Posts Tagged ‘Mourning’

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

I Need God’s Grace
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The Cross on Mt. Soledad in San Diego

This year more than past years remembering that Christ was called a man of sorrows acquainted with grief has ministered to me. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3)

I recognize more than ever that I need the Lord’s grace and tender mercies. I long for His healing touch.

Our Ongoing Mourning

My family and I continue to struggle with Hannah’s passing, or as we’ve begun to say her moving to heaven. Recently the thought occurred to me that it doesn’t matter if I get angry or sad or somewhere in between, none of that will bring my daughter back to me. As King David said after washing his face, changing his clothes and worshipping the Lord in reference to his son who had passed away in 2 Samuel 12:23, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

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We Miss Our Beautiful Hannah, but We are Glad She is Celebrating Now

No matter how much I long for it, Hannah will not return to me. I do miss her every day. I do long to see her and hug her again.

These are some of the reasons why I love that the Bible says that Jesus was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. I feel through all of this the Lord is saying to me in a very personal and tender way, “I know your pain, I know your anguish. Hannah’s death was not in vain.” What a wonderful comfort. What a wonderful savior!

The Pain of the Ultimate Loss
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Our family in Mexico City

A few weeks ago Dawn and I went to see the movie, The Shack. I read the book a number of years ago, but I didn’t remember the story all that well. I’m aware of the controversy surrounding both, but that is not my purpose for mentioning it here.

As I watched the movie with Dawn I was surprised by how much the story ministered to me. It touched me as I saw a father grapple with the loss of his daughter. His sorrow, his anger and even his disappointment with God. There was a point in the movie where one of the characters playing God said, “It’s not your fault.” That is something I’ve wrestled with in pondering the why’s behind Hannah’s passing. I too sensed during a time of prayer that the Lord said to me, “It’s not your fault.” I think they are words that I need to be reminded of often.

A father is supposed to protect his child from harm, so when the ultimate harm comes there is a sense of failure. I wasn’t able to protect and keep my daughter from the tragedy of death. That’s so painful! Thank you for the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with grief. Thank you for being there for me.

Thank you for this day when we remember how Christ suffered on the cross for our sins. Good Friday seems like an oxymoron when we consider what it is referring to, but as many have said before, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming. Hallelujah!”

This hope that we have in Christ. This hope that David declared in recognizing that one day he would go to see his son, that is the hope that sustains us! We give thanks to the Lord for such a wonderful hope!

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

The day before Hannah died, we had reason to celebrate. Ministerios Transformacion’s 29th church held their inaugural service. A church that we helped to build, and plant. We were so excited for the new birth and for our friends Pastor Obed Lares and his wife, Cesiah.

I’m not going to lie that even though this is a great achievement for kingdom advancement, that because of the circumstances it was hard to celebrate. We were and we are thankful for this new work, but the shock of Hannah’s early departure totally knocked us off balance. Her home going caught us by surprise. We’ve been trying to sort life out since then.

Getting Back in the Battle
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly.

The Lord in his graciousness is bringing healing, but it is a slow process. Dawn and I are getting back in the battle. We are starting to minister to others. Yet, our hearts aren’t always there.

Today we head out to Mexico City. Then on Tuesday we arrive in Havana, Cuba to connect with some friends there. The Lord is opening some wonderful doors for us in Cuba. I will write more about that later.

Over the last month and a half Dawn and I needed to slow down. We’ve needed to mourn and grieve. We still are in the process of doing that, but as time goes on we are grieving while serving. Some days we feel more up than others. Things that used to bring us joy, now don’t. Yet we are not despairing.

Death is a terrible thing. The Apostle Paul says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). Later in same chapter Paul,goes on to say, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54, 55). Glory to God that in Christ we have victory over death, as painful as it might feel today, Jesus has removed the sting of death.

We give thanks that the ministry is not dependent on us. The church continues to grow. Yet, the Lord is so loving and gracious. He carefully teaches us and draws us to himself.

Join us in Prayer!

