Posts Tagged ‘Evangelism’

Celebrating 31 years!
I give thanks for my wife, Dawn!

Today is a special day. Dawn and I celebrate our 31st anniversary today! As Proverbs 31 says, “an excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10). I do give thanks for Dawn and the wonderful journey that we have been on together. Our love for one another has grown through the good and the difficult times.

We have endured more trials than most. I was kidnapped in Mexico City and our car was stolen at gun point. Our daughter Hannah struggled with some tremendously difficult demons for close to three years. The hardest thing for us to endure was when Hannah moved to heaven. We are still dealing with that, which is hard because most don’t understand that grief doesn’t have an end point.

When I think about an excellent wife and this passage, the first two people who come to mind are Dawn and Hannah. I do give thanks for my beautiful wife, Dawn. Our love has grown over the years and she is truly my better half and far more precious than jewels.

Hannah – Our Virtuous Daughter
Our Beautiful Virtuous Daughter, Hannah

I think of Hannah as well. Hannah longed to find a man and be married before she moved to heaven. As one friend, Susanna Schuemann said at Hannah’s funeral that Hannah now is the bride to the perfect Husband.

When Hannah was younger she posted a video about the virtuous woman as described in Proverbs 31. She always wanted to be a positive influence on young women. She hoped to one day write and give encouraging talks. Now that I think about it, this is interesting, because the Lord has brought another beautiful young woman into our lives who was born on the same day as Hannah who does have a powerful ministry to young women. I believe it’s one of the ways the Lord is redeeming our pain and suffering. It’s like a kiss from our loving Father. A reminder that He loves us and that He will not leave us or forsake us. Our loving Papa, God!

Hannah’s video on the virtuous woman

Love Makes a Difference in Mexicali
The happy couples at the Valentine’s dinner

It seems appropriate on our anniversary to talk about love and how the Lord is using the theme of love in marriage to bring transformation to young couples in Mexicali.

One example of friends being touched by the love of Christ happened this past weekend in our church plant in Mexicali. Our church planters Federico and Blanca Muñoz wanted to take advantage of the month of love and friendship, the month of February. They invited some of their new friends that they’ve met over the last few months to a fun meal celebrating love and friendship. It was an event for couples with an eye towards strengthening marriages through the love of Christ.

Federico and Blanca did an excellent job organizing the event, and all the people who came had a great experience. Marriage isn’t easy, and many couples struggle to maintain their love for one another. There are so many things that mitigate against families today. Our friends need encouragement and help to grow in their marriage relationship.

Wonderful Testimonies of God’s Grace
All smiles – One of the young married couples enjoying the evening

Federico and Blanca shared that as part of the evening activities they encouraged the couples to forgive one another for past faults. The couples took advantage of the opportunity. It’s not an easy thing to admit you made a mistake and to ask someone to forgive you, but Jesus broke through!

One of the couples that came has been living together for 14 years. They expressed a desire to commit to the covenant of marriage before God! Wow! It’s heartwarming to see how the love of Christ and the good news of the gospel brings about change and transformation. It gives all of us hope!

I enjoy seeing people encounter Christ for the first time. It’s so good watching the Lord work in their hearts to bring about change. The gospel is truly good news! These gospel encounters happen frequently in the churches that we are planting. It’s one of the principle reasons we are so committed to starting new churches.

We know that Jesus makes all the difference! As the Spirit works in our lives and teaches us to love like Jesus relationships begin to change for the better.

Join Us in Prayer for Federico & Blanca and the Ministry in Mexicali
Federico & Blanco with their children, Junior, Damaris, David & Daniel (from left to right)

For many of the couples that came to the Valentine’s themed event, it was their first exposure to the gospel. It was a step in the right direction for them to see life transformation. We lift these couples up along with Federico and Blanca as they reach out to their friends. We join them in praying that they will come to Christ and grow in their faith. Lord, do continue your good work!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Stories of Expansion
Dave right before going into surgery

Over the last week and a half I’ve been recovering from hernia surgery, which I must say isn’t fun. 😉 It has been a slower process than I envisioned. These days since I haven’t been able to be as mobile as I usually am have given me some time to reflect, and to encourage all those that we are partnering with in ministry.

Dawn and I moved to the San Diego-Tijuana border area 7 1/2 years ago. It’s beautiful to see how the Lord has grown the ministry. He has literally stretched out our tent, just as we prayed from Isaiah 54. I love the stories of the lives that are touched and transformed through those we minister alongside of. I’d like to share one of those wonderful stories with you!

