Posts Tagged ‘grieving’

Mourning for a Dear Friend

Our beautiful young friend Mitchell moved to heaven on October 1

Today my heart is heavy, because we lost a dear young friend. Our 15 year old friend, Mitchell was battling leukemia. Dawn and I were praying for her, and we truly believed the Lord was going to heal her. I envisioned writing a different post regarding Mitchell, about how the Lord miraculously healed her. There’s so much we don’t understand about life, but I have to go back to what I know to be true, that God is a God of love. He has a good plan for us, and not a plan for evil. He is in control, even when it seems that the world is out of control and that we are living in chaos.

Mitchell for me was a real hero!

Mitchell happy to receive her backpack for school

Each time Dawn and I saw her she had this big beautiful smile. She also had an amazingly positive attitude. It was hard to believe that she was so sick. It was difficult to comprehend that she was approaching death’s door.

She loved and she showed concern for the other patients and her doctors. She prayed for them and she shared the love of Christ with everyone she came in contact with in the hospital. It was impossible to miss her infectious, gentle and caring spirit. Mitchell was mature beyond her years!

One of her doctors was cold and hardened at times, and he shared with Mitchell and Miroslava that he didn’t believe in God. Yet, Mitchell and Miroslava lovingly shared with the doctor and he began to soften. Seed has been planted and the Lord has begun to work in his heart.

The last few times Dawn and I visited Mitchell in the hospital we had the opportunity to pray with one of the other young patients, Erwin. He joined with us as we prayed. Also, a young girl who was in the bed next to Mitchell was crying and weeping loudly from her pain. We could see the concern for her in Mitchell’s eyes. She was such a loving and gentle young woman.

Then Dawn went over to comfort the young girl. Dawn prayed with her and began to show her Christ’s love.

When we left the hospital on that day Mitchell was weak, but we didn’t think it would be the last time we’d see her on this side of heaven. The young girl next to Mitchell said as we left, “God is going to heal me.” We do pray that he will. I believe that the Lord was using all the prayer, as we know that Mitchell and her mom where praying day and night, to raise the level of hope in that hospital.

Mitchell’s Strong Faith

Mitchell loved to pray and on this day she prayed with us for Juan who has problems with his kidneys, and the Lord ministered to Juan through Mitchell

I admire Mitchell’s strong faith in the midst of such difficult circumstances. I told Mitchell that she was like Daniel in the Bible. Daniel was a young man taken into captivity when he was about 15 years old, the same age as Mitchell. Daniel maintained his strong faith, and became a man of influence in Babylon.

That’s why or one of the reasons Mitchell is my hero, and why I admire he so much!

God’s Comfort in Times of Pain

The last two days I was with Mitchell’s family: her dad, Salvador; her mom, Miroslava; her sister, Kenia along with other family and friends. It was so hard to see their tears. Their deep and painful sorrow as they mourn. I prayed with them and sought to encourage them in Christ.

Yesterday they brought Mitchell’s body to their home and in the evening they had the wake. My good friends, Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol minister at the church that Salvador and Miroslava attend. Victor and Sol have walked through this painful journey with the family. The whole church has been coming together weekly to pray for Mitchell’s healing. Both Victor and Sol shared the love of Christ at the funeral service. It was a message of hope. I’m proud of Victor and Sol for the important work they do in the community of Plan Libertador.

They gave me an opportunity to share as well. It was so hard, but I’m grateful for the Lord’s grace that sustains me and the hope we have in Christ. Sol told me that I could minister to them in a special way, because of what Dawn and I went through with Hannah. I’m grateful the Lord can redeem our experience in this way. It also brought up some painful memories for me as we approach our daughter, Hannah’s 2 year mark of her moving to heaven.

Mourning for Mitchell and her Family

They held the wake in the front of Salvador & Miroslava’s home in Rosarito

As I was leaving Salvador and Miroslava’s home I felt so sad and concerned for the family. Even though I wasn’t crying at the time, in some ways it was like an overwhelming hopeless feeling. Even as I write this the tears start to well up in my eyes as I think of this precious family and the journey before them. Dawn and I have grown to love this family. We are deeply concerned for their well being.

Dawn and I personally know the grief they are passing through. The pain of losing a child, and I think there’s nothing more painful for a parent to go through. And I realize our children aren’t “lost”, but at times it feels that way. As I mentioned we are coming up on two years with Hannah, and there are still days that I feel heavy as I miss her.

I felt for the family as I left. I wondered whether they would be able to bear the pain and to sustain their faith in the midst of this fiery trial. I wish there was something more I could do to spare them. At that moment the Lord gently reminded me that he was able and that he would sustain them. I felt His peace at that moment.

