Posts Tagged ‘Community Outreach’

The Cry of Our Heart!
Pastor Victor and Sol with Sofia

Pastor Victor and Sol with Sofia

One of the cries of our heart is for more of the Lord. A greater presence and power as we live and love. We have this confidence that the Lord hears our prayers. Dawn and I pray that this will not only be true of us but of those that we minister with. “O Lord, in your grace pour out your Spirit in a greater measure upon us and those we serve with.”

God’s Good Work Through Ministerios Transformación
Pastor Victor Bravo encouraging his congregation!

Pastor Victor Bravo encouraging his congregation!

Recently I wrote about our good friends, Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife Sol. Dawn and I enjoy being with them, seeing and experiencing how God is moving among them. This last Sunday we worshipped with Victor and Sol and their congregation. We celebrated Victor’s birthday along with the church. Our Mexican friends love the fiesta, and we’ve grown to love it as well.

Pastor Victor and Sol are a part of a larger network of churches called, Ministerios Transformación. I’ve written about this ministry before. We’ve helped them plant 6 churches over the last 6 years, and we’ve also helped them in other ways through training, coaching, and encouragement.

The last church we planted in Mexicali, which we built in our daughter, Hannah’s memory is part of Ministerios Transformación.

A Big Vision – 50 Churches
Pastor Daniel Nuñez praying for Pastor Victor

Pastor Daniel Nuñez praying for Pastor Victor

The lead pastor for Ministerios Transformación is Daniel Nuñez. Daniel was also at the church on Sunday and he preached a message from Hebrews on the importance of working with and supporting the pastor in the church. Daniel is a man of vision, and any time he has a chance to share with others he cast his vision to plant 50 churches. When I first met Daniel 8 years ago he had planted 7 churches, and in just a few weeks they will be planting number 37! Wow! That’s exciting! Thank you, Jesus!

Dawn and I enjoy the opportunity to partner with Daniel and Victor and Sol to help them make their dream, their vision a reality. Our prayer, as well as theirs, is that these churches aren’t just lifeless buildings, but vibrant centers of grace that bring light into communities. We realize to do that we all need much grace and a powerful move of God’s Spirit among the people.

Making a Difference in the Community
Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol, who is a trained psychologist with years of experience working in some of the best schools in Rosarito and Tijuana is reaching out in the community by tutoring children. Sol loves what she does. She’s passionate about it. She was making a good salary working for the school system. Yet, she was willing to put all that aside to use her skills to love on needy children in the community. Dawn and I were able to visit Sol with her students recently, and it was fun to see her at work.

Lives are literally being changed as Victor and Sol along with the people in their church show the love of Christ in the community of Plan Libertador. Victor and Sol are an awesome representative of what the other churches in the network of Ministerios Transformación are doing. We give thanks for them, and for how the Lord is working. He truly does hear our prayer! Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Making a Difference in Plan Libertador
Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Sol seated on the right with some of the children she is working with.

Dawn and I are truly enriched to have such wonderful friends and partners that we minister alongside. Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol have blessed us in so many ways! We continually give thanks for them and lift them up in prayer.

Four years ago the Lord brought us together, and we helped Victor and Sol build and start their new church. The Lord has been working through them and the ministry of the church as they seek to make a difference in the community. Both of them have a lot of energy and they possess many gifts.

One of the ways the church is seeking to make a difference in the community of Plan Libertador is they are tutoring students after school. Sol is a trained psychologist and has worked for many years with children in the school system in Tijuana. Since they planted the church she’s wanted to give more time to outreach in the community. She is truly making a difference in the lives of these students and their families.

Dawn and I were able to visit Sol this week, and it filled our hearts to see the bright smiles on the face of each young person there.

Victor also is meeting with and working with the community leaders, so that the church has an active voice and influence in Plan Libertador. He just met with these leaders this week and planned to pray with them as they met. I love Victor and Sol’s boldness and enthusiasm for the gospel.

The Power of Prayer
Dawn with Miroslava and her daughter, Mitchell

Dawn with Miroslava and her daughter, Mitchell

There’s also the powerful presence of the Lord in their church and those that they are ministering to. Some of the families in their church are going through some real tough trials. I’ve mentioned before 15-year-old Mitchell, who is battling with leukemia.

Mitchell has great faith for a young person going through such a trial. Every time we go to visit her in the hospital to pray with her, she has a beautiful smile on her face. Mitchell says that our visits and our prayers encourage her, and give her peace, but Dawn and I always leave astonished and strengthened by her faith. We are believing the Lord for her healing. We’ve seen the Lord work in her life and bring a measure of healing, but we are looking to Jesus for complete and total healing.

