Posts Tagged ‘Monse Santiago’

Our Special Friend, Who Has Become Much More

Five years ago the Lord blessed Dawn and me with a special friend in Monse Santiago. We first met Monse in Mexico City while she was ministering on the campus of UNAM with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). UNAM is one of the largest universities in the world with over 100,000 students.

Mexico City has held a special place in our heart since the first time I visited the city in the mid-’80s and later Dawn and I moved there in the ’90s. I remember on my first trip to Mexico I visited UNAM during a short-term mission trip in 1985.

So it felt like the Lord brought a number of things together when we first met Monse. To top it all off the other campus minister, Barush Sanchez is the son of, Fernando, who I worked very closely with in the late ’90s. It was like everything connected, our past, present, and future.

Our Daughter – (Mija) Monse
Dave with our friends Mario, Monse and Barush in Mexico City (I believe this was the day Monse told me she could be our daughter).

Dawn and I have enjoyed getting to know Barush and Monse over the last 5 years. Our relationship has been a real gift from the Lord!

On one of our visits three years ago, we decided to go to Mexico City for Dawn’s birthday and Hannah’s birthday just a few months after Hannah died, or as we like to say she moved to heaven. It seems less painful to say that she moved to heaven.

On that trip, we met with Monse and Barush, and I remember distinctly sharing with them the difficulties and challenges of losing our daughter. At the end of our time together Monse told me, “I can be your daughter.” And then right before we said goodbye she said again, “I’m being serious I can be your daughter.”

Since that time Dawn and I have kind of adopted Monse. Every time we visit Mexico City we make sure we can see her. She’s also been able to visit us here in Chula Vista for the past three years.

The Lord is Bringing Our Two World’s Together
Monse in front of her new school – Westminster Seminary

Monse is very intelligent. She loves to study and to learn new languages. She’s had an interest for some time in preparing herself further for ministry by going to seminary. We prayed with her that the Lord would guide her and lead her in this process.

Last December when she came to visit us right before Christmas we took advantage of the time to check out Westminister Seminary in Escondido. When we arrived at the parking lot we noticed that my car odometer read 111111. One is a number for new beginnings, and it made us wonder what the Lord was up to.

Monse submitted her application to Westminster Seminary and she was able to get an amazing scholarship. The coronavirus did make it harder for her to get her visa, but that eventually came through and she was able to move to Escondido earlier this month. RUF just entered into a partnership with Westminster, which made it easier and opened the door for Monse to be able to attend.

Dawn and I have enjoyed having her so close to us. She now only lives 40 minutes away, which is much closer than the 4-hour plane flight to Mexico City.

The Lord Lovingly Restores and Redeems
Dawn & Dave with Monse

Ever since Hannah moved to heaven we’ve been praying for the Lord to restore and redeem what we’ve lost. We know that no one can ever replace our daughter. We don’t expect that. Yet, we do believe our gracious God can bring us healing, and one of the ways he does that is through others. Monse holds a very special place in our hearts. Sometimes I call her Mija, which means my daughter in Spanish. Dawn has started calling her mi Monsita, which Monse loves.

The Lord is so good and so kind. There are a number of things that I don’t understand about life, about our daughter and her short life. But I do know that our Father, our Papa God loves us. He cares for us. He wraps his loving arms around us. He uses people to show us his love. We give thanks for Monse, and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for her!

Join Us In Prayer
Monse with some of the students she worked with in Mexico City

Join us in prayer for her while she adjusts to life in the USA. Pray that her studies go well and that the Lord provides for all her needs while she is her. If you would like to help her get started you can send a donation to Beyond Borders through the link below. You can also support the needs on the Big Island by giving by clicking on the donate link. Just let us know what your gift is for in the note section when you send in your gift! Thank you!

click here to donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Mexico City Feels Like Home

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Dave and Dawn with special friends, Mario & Silvia Silva, Monse Santiago & Barush Sanchez 

I feel in some ways like every time Dawn and I return to Mexico City it’s like going to our second home. A place where we lived for almost ten years, and both Jonathan and Hannah were born there. We still have many friends that we love and care for that live there. Special friends that we partner with in ministry.

Two of those special friends are Barush Sanchez and Monse Santiago they are the RUF-CUR campus ministers at UNAM one of the world’s largest universities. I always come away encouraged after I’m with them, and learn how the Lord is moving on the campus.

