Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 16’

Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz
Dave & Dawn with the Muñoz family – front row: Junior and Paola
Back row: Damaris, Dave, Daniel, Federico, Blanca, David, Dawn

Dawn and I feel like proud parents when we think about all the church planters that we are working with who are ministering in Mexico and on the Big Island. The couples become like family to us, which we enjoy. It’s one of the ways the Lord is bringing redemption and restoration to us, which is something we’ve prayed for especially since Hannah moved to heaven. A number of the church planters refer to us as their mentors and as their father and mother, which is a real privilege for us to have that type of relationship with them.

I’d like to highlight one couple that we are especially proud of, Pastor Federico and Blanca Muñoz, who are planting a church in Mexicali. Federico and Blanca stand out, because of their deep commitment, boldness, and creativity in sharing the gospel. It’s been fun to partner with them, and watch them in action.

Church Planting in the Midst of the COVID Crisis
Pastor Federico sharing the love of Christ in front of his house

They started their church plant in the summer of 2019. They had 6 months to reach out and develop relationships before the pandemic hit. Over the last year, it’s not been easy to make contacts, which is key when your goal is to start a church with people who don’t yet know Jesus. I have sought to encourage Federico and Blanca as they have gone through this most unusual year. I thought that since so many people are fearful because of the Covid crisis, that it was an opportunity for the gospel.

As we prayed, God gave this young couple an idea to try to hold services outside in their carport. Their children are gifted musically and they love to help out and they enjoy leading worship. Their teen children pitched in when they started to make the shift to outdoor services. Surprisingly, their neighbors showed interest and they came out of their homes to listen and participate.

Church in the Park
Pastor Federico & Blanca Ministering with their family in the park

Later, Federico and Blanca ended up needing to move to a different house, so we prayed that the Lord would open up new doors for them and show them how to reach out in this new community. They began to hold Bible studies both outdoor and online. Then in March of this year, when some of the restrictions in Mexicali were lifted, they began to hold services in a nearby park. Through their boldness and creativity, they started meeting more people in the park. They asked the new friends who they were meeting if they could pray for them, and most of them said, “yes”!

I have to admit the restrictions have slowed down our church planting progress, yet I see how the Lord has also opened some doors. It’s forced our church planters to be more creative, and people who would not have had the opportunity to hear the gospel are being reached, because of the change in plans.

God is Building His Church!

I’m often reminded of Joseph’s reply to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (NLT). The Lord protects us and He goes before us. It’s important to remember as we build the church that it is His church, and as the Lord promises the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.

God is building HIs church in Mexicali and Beyond
Please Pray & Extend Your Hands to Help

Please join us in prayer for Federico and Blanca Muñoz as they share the love of Christ in Mexicali. Pray that the Lord will lead them to people who are open to the gospel and that the church will grow as they reach out in the community. Dawn and I would appreciate prayers for all of the church planters that we are working with so that we see lives changed and communities transformed by Jesus.

Consider a donation today to help us plant the seed of the gospel on the Border, the Baja and Beyond!

The situation for our familia on the Big Island continues to worsen. The cost of goods are increasing by 400 – 500%. You can read more about the situation on the Big Island here… Your prayers and generosity will aid these families and the gospel in undeniable ways. Make a donation today by clicking on the link below!

Thank you!

Click to Donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Victory in Jesus Over Santeria
Our familia is faithful to pray!

In the last month we’ve received a number of messages from our familia on the Big Island informing us about the battle that they are experiencing. The battle rages on, but they are seeing victory as the light of Christ penetrates the darkness.

One of the pastors, Nelson told us that their church has been dedicating time to prayer and fasting for breakthrough. He said as they were faithful to pray that the Lord answered in a big way. A woman who not only was involved in witchcraft, but she was a leader among them. She led a group of people involved in ‘brujería’, witchcraft in the city where Nelson’s church is located. It may be hard to believe coming from our context, but she’s led hundreds of people because there are so many people who are involved in Santeria in that area.

