Celebrating the Church we Started in Memory of Hannah

Mana del Cielo – The church we built in memory of our daughter, Hannah

We celebrated the first year anniversary of “Mana del Cielo” Church on Sunday, May 5th. This is the church in Mexicali that we built last year in memory of our daughter, Hannah. We sensed early on that the Lord had his hand on this church in a special way.

Soon after Hannah moved to heaven I told our good friend Pastor Daniel Nuñez that I’d like to build a church in memory of our daughter. Daniel was one of the first people to come to our house when Hannah passed away. He is one of our closest friends and ministry partners here on the border. Dawn and I were interested in starting a church to honor Hannah’s memory in Mexico because she was born in there and she loved the people of Mexico so we believed that this would be a good way to have a living memorial.

A Life-Giving Community of Hope

Pastor Mere leading the church

I remember when Pastor Daniel first told me that they were thinking of starting the next church in Mexicali, and if I’d like that church to be the one that we helped to start. At first, I thought Mexicali is a long ways from where we live, but then we felt like we should do get involved in this community just outside of Mexicali.

One of the first times I went to visit Mexicali our son, Jonathan was in town and I was able to take him with me. We had a wonderful father and son time as we drove to Mexicali. Jonathan loved being out there, and he started to play with the children that lived nearby. Later that day he told me he’d rather visit the church than the cemetery where Hannah was buried. The church represents life and light in the community.

Dawn and I have enjoyed getting to know Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna this past year. They are leading the church in Mexicali. Mere and Edna are a young couple, who have a lot of gifts. They are doing a great job of sharing the love of Christ in the community and leading the church.

The Lord’s Hand is on This Church

Cristina & Conchita with the picture of Hannah that I gave to the church

Once we got involved we felt like there was something special about this church. We met Cristina who lived right next to the church. She had been praying with her family for 3 years that the Lord would bring a church there. Cristina also told me that even before she started praying the Lord gave her mom, Conchita a sense that He was going to bring a church to the community.

On Sunday I talked to Cristina and Conchita some more. Conchita said that the Lord actually gave her a vision regarding the church. She saw a church in some clouds being lowered onto the land where the church now sits. The Lord’s ways are mysterious at times.

Then Conchita told me that she wanted to see a picture of Hannah because she had a vision of a young woman. She saw her face three times. I did bring a picture of Hannah so that they could hang it in the church. When I showed the picture of Hannah to Conchita she said that was the face she saw in the vision.

God works in Mysterious Ways

Our day of celebration at the church in Mexicali

I can’t say I understand all these things and the way the Lord is working in the church. I do believe though that the Lord has his hand in a special way on this church, and he is going to use it in a powerful way in the community. There is such a need for the gospel to break through the darkness that we find all around us. I believe we are prone to underestimate the power of the gospel. The power it has to bring change and transformation to an individual, a family, a community, an entire city and beyond!

That is our prayer as Mere and Edna minister in Venustiano Carranza the community where the church is located. The gospel is going forth to bring life change. We give thanks for the good work that He has begun, and we look forward to hearing all the God stories that will come as this church reaches out and shows the love of Jesus.

Jesus said that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). The growth and expansion of the church are inevitable. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ! Glory be to God!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Light of Christ Shines Brightly

Our new friends from Long Beach, Jason, David and Randy with Pastor Victor & Sol and some of the students they are showing the love of Christ to

One of our goals as we plant churches in communities is to bring the light of Christ to those that live there. As the light of Christ shines through the testimony of the church we pray for life change, transformation.

This last week I was able to visit some of my favorite people on the planet, Pastor Victor and his wife, Sol. I took some pastors and leaders from Christ Church in Long Beach into Mexico to introduce them to our ministry in Tijuana and Rosarito.

Victor & Sol’s Community Outreach in Rosarito

Victor & Sol with some of the elementary school boys that they are ministering to

Victor and Sol have become like family for us, so it’s always fun to see them. I love seeing them in action and hearing how the Lord is working through them. About three years ago I visited Victor and Sol and my daughter, Hannah was with us. Victor and Sol told us how they wanted to reach the community and to be able to offer tutoring and classes to the children in the community.

They asked me if I could help them raise some funds to build a classroom and to buy some chairs and desks for the children. The Lord graciously gave me a matching fund, and I found a church willing to give the other half. About a year and a half ago we were able to help them to build the classrooms.

One of the challenges is that a significant number of children in the community come from very poor families. They are malnourished and their parents aren’t able to help them with their school work. A number of children in the community don’t even attend school. Those that do attend are failing in their school work. They lack energy because they are not eating well in their homes.

Sol has an undergrad in Psychology and a Masters in Education. She worked for a number of years in the public school system in Mexico, but when they planted the church the Lord put it on her heart to leave her job so that she could minister to the children and families in the community.