Mitchell was in the hospital in February when we first met her family. We prayed for her, and in a miraculous fashion, in just a few days she was able to leave the hospital. The doctor told Mitchell’s, parents, Miroslava and Salvador that they thought she was going to die in a few days. That was back in February. We were so encouraged when the Lord answered our prayers, and brought her a measure of healing, but battle rages on.

Join Us in Prayer!
Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Join Mitchell’s parents, along with Victor and Sol and the church as we lift up Mitchell and her family in prayer. Mitchell is in the hospital again receiving treatment for her leukemia. We cry out to the Lord from whom our help comes from. He is our healer, our deliverer, and our strong tower!

Pray for Victor and Sol as they minister to those in their church, and as they love on and reach out in their community.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Fun-filled Week of VBS
Many smiles - a fun filled week on VBS in Ensenada

Many smiles – a fun-filled week on VBS in Ensenada

One of the favorite parts of our summer for the last 5 years in a row has been when the group from Skyview comes from Colorado to help us run VBS in Ensenada, Mexico. It’s a super busy week for us, but it’s a great time. The thing I most enjoy from the week are the stories. The stories of grace as I hear from the teachers and those leading the VBS how the Lord is working in the life of the children and their families.

A Changed Life!
Aideliz on the far right with her group of students

Aideliz on the far right with her group of students

One of our teacher’s this year, Aideliz shared with me what became my favorite story of grace from this year’s VBS. Aideliz told me that on the first day she asked the students to write down some words on a banner to describe who God is. One of the children, Adrian didn’t write anything. Aideliz asked Adrian why he hadn’t written anything down. He responded by saying, “I don’t believe in God, so there is nothing to write down.”

Aideliz prayed for Adrian and showed him and the other children in her class the love of Christ during the week. All of those involved, the group from Denver as well as those from the local church, are very loving.

The end of the week came and Aideliz asked Adrian what he thought about God. He said, “Now I believe.” Then Aideliz went on to tell Adrian how much God loved him, and how he gave his life for him. Adrian was just one of many children who were literally transformed by the gospel during the week.

The Love of Christ Taught and Lived Out
Our group of teachers and volunteers that ran the VBS

Our group of teachers and volunteers that ran the VBS

It’s not just the lessons that were taught about Jesus, but also the love that Aideliz and the other teachers and volunteers showed to Adrian and the rest of the children.

Since Renuevo is a new church plant they are reaching families that are unchurched, so many of the children that come to the VBS either don’t believe or they just haven’t had much of an opportunity to hear the good news.

On the final night of the VBS, we had a meeting with the parents, and a number of parents came. Petri, who is the pastor of the church explained to the parents what they were teaching during the week, as well as thanking the parents for entrusting their children to Petri and the team. After the meeting, some of the those that came expressed interest in attending the church the following Sunday. That’s part of our goal to show the love of Jesus to the people and to create a bridge for the gospel.

One of the many fun games that the children enjoyed!

One of the many fun games that the children enjoyed!

Continue to Pray for Bridges for the Gospel in Ensenada

Thank you for praying with us for Pastor Petri, his wife Yudy and his team from Renuevo. Pray that the Lord will continue to open doors and create bridges for the gospel in Ensenada. God is on the move!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our Concern for the Churches
Worship at Renuevo in Ensenada, Mexico

Worship at Renuevo in Ensenada, Mexico

The Apostel Paul spoke of his daily concern for the churches, and his own weakness as he confronted the trials of ministry. Although my trials pale in comparison, I can identify with Paul’s concern for the churches.

This past Sunday Dawn and I were able to visit one of the churches that we are helping to start. The church in Ensenada is led by Pastor Petri, and his wife, Yudy . We enjoyed the opportunity to see how the church is growing, and to interact with the leadership team to get an update from them on how they felt things are going.

One of the blessings of planting churches is that the gospel is going forward, and lives are being transformed, yet there are challenges that our church planters face. Dawn and I seek to not only be faithful to pray for our church planters but to encourage them in their work.

Petri & Yudy – Bi-vocational Church Planting
Pastor Petri and his wife, Yudy

Pastor Petri and his wife, Yudy

Petri and Yudy are bi-vocational so there are many demands on their time. The advantage to being bi-vocational is that it takes some of the financial pressure off of the church planter, and it gives them some natural networks in the community through their workplace. Both Petri and Yudy are well respected in their community. Dawn and I love visiting and meeting the new people that have started coming to the church.