At the beginning of the year, the church felt compelled to pray against the evil in their city. They were praying all night long against the Santeria in their city, which is a form of idolatry and witchcraft. This woman who was a leader of Santeria in their city came to one of the church members and confessed that she was broken and that she couldn’t continue in her wicked ways. She just couldn’t do it anymore. They shared the love of Christ with her, and she gave her life to Jesus. Now she is growing in her relationship with Jesus and she is involved in the church.

Wow! Amazing! Thank you Jesus!

There is power in the name of Jesus!

The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail
Pastor Adolfo with his wife and the group he is training in church planting on the Big Island

As Jesus says in Matthew 16, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. In Ephesians 6 Paul exhorts us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, because our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

Our prayers, your prayers are powerful. We destroy arguments and take down every lofty opinion that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are more than conquerors in Christ!

Our Familia Needs Your Help
Some of the families that we are sending aid to on the Big Island

Thank you so much for standing with us in prayer for all of our familia in Mexico and on the Big Island. Thank you for your donations that bring aid to the hurting and the downtrodden. One of our church planters on the Big Island, Lucas and Maria just sent me a note and asked for help, because the prices are going so high. A bottle of detergent costs $24 USD, and the average salary is only $25 USD a month. How are they supposed to live under such conditions? Basic food items like rice and beans cost 2 to 3 times as much as they did just a few months ago. Not only are prices high, but they have to wait in long lines to get their food, because there isn’t much food available.

Please extend your hands to help!

Dawn and I realize that after sharing these needs with you for a few months the urgency seems to wear off, but the need is even greater now, and we don’t know when things will get better. We’d like to ask you to make a generous donation today for our familia. They are so thankful every time they receive the donations that we are sending them. I wish you could see their smiles, and the gratitude that we can see on their faces when they receive the aid that we are giving to them. Give today your gift goes a long way. Extend your hands to provide food and basic necessities for a family in need!

Click to Donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Celebrating the Church we Started in Memory of Hannah

Mana del Cielo – The church we built in memory of our daughter, Hannah

We celebrated the first year anniversary of “Mana del Cielo” Church on Sunday, May 5th. This is the church in Mexicali that we built last year in memory of our daughter, Hannah. We sensed early on that the Lord had his hand on this church in a special way.

Soon after Hannah moved to heaven I told our good friend Pastor Daniel Nuñez that I’d like to build a church in memory of our daughter. Daniel was one of the first people to come to our house when Hannah passed away. He is one of our closest friends and ministry partners here on the border. Dawn and I were interested in starting a church to honor Hannah’s memory in Mexico because she was born in there and she loved the people of Mexico so we believed that this would be a good way to have a living memorial.

A Life-Giving Community of Hope

Pastor Mere leading the church

I remember when Pastor Daniel first told me that they were thinking of starting the next church in Mexicali, and if I’d like that church to be the one that we helped to start. At first, I thought Mexicali is a long ways from where we live, but then we felt like we should do get involved in this community just outside of Mexicali.

One of the first times I went to visit Mexicali our son, Jonathan was in town and I was able to take him with me. We had a wonderful father and son time as we drove to Mexicali. Jonathan loved being out there, and he started to play with the children that lived nearby. Later that day he told me he’d rather visit the church than the cemetery where Hannah was buried. The church represents life and light in the community.

Dawn and I have enjoyed getting to know Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna this past year. They are leading the church in Mexicali. Mere and Edna are a young couple, who have a lot of gifts. They are doing a great job of sharing the love of Christ in the community and leading the church.

The Lord’s Hand is on This Church

Cristina & Conchita with the picture of Hannah that I gave to the church

Once we got involved we felt like there was something special about this church. We met Cristina who lived right next to the church. She had been praying with her family for 3 years that the Lord would bring a church there. Cristina also told me that even before she started praying the Lord gave her mom, Conchita a sense that He was going to bring a church to the community.

On Sunday I talked to Cristina and Conchita some more. Conchita said that the Lord actually gave her a vision regarding the church. She saw a church in some clouds being lowered onto the land where the church now sits. The Lord’s ways are mysterious at times.