Making a Difference in the life of the Children

Once they had the classroom Sol went to work. She works with 20 children daily Monday through Friday. She works with some of them before school and others after school. Sol has a beautiful smile, and she is a patient and loving teacher. The love of Christ shines through her as she works with the children.

While I was there with our friends from Long Beach this last week Victor and Sol shared with us that since Sol has begun working with the children their grades have gone up. Now they are getting A’s and B’s. They’ve also raised some funds and given out of their personal budget to feed the children.

Whereas, before the children had spots on their faces from malnutrition, now they look healthy and strong. When they come to the church one of the first things they ask Sol is, “what’s to eat today?”

Sol and Victor are making a difference in the life of these children and their families. They have the vision to train more teachers to help Sol so that they can minister to even more families. They told me that they also need to raise more funding to sponsor the children so that they can continue to provide them with meals.

New Life in Christ

Since Victor and Sol have begun this outreach some of the families have started attending the church. They told me of one particular family that joined the church, came to Christ and got baptized. Now they are beginning to take responsibility and become part of the leadership team.

Join Us in Prayer for Victor & Sol

Pray with us that the Lord raises up more pastors and leaders like Victor and Sol who are able to make a difference in their community. Pray for the Lord’s provision so that they can grow this ministry and continue to bring spiritual and material nutrition to the children. Pray that the Lord raises up the people to work with Sol to help tutor the children.

Thank you, Jesus, for your good work! You are a good God!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

What Does it Mean to be Desperate?

From Christianitytoday.com Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard FREE Community Edition on 2016-03-16

Have you ever been desperate to see something happen? I’ve been thinking lately of the good side of desperation. I suppose often when we think of the word, “desperate,” it has a negative connotation. We don’t necessarily seek to be in a state of desperation.

I’d like to share an experience I had with Dawn and Hannah a few years ago. The three of us went to an event at a church in the area. None of us had ever been to this event before and we didn’t really know what to expect, but we thought we’d give it a try. The service started with a long period of worship, which I enjoyed. Yet the people there were more emotional and more expressive than I’m used to. I felt uncomfortable in some ways because it was something different for me.

I believe now reflecting back on the time that I had an attitude, which adversely affected my ability to worship. In other words, I became cynical, and it wasn’t a good attitude by any means.

Later as I thought through my experience I felt like the Lord gently nudging me, and it hit me that these people were desperate to know God in a deeper way and to have an encounter with him. It also caused me to see that sometimes when I worship it can become a little stale, and I don’t have that sense of longing for the Lord. I don’t believe that I necessarily need to worship in the same way, but I do believe that I should be desperate to know God. I want to long to know him in a deeper and more profound way. At times I think that has been missing from my life.

I long for more. I must admit that when our daughter, Hannah moved to heaven it was a kind of wake up call. It’s like, this has to be real. I need a deeper relationship with my Lord. I can’t live one more day without him.

I’ve served in ministry for more than 30 years now, and I suppose one might think that someone in ministry shouldn’t have these issues. Yet, there’s always a danger whether we are in ministry or not of becoming pharisaical, of losing our first love. Not that I had lost my first love, but I wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I wasn’t as hungry as I was when I first came to Christ.

Being Undignified in Worship and Celebration

Levi the Exalter Angel at the prayer center in Every Home for Christ in Colorado Springs. This sculpture was named Levi in memory of the sculptor’s 19-year-old son, Levi who died suddenly in a car crash in 2010.

When people are desperate they may not always do things in the most dignified ways. We see examples of this in the Bible, and yet God rewarded their willingness to humble themselves.

In 2 Samuel 6, David was leaping and dancing before the Lord in celebration as they brought the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. His wife, Michal, despised him when she saw him. David responded in verse 22 saying, “I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” David was willing to unabashedly worship the Lord with his whole being. How often do we worship in the same manner?

Another example in the New Testament is the blind beggar in Luke 18 who cried out to Jesus as he was going by. He cried out, “‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And those who were in front of rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!'” (Luke 18:39) Jesus stopped and healed the blind beggar. He went on to compliment him and he told him that his faith had made him well.

There are many more examples in the Bible of people who were willing to humble themselves and even take the risk of looking like a fool, and the Lord rewards their faith.

Growing to Have a Desperate Love

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

Thankful to be on this journey together, and grateful for you for joining us on this journey!

I don’t think it’s easy to have this reckless abandon for the Lord. I pray that even though it’s uncomfortable that I will have this type of desperate love and desire to know and encounter the living Christ.

I’m grateful that we just celebrated His resurrection. Christ defeated death, Satan, and sin on the cross so that we might live and experience life abundantly. It’s not just life, but an abundant and rich life. Thank you, Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Man of Sorrows

Isaiah refers to Christ as the man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief in Isaiah 53:3.

