving Christ! Remember to daily lift them up in prayer.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Surprised by the Gospel
From top left going clockwise: Pastor Ivan Casados, Pastor Abraham Velazquez, Pastor Gilberto Garcia all in Tijuana, Pastor Jorge Izaguirre in Queretaro, Worship group at Comunidad Cristiana in El Niño, Pastor Jesus Petrikowski in Ensenada, Pastor Mere Godinez and in the middle Pastor Yovani Robles in Tijuana

I was surprised and encouraged to see so many of my friends from the Border and throughout Mexico posting their services online! I opened up my Facebook page on Sunday morning, and all the sudden I started noticing how many services were being broadcast.

Some of the churches were close by in Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali. Churches that we helped to plant. I know it’s been a lot of extra work for the pastors and their staff to have to learn how to broadcast their church services. Many of them were reluctant at first, but with some encouragement and help they’ve been able to pull it off.

Renuevo Church in Ensenada

One of the services I watched was lead by Pastor Petri in Ensenada. You could tell that he put a lot of work into preparing for the online Facebook transmission. It was so encouraging to see the gospel go out in this way! I noticed the Renuevo church which Petri leads had more people watching than normally attending the church on a typical Sunday. I also recognized some of the names of the people who tuned in. There were friends watching who had never attended the church before!

Could this seeming barrier end up being a huge win for the church? Many people are reticent to come to church for the first time, but they are willing to watch online. They can hear the gospel through an avenue that they may not have considered before. It also helps that most people are restricted in what they can do on Sundays.

Edna Rodriguez on the left leading worship in Mexicali. This is the church we planted in memory of our daughter, Hannah.

When I see what is going on and how the Lord is using this obstacle it reminds me of what Joseph said to his brothers. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 NIV). God is indeed using this for good, and many will be saved! Hallelujah! The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but God is greater. Satan was defeated at the cross of Christ. We have victory in Christ!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our Easter Hope in the Midst of COVID-19
Thankful for the Cross of Christ

Dawn and I hope you had a wonderful Easter! I mean, we realize that it was an unusual Easter, since we are all confined to our homes. Yet, it’s wonderful to think about Christians all around the world celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Jesus death and resurrection give us a future and a hope.

As Believers we have reason to be hopeful. Last Wednesday, April 8 was the beginning of the Passover, and it was also Holy Week. God is at work during this time, and although the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy He who is in us is greater. Satan seeks to do us harm through the coronavirus and what’s going on around the world, but I believe God will use it for good.

We are looking to Lord to breakthrough and bring revival!

God is on the Move!

Today I made a short 5 minute video, and in it I share some of our experiences over the last month. I think you will find it encouraging.

Dawn & I give thanks for God’s Great work
Pastor René & Yarlis Peñate
Dave with Pastor René

As I mention in the video I just recently returned from Cuba where I was involved in training 102 church planters in four different cities. Pastor René Peñate is one of the church planters who was involved in the training.

This morning Pastor Rene and his wife, Yarelis sent me a video of Yarelis and their children singing the song Forever (Por Siempre), which was co-written by Kari Jobe. This is a powerful song with a great Easter message. We actually sang this song at our daughter, Hannah’s funeral. Kari Jobe was one of Hannah’s favorite artists so the song and the artist have a special significance for our family.

Por Siempre sung by Yarelis Peñate and family
Forever (English version) performed by Kari Jobe
Forever by Kari Jobe with Lyrics

We do sing Hallelujah, because the Lamb has overcome. Forever He is glorified, forever His is lifted high, He is Alive!

Thanks for doing us on this journey of faith!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Covid-19, Missing Mom & Feeling Down
Missing Mom

Early last week I was feeling a little down. It started sinking in more that my mom is gone, and that I won’t see her again until I join her in heaven. I think I’m still numb in some ways. I’ve found that grieving is a process, but being back home and trying to live life in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis it’s all hitting me at once.

Of course, it’s not an easy time for our nation or for most of the people around the globe. I don’t believe there’s been an event quite like this during our lifetime. And in the middle of this I’m grieving the loss of my mom.

The Need for Good News & Breakthrough
Our hope in Christ

I felt like I needed to look for some good news. Something to lift me up and give me some hope. It’s difficult to live without hope. In my search the Lord started directing me to some positive messages about what our Father is doing during this time. A number of people believe there is going to be a breakthrough this next week. God is going to bring breakthrough during Passover which starts on Wednesday, April 8. It’s interesting, because this year Passover connects with Holy Week.

