Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’

Thank Jesus for His Amazing Work!
Dave & Dawn with Pastor Luis and his wife, May

Dave & Dawn with Pastor Luis and his wife, May

In my last post I wrote about the amazing people the Lord connected us with in Cuba. How God went before us and truly prepared the way, and we were indeed surprised by our experience in Cuba.

Each time we’ve gone to Cuba God has knit our hearts to the people. This trip we especially enjoyed getting to know Pastor Luis and Maiyesmi (May) Jimenez. From the moment Dawn and I met them we fell in love with them. They shared their testimony with us on the first day, and we were all in tears as they shared. We weren’t the only one’s they had this effect on as the friends that went on the trip with also were deeply touched by them.

Luis & May’s Amazing Testimony!
Pastor Luis and May

Pastor Luis and May

I’ve met very few people with the commitment level and sacrifice that Luis and May have made in the ministry.

We were amazed as they shared about how they felt called to minister to a community 18 kilometers from where they lived. There was no church in the community they wanted to reach out to. It was not an easy place to get to. There wasn’t any public transportation to this small village, so they walked the more than 10 miles in the hot sun to get there. It took them four hours to walk that far. They didn’t have any sun block, so May got sun spots on her legs from being out in the sun so long.

They went into the community and started knocking on doors. Every time someone answered the door they said they were not interested in learning more about Jesus. They knocked on every door in the whole town, and they continued to get the same response. Finally they got to the last house. The woman who answered the door said she was not interested, because she had two daughters who were confined to a wheel chair. She was mad at God.

Yet the two daughters heard the conversation and they told Luis and May that they were interested in studying the Bible and learning about Christ. That’s how they began to reach that community.

Their Tremendous Sacrifice and Courage
Dawn and I were able to take Luis and May out for a treat. What a special time for all of us!

Dawn and I were able to take Luis and May out for a meal. What a special time for all of us!

As we talked more to Luis and May we learned that they live on about $20 a month. If they or their children need a pair of shoes, or some clothing then they have to eat less that month. They live on a lot of beans and rice. While May was pregnant with their first child for about two months they had almost no income for food, so friends brought her fruit and whatever they could afford to share with them. Their son, David was born small, because of the lack of nourishment.

Then Luis and May told us about all the warfare they face where they are working. They had to learn how to pray against the attacks. Part of their routine now includes regular fasting and prayer. They take prayer seriously, and they are experiencing results as the Lord works through them.

Dawn and I stayed a couple of days after the Discovery Center was done and Luis and May didn’t leave until late the day after the Center ended. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to minister to one another. They told us more of their story, more of what they’ve learned and all that the Lord was doing through them. Dawn and I were able to bless and encourage them as well. I feel like it was one of the most special times I’ve ever had in ministry.

I truly wish I could bottle those experiences so I had them more often. 

It is not easy to communicate with our friends in Cuba, because they don’t have easy or inexpensive internet service. Yet, we have been able to email one another, and encourage one another in that way.

Please join us in praying for Luis and May and all of our other friends in Cuba!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Wow, Lord!
Dave and Dawn in Cuba. Quite an adventure.

Dave and Dawn in Cuba. Quite an adventure.

All I can say about our trip to Mexico City and Cuba is Wow! Wow! Wow! Well, at least that’s how I feel.

I had some concerns as we prepared to go on this trip because in both places we were up against some significant challenges, but God came through in a big way. Thanks so much for praying. Dawn and I asked a number of friends and groups on Facebook to lift us up in prayer. It might have been the most prayer covering that we’ve ever had on a trip, and I think it was one of our most fruitful trips ever.

There’s so much to share. I’d like to focus first on our time in Cuba.

The Challenges of Cuba
Pastor Daniel Nuñez and JD Pearring leading us through one of the exercises for the church planting evaluation.

Pastor Daniel Nuñez and JD Pearring leading us through one of the exercises for the church planting evaluation.

It was my fourth trip to Cuba and Dawn and my second trip together. Cuba is a hard place to visit. There’s so much oppression, and many people struggle to just to survive. There are very few people in Cuba who eat meat every day. They have to live off of rice and yucca. Most Cubans live off of $25 a month.

One of the reasons this trip was even better than past trips to Cuba is that we were able to build off of the relationships that we made their last year. The last time Dawn and I were there together it was only a month and a half after Hannah moved to heaven, so we were in a much more vulnerable place.