Then Conchita told me that she wanted to see a picture of Hannah because she had a vision of a young woman. She saw her face three times. I did bring a picture of Hannah so that they could hang it in the church. When I showed the picture of Hannah to Conchita she said that was the face she saw in the vision.

God works in Mysterious Ways

Our day of celebration at the church in Mexicali

I can’t say I understand all these things and the way the Lord is working in the church. I do believe though that the Lord has his hand in a special way on this church, and he is going to use it in a powerful way in the community. There is such a need for the gospel to break through the darkness that we find all around us. I believe we are prone to underestimate the power of the gospel. The power it has to bring change and transformation to an individual, a family, a community, an entire city and beyond!

That is our prayer as Mere and Edna minister in Venustiano Carranza the community where the church is located. The gospel is going forth to bring life change. We give thanks for the good work that He has begun, and we look forward to hearing all the God stories that will come as this church reaches out and shows the love of Jesus.

Jesus said that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). The growth and expansion of the church are inevitable. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ! Glory be to God!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Man of Sorrows

Isaiah refers to Christ as the man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief in Isaiah 53:3.

The passion of Christ – pinterest hearhim.net. This picture is gruesome. It’s hard to look at. I questioned whether I should post it or not, but this is the very thing we wrestle with understanding Christ’s suffering for our sins!

I feel that often I shied away from focusing on this aspect of Christ. There’s part of me that reacts like Peter when I think of Christ’s suffering.

When Jesus told the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed, Peter took him aside and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Then Jesus responded and he rebuked Peter. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:22-23 ESV)

The reason I can see myself identifying with Peter is there’s a part of me that believes the hero of the story should not die. This is one of the reasons we like movies that have a strong hero, or even a super hero. These leaders conquer their foe.

Christ Conquers Sin, Death & Satan on the Cross

At first glance it appears like Christ is losing, that he is being conquered when he is hanging on the cross of Calvary. And if the story ended on Friday it indeed would be a sad story. This story is different, the one who for a while seems to have lost is raised on the third day, so that we might have life.

This brings me great comfort and I hope it brings you comfort as well. This hero is different. He died so that we might live. He bore our griefs and he carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities as the prophet Isaiah foresees 600 years before the actual crucifixcion. His suffering brings us peace, healing and hope.

How could we make it in this world without hope.

The passion of Christ from Pinterest hearhim.net. The gentle Christ. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Dawn and I along with David and Jonathan have become acquainted with grief when Hannah moved to heaven. Jesus does comfort us in our grief and he gives us hope. He walks with us in the journey. He truly is our savior, even though we’ve gone astray and went our own way. He runs after us in his divine grace and draws us in.

If you have yet to trust this Christ, the suffering one, who died on the cross for your sins I would encourage you to do it today. Then you will experience the true peace that Christ came to bring. He will make you more than a conqueror. There are so many good and wonderful promises in the Bible for those who do believe. These promises are all yes and amen!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Beginnings of a New Church

Victor & Fanny Gonzalez with their daughter, Xaris

Victor & Fanny Gonzalez with their daughter, Xaris

Dawn, Hannah and I just returned from an amazing week in Los Cabos, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta. The first half of our trip we visited our fellow MTW missionaries Peter and Jenny Boling, and our national church planters Victor and Fanny Gonzalez.

We are thrilled by all God is doing at the southern end of Baja California. The Bolings and the Gonzalez are building a strong foundation for the beginnings of the new church planting project in La Paz.

Victor and Fanny are getting to know the city, the needs, and the people. It takes a lot of time, and it’s imperative as they begin this project. We are praying with them for wisdom and direction.

Pray for Direction for the Bolings

Dave, Dawn and Hannah with Peter & Jenny, Victor, Fanny and Xaris in La Paz

Dave, Dawn and Hannah with Peter & Jenny, Victor, Fanny and Xaris in La Paz

Peter and Jenny Boling play an invaluable role in encouraging them, praying with them and supporting them along the way.

The Bolings are in the process of praying about moving their family from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz, which is about a two-hour drive across the peninsula. They would like to be more directly involved in this new church plant. We are excited about the possibility!