In the first Passover the people of God, the Israelites were cloistered in their nuclear families as they took part in the Passover meal. They were instructed to put the blood of a lamb on their door post. They ate the meal in haste as they prepared for the Lord to deliver them, and to bring them out of slavery. He brought them out of slavery and into freedom and eventually into the promised land.

In a similar way during this time of Passover we will be secluded with our family. We also look to the Lord to rescue us.

I believe that God is at work, even though it might be hard to see. The devil seeks to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. The enemy of our soul means this for evil, but God means it for good, and for the good for many.

A Creative Response to the Quarantine in Mexicali
Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz with their four children

I’ve been calling and sending notes to my church planters, pastors and leaders in Mexico and Cuba and seeking to encourage them. Many of them feel discouraged that they are so limited. I mean in Cuba they aren’t able to stream their messages online. Yet, as people in these countries have lost many of the things they usually entertain themselves with it causes them to realize their greatest need. Their spiritual need.

I’ve told my church planters and leaders be ready people are going to be hungry coming out of this!

These dear friends who are like family to us have appreciated the hope that I’ve shared with them. One couple, Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz got creative. They set up a microphone and loudspeaker in front of their house today (Sunday) and he began to share the good news.

Pastor Federico Muñoz sharing the good news in a time when it is desperately needed

Federico told them that this is the first Sunday that they are not able to go to church on Palm Sunday regardless of the church they belong to. Then he told them about our hope in Christ and that Federico and his wife were willing to pray for the people if they had a need. He gave out his number and said they could send their prayer request via WhatsApp. Federico also told them that if they needed a Bible that they would like to give them one.

Then they started receiving messages from their neighbors and other people nearby. Federico and Blanca were initially afraid that their neighbors were going to complain that they were being too loud, but instead their neighbors were thankful!

Some of the people even came out of their houses to sing the worship songs they played on the loudspeaker and they listened to what Federico shared. Many asked them when they were going to start their church services. Wow, amazing! God is so good!

They even had the opportunity to pray for some of the people while trying to practice social distancing.

Federico & Blanca praying for two women who asked for prayer and for Bibles

I was surprised when I received Federico and Blanca’s message about how they were sharing the gospel in their neighborhood. I was even more surprised when they told me that this method of sharing the gospel worked! Of course, this encouraged Federico and Blanca as they took this step of faith. They told me what I had shared with them during the week helped them and encouraged them to continue. Sometimes it’s these small steps of faith that lead to greater things.

Federico and Blanca who are planting a church in Mexicali and Davis and Luz who are planting a church in Tijuana and others have felt down, because they feel like they aren’t able to do anything during the quarantine. I feel like the Lord used the blessing, and encouragement He gave to me earlier in the week to be a spark to these wonderful partners in the gospel! We continue to pray for more, Lord!

Draw Near to the Lord in These Days
Dave & Dawn with Federico & Blanca and Luz & Davis

Even though it is a difficult time, God is still at work. Dawn & I am believing and praying for a breakthrough during this week of Passover.

This is a time for us to draw near to the Lord. A time to examine our lives and humble ourselves before the Lord. God promises to respond as we do so.

God says, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”‬‬

‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭ESV

It’s important to note that God says my people, so it is the church that is to be humble before the Lord and pray and seek God’s face. Our Father also calls us to turn from our wicked ways, which is not only individually. We need to confess the sins of our land. God is good, and He is loving and He will respond as we humble ourselves and seek him.

I tried to cover a lot of ground in this brief post. Obviously, I’m only hitting on the surface of the these issues, but my hope is that you might be encouraged. There’s so much negative news today, and I don’t think it’s healthy to spend too much time focusing on all the doom and gloom. Lift up your eyes and remember where our help comes from. “My help comes from he Lord, who make heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2, ESV)

Thank you so much for joining us on this journey, and for praying for us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Tough Transition Back Home
Virginia Diaso – November 5, 1935 – March 19, 2020

Life has been both difficult and crazy since I returned from Cuba. I saw a lot of fruit while I was with my friends on the big island, but I wasn’t prepared for what was waiting on the other side of my trip. I returned close to midnight on Wednesday, March 18. Communication with my family isn’t easy when I’m in Cuba, because there is very little access to the internet. Finally, on my way home, I was able to talk to my brother, John and I found out that my mom didn’t have much time to live.