Thank you Lord for that assurance. You are truly a good God.

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Earlier that day, on Tuesday morning, the day after Mitchell moved to heaven the Lord directed me to read Psalm 118 and I found it very comforting. The words found there gave me hope, and reminded me of the Lord’s unfailing love.

In the first four verses of Psalm 118 the Psalmist repeats the phrase, “His steadfast love endures forever.” The Lord is encouraging his people his church to remember and to declare the truth that, “His steadfast love endures forever!” If God is for us who can be against us? We have victory in Christ. We are more than overcomers. This is all true for those in Christ, Hallelujah and Amen!

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalms‬ ‭118:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

An Amazing Day!
The Hannah Diaso Memorial Church just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

The Hannah Diaso Memorial Church just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

I find it next to impossible to fully express our experience in building the memorial church for our daughter, Hannah. It was wonderful, but it also brought a wide range of emotions.

I felt sad and happy, I felt sorrow and joy, I felt grief and hopeful. On top of all those emotions, I also felt a sense of pride that we could build the church in a community just outside of Mexicali, Mexico. I felt very loved by all those who participated. The Lord gave us about 60 in all counting those that came from both sides of the border.

So Much Love!

Many participated in building the church on a hot day just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

Many participated in building the church on a hot day just outside of Mexicali, Mexico

At the end of the first day, I told one of our Mexican friends, Sol Carrola how much it meant to me that she came all the way from Tijuana to help us build the church. We helped Sol and her husband, Victor to build a now thriving church in Rosarito three years ago. I’m going to be preaching at their three-year anniversary celebration service this Sunday.

I told Sol that I felt very loved that she was helping out, and as I expressed my gratitude I started to cry. She told me that they did love us, and wanted my family and me to feel loved. I started crying even more. God is so good to us!

Thankful for All Who Joined Us!
Jonathan & David working hard on the church

Jonathan & David working hard on the church

Both David and Jonathan, our two boys were able to fly out to be with us and help us build the church. Also David’s girlfriend, Emily and Jonathan’s girlfriend, Hannah joined in the fun. Chivis, our close friend from Mexico City, who was one of Hannah’s closest friends flew out to join us. Jim DeWitt a close friend, and also a colleague with Mission to the World made the trip from Michigan to show his love and support. Marissa, who Hannah knew from Colorado came from St. Louis.

My 82-year-old dad got on a plane and came down from Fresno. When my dad told me he was coming I about started crying. When I told Dawn and the boys that grandpa was coming they cried as well. It’s a miracle that my dad could be with us. Last year on March 1 or thereabouts I received a phone call from my mom telling that the doctor said that my dad only had 6 months to a year to live. God has healed my dad! One of the last doctor’s reports he received, the doctor said that the cancer was regressing. The doctor went on to say that it must be divine intervention because it wasn’t because of anything he had done! God is so good!

Elissa and Dawn along with other friends and family

Elissa and Dawn along with Stephany, Kim, Jonathan, Hannah, and Emily with some of the local children

There were also other close friends that joined us locally. Two of Hannah’s friends from her IMPACT 195 discipleship came, Elissa and Stephany. Some of my best friends from Mexico also joined us.

The Impact and Legacy of Hannah’s Life
Praying for Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna as we gave them the keys to the church!

Praying for Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna as we gave them the keys to the church!

As we shared at the end of the time and reflected some on Hannah’s life, one of the things that was mentioned over and over was how loving and welcoming Hannah was. Our prayer is that this new church will bring life to the community and that all who come will feel welcome!

Both of my boys have expressed that they would much rather visit this church and remember Hannah than to go out to the cemetery to remember her.

We believe that this is going to be a life-giving church. Our family and those that joined us enjoyed getting to know Pastor Mere and his wife Edna. God is going to use them in a powerful way as they plant this church. Join us in praying for them. The inauguration service for the church will be on Sunday, May 6th.

On behalf of my family, I want to thank all who prayed for us as we prepared for this big project. I want to thank all who gave, and there were many. We give thanks for you, and we give thanks to the Lord!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

Blessed to Serve on Mission with God
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Dawn and Dave walk on this winding road of faith together

Some days I feel so excited about what we get to do, and who we get to work alongside. Even though working in mission isn’t always easy, I realize that Dawn and I have been blessed in so many ways as we serve in helping to fulfill the great commission. Yet, I’ve found myself feeling up and down these last couple of weeks because we just came upon the one year anniversary of when Hannah went to heaven.

That’s been truly painful. There’s no way to hide from it.

