Posts Tagged ‘religion’

A Church Planting Network in Mexico
Monterrey, Mexico

Monterrey, Mexico

God opened my eyes even wider as I was challenged to consider working with others to reach Northwestern Mexico for Christ. I found myself feeling encouraged and at times overwhelmed.

I felt overwhelmed, when I got my eyes off of the cross, and focused on my own efforts, and how I would be able to accomplish the task of seeing the gospel extend to other parts of Mexico. I was encouraged as I considered joining with others, and an already strong church planting network that is based in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Church Planting Center

The Centro para la Plantación de Iglesias (Church Planting Center) is a ministry of Mission to the World (MTW). Dawn and I played a small part in the beginnings of this effort. We served in Mexico City when the seeds for this work were being sown.

Not everything that MTW has done in Mexico has borne fruit, so it’s thrilling to see when God does put his finger of blessing on a work.

Connecting Movement Leaders
Andres Garza and Daniel Nuñez chatting over a wonderful Mexican meal

Andres Garza and Daniel Nuñez chatting over a wonderful Mexican meal

One of the most exciting things for me on this weekend was that I was able to introduce Daniel Nuñez from Tijuana and a movement leader in his own right to the group here. I’m not sure what God will do as a result of the connection that Daniel was able to make with Andres Garza, who leads the Church Planting Center, but it’s fun to watch.

I enjoy dreaming about what might be. What could be! That’s at least part of what vision is all about.

I dream of a day when San Diego and Tijuana will be an even bigger hub for the extension of God’s kingdom on the border, and in northwestern Mexico.

Andres Garza sharing about the dream of MTW for northern Mexico

Andres Garza sharing about the dream of MTW for northern Mexico

I learned this weekend that 96% of the Presbyterian churches in Mexico are in the southern Mexico. There is a huge need for the church to grow and be strengthened in northern Mexico, and even more so in the northwest.

Keep Praying

I believe that part of the reason the Lord is increasing our vision and in doing so our boundaries is because of so many of you lifting us up in prayer.

Tomorrow I leave for some meetings in the La Paz, Baja California where we will discuss the opening of a new church planting field in that city. La Paz is the capital of Lower Baja California, and we don’t have any churches there. It’s a strategic city with a huge need. Join us in prayer that the Lord will go before us and bless our time in La Paz.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Bill Yarbrough teaching on Christ centered preaching with the pastors from Lo Mejor del Trigo

Bill Yarbrough teaching on Christ centered preaching with the pastors from Lo Mejor del Trigo (LMT)

It’s so encouraging to see the gospel make a difference in the lives of our friends on both sides of the border.

Christ-centered preaching

This week Bill Yarbrough went with me to the Lo Mejor del Trigo (The Best of the Wheat) pastors meeting. Bill gave a presentation on Christ-centered preaching. It warmed my heart to see the pastors smiling, laughing and enjoying learning about what for some of them would be a different emphasis in their preaching.

The pastors were laughing, because Bill has a good sense of humor, and he compared and contrasted what might be the opposite of Christ centered preaching. There is always the danger in preaching of placing burdens on people that they cannot bear. The problem is when we over emphasize our effort (moralism), and under emphasize Christ work for us on the cross and through his resurrection.

Moralism vs. the Gospel

Jesus spoke harshly to the scribes and the Pharisees for laying burdens on the people that they themselves could not bear. There is a danger when moralism is preached instead of the cross. I think most pastors, if they are honest, would admit that they have fallen into this trap before.

In Matthew 23:2-4 Jesus criticizes the religious leaders:

…For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and they lay them on the people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. —Matt. 23:3b-4 (ESV)

The Spirit gives life, but the law kills. The law isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t life giving. It can only warn us what not to do, or what we should do. Only the gospel gives us the power to live the life that God wants us to live.

Paul encourages the Corinthians to live in the new covenant that Christ brought:

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. —2 Corinthians 3:4-6 (ESV)

Bill Yarbrough teaching the pastors at LMT

Bill Yarbrough teaching the pastors at LMT

Most people in ministry serve, because they love Jesus, and they want to help others. Yet if we are honest, we all struggle with a bit of Pharisaism. This is true of pastors as well as those that are attending the church.