God’s Amazing Grace in Monse’s Life

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Monse Santiago

I asked Monse if she would share her story with us, and she told us how she came from a background where she was involved in a mixture of New Age religions, and she even tried on Marxism. Then while at the campus she joined an English club led by our RUF-CUR workers. At first she didn’t even know that they were Christians, but she was drawn to them. They were friendly and loving people. She went on a retreat with them, and it was there that she heard about grace for the first time. That confused her at first, because she had believed in Karma. You get what you give, and she only understood the works of trying to do good. The idea of receiving something she didn’t earn or work for did not make sense to her.

After about six more months of learning and asking many questions she gave her life to Christ. She said that the campus minister that spent so much time with her was very patient and loving. Monse is a very committed and passionate young woman. She ended up joining staff a few years later.

Monse also told us how she prayed for and shared the gospel with her family. Her sister and mom have also come to Christ. It moved me to tears to hear her tell of how God has begin to work in her family. Her sister is now leading a group on another campus, and her mom is helping with worship by playing the piano for the church.

She asked for prayer for her dad and her other siblings who have not yet come to faith. Her dad especially has been very resistant.

Pray for Monse’s Family and the Campus Ministry

It lifted Dawn and my spirit to hear first hand how the Lord is moving on the campus and in Monse’s family. We enjoyed being able to encourage Monse and Barush as they so faithfully serve.

Reconnecting with a Wonderful Friend

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Dave with Fernando Sanchez

To top off our wonderful time together, Barush’s dad, Fernando joined us. I first met Fernando about 24 years ago. When I was training youth leaders in Mexico. It was a special time to be able to reminisce and remind one another of the Lord’s faithfulness over the years. Fernando has been pastoring a church for the last 18 years, and both of his sons are ministers. He said that Dawn and I had left an imprint on their lives. They have left a huge imprint on our lives as well, which is one of the reasons I love Mexico City.

I pray for a breakthrough in the city. Barush and Monse told us they were going to be participating in an evangelistic campaign the next day with a number of youth and churches from around the city. The goal was to share the gospel with One Million people in one day, which takes a lot of prayer and coordination to pull off. Can’t wait to hear all the stories of how God showed up.

Thank you Jesus for all you are doing in the Big City of Mexico!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

Campus Ministry at UNAM

Dave with Mario, Monse and Barush

Dave with Mario, Monse and Barush

Dawn and I went to Mexico City the first week of April. We wanted to be there for Dawn and Hannah’s birthday, since they are not easy days for us. Also, ever since we started ministering in Mexico (Dave 32 years ago, and both of us 28 years ago), we’ve had a heart for Mexico City. We long to see God reach this great city with the gospel.

On Thursday, April 6th I was able to meet with two of our campus ministers, Barush Sanchez and Monse Santiago. God is using them in some amazing ways to share the love of Christ on the largest university in the world UNAM in the heart of Mexico City. They reach out to the students through English clubs, and the Lord has used that to open many doors for them. Barush and Monse also have various Bible studies with the students on Campus as well as a weekly large group meeting.

One interesting connection is that I used to minister with Barush’s dad, Fernando when Dawn and I lived in Mexico in the 90’s. I think it’s amazing how the Lord works and  how he brings together all of the beautiful connections.

Encourage One Another

Dave with Barush & Monse in front of the library at UNAM

Dave with Barush & Monse in front of the library at UNAM

As we met over lunch and we encouraged one another I was also able to learn more about Monse and Barush and some of the challenges they’ve faced as they seek to reach out on the campus. Their love for the Lord and the students was evident as we talked.

I was able to spur them on in their walk with the Lord as ministers of the gospel on campus. In doing so I shared about the challenge of losing our daughter and how the Lord has been so faithful to sustain us. On the one hand, there is tremendous pain and sorrow, but on the other is the hope of heaven and the Lord’s comfort. They were both very sensitive to what our family has been going through, which lifted my spirits a great deal.

At the end of our time together I prayed for them that the Lord will strengthen their inner lives, and bring healing to them as they minister and share the love of Christ with the students.

Ministering as a Father

As we were saying goodbye and I mentioned having lost my daughter Monse said she would be my daughter, which really touched me because I don’t know her real well. Yet, I know that many need the love of a father.

Recently a new friend told me they sensed that I have the heart of a father. Maybe this is an area the Lord wants me to bless young friends in. I know that I haven’t lost Hannah, she’s just moved to heaven. Now I have another daughter. We can encourage and bless each other in Christ.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org