I think Dawn and I receive more support than most people do when they’ve lost a loved one, which does help sustain us. The Lord also lifts us up. He does it day by day and moment by moment.

The Painful One Year Anniversary
Dave picking flowers for Hannah's gravesite on the one year anniversary of Hannah's moving to heaven

Dave picking flowers for Hannah’s gravesite on the one year anniversary of Hannah’s moving to heaven

Last Wednesday, October 18th is when we crossed the one-year threshold. Dawn and I felt like it would be best if we could be out of town for a few days during that time. A couple of weeks ago we had dinner with a close friend and ministry partner, JD Pearring. JD lovingly asked us how we were doing, and what our plans were for the one year anniversary. It was something we had thought about, but Dawn and I hadn’t come up with a decision yet. JD invited to go to the Transformation Ministries conference in the LA area. After we thought about it some we decided to attend the conference.

The Lord met us there in some amazing ways. The conference started on the 19th, and both Dawn and I felt down in the morning as we were driving to the conference.

We were sad on the 18th, and it was hard to go visit Hannah’s gravesite, but in some ways, I felt worse emotionally on the 19th.

The moment we drove up to the conference and got out of the car the first thing that occurred is I dropped my phone in the street and cracked the screen! Huge bummer! Things seemed to be getting worse. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see our friends at that point.

Once the conference began we worshipped the Lord together. The group that led us guided us into the presence of the Lord, and there as I began to worship I felt the weight begin to lift. Praise Jesus!

Then Margaret Feinberg shared a wonderful message. Neither Dawn nor I had heard of her before, but she did an excellent job of transparently sharing about joy in the midst of trials. Margaret is facing cancer at the moment, so she is walking through a valley herself as she ministers to others.

Rejoice in the Lord!

One of the passages she shared really spoke to me from Habakkuk 3.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19, ESV)

This passage ministered to me in such a way, that I just had to start sharing it with others. I had read it before, but since we are going through this painful period of mourning it touched me in a special way.

Dawn and Dave with Hannah when she graduated from IMPACT 195. Two months later she graduated to heaven. We miss her every day. So thankful for our hope in Jesus!

Dawn and Dave with Hannah when she graduated from IMPACT 195. Two months later she graduated to heaven. We miss her every day. So thankful for our hope in Jesus!

The other way that the Lord lifted us up was being around friends who love Jesus and who love us. Dawn met some new friends who ministered to her in a special way. As we pass through this season we see the Lord using our storying to minister to others out of our pain. God does not waste our trials.

I must say I wish for more. I pray for more. I ask for more. I want more of Jesus and more of the Spirit in my life. God hears my prayer, I’m confident of that, but the answer is not always the way I hope for or expect. Yet, I will praise him. “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (Job 3:15a)

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Hannah’s Homegoing
A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography

A photo of our family taken by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com

#AHANNAHPERCENT – Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

One year ago tonight Hannah moved to heaven. She passed into glory. O how we miss our beautiful daughter, and the boys miss their much-loved sister.

A close friend of ours, Jacob Betchol posted this tribute on his website today. I asked him if it would be okay for me to share it with you on my site, and he agreed. Thank you, Jacob!

We first met him when our son, David, and Jacob became close friends and debate partners at San Diego Christian College. Jacob is a talented photographer. He’s also a great friend and support to our family. He took some beautiful photos for our family about two years ago. He also took this stunning shot of Hannah for her graduation from IMPACT, and it ended up being used for her graduation to heaven as well.

Here’s Jacob’s website: lylphotography.com/Ahannahpercent and I copied his post below. I think you will enjoy what he has to share.

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly. Photo by Jacob Betchol lylphotography.com/ahannahpercent

Jacob’s Post

Hannah stood alone at the front, radiating a smile. Beautifully framed she stood still, the air around her almost bright and airy. The memories and stories that friends and family shared about her, joined together into an encouraging melody. And as the stories swelled around her, it was as if her smile grew even larger.
______

It was late afternoon, the sun was settling for the day. Its rays were long and colorful, and radiated with such beauty. That the posing and the click of the shutter were almost distractions from the creativity of the golden hour. When Hannah had asked me to photograph her for her graduation, it took me longer than usual to get back to her. I almost said no.

Photography was no longer just a passion, it was (and is) my vocation. So I had started saying no when people asked me to take photographs. The feeble excuses that it would add to my portfolio or would just take few minutes were falling flat. And yet, I found myself in Point Loma that day taking graduation photographs. My thank you for my efforts, a dirty chai, was sitting on an uneven stump slowly melting. I’m not sure why I said yes that day, but this story is not about that answer.