Please join us in prayer as we learn this new way. We are learning what we call our “new normal”. We need wisdom and grace, as we move forward in ministry. We pray that we will see many more churches planted. Many more people reached for Christ, many more that become disciples. We pray that the Lord will use, even Hannah’s  untimely death to spur others on to love and good deeds. O Lord, do be glorified! Be lifted up, and build your church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Ty & Terri’s Incredible Influence
Terri & Ty Schenzel

Terri & Ty Schenzel

This week as I’ve been grieving the loss of my friends, Ty & Terri Schenzel a couple of things have happened. One is as I followed the news and their memorial page on Facebook, I learned what a huge impact they made in Omaha. They touched literally thousands. More than 3,000 attended their funeral, and an estimated 13,000 watched it via the internet.

I knew they were amazing people, but the impact they made, the influence they had was incredible.

The memorial service was held on Wednesday, August 26th. You can read more about the service and their lives here…

They Shared An Extraordinary Marriage
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Ty & Terri shared an extraordinary love for one another

My wife, Dawn directed me to an article written about Ty and Terri’s marriage. A young woman, Melissa Joy Kong traveled around the United States and interviewed 100 couples that had extraordinary marriages. Ty & Terri were one of the couples she interviewed, and Melissa said they stood out from the other couples, because of the Schenzel’s warmth and the obvious love they demonstrated for one another.

You can find the article here, which includes an audio interview.

Ty & Terri Finished Well

As I reflect on their lives I feel proud of what my friends accomplished. I’m so Glad to have known them. I regret not having more contact with them since we left seminary.

They lived well and they finished well. The apostle Paul exhorted the church to run in such a way that we receive the prize. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) Then later at the end of his life he tells Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

In reflecting on the wonderful legacy that Ty and Terri left, it causes me to consider what kind of legacy am I building? What influence and impact does my life have? Those are good questions to consider.

One of our seminary professors, Dr. William Iverson used to talk to us about outliving and out dying our generation. Ty and Terri accomplished that, may we follow their example and do the same.

Grieving & Reconnecting
Students from ISOT in the Core Module - led by Dr. William Iverson

Students from ISOT in the Core Module – led by Dr. William Iverson

As part of my grieving process, last week I started to contact all my old friends from seminary. Friends who knew Ty and Terri and because of that we shared a common bond.

I found the reconnection to be refreshing, and to bring me a level of comfort and healing. One of the classmates I connected with was Dieter Zander. As we chatted I learned about the amazing journey he’s been on over the last several years. I asked him if it would be okay for me to share his story with others, and he said yes, so next week I hope to write about his life and the redeeming work that God is doing.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15

I’m so thankful that we have a loving God who makes sense of this crazy world that we live in. He brings order out of the chaos. He gives us hope when it seems hopeless.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Ty & Terri Schenzel

Ty & Terri Schenzel

Mourning the Loss of My Friends

On Friday I was checking out some Facebook posts, and I noticed the picture of my friends, Ty & Terri Schenzel. Then when I explored further I was shocked to learn they had been involved in a fatal car accident on Thursday, August 20th.

Ty and Terri led exemplary lives and their reach in Omaha, Nebraska went far. It’s sad to see such wonderful people leave this earth. Heaven is richer for it as we mourn their loss.

See video news report and article click here…. The news report does a great job at capturing the significant impact that Ty and Terri made in their community.

It Began at Seminary in Arrowhead Springs
Ty Schenzel is second from the right with seminary roommates from left to right, Dave Diaso, Craig Collie, Ralph Elliott, Ty Schenzel and Dale Goodman

Ty Schenzel is second from the right with seminary roommates from left to right, Dave Diaso, Craig Collie, Ralph Elliott, Ty Schenzel and Dale Goodman

I first met Ty and Terri while I was attending seminary in Arrowhead Springs, San Bernardino, California at the International School of Theology (ISOT). Ty and I became friends right away as we prepared for the ministry. Our first year at school we were involved in the Core Module, led by Dr. William Iverson. The Core Module wed theology with practical ministry.

It was a great place to practice theology with skin on, as Dr. Iverson liked to call it. I have many fond memories of our time together at ISOT as those were some of the best years of my life.

Ty also met Terri at ISOT. They fell in love, and they were married while in seminary. God blessed them with a loving marriage that few couples are able to match. I admire them for that as much or more than I do for all their amazing accomplishments in ministry.