I hoped and prayed that I could get to Fresno before my mom moved to heaven, but I wasn’t able to make it in time. Thankfully John called me in the morning on Thursday and suggested that I talk while he put the phone up to mom’s ear and I was able to tell her of my love and say good-bye. I’m grateful for that opportunity. Later in the day I called back and talked to my other brother, Greg and right when I got off the phone with him my mom moved to heaven.

Then as everyone knows we’ve had this pandemic Coronavirus going on which has made it challenging to do basic things that we’ve all come to expect. We still haven’t been able to have a graveside service for my mom, because of the all of the restrictions. It’s an odd time, and we definitely appreciate your prayers during this season of our lives.

I wrote a tribute to mom in the last post and you can read it here…

An Amazing Time with Mi familia Cubana
One of the groups of church planters that we trained in Camaguey

My time in Cuba was amazing, and I find that often when the Lord is working through us in a dark place that there is opposition. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore.

When I was in Cuba last September I was able to train a number of church planters, and I learned that it would be better to train them in cities closer to where they live. This time we held four training events in four different cities and we had 102 church planters attend. One of the most exciting things is that the Cuban leaders did most of the training. This alone is reason to celebrate, because now they can continue with the work even when I’m not there. Another important consideration is that I’m limited in what I’m allowed to do and I desire to be wise and careful while I’m in the country.

These pastors, many of them lay leaders are such quality people that love the Lord. Most of them have such a deep commitment to the Lord that it motivates me to have more faith and devotion to follow Jesus.

The Church is Growing!
One of the group activities during the training

In one of the cities where I was we worked with a group that has started 16 churches in the last year, and their goal is start 30 by the end of 2020. That’s one of the reasons I come back home so stoked! King Jesus is doing a great work on the big Island despite all the obstacles.

Pray for Us & Our Cuban Familia
Our Cuban familia

I’d appreciate your prayers for our familia. Even when things are normal in Cuba life is difficult. Long lines for basic needs are common. What the US is going through now still doesn’t match what the average Cuban experiences on daily basis. Yet, God in his marvelous mercy is at work.

The churches can only meet in very small groups now with the Coronavirus and they don’t have the same access to the internet that we have. Pray for the Lord’s care and provision for them during this time. Many of our friends have asked us to pray them as they’ve shared their growing struggles, and how the quarantine has made things worse.

Look to the Father in this Season
Dave & Dawn

I feel like the Lord wants to wake the church up during this season. My prayer is that we will use this time to strengthen our families and to spend more time with the Lord. Grow in your intimacy with the Father. He is calling all of us to the secret place!

He will care for you as he promises to do.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'”

Psalm 91:1,2 ESV

Thanks so much for joining Dawn and me on this journey of faith. I would like to write more about my time in Cuba in my next post. There are many magnificent stories to tell.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Life Well Lived
Virginia A Diaso – November 5, 1935 – March 19, 2020

I’m not quite sure how to start this tribute to my mom, Virginia A Diaso. How do you encapsulate a life of 84 years into just a few words? It’s not possible to capture it all, or to honor my mom and her memory in the way that she deserves, but I would like to share a few highlights from her life.

My mom was a quiet, unassuming, hard working woman who was dedicated to her family, and who loved her God. Those are probably the two most important aspects of my mom’s life, her two loves. Her family and her God.

Mom’s Faith Story

She was raised in a Catholic home, but she didn’t really come to understand what it meant to live for Christ until I was a teenager. I think she would have been in her late 30’s when she truly came to know Christ. She taught catechism classes at the church. I believe it was as she taught those classes that she met a nun who taught her what it meant to receive Christ as her Lord and savior. Mom went from trying to earn her way to heaven to receiving God’s grace. She confessed Jesus as her Lord and Savior as St. Paul taught in Romans.

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬ (emphasis mine)

At that point my mom, Virginia Diaso’s life began to change. She prayed for my brothers and I during our rough teenage years. All three of us, John, Greg and I struggled and rebelled in different ways during those years. I feel bad for what we put our parents through!

Mom with her mom and dad and her four sisters from left to right – Gloria, Theresa, Virginia, Georgina and Mary

My mom, who grew up on a ranch and learned how to work hard and the discipline of getting up early while she was young. Throughout her life she would start her days at 4 AM in quiet with her Savior.

I believe that in ways my mom prayed me into the kingdom and she did the same for my brothers. She gave me a Bible and she encouraged me to go to a Bible study while I was in college at Fresno State. It was there that I met Christ.

