Posts Tagged ‘San Diego – Tijuana Border Ministry’

The Plight of El Bordo
pastor Leo leading us in prayer

Pastor Leo leading us in prayer during an outreach event at El Bordo

I read an interesting article today that highlights the plight on border caused by all the deportations. No matter where you stand on immigration issues, it’s important to see the condition that people are living in on the border. They are horrific!

The article was featured in the Huffington Post: Crisis in El Bordo.

All the deportations have led to an influx of people living right at the border fence in Tijuana, where the Tijuana canal passes through. Approximately 2,000,000 people have been deported since 2009, which is the most ever by a U.S. president. 40% of the people have been deported at the San Ysidro-Tijuana border and now 4,000 of them are stuck and live in El Bordo.

A man washing his clothes in the Tijuana River in El Bordo

A man washing his clothes in the Tijuana River in El Bordo Photo by Cyrus Saatsaz from Huffington Post

It is sad to see the conditions they are living in, and many of them are stuck there. They have no place to go, and they don’t have the money or resources to find a way out.

The church must follow Jesus’ lead, and minister to the broken and downtrodden. I’m thankful that some of the churches that we’ve helped establish, and that we partner with minister to the people in El Bordo.

Join us in Prayer

I pray that these ministries will continue to flourish as they feed and care for so many hurting people. Lord, bring your peace, and I pray the gospel will bring lasting change to the border.

Join us in prayer for these hurting people. They have physical and spiritual needs.

O Lord, hear our prayer!

In His Grip, Dave


Good News about TJ


I love finding positive news about Tijuana!

The news about this border city just keeps getting better. I think TJ gets a bad rap, because of the past. It takes time for perception to change, even if the city is on an upward swing.

An article titled, The Rebirth of Tijuana appeared in The New York Times Opinion section on Sunday.  Author Sam Quinones writes a realistic view of Tijuana.

Tijuana is not pretty. A city of 1.3 million people, it is chaotic, grimy, unplanned, loud, and it smells bad. It possesses none of the colonial architecture or history of Morelia, Oaxaca City or Zacatecas, across Mexico’s interior. On the contrary, most of its neighborhoods, stacked across alarmingly steep hills, are less than 40 years old.

But Tijuana’s beauty lies deeper, and has to do with why the town is flourishing now.

The Welcome Arch in the Tourist area in Tijuana

The Welcome Arch in the Tourist area in Tijuana, near the border crossing

Quinones believes part of the appeal of Tijuana, and part of what makes it a special place is how far it is from Mexico City. Tijuana is the furthest city in Mexico from Mexico City.

I think it was one of Mexico’s poets, Octavio Paz who said, “poor Mexico so far from God and so close to the United States.” Quinones posits another saying, “Farther from Mexico City, the closer to God.”

Since we lived in Mexico City, it’s an interesting take on the power and influence that the capital city has over the nation and it’s people.

There’s Hope for TJ

Tijuana has survived much of its troublesome past and its beginning to thrive as it makes some positive strides forward.

Quinones finishes his article saying,

Decades after rising from the coastal desert, Tijuana finally has something like a history. More important, it has emerged from its darkest days to return to its roots as that rare place within Mexico where poor people like Mari can find refuge and a future.

We pray that the gospel will further invade this border town and that they will truly draw near to God! O Lord, hear our prayer!

In His Grip, Dave


Tijuana-welcome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love being able to highlight good news coming out of Mexico. Each day I read a number of news feeds about Mexico, and it’s not all good news, so it is always a source of encouragement to read about positive change in Mexico.

Just last week an article came out from that reported that Tijuana is 28% safer than Chicago. Read article here…

I already posted this article on Facebook a few days ago, but I wanted to make sure that you saw it in case you didn’t see my Facebook post.

There’s been a huge change for the better over the last five years in Tijuana.

Dawn and I visited Chicago this summer, and we didn’t feel like we were in an unruly city. The media does play a big part in our perception of a place.

This quote from the article titled, Tijuana is much safer than Chicago, written by Brenda Colin and Omar Martinez describes some of our misconceptions and challenges of changing those misconceptions.

It’s very common when speaking well of Mexico that the neighbors up north do not recognize the changes that have been made, and continue to make comments about “the great danger of visiting Mexico”, but for those who have come and visit its cities, they know well that its nothing like “they” make it seem to be.

Comparing Tijuana and Chicago is only one example of how important is to look further into details before making your own judgments, and not just going by what everyone else thinks.

Keep praying for a renewed Tijuana and a revived border.

In His Grip, Dave

Pastor Rodrigo Vallarta leading the church

Pastor Rodrigo Vallarta leading the church

Today (Sunday) Dawn and I had the privilege to spend some time with our friends at the Lo Mejor del Trigo (The Best of the Wheat) church in Pipila, in eastern Tijuana. You might remember that this is one of the churches we partnered with Harbor and Lo Mejor del Trigo to plant last Fall.

A Great Beginning

The church started last November, and it is off to a fantastic start!

Dawn and I enjoyed the opportunity to be with this young and growing church. Rodrigo and his wife, Nancy are doing a good job loving and leading the people. Rodrigo told me that the church is frequently going out  to share the gospel in the community.

I enjoyed the opportunity to minister to the church through preaching on grace today. The Gospel does change lives! They were very open to the message, and Dawn and I sensed the Lord moving among them.