Thankful for Our Cuban Friends
Dave and Dawn with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yanny

Dave and Dawn with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yanny

The Cubans are a warm and friendly people. Those that we met last year embraced us this year. We felt very loved. One of the younger church planting couples that the Lord gave us a special connection with when we first met them was there as well. Their names are Mario and Yanny. Yanny is close to Hannah’s age, so I remember when Dawn first met her she started crying because it reminded her of our daughter. Yanny and Mario reached out to us in love. It was so good to see them again and to be able to deepen our relationship.

So it was so good to see them again and to see all that the Lord was doing in and through them. Mario was able to buy a horse which they used to provide more income for themselves so they could build their church. I was excited to learn how his church was becoming a self-sustaining church as they looked for creative ways to fund their ministry.

Dawn with Pastor Oniel and his wife, Heidy and daughter, Rosa

Dawn with Pastor Oniel and his wife, Heidy, and daughter, Rosa

The couple that leads the group is very special also, Oniel and Heidy. Last year the Lord used Dawn’s prayers to bring healing to their daughter, Rosa.  What the Lord did in healing their daughter has helped Oniel and Heidy to grow in their faith, and it has encouraged a number of people. Oniel is on the short side, but he’s a very dynamic preacher and leader.

Pastor Justo Pila Reinoso sharing with the group

Pastor Justo Pila Reinoso sharing with the group

We also love Justo and Sara, who are amazing evangelists. They have a deep love for Jesus. Sara gets up at 3 AM every morning to prayer, and both of them share their faith with almost anything that moves. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a couple that has led more people to Christ than Justo and Sara. They have already planted a number of churches. I’m just in awe of their love for Jesus and their passion for the gospel.

Our Wonderful Team
Our team that came from the US and Mexico. Such a great group!

Our team that came from the US and Mexico. Such a great group!

Dawn and I went to Cuba with a team of five Mexican national partners and two Americans who we also partner with in ministry. It was such a blessing to serve together. One of the many things that struck while we were together was hearing our Yoli, who is from Mexico share with the group that when Americans come to Tijuana to visit most think that they are poor or that they have very little and live under difficult position. Then when we were in Cuba together our Mexican friends realized how little the Cubans have and how much they suffer. It was an eye-opening experience for all of us.

The Lord blessed us with six church planting couples that we were evaluating. They were also awesome, and I’d like to share about them in my next post.

Thanks so much for praying. We felt it, and we saw the Lord answer in major ways as we saw breakthroughs. Yay God! Yay Jesus! We pray for more!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Cuba Rocks My World
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Havana at night

The main reason Cuba rocks my world is because of the people. They are an amazing  and resilient people. All they’ve suffered through, which is heart breaking, yet God in His grace has used their pain to draw them to himself.

I find it hard to walk through the streets of Havana and see the long lines as the people wait to buy some very basic products for their needs. One particular instance comes to mind as I saw a young man wearing a baseball cap. The hat represented a Major League Baseball team. I wondered where he got the cap in a place where there seems to be so little. I was reminded of the stores in the USA that only sell hats for sports teams. There are wall to wall hats! The contrast of abundance to scarcity hit me.

Hunger & Hope
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Our Cuban friends, Yamil, Yuni, Melissa, Ariadna and Frank with Jim Moon and Dave

It saddens me to think of all that my Cuban friends have suffered through over years. One of them told me, “we all have the same, we share the same misery.” Yet, I see a people who the Lord has made hungry for something more than this life has to offer. That brings me some comfort, since Hannah died I too long for a hope that this world can never provide.

These are some of the reasons I love getting to know my new Cuban friends, and to be able to encourage them and to learn from them. They enrich my life, as I hope I’m able to strengthen their faith and life in Him.

While I was in Cuba I helped train our friends from Los Pinos Nuevos in their coaching skills. I was with many of them last year for coaching training as well, and it was so good to see how much they’ve grown and improved.

God’s Rich Blessings!
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Growing together in coaching

I feel in many ways that even though I go to help them on their journey as they aspire to multiply coaches in Cuba, and ultimately to see the church expand, but I’m the one who comes away having been blessed.

Dawn and I prayed even before our dear, daughter passed away for an increased reach in our ministry. We long to see the expansion of the gospel as we serve the Lord. Since Hannah moved to heaven that desire has only grown.

I give thanks for our amazing Cuban friends. They truly rock my world, and the Lord uses them to strengthen my faith. I can’t say I understand it all, but I want more of whatever the Lord has to give. I want more of Him, and I pray that this desire will overflow and spill over so that many are blessed and the kingdom expands for God’s glory. Give us more Lord! Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Gospel is Changing Lives in Cuba
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Dave with Jim Moon Jr., Yamil & Yuneisi Domínguez, Melissa, Ariadna & Frank Batista

Every time I go to Cuba I feel like God rocks my world. I’m both challenged and encouraged by the people and how I see the Lord working in the lives of the people.