Mom and I

She was definitely the most significant person in my life especially when I was young in relationship to my spiritual development. My mom was quiet, but she prayed fervently, and she maintained that discipline throughout her life.

Mom on the far left when she was young with her mom and her two sisters, Mary and Georgina

When mom was a teenager she suffered from tuberculosis and she spent most of her teenage years in a sanatorium in the mountains outside of Fresno. She lived away from her family during those years. Unfortunately, she grew to not like the mountains, because of all the bad memories. All of our family vacations where at the beach. Mom never talked about her years in the sanatorium. They were painful years that she wanted to forget about.

Mom & Dad at my brother, John’s wedding

Mom was a beautiful lady, but I don’t think she ever saw herself in that way.

They took out part of mom’s lung and one of her ribs to treat her tuberculosis. It’s a miracle that mom lived as long as she did after having suffered as much as she did and living with a damaged lung. Over the last few years mom developed COPD, caused by the scar tissue in her lungs, and the smaller lung capacity.

When I think of my relationship with mom I feel grateful and I give thanks for her. I know it wasn’t easy for her or my dad for that matter to let me go to serve as a missionary in Mexico. Of course, there is a cost to go serve the Lord in another country, but it isn’t only the one who goes that is affected. The parents, the family also have to pay a price.

Mom was always concerned for us. I know she would admit that she struggled with worry, but I also know that she turned that concern into prayer. I’m sure it’s one of the things that motivated her to pray so fervently.

Virginia, my mom, was born and raised in Fresno, California. She was a good friend to many, and she developed a number of friends at her church. She also was involved in Bible Study Fellowship for a number of years, and she was a leader as well.

When mom’s health started declining over the last year she assured me on numerous occasions that she was ready to go to heaven. About 6 months ago when her health took a turn for the worse and she was hospitalized two times, she began to long for heaven.

Mom with John

A few days before she moved to heaven I was in Cuba, which made it difficult for me to be able to talk to mom. She called Dawn, my wife, and she asked her how I was doing and if I had come back from Cuba. I returned late Wednesday night on March 18. My brother, John, called me and told me that mom wasn’t doing well. I hoped that I could get home in time, and then make it up to Fresno to see her one last time. On Thursday morning on March 19th, John called again. He told me that it wouldn’t be long, so he put the phone up to mom’s ear. I told her I loved her, that she was a good mother, and that I will miss her. I also told her to give our daughter, Hannah a hug for us, and that I looked forward to seeing her again one day soon.

Later that afternoon I called my brother, Greg to see how things were going. We talked for a few minutes and right after I got off the phone with Greg my mom moved on to glory.

Mom & Greg
Goodby for Now

I wish I could have seen my mom one last time, but I’m glad that I was at least able to tell her how special she was and that I loved her. It was almost as if my mom waited to move to heaven until she knew I was safe and had returned from my trip. That would be very much like her. She was a mom till the end!

Bye for now, mom! I love you very much. I miss you, but I’m glad that you no longer have to suffer. I’m thankful that you are with your Savior face to face. It encourages me that you are with Hannah and all the saints that have gone before us.

I give thanks for the hope I have as I say goodbye to one of the most significant women in my life. Hope of the everlasting, and hope to see mom again! Hallelujah!

In lieu of flowers you can make a donation in memory of Virginia Diaso to Beyond Borders Ministries click here …

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

My Trip to Cuba
Dave with Mario & Yany

I’m on my way to Cuba to encourage our growing familia. They are people that Dawn and I have come to love. Every time we are on this big island we see the Spirit breakthrough! So I go expectantly.

Dawn is not able to join me on this trip. She is staying home to care for her mom. It’s been a new season for us since Dawn’s mom, Alice has come to live with us. Dawn isn’t able to travel with me as much.

The Lord is opening of some doors and ways for Dawn to join me on some my upcoming trips. We are also praying about the possibility of both them joining me on my next trip to Cuba in June. You can help us by praying that the Lord will show us the way, and make it clear to us. I think it could be a wonderful opportunity! Dawn’s mom still has an adventurous spirit after living in the Ukraine for 20 years.

I’d also appreciate prayer for my time with our familia in Cuba. I will be in four different cities after I land in Havana. First I will go to Sibanicu and Camaguey with Luis and May. Then I will go to Cabaiguan with Mario and Yany. I will end my trip in Jatibonico with Justo and Sara. While there I will have the opportunity to see and encourage a number of our friends.

