Posts Tagged ‘Pastor Abraham Velazquez and Martha’

Staying on the Move
Pastor Abraham Velazquez leading worship

Pastor Abraham Velazquez leading worship

Sometimes there is so much going on it’s hard to stay up on my posts. I’m also trying to write a book, but I haven’t yet figured out how to squeeze time in to give it the necessary attention. I’d appreciate your prayers that the dream of publishing a book would become a reality. Also, If you have any suggestions on how to fit it into a busy on the go schedule let me know.

Dawn and I will be leaving for Phoenix in just a couple of hours. We will be connecting with a church in the area and we’ll be attending a church planters network meeting. It promises to be a good time with some outstanding friends and ministers of the gospel. To top it off we also will be celebrating our 29th anniversary on Monday, March 5.

Dave preaching in Tijuana

Dave preaching in Tijuana

Brokenness and Healing

Last weekend, Dawn and I had the privilege of visiting Pastor Abraham Velazquez’s church in Tijuana. We’ve grown to love Abraham and his wife, Martha. It’s always special when we can be with them. 

I had the opportunity to preach at their church. The sermon was on Isaiah 54, Breakthrough for the Broken! My family and I have experienced our share of brokenness over the last couple of years since Hannah moved to heaven. This passage gives us hope for a better tomorrow. The barren one, the broken one is told to sing and cry aloud, because the Lord is going to deliver her.

The passage goes on to say prepare yourself for growth. Enlarge your tent. Get your house ready, because I’m going to bring an increase. I am going to bless you!

Isaiah 54:1-3

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
    break forth into singing and cry aloud,
    you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
    and your offspring will possess the nations
    and will people the desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:1-3)

One of the practices that Dawn and I have to look for the promises in the Bible and to use them in our prayers. These promises give us hope, especially when things go awry. Does that ever happen to you? I would like to encourage you to remember the promises of God and to repeat them often.

Breakthrough for the Broken in Tijuana
Ministerios Transformación Rojo Gomez church in Tijuana

Ministerios Transformación Rojo Gomez church in Tijuana

It was such a good time to minister at Pastor Abraham’s church. After the sermon, we had a time of prayer, and it was so encouraging as people shared their testimonies. One of the leaders in the church said that he had been having nightmares that he was going to die. He felt a release and peace after the prayer. I sent him a note the next day and he told me that he slept well and that he didn’t have any nightmares!

Another young man shared about the abuse he had suffered in his family growing up. He was bitter, but he felt the need to forgive his family so I was able to lead him in prayer to confess and forgive. He also needed Jesus so I had the pleasure of leading him to Christ! God is so good, and he is definitely on the move.

I learned while I was at the church that Pastor Mere Godinez, the pastor of the church we are building for Hannah used to attend this church in Tijuana. Abraham and Mere grew up together. They attended church together, and they are both in the ministry now. Wow, Lord! Thanks for all that you are doing. Praise you!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Connecting Pastor Paul Kim and Family in TJ
Paul and Linda Kim and family standing in front of the last church we helped build - the Lo Mejor del Trigo Church in Ribera del Bosque

Paul and Linda Kim and family standing in front of the last church we helped build – the Lo Mejor del Trigo Church in Ribera de Bosque

One of the many things that I love about what I do is introducing others to Mexico and the work we are doing there. Earlier this week I was able to take Pastor Paul Kim, his wife, Linda and their three children into Tijuana. They got to know Tijuana some and the partners we work with.

Pastor Kim is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Diego. Redeemer has brought down groups to build a house, to build a church and to do community outreach. They are valuable partners, and I appreciate their ministry with us in Tijuana.

An Uplifting Time!

It was wonderful to be able to introduce Paul and Linda Kim to the pastors we are working with from Lo Mejor del Trigo. God used the trip to touch the hearts of the Kims, and it gave them an opportunity to minister and encourage some of the pastors.

