Posts Tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’

The Walls and Roof Are Up!
Our amazing group who came down to build the church with Pastor Obed Lares and his wife Cesiah on the right

Our amazing group who came down to build the church with Pastor Obed Lares and his wife Cesiah on the right

I’ll never cease to be amazed by how much work a group of well-coordinated people can get done in one day!

When we arrived on Saturday in Rosarito to build church number 29 with our friends from Ministerios Transformación only the foundation had been laid. Then by the time we left at the end of the day, all the walls were up and the roof was almost finished. A few stayed later to finish up the roof.

Pastor  Daniel Nuñez and his team had done a great deal of prep work before we arrived. They cut the wood and had it laid out for us, and the difficult pieces had already been put together. Nonetheless, it’s exciting to see how quickly the church goes up in one day.

This last Saturday was a warm and sunny day, so everybody was worn out about mid-day. Our group isn’t used to hammering nails and lifting walls, siding and roofing. When we crossed the border at the end of the day I could see a sense of accomplishment in those that came. After a while as we drove back they got quiet. They were tired. They worked hard, and the Lord used them to help bring light to a new community.

A Labor of Love
Pastor Daniel Nuñez, Dave and Pastor Obed Lares

Pastor Daniel Nuñez, Dave and Pastor Obed Lares

At the end of the day Pastor Obed Lares said the church would always remember the group through the pictures and be thankful for their labor of love that brought the light of Christ to the community.

Obed and his wife, Cesiah brought their children and their parents and they worked hard at making the midday meal for us and keeping us hydrated.

I always love these days even though I don’t have a background in construction. It lifts up my heart to see so many people come together to work on a lasting initiative. The building is just the beginning, but it gives the church a presence in the community.

Our son, David Jr. (far right) hard at work. He flew out to join us. It's a family affair

Our son, David Jr. (far right) hard at work. He flew out to join us. It’s a family affair

The Launch of a New Church

The work is not done. This coming Saturday I will lead another group down and we will put up all the drywall, doors, windows and shingles. Our goal is to finish the church by this coming Saturday the 15th, so they can hold their inaugural service on Sunday, October 16th.

Pastor Obed is thrilled to officially launch the church on the 16th, because on that day he also celebrates his birthday. A double celebration!

It will be a glorious day!

Jeff Sloan with the neighbor Roberto who will be the first church member along with his family

Jeff Sloan with the neighbor Roberto who will be the first church member along with his family

The building is just the beginning, but it’s a good and an important beginning to seeing lives transformed as those in the community encounter Christ.

The church is in a humble community, and the family that lives right next to the church were blessed to have their home built by another ministry, YWAM. I was able to meet the family, and Roberto the man of the house told me they were planning on being the first members of the church. The Lord touched me as I saw Roberto and his family pitch in and work with us in seeing the church built. They also let us use their electricity and their bathroom. Two essentials!

Pray for the advance of the kingdom in the community of Colonia Ramos in Rosarito. Thank you Jesus!

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

 

God’s Blessings in 2013
Roberto & Mana Shim with Dawn & Dave

Roberto & Mana Shim with Dawn & Dave

There are so many things to be thankful for as I think back on 2013! I shared some of the reasons I am grateful for God’s grace in the way he worked and used us this past year in my last post.

One of the ministries that encouraged my heart was mentoring and coaching pastors. Dawn and I just love to be able to love on the pastors and their wives. I suppose a big reason for this is the way God has wired us.

Loving Pastors and Their Wives

He’s given us a passion for coming alongside and encouraging pastors. I also think it is one of the most strategic things we can do, as it provides the opportunity for us to influence the leaders. Our prayer is to see a church planting movement spread along the San Diego – Tijuana border that will eventually fill all of Baja California. For that to happen we need a team of strong godly leaders.