Davis & Luz Pardo
Luz & Davis with their three cute children

You might remember that I asked you to pray for Davis and Luz Pardo, because they were looking for a home in Playas in Tijuana. They were having a terrible time finding an affordable home. God came through again, and provided in the last minute. Now they are getting settled in to their new place, which isn’t far from the beach (that what playas means, beach).

Davis and Luz are a gifted young couple. Luz means light or power. She has a radiant smile that communicates joy and love. Davis is a caring pastor, who is able to attract and encourage people that he ministers to. Together they make a great team.

Luz’s Love Shines in the Produce Section
Luz & Davis

God gave Luz the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ just a couple of days ago in the local grocery store. She told Davis she was going to the grocery store for 5 minutes to buy some oranges. Well those 5 minutes turned into 40, because she met someone in need.

Luz met Mary, and it was obvious that Mary was having a difficult time communicating with her daughter, and there were other family dynamics that caused tension. Luz took the opportunity to talk to Mary, and she shared how Jesus came to give us hope and give us life. After Luz showed compassion to Mary, she asked her if she could pray for her. Mary said yes! And Luz not only prayed for her, but she was able to lead her to Christ!

Luz said she had never prayed from someone in a grocery store before.

Pray for More Growth, More Fruit
Dawn and Dave with some of of our church planters from left to right, Federico & Blanca Muñoz in Mexicali; Luz & Davis Pardo in Tijuana

When Luz and Davis shared this story with me, it made my day. God is so good, and He’s active. Luz asked for prayer for Mary that they will be able to follow up with her and help her to grow in her new found faith.

We also can pray that there will be many more people who are open to the good news of Jesus, like Mary. Pray for all of our church planters that God will open doors for them. Some of them share that they get discouraged along the way. Church planting can be a lonely work, so they need much encouragement and prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Goodness Seen in Our Growing Family
Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs

As I write this I’m enjoying a cup coffee and taking in the views of the snow capped peaks in Colorado. It reminds me of God’s majesty. Dawn and I are thankful that we can visit our family in Colorado Springs this Christmas and take in the beauty of God’s handiwork.

I’ve been reflecting on God’s goodness and his wonderful work in our lives and throughout the world.

Dawn and I feel like our family keeps growing. Both David and Jonathan married wonderful young women in the last year for which we give much thanks. Also, the Lord has given us family in Latin America.

Giving Thanks for Our Partners
Pastors and Leaders in Cuba

A number of the pastors that we work with have become like family to us. We are in constant communication with them, praying for them, encouraging them and coaching them. At the end of Romans Paul wrote about a long list of people who ministered with him in the gospel. It is evident that Paul didn’t minister alone. The Lord gave him a team of people to work with.

In Philippians 1 the apostle gives thanks for the church and his partners in the gospel there.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In the same way Dawn and I give thanks for our friends, our family, our partners in the gospel. We rejoice in all that the Lord is doing through them.

The Church is Advancing
Yany lovingly leading the children in Cabaiguan

Our friends Mario & Yany, who live in Cabaiguan, Cuba wrote us this week and told us about the opportunity they had to show the love of Christ to 90 children. Mario and Yany are planting four churches in the Cabaiguan area. They are very special friends that Dawn and I have come to consider part of our family. I’ve written about them in other posts.

It’s so good to see the kingdom of God advancing in Cuba.

One of Pastor Justo & Sara’s house churches in Jatibonico. It’s busting at the seams!

Some of our other friends Justo and Sara also wrote us and told us about the outreach and the growth of the church in Jatibonico. Every time we hear from these friends and other partners we rejoice and give thanks.

Join Us In Prayer!
Our Cuban Family – Faithful to Pray

Dawn and I have prayed for years that we would be part of kingdom expansion on the Border, the Baja and Beyond! We are starting to see that prayer answered. God is growing his church on the Border and the Baja where we live and work. We are also seeing growth Beyond these areas, mainly in Cuba. We continue to pray for more. More of Jesus. More of the Spirit and more kingdom growth and expansion!

Thank you for praying with us. We know that we are not alone. The Lord has given us a wonderful team of partners like you who are interested in seeing the kingdom of God expand through this work. We recognize that prayer is the life blood of all that we do.

Pray with us as this year comes to a close, that we will finish the year strong, so that we start 2020 off well. Dawn and I are praying that we can start at least 3 new churches in Mexico and 3 new churches in Cuba in 2020. We also are training and coaching many more church planters and leaders, and seeking to expand that part of the ministry as well.