I’m planning on writing more about my trip later, but I wanted to share this short video that I put together with the help of my Cuban friends, Frank Batista and Yamil Domínguez. The video focuses on the Gospel Coach training that we are partnering with them on. By the way, Havana is spelled with a b instead of a v in Cuba.

Gospel Coach in Havana (Habana), Cuba

Gospel Coach Habana from David Diaso on Vimeo.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Excited to See the Church Grow

 

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Dawn with Pastor Ivan and his wife Rocio

Today Dawn and I are off to Mexico City. Then on Saturday, I will be going to Cuba to minister with our friends from Los Pinos. Before I talk about these trips I’d like to highlight one of the ministries that we work closely with on the border.

 

Just over three years ago, we helped Ministerios Transformación plant a church in Ribera del Bosque, which is a community in Tijuana. Our good friends, Pastor Ivan Casados and his wife, Rocio lead this church. It’s been exciting for us to watch them grow as leaders as the church has grown.

Choice Servants – Ivan and Rocio Casados

 

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Pastor Ivan Casados & Rocio in front of their church

Ivan and Rocio love our family. They were deeply moved when they heard that Hannah had passed away. When I told Ivan he started to cry, which meant a great deal to me, because I knew he loved Hannah and our family.

 

We give thanks to the Lord for such special and dear friends. I remember not long after we helped build Ivan’s church, that he had the vision to see the church grow. He wanted to build a second floor so that they could use the bottom floor for fellowship and outreach to children. Dawn and I visited the church last week, and it filled our hearts to see the realization of Ivan’s dream. They just recently added a second floor.

They are still working towards putting in a kitchen and developing a breakfast program for children in the neighborhood. One of the many things I love about Ivan and Rocio and all my friends at Ministerios Transformación is that they have a deep desire to make a difference in the community. They are always looking for ways to minister to those in need. The church is truly a light in a dark place. Hallelujah!

As Dawn and I visited with Ivan and Rocio they shared about a friend in the church named Aaron. Aaron has a serious injury to his foot, which has partially crippled him. Hannah and Dawn prayed for Aaron over the past two years. They prayed for healing.

Aaron gave a testimony in church recently about how the Lord was healing his foot, and how it felt so much better. He remembered the prayers of Hannah and Dawn and he gave thanks for them. That news filled our hearts. Thank you, Jesus!

Pray With Us!

Continue to pray for Ivan and Rocio as they seek to make a difference in Ribera del Bosque.

 

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Dave with some of our friends that we work with in Cuba: Frank, Ariadna & Melissa

Dawn and I would like to ask prayer for our time in Mexico City, and my time in Cuba. We will be visiting our campus ministers right after we land today. Then I will leave for Cuba on the 17th, and Dawn will stay in Mexico City during that time. I will be working with the leaders in Habana. Many of them are growing as coaches, and I’m ministering with a team to train them further in their coaching skills. It’s always a rich blessing for me to be with our brothers and sisters in Cuba. They have such a warm and loving spirit.

 

I do give thanks to the Lord for all the good things that He has done!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Coaches Needed

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Dave leading a session on coaching with Alcides De La Cruz

Why do we leave leaders to struggle on their own? Why do some leaders isolate themselves from others? The casualties of those leaving the ministry every month are astonishingly high. The difference in effectiveness between ministers who have the support of a coach, and those that don’t is remarkable.

These are some of the reasons we believe that it is imperative that leaders in the church should have a coach. When I first arrived in Tijuana, I was talking to one of my missionary colleagues who’s also been a coach to me, Gary Watanabe. I explained to Gary how the church was growing so fast here that I couldn’t keep up, and that I couldn’t coach all the leaders myself. Gary encouraged me to explore ways to multiply myself, to multiply coaches.

Through Gary I met Tom Wood and Jim Moon with Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM). Tom Wood has developed some outstanding training for coaching church planters and leaders. The Gospel is at the center of their training, which is refreshing!

Multiplying Coaches in Mexico & Cuba
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Dave with Jim Moon and Josue Mayo

I began working with Tom, Jim and Gary on bringing the Gospel Coach training to Mexico. In December of 2015 we held our first training event in Tijuana and Monterrey, Mexico.

Jim Moon invited me and some of us who minister in Mexico to go to Cuba to see how they were applying the Gospel Coach in Cuba. That was a life transforming trip for me as the Lord introduced me to the wonderful people of Cuba, and showed me how he was at work there. The church is growing in amazing ways in Cuba.

