Posts Tagged ‘Hannah Diaso’

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.
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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

La Pieta
Dave & Dawn in St. Peter's Cathedral

Dave & Dawn in St. Peter’s Cathedral

Dawn and I had the opportunity to visit St. Peter’s Cathedral when we were in Rome. We actually walked up to the top of the dome, which gave us a good work out and breathtaking views.

One of my favorite pieces of art that I saw in the Cathedral is La Pieta, which I believe Michaelangelo sculpted. It depicts Mary with Christ laying across her after he had been crucified. In the sculpture, you see Mary’s sorrow. Dawn and I have thought in a different and more profound way about loss, since our daughter, Hannah passed away last year. We are coming up on the one year anniversary, which has brought many hard memories back. Hannah went to be with the Lord around midnight – the ending of one day, October 17 and the beginning of a new day October 18.

Identifying with Mary’s Sorrow
La Pieta

La Pieta

We are able to identify with Mary’s sorrow in a much deeper way. I think most of us tend to focus on the resurrection, which is supremely important to our faith. As Paul says, without the resurrection we would be fools. My point isn’t to minimize the significance of the resurrection rather highlight that Christ suffered as he bore our sins. It cost Him dearly. Also, those that were close to him at the time did not realize at first that Christ would be raised, even though He told them that he would.

Back to the sculpture, many have said that it not only captures the sorrow, the sadness of Mary, but also the hope. I think this is key. There is hope in the gospel, so much hope.

I don’t know what I would do in my sorrow if it were not for the hope that we have in Christ. Paul told us not to grieve as those who do not have hope. We do have much to help us lift up our eyes from where our help comes from.

Grief and Grieving
Dawn, Hannah & Dave at MTW's Link conference

Dawn, Hannah & Dave at MTW’s Link conference taken in September 2016

As I go through this period of grieving with my wife I notice that she is more expressive about her sadness. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Hannah, and I don’t miss her. Often, I wonder and even ask out loud, “why”? “What could have we done differently? Is there something we could have done to change the outcome?” I don’t really know the answer to those questions, but I do know that the Lord comforts me in my sorrow, just as I’m sure he comforted Mary as she wept when Christ was crucified.

The Bible even encourages by saying that we have a high priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV) Then the author of Hebrews continues in Hebrews 5:7,8, “In the days of his flesh, ‘Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”

It seems strange that there would be comfort in the cross. Comfort in the symbol that signified the most painful and most disgraceful way to die during that time period. There is pain in the cross and yet there is comfort because of the resurrection. Christ suffered on our behalf. He paid the debt for our sins. He rose on the third day as was prophesied. Because of His death and resurrection, we have hope, and those who place their faith in Christ have life everlasting. That’s why the Bible says, “O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, ESV).

Thanks be to God my friends. Thanks be to God who takes who comforts us in our sorrow and sadness and takes away the sting of death and gives us live!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Writer’s Block or Just Grieving?
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Our last family photo with Hannah

Before my daughter went to her permanent residence in heaven I found it easier to write and post on my blog. I felt like it was cathartic in many ways. It helped me to get the word out and tell the story about all the wonderful things the Lord is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond. I also shared some of my personal musings and reflections as I deemed it appropriate.

I wouldn’t say that I don’t enjoy writing now, but I would say it’s harder. In some of the books I’ve read about grief, they mention how many of the things that used to bring us joy are now hollow. I feel that at times, and even though in a few days we will hit the five month mark there are still a rollercoaster of emotions that I experience. I wish there were another way, but I don’t think there is. I believe that all in all Dawn and I are doing well considering what we are passing through. Yet, it’s still painful. There are still those moments where we want to scream out, Why? Why? Why? Fortunately, the Lord doesn’t leave us there he comforts us, and many friends surround us.

God Does Sustain Us in Our Suffering!

A little over a week ago our friend and pastor, Stephen Phelan asked Dawn and me to share in church about how the Lord sustains us in our suffering. I thought I’d share some of that here with you as well, including a dream that our friend Marissa had.

I never really understood how horrible death was until our daughter died
I realize that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and there’s not a day that goes by that Dawn and I don’t feel some sadness, some frustration and like a part of us is gone.
I Miss My Beautiful Radiant Daughter
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful radiant daughter and much loved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly

I miss my daughter. I’m glad Hannah is dancing and partying in heaven, whatever that looks like, but I want to hold her and hug her again. I want to see her beautiful radiant smile in living color. There is a hole now that can’t fully be filled. That is my grief, that is my mourning song. I’m learning firsthand how cruel death is.

