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

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

Our #MTWMexico Team – Serving Together Throughout Mexico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Samson Against Incredible Odds
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Renuevo – Ensenada, Baja California

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

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

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

Samson’s Battle with the Philistines

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

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

God’s Mighty Work on the Baja

 

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Pastor Petri and Yudy

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

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

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

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

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

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

The Incubator Church Planters Training
Incubator church planters training

Incubator church planters training

I always get encouraged when I hear one of our pastors refer to a principle that he learned during one of our training events. It means that they are beginning to process and apply what they found helpful to their specific ministry situation.

Last week we had the wonderful opportunity to train some of the pastors and church planters in our incubator church planting training. I love the seeing the guys connect and interact and to begin to think through how they can use the information in their context.

Our prayer is that we will have healthy and growing churches. In order for this to happen, it’s essential that we have well-equipped pastors and leaders.

Christ Centered Biblical Counseling & Conflict
Dave with Pastor Saul Lopez

Dave with Pastor Saul Lopez

The topics we covered during this training session dealt with Gospel Centered Biblical Counseling and Conflict. These are two keys areas that pastors deal with regularly. I enjoyed hearing the interaction as we discussed some of the difficult conversations they are dealing with in the church they serve at.

If you attend one of their churches, don’t worry names were not shared. We just shared the situations, and then how to navigate through the issues they were dealing with in a Christ centered healthy way. There are no copy and paste answers to most situations we face. Prayer is always key and seeking out the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy of our soul loves to help foment division via conflict. I think it’s one of his primary means of attacking the church. Too often people run from conflict rather than choosing to wade in and work towards reconciliation. We grow as we work through the difficult conversations. This is one of the many reasons learning to deal with conflict is so important.

Join Us In Prayer
Pastor Jorge Aleman leading a session on Christ-centered Biblical Counseling

Pastor Jorge Aleman leading a session on Christ-centered Biblical Counseling

Thank you for standing with us in prayer. These pastors are under a lot of pressure from various sides. They need our prayers to stay strong and to walk closely with the Lord as they look to him for wisdom.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Give Thanks for the Lord’s Mighty Work!

 

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Young Children learning about the Creator of the Universe!

The Lord gave us another wonderful week this year with our friends from Skyview Church and our friends from Renuevo. We came together for the fourth year in a row to bless the city of Ensenada with Summer VBS. Many lives were touched, and many families took steps towards Christ!

 

Renuevo – Skyview Summer VBS Ensenada 2017 Video

Here’s a video that shows some of the highlights from our time together.


Thanks so much for praying with us, without faith and an army of friends praying with us none of this would be possible.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Summer VBS in Ensenada
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Singing to the Creator of the Universe 

This was our fourth year of VBS in Ensenada with Skyview from Denver and the church in Ensenada. We started with La Nueva Jerusalén, but this year we have a new church plant called, Renuevo. This is a sister church plant with a strong relationship with La Nueva Jerusalén.

There are some new challenges in running a VBS with a new church plant. There aren’t as many church members to draw from or as many children that are part of the group. Yet, Petri and Yudy did a wonderful job along with their core team of recruiting friends and new believers to get involved. Many of the people who helped lead weren’t in a church as little as 6 months ago!

God the Creator of All
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Yudy teaching the eager children 

Most of the children that came are from families that are not yet involved in a church. Maybe they are interested, seeking or were just looking for something for their children to do that was positive during the summer months. The VBS had a different feel this time around.

The theme of the VBS was on creation. God created with world, and the galaxies. The idea of God’s involvement in creation was new to many of the children. One of the teachers, Luz Angela said that she asked the children she was teaching who created the chicken, and they responded the mother chicken. The concept of God creating the chicken was foreign to them.

Reaching New Families
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Petri sharing with the parents about the importance of teaching their children about the Creator

One of the highlights of the week was parents night, on Wednesday night. Forty parents showed up. Petri and Yudy said they didn’t know how many to expect. They thought maybe only 10 or 15 would come.

Petri talked to the parents about the importance of forming their children’s character and teaching them about having a relationship with God. He told them one of the most important things is that the parents themselves set the example and grow personally in their relationship with the creator of the Universe.

The parents responded very enthusiastically. One of them mentioned that their child came home and had all kinds of questions. Their son asked if God created the world does that mean he created the fly as well? It opened the door for positive interaction among parents and their children.

Praying for Renewal in Ensenada
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Kari Berglund from Denver leading the children with Diane Farris

Petri at the end of the evening was able to invite them all to be a part of the new project, Renuevo. Renuevo means renew. They are working to bring about renewal in Ensenada! So encouraging to see God’s work and the hunger.

The parents were also invited to the closing ceremony on Friday. There was an equally strong showing. The parents were proud of their children as they finished up the week and received their certificate for being involved in the summer VBS.

Thankful for Skyview from Denver!
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Thankful for our friends from Skyview Church

The group from Skyview plays a key role as they show love to the children and lead the crafts and activities. They’ve also developed a wonderful relationship with the team from Renuevo. The love of Christ is very apparent as these two groups come together to work on VBS and to enjoy the week together.

Thanks for praying for us. Please continue to pray for Petri and Yudy and their team as they seek to bring renewal to Ensenada through the good news of the gospel.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org