Join us in prayer that the Lord will make clear to the Peter and Jenny what he has for them. At this point they are leaning towards making the move, and we look forward to what God will do. Victor and Fanny are a loving couple and they have many gifts. They will be even stronger and more effective if they have a team to work with them.

Jesus Will Build His Church

It’s not an easy thing to start a church from scratch. The Lord is one who builds his church, so we are looking to him and trusting him.

Jesus said,

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. —Matthew 16:18

An aerial view of La Paz, Baja California

An aerial view of La Paz, Baja California

The Lord continues this work of building his church. He promises that he will build it, and that the gates of hell shall not be able to contain what God is doing. Our God is greater and more powerful than any force that the enemy would seek to lift up against us. We are in a battle, but we are on the winning side!

Dawn, Hannah and I were grateful we could connect with these two very special families.

We are praying for them, and asking the Lord to do a great work that the city of La Paz will be transformed by the gospel. That the city will be true to it’s name a city full of peace.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

The Band of Brothers & Sisters at LMT

Some of the pastors and their wives from Lo Mejor del Trigo

Some of the pastors and their wives from Lo Mejor del Trigo

On Monday evening Dawn and I had the privilege of being with some of my favorite people in the world, the pastors and wives from Lo Mejor del Trigo (LMT). We shared a delicious meal of Birria, and then we met together upstairs in the sanctuary.

The pastors there represented the 24 churches that are part of LMT. This gives me 24 reasons and counting to be hopeful in 2015.

We Prayed for a Movement!

The foundation has been laid for the church #24 in Rosarito near Tijuana

The foundation has been laid for the church #24 in Rosarito near Tijuana

When I first met Daniel Nuñez about 5 years ago, they only had 6 or 7 churches. It’s been thrilling to be on this ride and watch them grow from 7 to 24 in just a few short years. The Harbor network of churches who we partner with north of the border is getting ready to help LMT establish their 24th church. This will be the 4th church that LMT and Harbor have come together to start.

Before Dawn and I moved to the border we prayed to the Lord and asked him to let us be part of a church planting movement. He has heard our prayer! We are also connecting with some other ministries that desire to plant churches. One of them is the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. We are working with them to plant churches on the border and in Baja California.

The Highs & Lows of 2014

Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Victor Bravo with Dave

Pastor Daniel Nuñez the leader of Lo Mejor del Trigo and Victor Bravo, one of our newest church planters with Dave. We are planning on starting a new church in Rosarito in early 2015

Getting back to Dawn and my special night with our friends from LMT. While we were together we shared our highs and lows of the year. It was a rich time to learn about the great opportunities and challenges that the pastors faced in the last year.

I shared about how this last year had been one of our most difficult years, and yet I felt that the Lord has taken us so much deeper. Our love for him has grown. It has both Dawn and I longing for more, and excited about what our Lord has for us this year. We don’t want the pain that the trial produced, but we do more of God.

Can we have one without the other? I think we can, but I also know God has a purpose and a plan for the trials he brings our way. If we do have do endure more, he will hold us up!

On the way home Dawn and I were talking to pastor Jaime Rodriguez. I told him that I felt honored to be included in the meeting with all the Lo Mejor del Trigo pastors, even though I’m not part of LMT. He said you are one of us, you are part of us. Well, that was the cherry on top of the night.

Jesus, Hear Our Prayer

Lord, I know when something grows for the kingdom that the evil one wants to attack. I pray for your protection, and that this movement will continue to blossom. Christ said in Matthew 16:18 that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. That gives us hope moving forward that the church is built on a firm foundation.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Connecting with Pastors and Their Wives

Abraham and Martha with Dawn and Dave

Abraham and Martha with Dawn and Dave

In the last two days Dawn and I have reconnected with some of the pastors and church planters that we are ministering with.

Last year at this time we hardly knew Abraham and Martha Velazquez and Rodrigo and Nancy Vallarta. We’ve grown to love them, and we look forward to our times with them. It’s exciting to hear what God is doing in their lives, which impacts the churches that they are pastoring.