Abraham and Martha with Dawn and Dave

Abraham and Martha with Dawn and Dave

The Lord gave us the opportunity to work with a number of pastors and their wives, but the one’s that we’ve gotten closest to are Daniel and Yolanda Nuñez leader of Lo Mejor del Trigo (LMT), Roberto and Mana Shim at Harbor Mid-City, Rodrigo and Nancy Vallarta at LMT Pípila, Abraham and Martha Velazquez at LMT Rojo Gomez, Cesar and Kristina Zavala at LMT Vida Abundante and Leo and Gloria Nevarez at LMT Rosarito. There are others that we are starting to get to know better and we look forward to ministering with them.

God is On The Move as the Gospel Goes Forth

It fills our heart with joy to see how the Lord is using these men and women, and how the Lord is blessing them as they serve him.

Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

The churches these friends are leading are doing wonderful things. They are preaching the gospel and seeing families won to Christ and growing in their faith. They are feeding the hungry, ministering to homeless and those caught in a lifestyle of addiction.

I’m so thankful for all God is doing, and for the opportunity for Dawn and me to minister in our sweet spot. It also is further confirmation that we are in the right place, and doing the right things.

Thanks for praying for the expansion God’s kingdom on the border and beyond!

Happy New Year!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A Banner Day!
We Worshipped Outside Today at Hoover High

We Worshipped Outside Today at Hoover High

Today (Sunday) was one of those banner days! I wish there were more days like today, but I cherish them when they come.

We at Harbor Mid City held a special outreach event to the community of City Heights called, Christmas in City Heights. The idea behind it is that people from the church purchase gifts through donations and fund-raisers.

Then the people in the church invite friends in the community who are from low-income families. There are a limited number of invitations given. Our desire is to help families that someone in the church has a relationship with.

It takes a tremendous amount of planning, and more than a hundred volunteers to pull the event off.

Wrapping Presents for All Our Guests

Wrapping Presents for All Our Guests

We invite these families to worship with us. It’s a great time of celebration.

After church we open the Christmas store, where parents can buy presents for their children at much reduced prices. Then we gift wrap the presents for them.

It’s such a great way to bless the community.

God Works Through Weaknesses

I must admit that despite such a wonderful event, and such a wonderful day that I had a bad attitude earlier in the day. God’s Spirit convicted me, and I confessed my struggles. It seemed like after that the clouds parted and skies were blue the rest of the day.

In the afternoon a group of us who were part of the prayer team decided to move our place of operation, because we weren’t getting any “business,” so to speak at the prayer booth. We placed ourselves near the exit, so when the people had already received their gifts we could talk to them.

Many Received the Greatest Gift
Great to see some of our Students from ESL enjoying Christmas in the city

Great to see some of our Students from ESL enjoying Christmas in the city

As they were walking out we asked them if we could pray for them. Everyone of them said they would like for us to pray for them, once we changed our location. Wow! God really opened the floodgates after that.

Dawn and I along with others on the prayer team spent more than two hours interacting and praying for people. We talked to them about the greatest gift that Christ came to bring through his incarnation, perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross.

The amazing thing was that these people were ripe for the harvest. A number of them prayed to receive Christ with us. I counted at least 15 that gave their life to Christ, but I believe there were more. They were all Spanish speakers, because they make up the majority of the population in City Heights.

Some were moved to tears as they heard the good news, and received the gift of life.

A Moving Story of God’s Grace
Pastor Roberto Shim preaching the Good News!

Pastor Roberto Shim preaching the Good News!

All of the people and stories behind them were unique and beautiful. I think my favorite one was with a woman named Elena. She came, because she used to clean the home of one of the woman in our church. Roberto Shim our Spanish-speaking pastor was sharing the gospel with her, and he invited me over.

I had the privilege of being there and supporting them as Roberto explained the gospel message to Elena. Roberto asked her if she wanted to pray to receive Christ, and she responded, “yes”. Then as Roberto was leading her in prayer, she began to cry, so I called Dawn over to comfort Elena.