This relationship with Jim Moon who heads up the Spanish ministry for CMM has continued to grow and flourish. Last weekend I worked with Jim and MTW missionary Jamie Burkemper to lead training in the Gospel Coach in Juarez, Mexico. Forty leaders came to the training.

We find as people are exposed to the concepts of coaching the Lord grabs them, and they desire to grow in their capacity to coach others. They also realize how important it is for them to have a coach.

God is Using Our Story
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One of the small group exercises during the coaching training

One of the emphasis that I love about the Gospel Coach training is the focus on the gospel. I led a module on the history of the gospel, and during my session I shared about Hannah’s passing. The Lord used the story of our family and the hope we have in the gospel to encourage our friends. One of my prayers has been that the Lord will use Hannah’s death to bring glory to himself. I know her death isn’t in vain, but as a father I long for evidence of God’s greater purpose. Jesus is already showing up, and showing himself strong as I share how he has sustained us during this time of sorrow and sadness. Thank you Jesus!

We see the light of Christ shining brightly as Dawn and I minister together. Dawn loves to pray for and encourage others. She has a knack for coming alongside those we meet, and showing them the love of Christ. We are much more effective as we team up and serve together. Jesus is giving us moments of light as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Thank you for praying for us as we seek to follow Jesus. We are serving as we grieve. God’s grace is sufficient. Thanks be to the Lord!

We pray that coaches will continue to multiply in Mexico and Cuba and wherever else the Lord opens up the doors for us to minister!

In His Holy Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s gift of healing during this time of Christmas
David & Dawn with Frank Batista

David & Dawn with Frank Batista

Dawn is gifted in sensing when people are in pain physically or emotionally. She loves to pray for people and minister to them when they are struggling, and God gave us many opportunities to pray for Christians and those that are seeking while we were in Cuba. The Lord heard our prayer, and brought healing to the people. Hannah and Dawn used to minister together to our friends as they both loved encouraging people and to see God touch people.

God’s healing Touch for Rosa
David & Dawn with Oniel, Heidy and Rosa

David & Dawn with Oniel, Heidy and Rosa

The first night we were in Havana, Cuba Dawn noticed that Rosa the 12 year old daughter of Pastor Oniel Rojas and his wife, Heidy, wasn’t feeling well. Dawn asked Rosa and her family what was wrong, and she said her arm was bothering her. Dawn felt the need to pray for Rosa’s shoulder. She couldn’t move her arm and she has experienced a lot of pain over the last two months.

Dawn and Yoli Nuñez, who is our friend and partner in ministry from Tijuana, spent some time in prayer for Rosa with her parents, Oniel & Heidy. Then Dawn called us over to pray with them and we prayed some more. As we prayed Rosa’s pain went down from a 10 to a 6. The next day when we saw her parents they were very excited as they said that Rosa was able sleep through the night for the first time in a long time. She was also able to move her arm and put her cloths on by herself for the first time in a while. Rosa said the pain was gone.

Then Rosa went to the doctor with her mom in the morning. The doctor was surprised that Rosa was no longer experiencing any pain. He took X-Rays and they came out normal. Before she had a growth in her shoulder, but now it was gone. He compared the X-Rays to how she was before and although he was surprised he said they looked completely normal and declared her healed and healthy. Thank you Jesus for hearing our prayer!

Oniel and Heidy were so excited that God brought healing to their daughter.

God Touches Lelois in a Special Way
Dawn praying for Lelois

Dawn praying for Lelois

Then a couple of days later we were with our friend Frank Batista (photo above), who I met last April when I was in Cuba. Frank showed Dawn and me around and we enjoyed spending time with him and his family. On Saturday we went to buy some presents at the market. When we went to buy t-shirts Dawn noticed the woman selling the t-shirts was in pain, Lelois.

Dawn asked her how she was feeling, and she admitted that her stomach was bothering her. Dawn wanted to see if she could pray for her. Lelois said yes, so she began to pray for her. When she prayed Lelois felt the power of God in her body. Both Dawn and Lelois sensed the Spirit rushing through them and touching them. After Dawn prayed for her she asked Lelois how she felt and she said her pain went down from a 10 to a 3. Also because she felt God’s tender touch tears came to her eyes. With tears streaming down her face she felt God’s love.

Then Frank and I prayed for her and she no longer had any pain. It was very encouraging to see the way the Lord used my wife’s boldness. Lelois said she’d like a Bible, and she was interested in learning more about the gospel.

We give thanks to the Lord for his mighty work in Cuba!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org