This is the story of a photograph worth taking. I’m so glad I agreed to photograph Hannah that day. It has been almost a year since I walked up to her portrait. My hand reaching into my suit pocket for my handkerchief wiping away the tears forming in the corner of my eye. Hannah was no longer with us, but her memory encourages me to this day. Little did I know, that a photograph from that graduation photo session would end up in front of the sanctuary for her graduation to heaven. That her smile would embody the stories shared then and even now.

Hannah’s family coined the word Ahannahpercent to embody her memory. If you know the Diaso family, you know that it is impossible to feel unwelcome in their home. Hannah was the sum of that welcoming grace. She always had a bright smile and a warm welcome. She cared for you and lived fully present in the moment. While it can be so easy to go through the motions, to say hello without being genuine or to offer a smile that is not caring. That is not living life Ahannahpercent.

She is an encouragement to me as I photograph wedding days. A reminder to be fully present and invested in the stories I am documenting. If I can be unashamedly excited and genuinely thrilled by the details of the day. I am photographing Ahannahpercent. It calls for going beyond platitudes and genuinely caring for people. One of Hannah’s good friends shares it best. I’ll let Susanna take it from here.

Thank You for Standing with us on this Journey!

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement over the last year and during these difficult days.

Our family has set up two memorials for Hannah. AHANNAHPERCENT: Hannah Diaso Memorial for scholarships to young women who are interested in serving the Lord in ministry. You can give to that fund by clicking the link above. The fund is managed by Mission to the World.

We are also working on raising funds for a Hannah Diaso Memorial Church. You can give to that outreach project by clicking on the above link.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Pain of Loss
The Cross on Mount Soledad in San Diego

The Cross on Mount Soledad in San Diego

Recently I was conversing with some of my missionary colleagues about death and grieving, and how most of us struggle with working through the sorrow of losing someone we love. The Bible tells us to not grieve as those without hope, but it does not tell us not to grieve. One of the phrases that was said a few times just a few days after Hannah had passed away is that “Hannah is more alive than ever.” While that is true, I didn’t feel that it helped me at the time. That phrase in some way seemed to make me feel like I shouldn’t be sad. I know it wasn’t meant that way, but I didn’t find it comforting. That is not to say that I lost hope entirely. Yet, I felt that it minimized the pain and the deep loss I had just experienced.

I should add that I’m more able to receive that word, and I find it more comforting now that I’ve had some time to grieve and process Hannah’s home going.

I still feel the sadness at times, and it hits me at unexpected times. It’s not as frequent as it once was. In some way, I find it hard to explain the emotions that I go through. The realization that my daughter is no longer here, and that I can’t talk to her anymore. We can’t do together any of those things we had dreamed of.

Lessons from the Cross
Dave with Hannah - My beautiful daughter that I love

Dave with Hannah – My beautiful daughter that I love

As I conversed with my missionary friends, one of them, Bill Yarbrough brought up some thoughts of a friend of his, who just happens to be a nun. She said that she feels we move on from the cross too quickly to the resurrection. We forget the pain involved in Jesus’s death on the cross, and that his mother and his friends felt deep sorrow. They didn’t realize at the time of his death that Jesus would rise from the dead. Thanks be to God that Jesus did rise on the third day!

Now that I lost my daughter, and I have suffered deep loss I am grateful for the man of sorrows, who’s acquainted with grief. He comforts me in my loss. He stays with me. He gives me hope, and lifts me out of the pit when I fall in. I believe the Lord has some awesome and wonderful mysteries for me to learn as He embraces me in my loss.

All of the Creation Groans for Redemption
Dave & Dawn - Thankful for my wife and that I don't have to go on this journey alone

Dave & Dawn – Thankful for my wife and that I don’t have to go on this journey alone

We live in this broken world, scarred by sin.

The enemy of our soul comes to kill, steal and destroy, and he will do anything he can to hurt us. This too is one of the effects of the fallen world we live in.

That is why all of creation groans for redemption. We long for the new creation. We long to be in the place where there will be no more loss, no more suffering, no more sorrow. The place where we will see our Savior, the lover of our soul face to face. We will be reunited with those we love.

I can’t wait to see my daughter again. I can’t wait to hug her again. If there are any tears they will be tears of joy!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

We Began The Trip With Some Fear
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Special Moments with dear friends

Dawn and I felt some apprehension as we returned to Colorado for the first time since Hannah moved to heaven. We saw many dear friends, who love us. Through tears Dawn and I retold the story of how Hannah passed from this life to the next. I would say it wasn’t an easy trip, but God showed up as he always does. He brought healing through our tears.