If the church doesn’t preach the gospel, then people will get weighed down by burdens they were never meant to carry. They will eventually leave the church, or live a lifeless Christianity. The gospel is life giving. That’s why Christ centered preaching is so important.

Gospel Renewal

Our prayer is that the gospel would so permeate the San Diego – Tijuana border that the border is renewed and revived. It’s a work that only God can do. The Lord works through his church – his people!

Pray with us that Christ will be preached in such a powerful way on the border that we will see many lives transformed. O, that the light of Christ would shine brightly! O, that Christ will be lifted up and glorified in a powerful way!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Pastor Leo & Gloria meeting with Janet Lambert at the YWAM center

Pastor Leo & Gloria meeting with Janet Lambert at the YWAM center

This week I introduced Christian and Liz Castro to Janet Lambert in Rosarito Mexico. While there we learned of a great story of redemption, a wonderful testimony of God’s mercy.

Homes of Hope

Janet shared more about their ministry called, Homes of Hope. Janet and her husband Sean head up the YWAM ministry in Tijuana. They have a burning passion for the poor.

While we were with Janet she shared through tears about one of the families that they built a home for. Eric & Josephina Ochoa not only were homeless, but they had to scrounge for food. They were digging through the garbage to find food, clothing and other items of value.

Can you imagine the humiliation and desperation of having to dig through garbage to live?

A Story of Redemption

The Ochoa family connected with Janet and the YWAM staff, and they put them on the Homes of Hope list. Eric and Josephina’s story was heartbreaking, and it touch those with YWAM. The Lord moved and now the family has a home. Janet said the last time she saw the family they were so happy and grateful for all that YWAM had done for them.

Eric & Josephina share their story in this video:

Paying it Forward

The Ochoa family are paying forward the blessing given to them.

After they got their new home they didn’t forget the families and children who were looking through the garbage with them. They wanted to care for them, and reach out with the love of Christ.

In a future post I will write about when the family actually received their home, and more about their response.

A Side Note: Leo & Gloria’s Ministry with YWAM

Since we introduced our friends, Leo and Gloria Nevarez to Janet last summer they have been ministering together. Every time I’m with them I come away encouraged by the ongoing story. Leo and Gloria go out each week with the YWAM staff to reach out to drug addicts and those caught in sex trafficking. The testimonies I hear from them are amazing. God is so good!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

ESL, English as a second or foreign language

One of our Growing ESL classes

Today we made a breakthrough. Something we’ve been working on for a while. We got approval to use a classroom at a local elementary school for our ESL class.

The Lord Brings the Increase

This all started as we were going in the streets and handing out flyers to promote our ESL classes. We were handing some of them out in front of Fay Elementary school when we met the school principal. She got so excited when she found out that we were offering free English classes that she suggested that we use one of the classrooms at her school.

Handing out flyers in front of Fay Elementary school

Handing out flyers in front of Fay Elementary school

Since that day we’ve planned and prayed for the opportunity to start a new class at the school. Now we have the teachers we need and a place to hold the class. We will start our third class on Wednesday, May 1st.

Answers to Our Prayers

I’m amazed that God has brought this to pass so quickly.

More students are starting to come, and we found someone to help us with childcare. Wow, Lord thanks for your mighty and continued work!

We could still use more help with childcare, and more teachers, but we are headed in the right direction. Thanks for standing with us in prayer. It’s exciting to be on this journey with a faithful team that prays for us, and an even more faithful God who hears our prayers!

I pray that we will be a blessing to Fay Elementary School, and that we will be a blessing to the community. Lord do be glorified as we seek and serve you!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Worship at Harbor Mid-City

Worship at Harbor Mid-City

I’m so grateful for the wonderful partners in ministry that The Lord has given us. I love our friends at Harbor church, and I count it a privilege to walk beside them and serve with them.

We are not the same, but we serve our Lord and the city together. It pleases The Lord when his people dwell together in unity. Jesus prayed that his church would serve together as one.

A Word of Encouragement from a Key Partner

Pastor Stephen Phelan recently wrote a word of affirmation for our ministry.