We continued and Elena with tear-filled joy gave her life to Christ!

Then after a while we saw the woman, who invited Elena to the event. Her name is Ursula. Roberto told Ursula that Elena had come to Christ. Then Ursula began to cry, which touched Elena so that she too wept.

It was beautiful to see God work through so many people. The Lord uses the body of Christ working together in harmony to touch others with the gospel.

The light of Christ shone brightly today in City Heights, and I pray it will only grow to shine brighter.

Thank you for standing with us in prayer. These things only happen as God in his grace moves through his church as we come together to seek and serve him.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

What a day! What a week!
Hannah, Dawn and Dave in TJ

Hannah, Dawn and Dave in TJ

When we live in this crazy world, and maybe even more so when we are on the front lines we get attacked.

Earlier this week a friend of ours, who is a wonderful Christian woman. She’s a great wife and mother. Dawn and I have grown to love them. Well, she took a wrong turn as she was taking her nephew to school, and ended up in a detention center.

Her husband has already spent thousands of dollars in lawyers fees trying to get every thing sorted out.

When I received the news on Tuesday of what happened I felt very sad. Tears welled up in my eyes, although I was with other friends so I held it in.

I feel for those that get hurt through the brokenness on the border. That’s one of the reasons God brought us here. To bring good news to the poor, and to repair the broken city.

Family Trials
my daughter Hannah's car

my daughter Hannah’s poor car

Today (Thursday) I felt like the enemy was coming after my family full on.

My daughter, Hannah called me at 6:30 in the morning, because she got stuck in the snow and ice. Someone ran into her, then another and another. When it was all over there were five cars involved in the accident.

Hannah was cold and afraid. I tried to keep her calm and give her hope. I know that our Lord protected her from further damage.

Then about when I was done helping Hannah, I got a call from Dawn that our son, Jonathan had a serious problem with his eye. His retina is detached.

Jon, Hannah & David Jr. having some fun

Jon, Hannah & David Jr. having some fun

The doctor wants to do an emergency surgery, but since my son ate lunch before he received this news, and they need to perform the surgery after 8 hours of fasting he decided to put the surgery off until Friday morning. Again I found myself sad, and the tears welled up.

My son, Jon will have an emergency eye surgery to repair his retina on Friday morning at 7:20 AM PST.

Someone once said that dogs don’t bark at parked cars. I do believe that one of the attacks our enemy uses is to try to discourage us while we are serving the Lord. I’m not sure that knowing that makes it any easier. It’s still painful to see those we love suffer.

God Gives me Hope

What does give me hope is knowing that somehow, someway God uses this for his glory and for our good. I’m reminded to keep my eyes on him.

Jesus said that, in this world you will have many troubles, but cheer up I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

After I sent a note out to some friends today asking them to pray, a pastor friend sent me some encouraging verses, so I thought I would share them with you, and ask you to pray.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV84)
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV84)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thanks for joining us on this journey of faith, and for standing with us in prayer.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dave preaching

Dave preaching

This past Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to preach in Spanish at Harbor Mid-City. I preached on Genesis 37 – God goes before you.

Joseph’s Dreams

Joseph dreamt two dreams in Genesis 37. The dreams were an indication of what God was going to do through Joseph to save his people. It shows that God is the hero of the story!

In the midst of the two dreams the story is told of all the dysfunction among Jacob’s sons. They hated Joseph. They wouldn’t even speak to him kindly.

A Family of Dysfunction

This was due in large part to the favoritism that Jacob showed to Joseph. Jacob learned this from his parents, as Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob. The sins of the fathers are passed down to the third and fourth generation.

Then as the story moves along with Joseph and his brothers, they decided to kill him. First they grabbed him and threw him in an empty cistern. The very next verse, verse 25 says, “Then they sat down to eat…” So they threw in a dry cistern and then had lunch as if it were just another day at the office.