The Battle Rages on as the Gospel Goes Forth

Pastor Rodrigo with his wife, Nancy and their children

Pastor Rodrigo with his wife, Nancy and their children in front of their church

One of the things that we’ve noticed is as our friends are growing, that the enemy is attacking them in various ways. On the one hand when we see opposition, we know that we are going in the right direction. As someone has said, dogs don’t bark at parked cars.

Even though the battle rages, we are experiencing victory on a number of fronts. What God is doing on the border through these churches is so encouraging.

The Importance of Prayer in the Battle

We are reminded as the attacks come to stand firm and to pray. Please pray with us. We are on the winning side, but we know we need prayer protection.

The Church Stands Victorious in Christ

I love Jesus’ promise in regards to his protection as the church marches forth, and as His kingdom expands.

…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  —Matthew 16:18b ESV

Thanks for standing with us in prayer. We need prayer protection, and so do those that we are ministering with.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Peter and Jenny Boling are in the middle with Dawn and Dave and Yolanda's mom on the left and Sophie (our intern), Yolanda and Daniel  and Camila Nuñez on the right

Peter and Jenny Boling are in the middle with Dawn and Dave and Yolanda’s mom on the left and Sophie (our intern), Yolanda and Daniel and Camila Nuñez on the right in Tijuana

Over the last month I’ve been working with our mission and some of our missionaries, Peter & Jenny Boling to open up what would be a new field for us in lower Baja California.

Peter and Jenny came out to meet us and to get to know our field last month. Dawn and I loved our time with them! It was exciting to dream with them about what could be as they work to see the kingdom expanded in Baja.

I was on the phone today with our Mexico Country Leader, Larry Trotter and one of our key Mexican partners and leaders, Andres Garza. We talked about the importance of setting up this work in the right way, and working through the proper channels.

The Importance of a Firm Foundation

A strong tower needs a firm foundation.

I’ve noticed when a big building goes up that the builders spend a great deal of time building the foundation. At first it appears they are spending a lot of time on the building, and they have nothing to show for it. Then once the foundation is finished the rest of the building goes up relatively quickly by comparison.

I found myself getting impatient while the foundation is being built. We are at that point now. I feel for Peter and Jenny, because they are having to wait for all the loose pieces to come together. They have a family, so it effects schooling and where they will live. I’m somewhat torn, because I want to protect them, and make sure they are healthy and doing well, yet I realize that we can’t just rush ahead with this project.

Praise and Prayer

I’m writing this post today for two reasons. First, I would like you to rejoice with me in the possibility of opening a new field for our ministry, which is huge! Second, I would like you to join us in prayer, that God will see this through. We need prayer for the Lord to come alongside, to spur on and to strengthen the Boling family as they wait. We need wisdom and patience as we work with and talk to all the churches and people involved, so that we do in fact set up a firm foundation.

The Cosmic War for the Church

Satan likes to discourage. He likes to come against the Lord’s church. Pray for the Lord’s protection against the attacks of the evil one.

Jesus promises,

…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

—Matthew 16:18

Jesus is the rock. Jesus is the foundation we build on. His church shall prevail. Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Wow! It was so encouraging to be part of building the Lo Mejor Del Trigo church in eastern Tijuana. I wrote about the birth of the new church in earlier posts. God is so good!

Check out this video that shows the progression of the building of the church. More than 70 people participated in this project over two weekends. Now they are worshipping in the community of Pipila, which is in eastern Tijuana.

The church is off to a good start. Join me in prayer that it will grow, and that the Lord will give Pastor Rodrigo and his family his grace and wisdom as he leads the church.

When we are involved in kingdom work, in working to see new churches raised up it’s important to remember who is building the church. Jesus gives a wonderful promise in Matthew, 16:18 when he’s speaking to Peter and the disciples,

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Isn’t that a wonderful promise? Even the gates of hell, our fiercest foe and enemy shall not defeat Christ’s church. Stay the course my dear friends, and keep your eyes on Jesus. We are on the winning side!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org