The passion of Christ – pinterest hearhim.net. This picture is gruesome. It’s hard to look at. I questioned whether I should post it or not, but this is the very thing we wrestle with understanding Christ’s suffering for our sins!

I feel that often I shied away from focusing on this aspect of Christ. There’s part of me that reacts like Peter when I think of Christ’s suffering.

When Jesus told the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed, Peter took him aside and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Then Jesus responded and he rebuked Peter. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:22-23 ESV)

The reason I can see myself identifying with Peter is there’s a part of me that believes the hero of the story should not die. This is one of the reasons we like movies that have a strong hero, or even a super hero. These leaders conquer their foe.

Christ Conquers Sin, Death & Satan on the Cross

At first glance it appears like Christ is losing, that he is being conquered when he is hanging on the cross of Calvary. And if the story ended on Friday it indeed would be a sad story. This story is different, the one who for a while seems to have lost is raised on the third day, so that we might have life.

This brings me great comfort and I hope it brings you comfort as well. This hero is different. He died so that we might live. He bore our griefs and he carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities as the prophet Isaiah foresees 600 years before the actual crucifixcion. His suffering brings us peace, healing and hope.

How could we make it in this world without hope.

The passion of Christ from Pinterest hearhim.net. The gentle Christ. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Dawn and I along with David and Jonathan have become acquainted with grief when Hannah moved to heaven. Jesus does comfort us in our grief and he gives us hope. He walks with us in the journey. He truly is our savior, even though we’ve gone astray and went our own way. He runs after us in his divine grace and draws us in.

If you have yet to trust this Christ, the suffering one, who died on the cross for your sins I would encourage you to do it today. Then you will experience the true peace that Christ came to bring. He will make you more than a conqueror. There are so many good and wonderful promises in the Bible for those who do believe. These promises are all yes and amen!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Renuevo – Bringing Renewal to the City
Renuevo church in Ensenada

This last week I was in the beautiful coastal port city of Ensenada, Mexico. I enjoyed spending some time getting to know the city better, and the opportunity to show some friends around. While there I met with Pastor Petri and some of the members from his team.

Petri is the pastor of Renuevo church, a new church plant in Ensenada. He is the supervisor of a school district by day and a pastor in the evenings and on the weekends. Renuevo just celebrated 2 years since they held their first service.

New births are exciting, although they can be messy at times. Things don’t always go as planned, but what encourages me about this new work is the people who are coming to Christ and growing in their faith. When the church celebrated their two year anniversary they took advantage to have a barbecue and to invite friends and family.

Celebrating Two Years
Petri enjoying a meal and a time to get to know the visitors after the church service

I enjoyed visiting with Petri as he excitedly showed me pictures of the visitors that came and how they were related to the people that invited them. Pray with us that these friends and families will come to know Jesus and that they will grow in their faith.

In May we will be baptizing at least 10 people from the church that want to make public their decision to follow Jesus. This is a big milestone for the church, and it’s also an opportunity for those that are making their profession of faith to invite their friends and family members so that they might give testimony. Hallelujah!

Testimonies are powerful as people share in a personal way how Jesus has changed their lives. It strengthens the faith of the believers, and it speaks to the heart of those who have not yet made the decision to follow Christ. Rejoice with us in God’s good work!

Join Us in Prayer!

Pray with us that Renuevo church will continue to give witness and see new people become Jesus followers. Pray for wisdom for Petri and his wife, Yudy as they lead the church.

Dave with Blanca & Federico

Dawn and I would also like to ask you to pray for a new church planting project we are working on in Mexicali. We have the church planter, Federico and his wife Blanca. I wrote about them recently. I’m working with the National Presbyterian Church to raise the necessary funds for this project. Fundraising is part of the task that goes into planting a church. We give thanks that the Lord promises to provide. He is our Jehovah Jireh! He is our provider!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our Trip to Colorado

Our growing family - Jonathan & Hannah's wedding. David & Emily's wedding shower

Our growing family – Jonathan & Hannah’s wedding. David & Emily’s wedding shower

Last week Dawn and I were in Colorado to visit our growing family. Jonathan married Hannah on December 1st of last year, and David is soon to be married to Emily Tenison on May 26th. We had a couples wedding shower for David and Emily which was a lot of fun, and we met Emily’s mom, Libby, for the first time.

Our trip to Colorado was packed full, so although we saw a few friends we didn’t see everybody we would have liked to see. One thing we did do that was super encouraging was we met with a small group of prayer warriors. They are gifted in prayer. We spent about an hour and a half with them as they prayed for us and spoke words of encouragement over us.

Colorado Dreaming!

I find that when I’m around people that have a close walk with the Lord that it seems to spark something in me. Both Dawn and I just love when we feel in a strong way the Lord’s presence. It ministers to our soul.