Joseph’s Strength of Character

Joseph through all of this proves to be of higher character than his brothers. This is one of the reasons God was able to use him to be the leader that he became in Egypt. He saved his family, the tribe of Israel and the people of Egypt through his foresight and leadership. He was a type of Christ as he was also betrayed, and then they both saved their people.

There is tremendous pain in this story when you consider all the hate and hurt that happened within a family. It reminds me of the Mexican telenovelas, or even our own Soap Operas.

It’s amazing that Joseph was sold into slavery at the age of 17. He was not able to go to Sabbath school, or learn anymore about God from the Egyptians. Everything he learned about God from his parents was already instilled in him at age 17. He was able to stand strong against all odds in Egypt. He was imprisoned unjustly and he still was able to maintain his faith and thrive amidst all of this.

Joseph was truly a prince of a man.

God’s Healing Work
Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pie...

Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois, 1863 oil on canvas, at the Musée Municipal Frédéric Blandin, Nevers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then after Joseph is reunited with his family. He sees that God has worked in the heart of his brothers, and brought about change. They are reconciled in God’s grace.

When Jacob died, the brothers feared that Joseph might seek revenge. Joseph responded in Genesis 50:20,

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Joseph did not deny what his brothers did was evil, but he was able to forgive them and recognize that God used even their evil for his good. That was one of the messages that the Lord gave Joseph in his dreams about the future events. God was saying in a sense, “I go before you, and I prepare the way so that my people saved.”

Then later came Jesus, who died on the cross for our evil deeds. He provides a way for us to be forgiven and saved. Hallelujah!

When you feel down or discouraged remember that God goes before you, and that he prepares a way.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

It hit me last week as I was studying Genesis 26 how God cares for us, even when others neglect us.

Dave preaching at Lo Mejor del Trigo

Dave preaching at Lo Mejor del Trigo

Fear versus Faith

In this chapter in Genesis, “the book of beginnings,” we see Isaac and Rebekah encountering the Philistine king, Abimelech. When asked about his wife, Isaac said she was his sister. Instead of trusting God, and protecting his wife, he chose to act out of fear and choose to protect himself while putting his wife in harm’s way. In the modern vernacular we’d say, Isaac threw Rebekah under the bus.

When the men of the place asked him about his wife, ‘he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My Wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. —Genesis 26:7

God in his grace protected Rebekah. He does have a way of making up for our faults.

It’s interesting that when Abimelech learned that Rebekah was Isaac’s wife that he rebuked him for not telling the truth. I don’t think it’s a good sign when an unbeliever is confronting us for our sin. In this case Isaac lied, because he was afraid. He failed to believe that God would protect him and his family. He took matters into his own hands.

There are many great lessons from this passage.

God Does Care

God promises to take care of us, we can trust him. Even when things don’t turn out well, we can know that somehow, someway the Lord can and will use it in our lives. We may not know how until we get to heaven, and once we get there we probably will no longer care.

I find comfort in the Lord’s promises. His promises are good and true.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That’s why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. —2 Corinthians 1:20

When you are afraid remember that God’s promises are true and trustworthy.

English: Cross in the village of Úsilné, České...

Cross in the village of Úsilné, České Budějovice District, Czech Republic with the writing ‘Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ’.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is Hope in Jesus

Another lesson for those of you that have been hurt by someone who was supposed to protect you. You’ve been hurt by your husband, by your parents, by the church, etc.

I’m assuming that’s pretty much everyone!

God is there with you, and he does care for you. He does protect us, even when others won’t. Ultimately, Jesus came and bore our sin, because the world was broken. Look to Jesus, and keep your eyes on him. He loved you enough to die on the cross for you.

I apologize being a man, a husband, a parent and a minister for the men, the parents and the churches that have not protected you. They should have, but they failed. I know I have failed, but Jesus did not fail. Jesus defeated sin, death and Satan on the cross and through his resurrection.

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 15:56,57

When you are in despair look to the cross of Christ.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org