One of the goals of a church plant is to reach new people for Christ. We don’t want the church to grow just through people shuffling from one church to another. So it gives us great joy to see the new people who are on a journey and coming into relationship with Christ through the witness of the church. The church in Ensenada is called, Renuevo, which means renewal. That is what Petri and Yudy and their team are seeking to do, to bring renewal to Ensenada through the good news of Christ.

Dave preaching at Renuevo

Dave preaching at Renuevo

On Sunday I had the opportunity to preach at Renuevo. What a joy to meet the people and to share the love of Christ with them.

Prayer is such a big part of seeing the churches grow and flourish, so please continue to feverently pray for us and our partners.

Pray For:
  • Pastor Petri and Yudy and their leadership team
  • Wisdom as they reach out to new families
  • The upcoming VBS that they will hold from July 22-27.
  • A group from Skyview Presbyterian church who will be coming from Colorado to help with the VBS outreach in July.
  • Also for the other church planters that we work with in Tijuana, Rosarito and Mexicali.
  • This weekend Dawn and I will be visiting Pastor Mere and Edna Godinez in Mexicali.
  • Dawn and I are also meeting a pastor in Tijuana and a pastor in Mexicali that we are exploring the possibility of starting a new church with in the cities they live in.

Thanks, dear friends for your ongoing encouragement and for faithfulness to pray for us and the ministry on the Border, Baja and Beyond!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

 

God’s Work through Pastor Victor and Sol
Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

Pastor Victor & Sol with their son, Abraham

We just celebrated the three year anniversary of Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol’s church this past Sunday. It was an amazing day! I wrote about it in my last post: Much to Celebrate in Mexico!

The Lord is changing people’s lives through the ministry of Victor and Sol and their church. One of the outreaches that they have is to children, who have been abandoned or whose parents, because of poor life choices aren’t able to take care of their children.

In this video Sol shares about this ministry to the children, and the part she plays in showing the love of Christ to these families in need. At the end of the video, she highlights how the Lord got a hold of Raul and transformed his life and brought him back with his two boys. I wrote about Raul’s testimony in an earlier post: Tears of Grace.

Video – Sol’s Ministry of Love to Needy Families

The Ministry Continues in the Community of Plan Libertador!

I spoke with Sol today, and she told me that the ministry to the children and their families is starting to grow and take place in their church. This past November we were able to help Victor and Sol build a room for children’s ministry right next to their church building. Victor and Sol have the vision and hope to see lives transformed as they offer the love of Christ in practical ways to the people in the community of Plan Libertador, where the church is located. The people that live in Plan Libertador have many physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Continue to pray for Victor and Sol as they minister the good news of the gospel in a community with astounding needs. Christ is able to change lives and to meet all their needs. Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

More Loss in Oaxaca
These two ladies, Alicia and Laura lost their home in the Earthquake. They are standing on the foundation of what once was Laura’s home.

These two ladies, Alicia and Laura lost their home in the Earthquake. They are standing on the foundation of what once was Laura’s home.

Last week I wrote about the two cities I visited outside of Mexico City that suffered much loss during the earthquakes. One church in Jojutla that was totally destroyed. The shock waves that came from the quake caused major structural damage to the other church we visited in Joquicingo. I visited those two churches on the first two days.

The next two and a half days I visited the people in the State of Oaxaca. This part of Mexico was hit very hard by the earthquakes. Even the aftershocks were bad. The people told me one day the aftershocks started at 7 AM and they lasted all day until about 4 PM. This was after many had lost their homes, and endured the loss of loved ones.

Can you imagine the fear that would cause? The panic?

Thousands of Homes Destroyed
Some of the people I met in Ixtepec from one of the churches

Some of the people I met in Ixtepec from one of the churches

The first city we visited was Ixtepec. Our new friends told us that close to 2,000 homes were destroyed during the earthquake in this city. We met some of the people who lost their homes. They are having to make due until they can rebuild. One of them Laura is staying with some friends. The government is helping many people rebuild, but Laura was denied government assistance, because of the way her home was built.

Wow! I felt horrible for the people there. The earthquake causes lasting damage, and it takes people a long time to climb out of the hole they find themselves in.

Laura is not the only person that was left without a home and without help. While we were visiting a number of disgruntled citizens organized a protest and they were blocking the highway because they wanted the government to do another assessment of the damage done. They felt like they needed more help, and I’m sure that many of them do.

The Church – A Place of Refuge

Later that evening we went to Tehuantepec and visited a church there, Jesus of Nazareth church. This church was damaged, but not nearly as severely as the churches I visited the previous day. The interesting thing about this church is they became a center for other churches and organizations to send aid, and they began to distribute food and other necessities in the surrounding area. Always good to see the light of Christ shine in the midst of dark and difficult places.