You can help us make that a reality by praying for us, and by giving a year-end gift. You can give online by clicking the donate link.

Thank you for helping us take the gospel to The Border, The Baja and Beyond!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

Dave & Dawn
We wish you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Outstanding Church Planters we Minister With

One of the highlights of our ministry is connecting with our church planters. It’s not easy to start something new. There are great opportunities, and many challenges along the way. The church planters become great friends. They are like family to us.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been able to meet with church planters from three different cities: Ensenada, Tijuana, Mexicali. Each of them is at different stages in the process of starting the church.

Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz
Dave & Dawn with Junior, David, Daniel, Blanca, Federico & Damaris

Last week Dawn and I spent time with Pastor Federico and Blanco Muñoz who are starting a new church in Mexicali. Dawn and I prayed with them and encouraged them as they love their neighbors and reach out to the community.

We see the Lord’s hand on Federico and Blanca as they have already made some good connections and they have some friends in the Mexicali area who are helping them to share the love of Christ. These friends are going out with Federico and Blanca to invite the neighbors to a fun event that they are holding this Friday.

They bought 500 hot dogs and they are praying for 200 people to come. I love their vision to reach out broadly. They would like to make a number of contacts that they can follow-up with through this outreach. 

Federico and Blanca have a lovely family with four children ranging from 12 – 19. It seems like every time we see them someone is about to have a birthday, so we enjoy some dessert with them. Their children, Junior, Daniel, David, and Damaris are all committed to helping their parents. They love to worship and to lead worship.

The first person I met in their family was Junior as he came to a worship workshop that we held a year and a half ago. The Lord used that event and a mutual friend to connect us with Federico and Blanca. God is so good. I love how he brings people together for His kingdom purposes.

Changed Lives in Ensenada
Our fun group in Ensenada this past Sunday

The church in Ensenada led by Pastor Petri has already launched. This past Sunday Dawn and I worshipped in Ensenada. After church, a big group of us went out for a meal.

Over the course of the meal, I enjoyed talking to Arturo, Irlanda and their daughter, Barbara. They are a sweet young couple. They came to Christ and were baptized in the church this last year. It was encouraging to talk to them along with Petri, Yudy and the others about their journey. So good to see the Lord change lives, and bring about life transformation.

More Advance – We Pray for More!
Pastor Davis & Luz Pardo with their three children

We also have two other new church plants. One in Tijuana led by Davis & Luz Pardo and one in La Paz led by Jose Luis & Ana. The Lord is on the move and we give thanks for all that he is doing as he works through these couples and their ministry teams.

Please continue to pray for the advance of the kingdom on the Border, the Baja and Beyond! The church is growing, but we’d like to see more. We are hungry for more! Thank you, Jesus.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org 

Reconnecting with Dr. William T. Iverson

Dave with Dr. William T. Iverson

I’m writing this as I’m on my way back from a trip to the Philly area. While here I was in a few places in New Jersey, as well as Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Annapolis, Maryland. It was a fruitful trip that gave me the opportunity to tell of the wonders of the Lord and all he is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond!

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting my 91-year-old professor, mentor, spiritual father and friend, Dr. William “Bill” Iverson. I first met Bill when I was a 24-year-old seminary student at the International School of Theology (ISOT). ISOT is affiliated with Cru. At the time the school was at Arrowhead Springs in San Bernardino, California.

A Spiritual Father & Mentor during My Formative Years

Bill when he was 15 years old seated on the far right with his family. Bill’s dad, Daniel Iverson was an influential pastor in Miami, Florida. He started Shenandoah Presbyterian Church

I came to Christ while I was in college at Fresno State. I believe I was 20 years old at the time, so when I went to seminary I was still a relatively young believer. I needed a lot of guidance. I remember I had my share of insecurities as I was growing in my faith and learning to lead.

Bill became an important father in my life during that time. He was a unique combination of being a bold intellect. He pushed me to study and learn from the church Father’s while I was in school. He’s also the boldest personal evangelist that I’ve ever met. We would often go into a restaurant and he would begin a conversation with someone and then he would open the door for me to step in and share the gospel. At that time I was timid and wet behind the ears, so I would stumble my way through sharing the gospel.

Today I share the gospel with strangers on a regular basis, and Dawn is even bolder than me in sharing her faith. That all had its beginnings with Dr. Bill.

I remember one specific conversation we had in an old greasy spoon in the downtown area of San Bernardino. Bill started up conversations that led to opportunities to share the gospel with two or three people while we were there.