MTW‘s San Diego – Tijuana team lead by Dave Diaso is a catalytic partner playing a critical role in empowering us to ignite a church planting movement that so fills the binational city of San Diego/Tijuana with the gospel that it is renewed in ever way–socially, spiritually, and culturally.  The San Diego – Tijuana team has enabled us to reach more Spanish-speakers through spearheading ESL classes and providing seasoned mentoring for young Spanish-speaking pastors and leaders.  Moreover, MTW is fostering relationships with Mexican movement leaders south of the border that is paving the way for more churches to be planted in Tijuana.  I praise God for our partnership with MTW and the Diasos!  We would not be where we are today without MTW’s San Diego-Tijuana team!

Prayer at one of our staff meetings - Thank the Lord for these friends!

Prayer at one of our staff meetings – Thank the Lord for these friends!

We have a mutual respect for Harbor led by pastor Stephen Phelan. It’s so good to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. I love ministering in partnership. I think when we do so it reflects the heart of The Lord.

O Lord, I do pray that you will continue to richly bless our partnerships and those that we serve with. Use the little that we have to offer to bring you honor and glory. Use it to see your kingdom expanded on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Dave presented at MTW's vision retreat

Dave presenting at MTW’s vision retreat

On Monday David, Jr., Dawn and I were at the Mission to the World (MTW) office in Lawrenceville just outside of Atlanta. We participated in MTW’s Vision Retreat. At this event those who are interested in pursuing missions come to learn more about what God is doing around the world.

It’s an enjoyable time for us as we meet new people who are exploring what the Lord has for them. We are also able to connect with friends and colleagues. For example, we got some time with Bill Goodman. I’ve known Bill for 27 years. I first met him when I was still single. He was our first team leader when we started serving in missions in Mexico City.

In the afternoon I had the privilege and opportunity to share about our work, and what God is doing on the border. Those that were in attendance responded well.

I must admit I get a little anxious at these events, since I’m trying to promote what we are doing, and wondering if I did well enough to persuade them to take a look at us. “O Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you.”

On Tuesday morning we are off to drive up to Covenant College to present our border ministry to the college students there.

Pray that the Lord blesses our efforts, and that he will bring those that he is calling to join us! I pray we will be patient and rest in Him.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Here's our group having some fun interacting and passing out flyers this week

Here’s our group having some fun interacting and passing out flyers this week

Each week as I go out to take Jesus to the streets, and promote our ESL class. I’m so encouraged by the people we meet. It’s wonderful to be in the community of City Heights! Even most of the people who already speak English are so willing to help out. It’s truly heartwarming.

Short-Term Group

This week we’ve had a short-term group from Mobile, Alabama here to help us. I had so much fun with them. Lately, it’s just been Vicente and me going out to meet people and pass out flyers, but this week we’ve had extra help. I enjoyed the energy that they brought.

When we got together to debrief our experience after we went out, it was evident that the Lord used their efforts. I could tell that the group had a good time, and it also blessed me!

The Person of Peace

I decided to take the group to a different area, about a mile or so from where we usually hand out fliers. This enabled us to go to a new school. Unfortunately, the school let out early the day we were there, bummer!

We didn’t meet many parents, but we did meet a few. I told one of them what we were doing, and she introduced me to the administrative/social worker for the Parent Center. The social worker was unbelievably nice. I explained to her what we were doing, and that we were offering free English classes. She asked me if a I could come back next Friday to speak to the parents and make an announcement at the parents’ meeting.

Wow! I couldn’t believe it.

Unfortunately, I’m going to be out-of-town next week, so I will try to find someone else. If that doesn’t work she said I could come to another parents’ meeting in the future.

Short-term team of college students from Mobile, Alabama, ESL, English as a second or foreign language

Short-term team of college students from Mobile, Alabama

A person of peace is someone who is connected, and can open doors for you in a community. You find an example of this in Luke 10:5,6,

“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.”

The Lord has connected us with some person’s of peace. We met the principal of another school who opened the door for us there a few weeks ago. God is blessing and we are so encouraged.

Keep Praying

Thanks for standing with us in prayer. I believe we need to pray for the Lord’s blessing on these new friends, our person’s of peace. Pray also for the huge need we have for childcare, and we’d like to improve upon our teaching structure. This will enable us to do a better job teaching.

God is so good!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org