Horrible to Think of the Loss of so Many Lives!
Juchitán is close to the epicenter and the city suffered much loss

Juchitán is close to the epicenter and the city suffered much loss

The next day we visited a few more cities, and one of the cities we saw was Juchitan. 300 people died during the earthquake in Juchitan. My friends, who were from the church that had helped with outreach said that it was like a large funeral as so many people in the city were mourning their loved ones. As we walked through the city we could see piles of debris from all the fallen homes and buildings.

A government building on the town square of Juchitán that was damaged

A government building on the town square of Juchitán that was damaged

It was shocking, and it saddened my heart to think of all the loss. I mean my family knows loss since our daughter recently moved to heaven. Yet I can’t imagine losing so many people at the same time, plus losing the comfort of your home. What do you do? Where do you go?

The Light of Christ Shines Brightly in the Darkness

Thankfully the church was there in the time of need, and they are still doing what they can to help and to share the love of Christ.

I’ve learned we don’t always have all the answers to life’s hard questions. We don’t always know why? Yet, God is there. The Lord demonstrates His love through His people. We rejoice in His good work.

Continue to pray with me for these dear people who suffered so much loss. Many of them still do not know Jesus. We pray that their eyes will be opened!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God Works in the Midst of Loss
Dave with Pastor Adolfo Arias, Mario Silva and Pastor Amador Lopez in front of the church that is being rebuilt in Jojutla

Dave with Pastor Adolfo Arias, Mario Silva and Pastor Amador Lopez in front of the church that is being rebuilt in Jojutla

Last week I experienced both heart wrenching and heartwarming emotions as I visited the areas that were hit the hardest by the Mexico earthquakes. It was heart wrenching to see the lost homes, churches and businesses. There were also lives that were lost.

Even in the midst of all the heartache and sorrow I heard stories of redemption that truly warmed my heart. It was so good to see first hand how the church was reaching out in the their community.

On September 19, 1985 a catastrophic earthquake hit Mexico City, and 10,000 lives were lost. Many of my friends lived through that tragedy, so the memories are still very real. With this new set of earthquakes that again fell in September one of them on the 19th and the other on the 7th in 2017, it not only caused a lot of damage, but it frayed nerves. I sensed while I was there that many were fearful that there may still be more earthquakes to come.

My friends told me how Mexico came together and united after these earthquakes. They all pitched in and helped those in need.

Total Loss in Jojutla
On February 25th they laid the cornerstone and inaugurated the new church they are building in Jojutla

On February 25th they laid the cornerstone and inaugurated the new church they are building in Jojutla

One of the areas I visited was Jojutla which is about three hours from Mexico City in the State of Morelos. The church there, which is called Principe de Paz, “Prince of Peace,” was totally destroyed. There was nothing left, and they have had to start rebuilding from the foundation up.

Yet, even in the midst of their sadness and sorrow over their loss they began to reach out in the community. Donations came in and they were able to provide meals to people in need until December 15th. The love of Christ was displayed in a powerful way through the church. New families have come to Christ as a result of their loving outreach.

Rebuilding in Joquicingo
Some of the damage to the church caused by the earthquake in Joquicingo

Some of the damage to the church caused by the earthquake in Joquicingo

In another town we visited Joquicingo in the State of Mexico, which was also about 3 hours from Mexico City close to Toluca. The church there was not destroyed, but the columns holding up the church were badly damaged, so they are having to rebuild and reinforce the church. They believe that it will take them a year to finish rebuilding.

Twenty two people in this church also lost their homes. Yet despite the loss and hardship sister churches rallied around them and sent them aid. The hospital in the city was damaged, so they were able to organize medical brigades as other churches came to their aid. They opened a farmacy in the church, since the hospital was not able to provide the medicine that many of the people needed. They said that there is still a shortage of insulin for those with diabetes, and they continue to help the people in the community.

Joquicingo, Mexico

Joquicingo, Mexico

The love shown by the church was attractive, and this church has also seen new people come into the church and come to faith.

I loved the opportunity to meet the people, and to encourage them and pray for them. When you are going through a trial, it helps to know that there are others who are concerned for your welfare.

My prayer for these two churches and these two communities is that the love of Christ would continue to shine as they rebuild again, and they climb out of the rubble all around them.

In my next post I will write about the churches and places we visited in the State of Oaxaca. That’s where many lives were lost, because they were so close to the epicenter.

Continue to pray with me for these dear friends who lost much, and who are seeking to show the love of Christ in communities that are hurting and in need of a Savior.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org