After these conversations I told Bill that I felt timid or fearful to just talk to strangers like that. He told me something that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “remember that these people are afraid as well, but the difference is that you have the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you.”

Wow! That was a game-changer!

I can’t say that I all of the sudden became a bold evangelist, but it did set in motion my growth to becoming bolder and more committed to sharing the good news of the gospel.

The Beginnings of My Call to Mexico

Dr. Iverson (top middle in blue) & Dave (bottom right in red) with other ISOT students and professors on a retreat during the 1984/85 school year

Another huge way that Bill influenced me is that he led a group of 16 students from ISOT to Cuernavaca and Mexico City for six weeks in the summer of 1985. It was on this trip that the Lord gripped my heart and gave me a love for Mexico.

Dr. Iverson taught us, students, the importance of reading broadly to learn from other disciplines and to help us to engage with them and the world around us. He and the students I studied with made my seminary experience an excellent one!

Dawn used to live across the street from Bill before she moved into the city and became one of my neighbors. Bill likes to claim responsibility for Dawn and my relationship, which may be slightly exaggerated! Yet, he did know both of us when we were single and he definitely encouraged us in our relationship.

Dr. Iverson signing a book for me. He’s written 2 or 3 books (one of them is called, Jesus and the Ways of Socrates, which is available on Amazon). He always likes to give me books.

I give thanks to the Lord for Dr. Iverson, and for how the Lord used Bill in our lives! I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influence of my mentor and spiritual father. Thankfully the Lord brought other mentors into my life over the years, like Dr. Thomas Graham. I see God’s goodness and love in how he gave me such good men to influence my life.

For all these reasons and more it was so good to be reunited with my gregarious, intellectual, ironic and bold professor.

One of my prayers is that I can be a spiritual father and mentor to the men and women that the Lord privileges us to work with. I believe that is taking place through the church planters and leaders that we work within Mexico, Cuba, and other countries. Thank you, Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Ministry & Family in Fresno & Bakersfield

My dad, Ron Diaso and I

I never grow tired of seeing the gospel bring about transformation, a changed life!

I’m writing this post just as I’m getting ready to leave Fresno and head back home to the Border lands.

This last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my parents in Fresno. While I was in Fresno my dad had a hernia surgery. Thanks for praying for him. It’s a relief to get him through that, and on the road to recovery. I also was able to visit two churches. One in Fresno and one in Bakersfield to promote our missions work and especially the work of church planting on the Border and Beyond.

I’m grateful for a fruitful trip. We wouldn’t see new churches planted without faithful partners who pray for us and give to the ministry.

God’s Grace Shines in Ensenada

The team from Skyview and from Renuevo for our summer VBS in Ensenada

Today I’d like to highlight an experience that I had while the group from Skyview Church in Colorado was with us while we were ministering in Ensenada. Skyview is a valuable partner that has grown close to Renuevo church and their leadership as they’ve come to aid in leading VBS over the last six years.

A couple of weeks ago on Monday while Skyview was in Ensenada, we went to the local hospital in the afternoon to do some outreach and community service. We handed out over 100 sandwiches and burritos and handed out toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap. This hospital services low-income families, so the people were grateful to receive this aid with along with a loving smile.

Jorge’s Open Heart

Jorge my new friend who found forgiveness in Christ

While our group ministered to the people in this way I took the opportunity to ask the people if they’d like prayer. The Lord gave me the opportunity to pray with a few of the people who came to visit and support their family in the hospital. One of the guys that I prayed for in particular stood out. His name is Jorge and I mentioned him in my last post.

There were a number of people waiting outside the hospital and at first I wasn’t sure if I should share with Jorge. I prayed and asked the Lord as I looked for someone to talk to. I approached Jorge, and he told me his sister was in the hospital and she had a problem with her kidneys. I told him that I’d like to pray for him and his sister, and as we talked he told me that he’s struggled with drugs and alcohol for a long time. He admitted that he was separated from his wife, and that he felt hurt and bitter in regards to his ex wife. He felt like his relationship with his wife, and his frustration with her pushed him towards the drugs and alcohol.

Jorge finds Forgiveness and New Life

I took the opportunity to let him know about the importance of forgiveness. I explained that when you don’t forgive and when you hold on to bitterness you are actually hurting yourself. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. I asked him if he was familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, and he said, “yes”. I told him in the Lord’s Prayer part of the prayer is, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” In a sense when you are unwilling to forgive and we pray this prayer we are asking the Lord to do the same to us.

The light bulb came on for Jorge. It made sense to him.