Daniel Nuñez along with four other pastors joined us. They shared stories about what God is doing in their community and through their church. We visited two churches, one in Ribera de Bosque and one in Rojo Gomez. It was an uplifting time.

Praying for and Encouraging Pastors
Paul and Linda Kim with the pastors from Lo Mejor del Trigo

Paul and Linda Kim with the pastors from Lo Mejor del Trigo

Some of the things that I most enjoyed about our time was being able to pray together for the pastors and their work. The other time that was especially encouraging was sharing a meal together and sharing in the interaction that went on between the Kims and the pastors present. They asked some wonderful questions.

I pray that God will use this trip to make a lasting imprint on Paul and Linda Kim and their family and the pastors that they met. I also pray that God will use it to aid our partnership with Redeemer and the connection between Redeemer and Lo Mejor del Trigo.

God works in powerful ways as churches and ministries come together and join forces for the kingdom.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Church in Lazaro Cardenas
Pastor Jose Luis Rivera with his wife, Raquel

Pastor Jose Luis Rivera with his wife, Raquel

Last week Daniel & Yolanda Nuñez introduced us to pastor Jose Luis Rivera and his wife, Raquel. They are ministering in a church that has encountered more than it’s share of troubles in an area of Tijuana called, Lazaro Cardenas.

Jose Luis and Raquel have been ministering at this church for eight months. They’ve been seeking to restore the church, and love the community.

The church has gone into the surrounding neighborhood to evangelize. They have lovingly welcomed their neighbors to come to the church.

Unfortunately, despite all their efforts they haven’t found many open doors. Actually the people have been very closed.

The Evil Opposition

Pastor Jose Luis and Raquel are believing God for the best, but they do feel somewhat discouraged by the lack of fruit. They even shared that there is a witch that lives in the neighborhood, and she has been working to oppose the church. Even to scare people from coming.

This is the second time one of the pastors we are coming alongside has told us of opposition, and even witchcraft. I realize that this isn’t quite as common in the U.S., but it is something that can’t be ignored. The evil one is crafty and he will use whatever means he can to oppose the work of the gospel.

We Need Prayer!
Pastor Abraham Velazquez and Martha have also shared that they have faced opposition in Rojo Gomez

Pastor Abraham Velazquez and Martha have also shared that they have faced opposition in Rojo Gomez

Dawn and I want to ask you to provide prayer covering. Please pray for God’s protection and breakthrough in the community of Lazaro Cardenas. The church marches forward on her knees.

We hope to go into the community with Jose Luis and Raquel to pray, and to believe God. “Greater is he who is in me, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4b). This is a spiritual battle, so our weapons must also be spiritual. Jesus is victorious! Jesus defeated sin, death and Satan on the cross and through his resurrection. Rejoice! Rejoice with me!!!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

How Does Healing Work?

The Lord has been encouraging us through his grace over the last week. I shared about how God healed Dawn’s sinus infection in my last post.

God continues to amaze us!

The Arch in Cabo San Lucas

The Arch in Cabo San Lucas

I must admit that I still struggle with healing and how it all works. Why does it happen sometimes, and other times it doesn’t? I don’t understand that.

Nonetheless, I do know God heals. Maybe there would be more healing if we believed him and trusted, although I know it’s not dependent on our faith.

I want to be sensitive here, because we know a number of people who are sick, or who are suffering with something and they have prayed, but God has not chosen to heal them.

Our Friend Abraham
The Arch in Cabo San Lucas

Abraham & Martha, Dawn & Dave

Last week Dawn and I were with our good friends Pastor Abraham and his wife, Martha. We had a wonderful time encouraging one another and sharing together. At the end of our time we prayed for one another.

Abraham’s eye had been bothering him, so we prayed for him. We asked the Lord to bring healing. After we prayed we asked Abraham how he felt, and he said he felt better. It was like the pain moved to another part of his head. We prayed some more, and asked God to touch Abraham and to heal him.