Join us in Prayer
Dave & Dawn on this journey together
  • Pray for Dawn and her mom, Alice while I’m away.
  • Pray for our family including David and Emily, Jonathan and Hannah and my parents Ron and Virginia.
  • Our son David has had some health issues recently that we are concerned about, and we would ask prayer for his health and healing.
  • Pray for the Lord’s protection while I’m in Cuba.
  • Pray for His Spirit to breakthrough and to minister and encourage our Cuban family and friends.
  • I will be in Cuba until March 18th, and I usually have little to no internet access while there, which makes communication sparse.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Celebrating 31 years!
I give thanks for my wife, Dawn!

Today is a special day. Dawn and I celebrate our 31st anniversary today! As Proverbs 31 says, “an excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). I do give thanks for Dawn and the wonderful journey that we have been on together. Our love for one another has grown through the good and the difficult times.

We have endured more trials than most. I was kidnapped in Mexico City and our car was stolen at gun point. Our daughter Hannah struggled with some tremendously difficult demons for close to three years. The hardest thing for us to endure was when Hannah moved to heaven. We are still dealing with that, which is hard because most don’t understand that grief doesn’t have an end point.

When I think about an excellent wife and this passage, the first two people who come to mind are Dawn and Hannah. I do give thanks for my beautiful wife, Dawn. Our love has grown over the years and she is truly my better half and far more precious than jewels.

Hannah – Our Virtuous Daughter
Our Beautiful Virtuous Daughter, Hannah

I think of Hannah as well. Hannah longed to find a man and be married before she moved to heaven. As one friend, Susanna Schuemann said at Hannah’s funeral that Hannah now is the bride to the perfect Husband.

When Hannah was younger she posted a video about the virtuous woman as described in Proverbs 31. She always wanted to be a positive influence on young women. She hoped to one day write and give encouraging talks. Now that I think about it, this is interesting, because the Lord has brought another beautiful young woman into our lives who was born on the same day as Hannah who does have a powerful ministry to young women. I believe it’s one of the ways the Lord is redeeming our pain and suffering. It’s like a kiss from our loving Father. A reminder that He loves us and that He will not leave us or forsake us. Our loving Papa, God!

Hannah’s video on the virtuous woman

Love Makes a Difference in Mexicali
The happy couples at the Valentine’s dinner

It seems appropriate on our anniversary to talk about love and how the Lord is using the theme of love in marriage to bring transformation to young couples in Mexicali.

One example of friends being touched by the love of Christ happened this past weekend in our church plant in Mexicali. Our church planters Federico and Blanca Muñoz wanted to take advantage of the month of love and friendship, the month of February. They invited some of their new friends that they’ve met over the last few months to a fun meal celebrating love and friendship. It was an event for couples with an eye towards strengthening marriages through the love of Christ.

Federico and Blanca did an excellent job organizing the event, and all the people who came had a great experience. Marriage isn’t easy, and many couples struggle to maintain their love for one another. There are so many things that mitigate against families today. Our friends need encouragement and help to grow in their marriage relationship.

Wonderful Testimonies of God’s Grace
All smiles – One of the young married couples enjoying the evening

Federico and Blanca shared that as part of the evening activities they encouraged the couples to forgive one another for past faults. The couples took advantage of the opportunity. It’s not an easy thing to admit you made a mistake and to ask someone to forgive you, but Jesus broke through!

One of the couples that came has been living together for 14 years. They expressed a desire to commit to the covenant of marriage before God! Wow! It’s heartwarming to see how the love of Christ and the good news of the gospel brings about change and transformation. It gives all of us hope!

I enjoy seeing people encounter Christ for the first time. It’s so good watching the Lord work in their hearts to bring about change. The gospel is truly good news! These gospel encounters happen frequently in the churches that we are planting. It’s one of the principle reasons we are so committed to starting new churches.

We know that Jesus makes all the difference! As the Spirit works in our lives and teaches us to love like Jesus relationships begin to change for the better.