I said “Jorge, I believe that God loves you. I could have talked to any number of other people here today, but he sent me to talk to you.” Then we prayed and I a gave him the opportunity to confess Christ as his Lord and Savior as well as confess his sins and to forgive those that had offended him. After we prayed I sought to encourage him more and remind him of God’s great love.

Jorge started to cry. Here was this big, tough looking guy and God broke through. The Lord touched his heart and Jorge found love in Christ that day.

Paul reminds us, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬ (Emphasis mine)

There were a number of highlights to our week in Ensenada as there always are, but this was definitely at the top of the list. I never tire of seeing the gospel touch someone’s life and bring about change that has eternal implications. Wow! God is so good! Thank you Jesus for leading me to Jorge and giving me the opportunity to share the good news, the love of Christ with him!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Week In The Wild – VBS

A week of fun learning through In The Wild VBS

Our week in Ensenada with Renuevo church and Skyview is always one of the highlights of the year. This is the 6th summer in a row that Skyview has come from Denver, Colorado to help with VBS. One of the beautiful things that the Lord is doing through all the years is bringing maturity and depth to the relationships.

God continues to amaze as the gospel goes forth. We were able to minister to 55 children this year. At the end of the week, one of the teachers gave each of the children a questionnaire and asked them if they would like to have a relationship with Christ. All of them said yes and they expressed interest in continuing to grow in their faith.

The Gospel Touches Families

Petri sharing with the parents about the importance of helping their children to learn about Jesus and the Gospel

We received a number of positive comments from the parents. One parent, in particular, said that their son was coming home and he didn’t want to talk about the games and the crafts so much, but he wanted to talk to his parents about what he was learning about Jesus. Another mother whose son, Tomas is deaf, told us how one of her children kept encouraging the family to go to church. It sounded like more than anyone in the family he hoped that they might all attend church to learn more about Christ.

There were also two students who came with disabilities. Tomas who is deaf, and another girl who has cerebral palsy. It was heartwarming to see the love that these children received, and it was obvious that they enjoyed themselves.

Growing in and Through the Relationship

More VBS Fun!

One of the many benefits of VBS is it brings us all together for this one intense week. It gives Renuevo an opportunity to grow together as they spend extra time together in prep for the week. The Lord works through relationships, so it so good to see these dear friends come together and grow in their love for one another. This includes the relationships with those from Skyview. Each year they anxiously await the time they spend together. The week always ends with a tearful goodbye. Which is descriptive of the love that they share.

Petri is the pastor of Renuevo and his wife is Yudy. They have a wonderful team that works with them, and they are all gifted teachers. In fact, a number of them work in the school system in Mexico. They do an excellent job at organizing the week, and the VBS in particular.

A Week of Outreach and Impact

I had a chance to pray with Jorge and share the love of Christ with him!

Apart from the VBS, there were other opportunities to minister. On Monday afternoon we went to one of the local hospitals that serve many low-income families. The family members and friends waiting outside are needy. We gave out more than 100 sandwiches and burritos. We also gave them toothpaste, toothbrushes, and soap. I was surprised by how many people thanked us for the toothbrush and toothpaste! That seemed to be a real need that they had.

We were able to pray for some of the people that were at the hospital. The Lord gave me a wonderful experience sharing the gospel and praying for one particular man named Jorge (photo above). God did an amazing work in Jorge’s life as we shared and prayed together.

Healing Through Testimonies of God’s Grace

Hannah Berglund leading the children in one of the classes during VBS

One other activity that I’d like to mention before I end this post is that we had a number of young people from Ensenada as well as from Denver, Colorado. Most of them were girls this year ranging from around 15 – 22. On Wednesday night I asked two of them to share a brief testimony. Hannah Berglund and Monica Vasquez shared. They were vulnerable about their own struggles, and how Christ and the gospel have carried them through the difficulties they’ve faced.

After Hannah and Monica shared I asked the group if anyone else would like to share, and then a number of them expressed the challenges they have faced or are facing. Almost everyone got involved in loving and encouraging one another, and it ended up being a beautiful time of healing and redemption. God is so good.

The days were long during the week, but it’s surprising how the time flew by. I think we experienced almost all the emotions, much laughter, and joy, some sadness, and sorrow. Overall it was a time of experiencing God’s loving grace which brought us joy and contentment.

Join us in Prayer

On the final night, we celebrated our week together with some Mariachis!

Pray for Pastor Petri and Yudy and the Renuevo team as they follow up all the families that they were able to reach out to. Pray that these families will come to have a true and living relationship with the Savior.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org