The woman, who donated the land for the church was also visiting today. She has a great heart, and loves God’s church. It was the first time she was able to visit the church, since it was built. After the service she met with Rodrigo, Nancy, Dawn and me and she was very interested in the needs of the church.

The Church’s Needs

I’d like to share with you what we found out, so you can pray with us.

  1. The church doesn’t have its own electricity. They are having to run an extension cord from a neighbor’s house to the church.
  2. They don’t have any musical instruments.
  3. They need some better security. Someone has broken into the church through the windows.
  4. Nancy has some dental needs, and they don’t have the money to cover the medical costs.
  5. Rodrigo and Nancy don’t have a car, so it’s hard to make it to their many ministry activities and to cart around the music equipment they borrow.
  6. Rodrigo could use a computer to help with his sermons, studies and communication.
Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

We are thrilled by all the Lord is doing at this young church, yet some of the needs do make us concerned. We wish we could do more. Jesus is making a difference through the gospel in the community of Pipila. Thank you Lord, for your continued ministry in the heart of men and women on the border.

Pray for these needs and this church. We hurt for Nancy, and her dental health. O Lord, please do provide a way!

In His Grip, Dave

Pastor Juvenal Gonzalez on the mobile church bus

Pastor Juvenal Gonzalez on the mobile church bus

Church on a bus, what a concept! Have you ever worshipped on a bus?

Yesterday I was in Tijuana learning about some new friends ministry, and they told me how they hold church services on a bus. This is a creative way to plant new churches.

When the church is just starting, and doesn’t have enough people and funding to build a church they hold service on a bus. I guess, it’s church on the go, although the bus is parked when they are worshipping.

Pastor Juvenal Gonzalez and missionary Jim Shankula showed me one of the buses they use to reach people for Christ in new communities. They also use tarps for a tent like covering, which works better when the weather is good.

What do you think about having church on a bus? It is a creative way to reach people when resources are limited.

Paul speaks of becoming all things to all people to reach them.

“…I have become all things to all people, that I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22,23, ESV)

The seats on the bus are cushioned!

Cushioned seats! One advantage to church on a bus

God’s heart as Paul expresses it here is to “think outside the box” in sharing the good news of the gospel. I and those that minister with me share this desire. I know there are limits on how far we should go with this.

I’m curious to know what you think about the practical implications of becoming all things to all people, to save some? How do we live that out?

We continue to pray for the kingdom of God to be expanded on both sides of the border.

What are some of the creative ways you’ve seen or experienced in worship? Or, Maybe you have a creative idea that we should consider in reaching people for Christ on the border. I’d love to hear it!

In His Grip, Dave

Pastor Rodrigo & Daniel Nuñez leading the new church

Pastor Rodrigo & Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading the new church

Yesterday Lo Mejor Del Trigo (LMT) launched a new church plant in the neighborhood of Pipila. Pipila is in eastern Tijuana.

Harbor helped build the church. God gave us the opportunity to go out into the community to invite people to come and see. Then we shared testimonies and a short gospel presentation. It was a privilege to be a part of this new work, and to see the Lord’s Spirit moving in this place.

It was also such a blessing to work with so many who wanted to help build this church!

Pastor Rodrigo led the first service yesterday. A number of people came to celebrate. It’s so encouraging to see the gospel going forth in this community. The new birth of a church. We pray that the church will help to bring about spiritual, cultural and social renewal to the community of Pipila.

The church is full for it's inaugural celebration service!

The church is full for it’s inaugural celebration service!

Thanks for being a part of the expansion of the kingdom of God in TJ. The Lord uses your prayer and support to strengthen and to move this ministry forward. Yet in many ways we know the battle is just beginning, so we must not grow weary in doing good for God’s glory!

The church is built on the rock, which is Christ Jesus our Lord. He is our hope. He is the one we lift up high and proclaim to the nations. Amen and Amen!

In His Grip

Painting the Sign on the Church

Painting the Sign on the Church

Despite an hour and half wait to get into Mexico Friday night, and a three hour wait to get out of Mexico on Saturday we experienced an unbelievably great weekend!

The highlight of the weekend was working with over 30 people to finish up the work on the Lo Mejor Del Trigo Church Building in eastern Tijuana. My wife, Dawn, and my son, David Jr. were also able to go on the trip with me as well as a number of friends.

Issaid Arechiga, David and I worked on putting the sheet rock up on the ceiling. It was a lot of fun spending the  day with them, and helping get the church built.

David & Issaid working hard

David & Issaid working hard

The main reason I went on the trip was to connect with our Mexican partners, and to get to know all our friends from Harbor. I thought with such a good sized group that I probably wouldn’t need to help with the construction all that much. I ended up staying busy most of the day, and since I was able to do work with friends and my son it was a great time.

As we were finishing up the day we invited people in the community and we shared the gospel with them. A few from our group shared their testimony, a short gospel presentation was given and the pastor was introduced to the community. Dawn and I met one family from the community that has struggled to make a living a few years ago. They told us that Baja Christian Ministries built a home for them, and it was a huge blessing to their family. Gerardo and his wife expressed excitement that a church was moving into their community. Yeah God!

David & Dawn with Pastor Rodrigo and his daughter

David & Dawn with Pastor Rodrigo and his daughter

Today the church celebrated their first service. Join us in prayer that the church will grow and be a blessing to the community!

In His Grip, Dave