There is a type of groaning. One of the hard things about death is there are no do overs. No second chances. It is final. When I see pictures of Hannah and I’m reminded of her for a moment I think there must be a way to see her again this side of heaven. Maybe it’s a longing God puts inside of me. A longing for eternity, and a longing for something more and something greater than what this life has to offer.
God is Good, He Holds Me Tight
My anchor and what I’ve had to remember:
God is good
God is love
God is in control
These are simple truths, but it’s what I keep going back to when I get confused and lost on this long and winding road that we are on.
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I love this picture because Hannah took it at Starbucks one of our favorite places to hang out, and she put it on my lock screen on my phone

There’s a lot I don’t understand. I don’t understand why my daughter had to die at such a young age? Now I wonder why just a few months after Hannah’s early home going, why does my dad have to have inoperable lung cancer? Why do we have to endure two hard things so close together?

God made it clear to me that it is good to grieve and it is right to grieve. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says we grieve, but not as those without hope.
Grieving With My Mechanic
About a week after Hannah passed away I took my car in to my mechanic and he asked me how my family was doing. My mechanic is from Afghanistan, and he’s not a believer.
I told him how my daughter had died, and that it was hard. I said, “my faith gives me hope, and that I grieve, but not like those without hope.” He said, “that is easy to say,” and I responded, “no it’s not really, because I don’t get to hug my daughter anymore, I don’t get to kiss her and tell her I love her. I don’t get to go out for coffee or have any dates with her. I don’t get to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. All our dreams and aspirations are gone.”
He softened up after this, and told me of how he had been struggling with drinking , and his wife forced him to go get help. Then he told me he had a vacation home in Bajamar, which is near Ensenada and offered to let me use it. The Lord used him to encourage me, as he opened up.
Hannah’s home going  made me hate death more, and it made me long for heaven. If I’m honest a big reason I want to go to heaven is to see my daughter again and to give her a big kiss and a big hug. What a wonderful day that will be.
12362973_734515866680367_9062266216563511086_oMarissa’s Dream
I’d like to end this longer post than usual with a dream. An experience that Hannah’s good friend Marissa Irakoze shared with us.
I woke up today feeling a really intense feeling of happy and sad. I had a dream I saw both of you and Jon and David standing by a bench, we were in Heaven from how peaceful and joyful I felt. There was a girl sitting with her back turned towards me, but she had soft brown curled hair just like Hannah would wear hers when she lived with us. I thought “no, there’s no way that could be Hannah”. She turned around and immediately I burst into something that was crying, squealing and laughing all at the same time. I somehow managed to say “I really thought I would never see you again!! I really felt like this day would never come!! I can’t believe this is you!!” And she just looked SO healthy. Healthier, more joyful, incredibly at peace, and everything about her just glowed, and so so content. I wish I could describe it. She hugged me tight and just said “see? I told you it wouldn’t be long until I would see you guys again! I told you not to worry because I’m with Jesus!”
 
I feel encouraged and sad, because we’re still on the other side of this dream and it DOES feel like it’s taking forever to be able to join her. But in the dream, I could tell I had been waiting so long to see her, but once I looked back it was nothing compared to the eternity we now had to catch up. It was one of the strangest feeling I’ve had in a dream.
 
Praying for you all today ❤️❤️
I told Marissa that I shared this dream with our church, and she said that it was the clearest dream she’s ever had. I think it’s God graciously giving us a glimpse of heaven!
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Thank you so much for standing with us. Thank you so much for letting me share my heart with you. I pray the Lord’s rich and bountiful blessings on you!
In His Grip, Dave
God’s Reassurance
Hannah with Daisy near the flowers that bloom this time of year

Hannah with Daisy in front of the flowers that bloom this time of year near our home

I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I should share my experience via this site or not. I’m finding it hard to express in writing the power and the impact that a recent  encounter with the Lord has had on me. I pray that you find this story uplifting.

Last week the Lord met me in a special way. While Dawn and I were praying with a group of people I felt pressure like a hand on my back. I thought it might be another person, or Dawn. After a while I realized that there wasn’t a person laying their hand on me, so I continued to pray and press in. I asked the Lord what was going on.

I felt the Lord’s presence and comfort. Then he reminded me that not only was he with me at that moment, but he was also there with us when Hannah passed away. He escorted Hannah to heaven, and he came alongside Dawn and me to get us through the horrendous hours that we endured while we came to grips with what happened to our beautiful daughter. I started sobbing as the Lord revealed this too me.

The Peace of Christ
I saw these flowers blooming this week and it reminded me of Hannah and the photo above

I saw these flowers blooming this week and it reminded me of Hannah.