Then we asked Abraham again how he felt, and he said much better. I’ve been texting him since then asking him how’s he’s been feeling, and he says he continues to feel better. Rejoice in God’s healing work in our friend, Abraham.

More Good News

Earlier in the year we incurred some substantial hospital bills. We had some concerns about how we were going to pay for them. One of our partner churches said they wanted to help. I thought they would help some, but that we would still end up having to pay $1,000 or so.

The church took the initiative to talk to the hospital and negotiate the bill down, and then they paid the balance. Wow! Thank you Jesus!

Unfortunately, Not Everything is Good
Sunset on the Pacific

Sunset on the Pacific

Our church is going through a difficult season. I’m in leadership at the church, so it’s especially painful. It involves close friends, who I love and cherish. We need your prayers.

Despite, this setback overall God is blessing our ministry on the border in some astounding ways. We are in awe at times of how the Lord works.

While we rejoice in our many blessings we recognize that our ministry funds are low. This is a huge distraction for us, and I would pray that the Lord will meet our needs as he promises. Lord, Help my unbelief. Please join us in prayer!

I’m so thankful for God’s grace and his faithfulness!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

In my last post I wrote about how we’ve endured a season of trials, but now things are getting better. We are hopeful and even rejoicing in what God is doing!

A Time to Build
Two of our friends, Pepe & Ulysses working on the house. They also helped me get my car fixed!

Two of our friends, Pepe & Ulysses working on the house. They also helped me get my car fixed!

There are various seasons of life

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

— Ecclesiastes 3:4

The passage in Ecclesiastes 3:3 also mentions, “a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” among other things. There is a time for everything.

The Lord has been bringing healing, and whereas we felt like we were being broken, God is building. He is building in our lives, as well as literally building via the ministries we are serving with.

Even in the midst of the tumultuous ride that we’ve been on, the Lord has been at work. Last week we had a wonderful time with Redeemer Church San Diego and Lo Mejor del Trigo Rojo Gomez.

Hunter Benson, back left with some of the others from Redeemer that came on the trip

Hunter Benson, back left with some of the others from Redeemer that came on the trip

I talked to Hunter Benson, the leader of the Redeemer group, and he told me about all the positive reports that he has been getting since the trip from those that joined us.

I also saw Scott Griffiths, who guided the construction on the pastor’s home. Scott said he really enjoyed working with Redeemer. They did a great job, and worked hard to get the project done.

You might remember that my car broke down during the trip. It needed a new fuel pump. I was able to get it fixed for a reasonable price, which is a huge answer to prayer. I picked the car up on Friday, and I saw the house at the church in Rojo Gomez. It’s close to being finished.

While I was at the house they were working on the some of texturing, so they could paint the inside of the house, and put up the kitchen cabinets. Our hope is that the house will be completely done and ready for Abraham and his family to move into in about a week.

Joy in the Journey

It gives me joy to see how committed God is to his work advancing. I know it isn’t dependent on me. I am thankful that he allows me to be involved, and to be blessed as I work with friends to bless others.

Thank you so much Jesus for this tangible demonstration of your love.

The Lord Builds the House

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

—Psalm 127:1

O Lord, do build the house. Do watch over the city. We recognize our dependence on you for all things – for the advancement of your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Fruitful Weekend in TJ
Redeemer working on the kitchen cabinets

Redeemer working on the kitchen cabinets

Wow! What an outstanding weekend the Lord gave us in TJ!

On Saturday morning I met the Redeemer San Diego church at the border, and we drove into Tijuana together. Redeemer brought 38 eager people down to minister with the Lo Mejor del Trigo church in Rojo Gomez.

Ministry Through Building and Connecting
Having some fun while putting the roof on

Having some fun while putting the roof on

Our mission was to build a parish home for Pastor Abraham Velazquez and his wife, Martha. That was the main focus of the trip, and the group pulled up their sleeves and got to work once we made it to Rojo Gomez.