Join Us in Prayer for Federico & Blanca and the Ministry in Mexicali
Federico & Blanco with their children, Junior, Damaris, David & Daniel (from left to right)

For many of the couples that came to the Valentine’s themed event, it was their first exposure to the gospel. It was a step in the right direction for them to see life transformation. We lift these couples up along with Federico and Blanca as they reach out to their friends. We join them in praying that they will come to Christ and grow in their faith. Lord, do continue your good work!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Concern for All the Churches
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together
Dawn and I are seeking to share the love of Christ wherever we are, and we are thankful to be on this journey with you as we serve the Lord and His church

Lately I’ve been thinking about the Apostle Paul’s statement regarding his daily concern for the churches. In 2 Corinthians 11 he lists all the trials that he’s experienced in ministry. Then at the end of this list in verse 28 he says, “Besides everyone else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28 NIV).

It may be a dangerous thing to compare myself to the apostle Paul, but I feel that I can identify with him in his concern for the churches. I give thanks for how the ministry has grown here on the border and beyond! Yet, as we start more churches I find myself thinking and praying for them more. It’s exciting to see the Lord at work, but that’s not to say that it’s without challenges.

There are all kinds of concerns and pressures that go along with planting churches. Our pastors and those that we are partnering with to start new churches face all kinds of issues, sicknesses, divisions, and financial hardships. There is also the need to see the church grow, and develop leadership so that it will come to be a healthy and reproducing church.

Praying for Protection & Healing
Pastor Jovani & Esmeralda

Dawn and I love to pray for and encourage the pastors we work with. Just last week I met with a young pastor, Jovani and his wife, Esmeralda to pray. Esmeralda suffered a stroke in the last year, and they are a young couple so it’s surprising that she had a stroke. The three of us came together to pray against the attacks of the enemy, who seeks to discourage the Lord’s workers. We prayed for healing, that the Lord would touch her body and bring forth healing and restoration.

After we spent time in prayer we left encouraged, and sensed the Lord had met us and heard our prayers. Esmeralda was not healed as we hoped, but we felt assured that God was at work in her life and in the life of her husband, Jovani as well. Join us in continuing to pray for their comfort and Esmeralda’s total and complete helaing.

Pastor Mere Godinez
Pastor Mere leading the church in Mexicali

One of the other pastors we partner with Mere has also faced health issues at the end of 2019. Mere is planting the church in Mexicali that we built in Hannah’s memory. He was feeling so badly that he had to take some a few weeks off to rest and recuperate. We see the Lord working there, but there has been opposition.

Pastor Davis & Luz Pardo
Pastor Davis & Luz with their three children, Davis Jr., Ashley and Julian

Our church planters in Playas, Tijuana – Davis and Luz Pardo just moved into their new apartment. It was difficult for them to find an affordable place to rent. We are so thankful for the apartment they found, but now they are struggling to get set up. Their place is on the small side, so they need a washer-dryer combo and it’s not easy to find one that fits in their economy. We look to the Lord for His provision in all things including a washer and dryier.

Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz
Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz with their four children: Junior, Damaris, David & Daniel

Federico and Blanca are just getting started with their church plant in Mexicali. We are so excited for them as we pray with them, coach and encourage them. They are reaching out into the community so they can grow and build a big enough core to launch their church. They have a weekly small group, and they are in the process of starting a second small group.

Pastor Petri & Yudy
Pastor Petri & Yudy

Petri and Yudy are bivocational church planters in Ensenada. Petri is an excellent preacher/teacher. Yudy is gifted with children and she is very caring and creative. The challenge they face is growing the church while both of them are holding down full time jobs in Tecate, which is an hour from Ensenada. The church is growing. They have some excellent leaders in the church, but we are praying for even more, so that they will come to be a strong and thriving church.

The list goes on. One of the pressures I often feel is raising funds for these new works while continuing to work with these pastors. I see God at work in ways that Dawn and I have not seen in all our years of ministry. There’s so much to be thankful for, while we face the concerns and pressures!

Our Growing Family in Cuba
Our wonderful Cuban family

Dawn and I have also grown to love our Cuban family. Our family on this big island keeps growing, and there are many challenges that the pastors face there as well. I’m going to be traveling to Cuba from March 6 – 18. We always give thanks for the opportunity to see these dear friends who have become part of our family.

Join us in Prayer!

When I think about these daily concerns for the churches I’m reminded of the importance of prayer. The importance of trusting in the Lord’s provision. “He who calls you in faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV). I give thanks for our wonderful friends like you, who follow us on this journey and pray for us and the work that the Lord is doing through our partners.

When I can look up and look to Christ and all that he is doing. When I remember his strength, his promises and his power then the pressures and concerns dissipate. Thanks be to God for his wonderful work, and his mighty power. Hallelujah! Amen!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org