One of the issues I’ve struggled with is that I keep seeing in my mind how Hannah looked when she died. Sometimes I feel like this image haunts me. The Lord impressed upon me that Hannah no longer looks like that. It was a very emotional experience. I felt the Lord pouring his healing power into me, and his waves of his love over me.

We’ve had a number of friends of ours who have seen visions of our daughter in heaven. Those dreams and visions that our friends have shared with us have been a source of inspiration for us. Yet, for some reason we’ve not had any dreams or visions. I feel like there’s a part of me that needs a constant reassurance that my daughter is in heaven. That allows me to grieve, but not like those without hope. Hope is vital. We can’t live without it.

On Saturday during this time of prayer I saw a bright light, and then I saw trees with their green leaves and a beautiful blue sky. I didn’t see Hannah, but I had a sense that she was there, in heaven and in peace. I felt the Lord’s overwhelming peace during this time.

It was an unbelievable experience. On the way home I tried to explain to Dawn what happened, and I just couldn’t. Finally after some time and more tears I was able to share my experience with Dawn. Thank you Jesus for your overwhelming love, your care and your tender mercies.

I hope this story of how Jesus showed up and ministered to me in a deep and profound way will also lift you up. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Travel, Hellos and Goodbyes
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David Jr. with Dawn and Dave in Napa, CA. Our last day together before David left for Connecticut

Last week Dawn and I were traveling in Northern California for a ministry meeting. We were also able to fit in a few days with our son, David before we said goodbye. He is moving to Connecticut for his job. After saying a tearful goodbye to David, we headed to Fresno. While in Fresno we saw my parents. My dad was in ICU after surgery on his lungs. We now know that he has cancer caused by asbestos from his days of working in construction when he was younger. Another unpleasant trial for our family.

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Dave & Dawn with Nadine

One of the highlights of the trip was my cousin Nadine’s daughter, Audra’s wedding. While at the wedding we saw a number of relatives we hadn’t seen in a while. Most of them weren’t able to come to Hannah’s funeral service. It was good to visit with my extended family again. They encouraged us through their heartfelt words.

We Have to Keep Moving Forward
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Dave and Dawn with the newlyweds, Michael and Audra Rodriguez  with Dave’s brother, John his wife, Treena and daughter, Baylee

One of my relatives who lost her husband a few years ago told me the first year was very difficult, and that all she could do was just keep trying to move forward. I feel that’s what Dawn and I are doing. We are staying busy, and we are traveling more than usual.

The Lord has ministered to us as we’ve been on the road, and it seems as we give to others it lifts up our spirits.

Yesterday (Saturday) marked four months since Hannah passed away. Our emotions are all over the place. We do feel the Lord’s presence and we believe he is bringing healing to us, but grieving has definitely been the hardest thing we’ve ever done.

O Lord, Make Our Lives Count for Eternity
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The Rainbow a beautiful reminder of God’s promise

Part of my prayer through this is that the Lord will make the time I have left on the earth count for eternity. It’s not necessarily a new prayer, but I do think it’s more focused and more intense. Hannah’s early home going made it crystal clear how short our time is. The Bible says the time we have on the earth is but a vapor. I didn’t think about that very often until my daughter’s life was cut short.

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but one of the primary elements that the Lord has used to keep us afloat is the encouragement and prayers of our friends. All the notes are amazing. It’s been wonderful to have all the communication we’ve had on the Hannah Diaso Memorial on Facebook.

Dawn and I keep pouring our hearts out, and so many of you respond and love on us and tell us that you are praying. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus for our friends. Thank you for letting us be real.

The Necessity of Prayer!

The Lord ministered to me in a very profound way through a time of prayer last night. I was going to write about it here, but I don’t want this post to be too long. I hope to write about how God met me and comforted me at my point of need in my next post later this week.

In the meantime I’d like to ask you to keep praying for us.

  • Pray for the Lord’s continued healing and grace
  • Pray for wisdom as we serve and plan out the upcoming months
  • Pray for my dad’s healing as he’s in rehab, and we are still waiting to find out what the treatment for his cancer will be.
  • Pray for the Lord’s protection as we are experiencing ongoing attack. We know that Christ is the victor and we trust in him.
  • This upcoming Saturday we are taking a youth group from Redeemer San Diego to Ensenada to work with our new church planting project, Renuevo. Pray also for Petri and Yudy as they lead the church plant.
  • Continue to pray for the pastors and leaders we work with in Tijuana.

