Posts Tagged ‘encouraging pastors’

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

Our Familia in Cuba Needs Our Prayers!
Mario & Yani with their team of church planters

Our familia – Mario & Yani with their team of church planters. From the top left moving clockwise: Junior & Kendra with Mario & Yany; Jorge & Rachel with Dave; Mario & Yany with Dave; Dave next to Yoiset & Osmeiki

Yesterday (Sunday), Cuba held an election to legalize gay marriage. The results of the election are to be released today. I decided to write about this because it is affecting many of my friends, our familia in Cuba.

Some of the pastors in Cuba are undergoing persecution because the church is opposing the legalization of gay marriage. While I was with my friends a couple of weeks ago, they told me what was going on, and it concerns me. We need to be praying for our brothers and the church in Cuba.

The Challenges of Dealing with the LGBT Agenda
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Pastor Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Unfortunately, we’ve seen the gay LGBT agenda making headway around the world. I’m willing to admit that the church has done a poor job of showing love to the LGBT community. We’ve struggled to figure out how to lovingly show that we do not agree with the LGBT lifestyle. I mean the Bible calls it sin, yet there are many other sins the Bible refers to, and in those cases, we seem to more effectively show love and grace to the person without agreeing with what he or she is doing. This is something the church has to do a better job addressing.

I don’t want to focus so much on the overall problem of the church and the LGBT community in this post. My focus here is what’s going on in Cuba and how we can pray for our brothers and sisters there.

While I was in Cuba I learned that the government allowed the gay community to hold a march and to also hold a huge rally in a stadium supporting their cause. When the church asked for the same privilege they were denied.

The church sent a letter to the governing officials stating their case and asking for the opportunity to represent for their view in public. They wanted to present their side of the argument, but they were denied. They were not allowed to organize a march and they were not allowed to hold a rally.

It’s interesting that in 1960 when things shifted dramatically in Cuba that pastors, Catholic clergy and homosexuals were imprisoned. This left the church without their main leaders for a number of years. Most families didn’t even know where these pastors were for three years or more. We can also see the cultural shift here, at one point the government saw the homosexual community as a threat to their society. Now there has been this huge swing, and they are actually promoting the LGBT agenda. They have denied the right of the church to promote what the Bible teaches about the family.

Our Battle is Spiritual
Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

Prayer in Camaguey. These people are warriors!

I think that in large part this is the agenda of the god of this world. He is the enemy of the church and the enemy of our soul. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6 that our struggle, our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

Our friends many of whom refer to us as part of their family have come under oppression during these days because they have refused to support the LGBT lifestyle.

I must admit barring a miracle this new law allowing gay marriage is going to pass. Of course, our God is a God of miracles so he can do the impossible.

Great Sacrifices Made for the Gospel
Some of the wonderful friends the Lord has given us that have become family

Some of our wonderful friends that the Lord has given us who have become family. What a precious gift they are!

My heart goes out to our family on this small island. They’ve suffered so much for the sake of the gospel. They’ve made sacrifices so that the gospel might be proclaimed. Sacrifices that most of us can’t even conceive of. Dawn and I admire their commitment to Christ and his church. I feel that it challenges our faith in a good way.

The church in Cuba is growing in large part, because of their willingness to serve and minister despite the huge costs. Christ paid the ultimate price so that we might have life. They are following in Christ’s footsteps so that others might hear the good news and come to faith. I give thanks to the Lord for their example and their amazing faith and commitment to follow Jesus.

Join us in Prayer!
Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Pastor Ivan praying for church planters Osmeiki and Yosiet

Join us in praying for our Cuban familia, made up of many pastors and leaders and those under their care. Pray that the church continues to grow despite the opposition and that the Lord sustains the pastors, especially those who are experiencing persecution. We live in this crazy mixed up world, where men wear beautiful gowns (see Oscars Ceremony Sunday night) and people call wrong right and right wrong.