Students from ISOT in the Core Module - led by Dr. William Iverson

Students from ISOT in the Core Module – led by Dr. William Iverson

I remember that Ty knew from the beginning what he wanted to do. After he graduated from seminary his goal was to return to Omaha, Nebraska and to work with youth.

His fun-loving, energetic passionate personality made him a huge success with all the kids he ministered to.

As Ty and Terri ministered together they were a loving ball of energy that wanted to be spent pouring their lives out for Christ. I think they accomplished their goal. They lived well, and served faithfully.

God Used Them in a Powerful Way

Ty and Terri went on to accomplish many things in ministry. They touched thousands with the gospel. Their hallmark was the founding of Hope Center for at risk youth. The Lord used Ty with Terri at his side to bring hope to a place that was without hope.

I’m deeply saddened to see them depart this earth earlier than I would have liked, but what a legacy they left. Their life is an encouragement and a challenge to all of us to be ready when the Lord calls us home. It’s a reminder to make use of each moment the Lord has given us.

This picture of Ty (on the left) with Dick Elwell was taken in Mexico City on a month long summer missions project in the back of a Volkswagen Van, our main mode of transportation.

This picture of Ty (on the left) with Dick Elwell was taken in Mexico City on a month-long summer missions project in the back of a Volkswagen Van, our main mode of transportation.

My heart aches at their loss. My prayers go out to their children, and their family. They will be missed. They are leaving a big hole that someone else must step in and fill.

With Ty and Terri’s wonderful sense of humor, I’m sure that heaven is filled with more laughter. While we mourn for them, we can rejoice in their life well lived. I pray that we might follow their example to live life to the fullest, and to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Jacob T. Griffiths – A Life Well Lived
Scott Griffiths sharing at the memorial service for his son, Jacob. Turi Nuñez translated for Scott

Scott Griffiths sharing at the memorial service for his son, Jacob. Turi Nuñez translated for Scott

Sunday afternoon Dawn and I attended a memorial service that our friends from Lo Mejor del Trigo in Tijuana held for Jacob Griffiths. It was a moving and heart warming service. Scott Griffiths, Jacob’s dad was there and Susan Griffiths, Jacob’s step mom.

Dawn and I never met Jacob, but we do know Scott. Jacob lived 32 years. He packed a lot in to those years, and even though his life was cut short he lived it to the fullest.

Jacob loved the Lord and he served him in Mexico and other places in Orange County where he lived and around the world as he had opportunity to travel. We mourn his loss, and we hurt for the family. I can’t imagine losing one of my children. He also was a husband, and his wife is pregnant with their first child. A baby boy on the way. That’s the sting of death. It’s painful.

Our prayers go out for this family.

Even in this tragic loss, there is hope. Dawn and I were encouraged to see how the Lord is ministering to Scott. He is sad, but God is giving him and his family hope.

Christ Gives Us Hope in Loss

It was wonderful to hear all the beautiful testimonies and words of encouragement from all the pastors with Lo Mejor del Trigo. Even though it was a memorial service it was a hope filled service.

God reminded me that Christ takes away the sting of death for those that are in Christ. I shared from 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 when I had a chance to share with Scott and Susan the others in attendance. It’s a passage that gives us courage as we are confronted with the reality of death.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “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 ‭15‬:‭54-57‬ ESV

Dawn and I pray that the Lord will continue to comfort Scott and Susan and Jacob’s widow and other friends and family members who are traveling through the valley of the shadow of death. I’m grateful the Good Shepherd promises to be with them though out the journey.

Scott & Susan’s Faithful Service
The people of Lo Mejor del Trigo comforting Scott and Susan after the service

The people of Lo Mejor del Trigo comforting Scott and Susan after the service

Scott and his family are special friends and partners in the ministry with Daniel Nuñez and Lo Mejor del Trigo. Scott has led numerous trips from his church, Mariners in Irvine. In the last couple of years we’ve gotten to know Scott as he’s organized some of the building projects we’ve done with Lo Mejor del Trigo and Harbor church in Tijuana.

Susan Griffiths coordinates the sponsorship program for over 300 children in Tijuana. Both Scott and Susan have served tirelessly on the border. God has used them to be a blessing to many. We pray for the Lord’s blessing and comfort as they mourn. O Lord, please do wrap your loving arms around them, and encourage them along the way!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org