Maybe what we didn’t expect is as we shared our hearts, and friends empathized with us it strengthened us. We were afraid of being pulled down into the valley of the shadow of death, but rather the Lord lifted us up.

Comforted in Our Grieving
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Thankful for Opportunities to share our story like pictured here at Village 7 

Upon arriving to Colorado Springs we attended a conference for grieving parents. Then the next day, Dawn participated in a workshop of grieving mothers. When she arrived Saturday morning and saw all the pictures that had been made into button to be pinned on their clothes. Photos of all the children that passed away too early from our perspective. When Dawn saw those, she lost it. She wasn’t sure she would be able to make it through the workshop. Yet, the women were very loving and supportive and once she got through that she had a great day.

Overall, it was so good to see our friends. We loved visiting with people who care for us, friends who have been praying for us!

 

We enjoyed speaking in two churches, Cheyenne Mountain and Village Seven. We shared our story with them and many others. We told how our hearts still ache for the loss of our precious Hannah. Yet, that’s not the whole story, because the Lord has been healing and redeeming Hannah’s untimely passing.

Encouraged by All That The Lord is Doing
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Raising Funds for the Hannah Diaso Memorial Church!

It encouraged us as we shared about the changed lives through the church planting work and other ministries on the border, the Baja and Beyond. I think it lifted our spirits, because those who came, and listened were excited with us and for us. Also, we challenged people with getting involved in helping us to raise the funds, $30,000 so we can plant a new church in early 2018 that will be a memorial church. A church to honor Hannah’s memory and her legacy! In doing so we know that it will also bring glory to our loving Father.

Dawn and I realized anew that we can’t do what we do without an army of friends standing with us!

An Exciting Week Lies Ahead of Us

 

It seems like we just got back home in time to catch our breath, as we head out today to Ensenada with Skyview Presbyterian for a week of ministry. Pray for our time there, and that the Lord will use it in a powerful way to extend his kingdom in Baja California.

Yes, we were afraid, but God came through again. He rescued us, and he continues to redeem our pain and our suffering for that we give thanks!

Thank you as well, dear friend! What would we do without your faithful prayers and encouragement?

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God is in the Highs and Lows

We experienced some highs and lows this week. The week started with our incubator training for church planters, which is always a highlight. Then this weekend I was an assessor for a Discovery Center for sixteen church planting candidates. Usually we spread those events out, but this time they happened on the same week.

Dawn’s Dad, Alfred Moore Passed Through Heaven’s Gates
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Alfred Moore

In the middle of the week, in the middle of all this activity we sadly lost Dawn’s dad, Al. Alfred Moore went to be with the Lord at 2:12 AM EDT on Thursday, May 4. Dawn’s mom, Alice is thankful that Al didn’t experience any pain and that he didn’t suffer long after they discovered he had advanced stages of cancer. Dawn is with her mom and brother now in the Philadelphia area. When I talked to them today they mentioned that the Lord has given them peace as they mourn Al’s home going.

We appreciate your prayers for the Lord’s peace and comfort during this difficult time as we experience another significant loss so close to our daughter’s passing. The funeral will be on Saturday, May 13th.

God is On The Move Even Through These Difficult Days

The Lord is working in the midst of these momentary light afflictions. I’m grateful for the opportunities to invest in the lives of our leaders, pastors and church planters.

 

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Incubator Church Planting Training

Three of the guys going through our incubator church planting training just started their church in the last few months. Many of them echoed the sentiments of our friend Petri, who is planting a church in Ensenada. Petri said that the principles we are training them in are coming just at the right time for him. He is taking what he learns during the incubator and sharing it with his core group.

One of the pastors in the group, Abraham said he was going to use what he learned with his leadership team as they had a meeting planned during the week. Many of the pastors there mentioned they hoped to implement what they were learning in their church.

Thank you Jesus for all the good things you are doing in the midst of our pain.

God is On The Move in Discovery
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The Discovery Center

Then this weekend I was with eight couples who have a passion to seeing the Lord’s kingdom extended on the earth. Not all the couples are young, but they are youthful and have dreams and vision for a better tomorrow. It gives me energy when I’m with them. I also love being with the assessment team. They are great friends and we have a good time serving together. This is the joy of the Discovery Center.

Most of the candidates that are approved will go on to prepare themselves further and then plant a church in the next year. The hope, the vision and the passion to see the Lord bring change and tranformation to the lives of people in a new community is life giving.

God is with us, even in the middle of our pain. He is alive and he is on the move, which gives us life and it gives us hope.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org