Our hope is that Jesus is on the throne. He rules! Jesus promised us in this world we would have many trials, but he also said cheer up, because I have overcome the world! (John 16:33) Thank you, Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our group with the church planters in Havana
Our group with the church planters in Havana

This morning I drank my coffee from a cup that a friend from Cuba, Ailyn gave me that says I ❤️ Cuba. I just returned from this Carribean Island last Wednesday night. I thought I would never love a people as much as I love my Mexican hermanos, where Dawn and I have lived and served over the last 30 years. Yet, I must admit our Cuban friends have stolen our hearts! And as Dawn and I travel especially in Latin America we are finding a growing love for those we meet and minister with there also. God is on the move and it’s fun to be part of what he is doing!

Hannah, Havana and Beyond!
The church planters doing an exercise during the Discovery Center in Havana

The church planters doing an exercise during the Discovery Center in Havana

Still to this day I’m not sure how to reconcile my daughter, Hannah’s early homegoing. God is bringing us healing along the journey, but there’s so much we don’t understand! Why do I mention this here, after writing my first paragraph about my growing love for Cuba? Well, just before Hannah moved to heaven Dawn and I began to pray that the Lord would increase our reach, and extend our borders.

On January 1 of 2017, just 2 months after Hannah moved to heaven Dawn and I were with our two sons, David and Jonathan and we heard a sermon on Isaiah 54, which speaks of how God is going to enlarge the tent of the barren woman. It addresses loss, the inability to have children, and the Lord’s wonderful promise for redemption and an increase! We claimed that passage as a promise for our family and our ministry, and we prayed for a breakthrough.

“”Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.”

Isaiah‬ ‭54:1-3‬ ‭ESV (emphasis mine)

Enlarging Our Reach!

Since that time we’ve been able to minister in Cuba, El Salvador, Uruguay, Colombia, and Ecuador. It’s not just geographically that we’ve seen an increase, but also in the depth or our ministry. The Lord has connected us with some wonderful people in these countries. The place that especially stands out apart from Mexico is Cuba.

Our Growing Family!
Our dear friends and growing family in Cuba!
Our dear friends and growing family in Cuba!

Dawn and I are amazed at the depth of relationship the Lord has given us in Cuba. It’s amazing, because despite only being able to go to Cuba once or twice a year, through email and WhatsApp we’ve been able to communicate and stay in touch with our unbelievable friends there. Some of them have become like family to us.

The Call to be a Spiritual Father & Mother
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David
Luis & May with their children Zuri & David

Some of the couples now call us their parents. People need to be loved and encouraged all over the world, but especially those who live in a country that makes internet access and communication so difficult. One particular pastor Luis and his wife, May told me while I was there on this last trip, that there has been a marked difference in their ministry since they met Dawn and me last year. Luis and May are very gifted, and the Lord is using them in remarkable ways. So it’s surprising for me to learn that they feel there has been an increase in their effectiveness in ministry over the last year!

They’ve suffered much as they’ve ministered over the years. I don’t know if I’ve personally ever met people who have sacrificed as much for the gospel as our friends in Cuba. They’ve gone without food. They’ve walked for hours in the hot sun each day to reach an unreached community. Now they have sun spots, sun damaged skin from being in the sun so long without the ability to purchase sunscreen to protect themselves. These friends and others call us their parents, which is a real privilege for us. They have truly stolen our hearts.

Mario & Yani Ministering in Cabaiguan
Mario & Yani with their team of church planters
Mario & Yany with their team of church planters. From top left clockwise: Junior & Kendra with Yany & Mario, Jorge & Rachel with Dave, Dave with Mario & Yany, Dave next to Yoiset & Osmeiki

One of the other young couples who live and minister in Cabaiguan, Mario and Yany are doing a wonderful job in their community. They are leading a team of four young church planting couples. Dawn and I first met Mario and Yany less than two months after Hannah moved to heaven. Yany was only 20 years old then. When Dawn first met Yany, tears streamed down Dawn’s face as meeting Yany reminded her of our daughter and what could have been, as Hannah had a growing interest in ministry. We’ve grown to love Mario and Yany, and it’s such a joy to be able to encourage them in their work.

Dave with Mario & Yani and Sara who is married to Pastor Justo. Justo and Sara are also great friends who train others to plant churches in Cuba!
Dave with Mario & Yany and Sara who is married to Pastor Justo. Justo and Sara are also great friends who train church planters and leaders to plant churches in Cuba!