One of the highlights of the trip is just seeing people from very different cultures, who speak different languages come together to minister together. I could tell that it really touched the heart of a lot of those that came down.

Redeemer also worked with Pastor Abraham to minister to children from the community. They lead the children in fun activities including crafts, painting and games.

Then Abraham taught the children a gospel story about the prodigal son. The children that came were very engaged, and they enjoyed their time with the group. I’ve included a sample of the time in the video below.

A Home for Abraham and Martha
The group working hard to finish up the house

The group working hard to finish up the house

It was so encouraging to see how hard everyone worked to complete the pastoral home. This home will be a huge blessing to the church, and specifically to Abraham and Martha and their two children Gadiel and Salmai.

It’s important to have someone live next to the church partly due to the need for security. I just talked to one of my friends, Pastor Leo Nevarez about this very need. Leo pastors a church in Rosarito. He told me that a group donated a number of toys for Christmas gifts for the children in the community. They stored the toys in the church, but before they were able to give them to the children some thieves broke into the church and stole 100 toys.

What a bummer for the church and the children!

That is one of the reasons it’s important to have someone live near the church. In this case it also helps out Abraham and his family. They don’t have a car at this time, so it aids them in their commute to work.

A City Set on a Hill

Our prayer is that the church in Rojo Gomez will be a city set on a hill that shines the light of Christ brightly in the community.

Abraham said that since he started serving at the church it has grown from about 30 to over 100. In many of the churches in Mexico there are many women and very few men. They started with three men and now they have more than 11. God is blessing!

Prayer & Praise
Worshipping together before we start the work

Worshipping together before we start the work

Join us in praising the Lord for the good work that he is doing on the border. It makes my heart glad to see people’s lives changed as they minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love seeing our friends from Redeemer being affected in a significant way through their interaction with the Mexican people.

Thank you Jesus!

Thank you friends for standing with us in prayer.

We did have two setbacks, which reminds me that we need to intensify our prayer covering.

My car broke down while we were in Tijuana, and it is still there being repaired. One of the vans Redeemer rented was involved in a fender bender coming back into the US. It is a real headache trying to work with the insurance companies. Pray that both of these cars will be fixed soon and without any major expense.

I give thanks that the Lord kept us safe and used us to spread the love of Christ in Mexico.

In HIs Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

An Exciting Weekend Ahead!
Fun in Worship with the Children

Worship & Outreach with the Children in Rojo Gomez

Today I’m making the final preparations for our weekend taking Redeemer San Diego to Tijuana to work with Lo Mejor del Trigo in Rojo Gomez.

The prep isn’t my favorite part of the trip, but if you don’t prepare well the experience will reflect that. We want everyone from both churches, on both sides of the border to have a wonderful experience.

Your prayers are huge! So please continue to pray and lift us up.

Two Churches Working Together for God’s Glory

I am looking forward to working side by side with friends from these two churches. The churches bring so much energy, and it’s so good to watch them connect with people from a different culture, who speak a different language.

The love of Christ is very evident as those that come to serve bless their brothers and sisters in Christ. The light of Christ also shines brightly through these dear friends. The Lord uses the curiosity of those that live near the church to attract them. They are curious, because there are a lot of people, and most do not look like them or talk like them.

This will be the second time these two churches will work together, so over time relationships are built and God does some amazing things.

I look forward to writing next week about all that the Lord will do through this outreach.

Pray for a Fruitful Outreach in TJ
Dave at our missions table with Pastor Abraham and his wife Martha and their two children

Dave with Pastor Abraham and his wife Martha and their two children, Gadiel and Salmai

We head down to Rojo Gomez Saturday morning. Pray for the safety of the group, and that the Lord will use us to bless the community and the Lo Mejor del Trigo Rojo Gomez church. We will be building a home for Pastor Abraham and his wife, Martha. The church will also reach out in the community through fun children’s activities.

Thank you so much for joining us on this journey!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org