After our time of prayer, I had a dream that night about some missionaries. I didn’t know one of the missionaries, but I heard his name in the dream, so I had to do a little searching to figure out who he was. Since this particular dream was so clear I felt like the Lord wanted to communicate something to me. So when we got back home I began to pray, and the Lord opened my eyes and helped me to see.

Affirmation of the Father’s Love

Warrior Angel at the prayer center at Every Home for Christ in Colorado Springs

Warrior Angel at the prayer center in Every Home for Christ in Colorado Springs

I decided to send the missionaries a note just letting them know how I sensed the Lord wanted to encourage them. I felt like it was a risk to share with them, especially with the guy who I didn’t know. They responded to my message after a few days, and one of them told me, “you hit the nail on the head.” That strengthens my faith, and it lifted my spirit.

I prayed some more and as I prayed especially for one of the missionaries I felt the overwhelming love of the Father. The sense I felt was so strong that I almost started crying while I was walking my dog, Daisy and praying in the park. After that experience, I decided that I should share more with my missionary friend. The Lord used that to build my faith.

Encouragement Multiplied

Then on the next day, while I was praying for a number of pastors and leaders in Cuba, Mexico and Colombia that we partner with I decided this message would be encouraging for them as well. I sent the note of encouragement to them, and a number of them responded and told me how the Lord had used it to encourage them in some amazing ways!

Yesterday I started thinking I should write about this and post it so more friends can read it and be blessed by it. This is part of what I said in the message I sent out:

After I received your message I was able to go on a walk to think and pray. While walking I had this overwhelming sense of the Father’s love. I sensed that the Father wants you to know how deeply he loves you. He wants you to grow in that love, to bask in it. His love is not based on you being a missionary or based on your success. He just loves you and he wants you to know and experience his love in a deeper and fuller way.

If you are able listen to Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin I think it will minster to you.

I pray that the Lord might encourage you today through these words of comfort. Learn to bask in the Father’s love. This reminds me of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 3 starting in verse 16.

“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:16-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Lord does hear our prayers and he desires a deep relationship with us. I pray that you might be encouraged by this message and that you might experience the Father’s love in a new and fresh way as he ministers to you!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Kingdom Growth along the Border and Beyond!
Petri preaching in Ensenada at Renuevo church
Petri preaching in Ensenada at Renuevo church

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit two or our church planters in two different cities. One in Ensenada, which is 1 1/2 hours from us. The other one is in Mexicali, which is about 2 1/2 hours from our home. So I had a lot of time in the car, but I also had a great time encouraging and connecting with our church planters and their team. God is on the move in these cities!

Renuevo in Ensenada – Pastor Petri & Yudy

On Sunday I was with Petri, his wife, Yudy and their church plant called Renuevo. They meet in Ensenada, which is a beautiful port city south of border. It is known as the Cinderella of the Pacific, because of its raw beauty and emerging potential. Yet, below the beauty, many people are huring and have deep spiritual needs.

Petri and his team are reaching out to professionals on the North side of the city. One of the things that excites me about their project is that there are literally no churches in the area of the city that they are planting in.

There’s a huge need, especially in the part of the city where the church plant is located. Petri is a bi-vocational church planter. He is the supervisor of the school district in Tecate, which is an hour north of Ensenada. Petri’s wife Yudy, is a teacher in this same school disctrict. It is not easy working a full time job in another city, and planting a church. Yet, the advantage is that Petri and Yudy have lived and worked in Ensenada for a number of years so they have deep roots in city. They still live in Ensenada even though they work in Tecate.

One of the things I enjoy about visiting the church is that Petri is an excellent teacher, and he does a great job of explaining and sharing the gospel each Sunday. There’s still much work to be done in Ensenada, but they are off to a good start. Pray that the Lord continues to open doors for them to share the gospel and that more and more people will come to Christ and become a part of the church.

A New Ministry in Mexicali

The other church planters that I visited are just beginning their work in Mexicali. Federico is a seminary student who will be graduating this May. He and his wife, Blanca went through our church planting discovery center in Mexico City in January. They were evaluated and approved as church planters.

Now comes the hard work. I’m partnering with them and the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico to raise the funds to start a new church planting project in Mexicali. Mexicali is the capital of Baja California and it is an important city for the State and for the country of Mexico.

You might remember that we started a new church that we built in memory of our daughter, Hannah in the outskirts of Mexicali. Now we would like to start another church towards the city’s center.

Join us in Prayer!

Since we are just beginning this project there are many things that still have to come togethter for this church plant to get moving forwar. We do have some traction. The wheels are starting to turn. We know that one of the most important needs that we have now is to bathe this project in prayer. Actually we need major prayer for both works. Please join us in lifting these needs before our Heavenly Father. Lift up Petri and Yudy and their team as well as Federico and Blanca.

Thanks so much dear friends for standing with us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org