A little over a year ago Yany’s mom died of cancer leaving Yany without a mom at a young age. Dawn and Yany have bonded over the loss of a mother and a daughter. The two of them have come together to encourage and love one another even as they mourn.

Join Us in Prayer for Cuba and Beyond!

There are other friends in Cuba who we also feel close to, and every year we go back we meet new friends. Our Cuban family continues to grow and we get to know all our friends there better. What a wonderful gift the Lord has given us. This is part of the answer to our hearts cry. Part of the answer to our prayers that the Lord would enlarge our tent! Thank you so much for praying with us. God does indeed hear our prayers. He is concerned about the longings our heart. He does bring healing even in the valley of the shadow of death. Praise be to Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Our Growing Family

Some of our pastor friends in Cuba – starting from the bottom Justo, Luis & May and Oniel

I’m on my way to Havana as I write this. Once I’m in Cuba I will have very limited if any access to the internet. I don’t usually like to write my posts on the phone while I’m traveling, but I believe that I need a lot of prayer covering. I will be in Havana from today until Friday the 8th. Then I will be going to some smaller communities to visit and encourage some friends who are pastors.

These friends have become like family to Dawn and me. Since they are isolated in many ways, because of the lack of internet access and because of some of what they’ve had to live through they need encouragement. We all need someone to help us along the way, but it’s even more pronounced on this Island.

Our Role as Spiritual Parents

Pastor Mario and Yany with their daughter, Lorena

Dawn and I have grown to love these dear friends. A number of them now call us dad and mom. This is something that’s more common in Latin cultures. It’s also a growing part of or ministry especially since Hannah moved to heaven. It’s like the Lord has called us to be spiritual parents to a number of people. We enjoy encouraging and loving these friends. It is a true gift from the Lord! Jesus has given us friends to love on in Mexico who see us as spiritual parents.

Join us in Prayer!

Dawn and I would also appreciate your prayers for Dawn and her mom as they had to stay behind. We know that we are in a new season as Dawn’s mom, Alice is not able to live by herself. It’s a privilege to have her in our home and care for her. At least for the time being Dawn is not able to travel as much with me. We trust in the Lord’s guidance and leading during this season.

Lately Dawn and I have been separated some. This will change after I get back from this trip, but it is something we are seeking to manage the best we can now.

I’m not expecting that I will be able to write and post once I’m in Cuba. So it will most likely be a week or more before I post again.

I believe that the Lord is going to do something very special during my time there. I look forward to writing about God’s great and mighty work once I return. Thank you so much for standing with us and praying for us! We praise Jesus for his love and his desire to bring change and transformation to the nations!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Journey Continues!
Dave in Quito - The Middle of the World
Dave in Quito – The Middle of the World

The above statement has been our prayer, especially since our daughter Hannah moved to heaven. God is graciously answering our prayer! I’m heading out today (Thursday) for Colorado then to Cuba, so I wanted to get something out before I took off. This year has started with a bang, as I’ve already gone on ministry trips to Mexico City and Quito, Ecuador. Not much time to rest, and we’ve had the added adventure of taking care of Dawn’s mom, Alice.

It’s a new season for us, and we are just taking one day at a time as we seek to keep our eyes on Jesus. I prefer having Dawn join me on our trips. She is a catalyst in many ways, as she meets so many people in the most unusual ways. You could say, this is a time of growth for both of us. The Lord is teaching us new things as he is so faithful to do.

We do enjoy having Dawn’s mom with us. They are both extroverted so they meet many people in their endeavors. Dawn and I both like to use of our home to minister to others, family and friends.

Giving Thanks for the Lord’s Good Gifts!
The Newlyweds – Jonathan and Hannah with David, Jr., Dawn and Dave

I feel excited about these trips. I’ll be in Colorado Springs for a missions conference, but there’s the added bonus of being able to see my boys and our growing family. This season has been wonderful! Jonathan just married, Hannah and David is engaged to Emily! Many fun celebrations after our time of mourning. It’s not like the mourning completely leaves, but it is so good to receive the Lord’s healing touch through the wonderful young women that Jesus has brought into our family.