Thanks so much dear friends!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Battle Rages, but We are Victorious in Christ
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Pastor Obed Lares and Cesiah

I am convinced that our Lord is doing a good work, despite all the pain and all the sorrow we are going through with the loss of our daughter, Hannah. I don’t know why it was Hannah’s time to go, but I do know that the enemy of our soul will do anything to try to slow us down and defeat us.

The day before Hannah died we celebrated the inauguration of church number 29 with our friends from Ministerios Transformación. On that same weekend we finished building the church. We helped Pastor Obed Lares and his wife, Cesiah launch their new church plant.

The Joy of New Birth
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

That was a joyous time to see new life, the birth of a new church. Hard to believe that the following day our daughter would be with Jesus in Heaven. We don’t understand, but we know that God is a good and loving God and that we can trust him.

I just met with Obed and Cesiah earlier this week, and I felt so encouraged hearing how the church is growing as they reach out in the community. They’ve had some obstacles to overcome. The church doesn’t have power yet. On Sundays they plug into their neighbors outlets.

The recent rain also slows down the progress. Yet God is on the move there in the community in Rosarito, Mexico.

Obed and Cesiah are very gifted and sensitive to the Holy Spirit as he guides and directs them. When we were together they shared stories about some of the new people who are coming to the church, and how the Lord is touching their lives. As Obed shared, “people are coming to church, because they want to find God. They want an encounter with him.”

Join Us In Prayer

The light of Christ is shining brightly in this community. This is one of the reasons we get attacked. It’s a reminder of how important prayer is. We need protection as do Obed and Cesiah.

Please join us in lifting up Obed and Cesiah as they reach out and share the love of Christ  with the community. Pray that the Lord will protect them and their family. Pray for our protection as well.

Dawn and I are in Juarez, Mexico this week training pastors and leaders in coaching.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Tragedy of Death and Hope in 2016
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Our last family photo with Hannah

When I look back over this last year there are a number of wonderful accomplishments that we’ve seen the Lord do. Unfortunately, all of these achievements are overshadowed by Hannah’s death. It makes me feel like we are ending 2016 on a down note. There have been plenty of down days since Hannah’s passing. Yet, I see the Lord picking each of us up, Dawn, David Jr., Jonathan and me.

Yes, death is a terrible, even demonic and cruel thing. I believe and feel that this is true in a more intense way that I ever have. While I recognize the pain and the tragedy of death, and Hannah’s early homegoing I see the Lord lifting us up from the ashes. We are down, but not out. I believe our family has drawn closer to the Lord than we have ever been. In many ways I sense that God is not done with us, but just beginning. He is going to bring something beautiful out of our pain, even if we can’t see what that is yet.

We may be going through “The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” but this shadow has not completely snuffed out the light. Jesus did some amazing things in 2016 that we should celebrate.

Accomplishments by God’s Grace
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

This year by God’s grace we:

  • Helped start our 5th new church planting project with Ministerios Transformación since 2012. It was Ministerios Transformación’s 29th church!
  • Pastor Obed Lares and his wife Cesiah are off to a great start in this new church in Rosarito, just South of Tijuana.
  • Partnered with in planting, coaching and training Pastor Daniel Nuñez and the ministry of Ministerios Transformación
  • Coached and partnered with Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol who are seeing people come to Christ and lives transformed in the church plant they are serving at in Plan Libertador that we helped start in 2015. Every time I talk to Victor and Sol I come away encouraged.
  • Coached and partnered with Pastor Ivan Casados and his wife, Rocio. They are making a difference as they are reaching out in Ribera del Bosque. We helped plant their church in 2014.
  • Coached and helped launch a new work called Renuevo in Ensenada. Pastor Petri and his wife, Yudy are leading this new church planting project.
  • Led 1 medical missions brigade with Redeemer San Diego & La Nueva Jerusalén in Ensenada, Mexico. We ministered to more than 80 adults and children, and 9 of them gave their lives to Christ.
  • Led one summer VBS in Ensenada with Skyview Presbyterian and La Nueva Jerusalén for 50 children and presented the gospel to them along with their families
  • Started a two-year incubator training for 10 church planters in Tijuana
  • Began a coaching network for pastors and their wives in Mexico
  • Began to coach pastors and train coaches in Cuba – this is a new and exciting ministry that the Lord is opening up for us.
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly

I don’t fully know why we experienced such a huge loss this year, but I believe one reason is because our enemy is not happy with all that God is doing. He desires to discourage us and defeat us. Yet, our Lord lifts us up and gives us victory. All our many friends are praying for us, which sustains us. So I will praise Jesus. Hallelujah!

My family and I stand with Job in stating, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15a)

Thanks for joining us on this journey. Praise God with us for sustaining us, and giving us so many victories in Christ.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org