Family in Cuba
Dave and Dawn with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yanny
Dave and Dawn with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yanny

After I’m in Colorado I leave for Cuba and I’ll be there for 11 days. Dawn and I have grown to love our friends in Cuba. Some of the pastors we minister to there call us dad and mom. That’s a huge encouragement to us, and it gives us much joy to stay in contact with them and to strengthen the pastors there. They are amazing people who have gone through so much. They are still cut off from much of the rest of the world. Internet access is expensive, so it makes it difficult to communicate.

Dave & Dawn with Pastor Luis and his wife, May
Dave & Dawn with Pastor Luis and his wife, May

We are thankful that over this last year the internet presence in Cuba is slowly growing, and it’s becoming easier to communicate with our friends. The government restrictions make it challenging to travel to Cuba, but the Lord has used some of these difficulties to make the people hungry for the gospel. The Cubans we have met are good natured and fun loving people. It seems like they’ve had to learn to laugh in spite of their circumstances.

Join Us in Prayer!

Dawn and I would appreciate your prayers as I’m traveling and Dawn is at home with her mom. I need prayer covering especially for my time in Cuba. That the Lord will protect me both physically and spiritually while I’m there. Also, that we will see a breakthrough, that the Lord will do a mighty work in our friends and with those they minister to. Thank you so much for joining us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Open Doors in Mexicali and Tijuana

On this journey of faith on the border, the Baja and Beyond Dawn and I enjoy connecting with all the pastors, church planters, and leaders that He brings our way. Our heart is to strengthen those we minister alongside so that they will be encouraged and more effective in ministry. We work and pray for more churches and healthier churches.

Over the last week, we met with a number of church planters and leaders in Tijuana and Mexicali. The day we went to Mexicali the temperature soared about 100 degrees! We managed to stay cool by going from one air-conditioned restaurant to another. It’s such a joy to spend time with these leaders and to get to know them.

Pastor Mere and Edna Godinez

 Edna, Mere, Dawn and Dave in Mexicali

Edna, Mere, Dawn and Dave in Mexicali

One of the couples we spent time with was Pastor Mere and Edna, who are leading the church we started in Hannah’s memory. They are both busy in their jobs, and school as they are ministering. This is the first church that they are leading, so they are learning as they go.

Dawn and I love Mere and Edna, they are very special to us. In part, because they are in front of the church that we put our heart and soul into since it was built to honor Hannah and to remember her. We love to listen to them talk about how they are growing, and their desire to reach the community for Christ. We are thankful for the opportunity to speak into their lives.

We’d appreciate your continued prayers for the church as they reach out in the community of Carranza, which is outside of Mexicali. As I mentioned before Cristina, who lives right next to the church prayed for three years that the Lord would build a church on that property. Her mom believed that the Lord would put a church their, even before Cristina began to pray for it.

The Lord is on the Move! Hallelujah!

The church in near Mexicali. Pastor Mere & Edna during the inaugural service with Pastor Daniel Nuñez who leads Ministerios Transformación.

The church in near Mexicali. Pastor Mere & Edna during the inaugural service with Pastor Daniel Nuñez who leads Ministerios Transformación.

The Lord is on the move in Mexicali. This is the first church that we’ve been directly connected to in this city, the capital city of Baja California. Now that the Lord has opened up the door to Mexicali through this church, we’ve begun to connect with Edna’s parents who are also leading a young church. Their names are Rafael and Diana. And we pray that both of these churches will grow for the glory of God.

There are also two other pastors that live in Mexicali. Dawn and I met with them last week as well to talk about the possibility of working together to start a new church in Mexicali. Just think in the next year we could have three or four new churches in the capital of Baja California when just a year ago we only had one.

The Ever-expanding Kingdom! What a Joy!

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 whenever the Lord opens the door!

The Lord has also introduced us to a couple of new church planters for Tijuana. We would love to see more churches in Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Mexicali, La Paz, Los Cabos and throughout Mexico. O Lord, hear our prayer! On earth, as it is in heaven!

Thanks for joining us on this wild ride. Dawn and I have suffered some real pain as we’ve served here, yet God is at work. The Lord is healing this land, and he is raising up a new generation and a people for Himself! Amen!

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