Posts Tagged ‘The Gospel’

Alliance for Latina America

The Alliance for Latin America met together in Lima, Peru at the beginning
of July

In my last post, I wrote about how the Lord richly blessed me and opened some amazing doors for ministry while I was in Colombia and Perú. I wasn’t able to write as much about my time in Lima, Peru, so I’d like to that today.

I went to Lima, Peru for an alliance meeting with 23 different organizations who are all interested in coming together to reach Latin America for Christ. I found it encouraging that so many have decided to come together and work for the expansion of the kingdom. I pray for the gospel and Christ’s church to grow like wildfire throughout Latin America.

God Show Up in Different and Unexpected Ways

The center of the city in Lima Peru.

Something that I’ve noticed about life and ministry is often when we go to participate in ministry meetings that the Lord has other significant opportunities that weren’t necessarily planned. Dawn and I often pray that we will be open to the Spirit’s leading so that we take advantage of the ministry that he brings to us.

When Dawn isn’t with me I’m not able to rely on her extroversion to help me meet people and open up conversations. I do enjoy talking to the various taxi drivers, especially when I’m in a new country. It’s something that I do it in Mexico as well.

The Gospel & the Taxi Driver

The National Palace in Lima, Peru

Right away in Lima I had to find a taxi. It took me a while, but I finally figured out how to go about getting a safe taxi from a company that I could trust. The taxi driver that helped me out was about my age and he was very friendly.

We began to talk, and I asked him about his family. He told me he had three children and two of them are 28, and that they are twins. I told him that one of my sons is 28, and as I shared about our family I mentioned how our daughter, Hannah moved to heaven two and a half years ago. I told him that it is very painful, but faith and the hope of heaven sustains us.

He began to open up with me, and he said that one of his sons is doing very well, and he works at the airport. The other son, however, has struggled with drug abuse and addictions and that he is presently in jail. He told both his wife and he had been praying for his son nonstop, but he didn’t believe the Lord was answering his prayers and it seemed like he was giving up.

God’s Redeeming Work

The city of Lima, Peru.

I took the opportunity to share with him about the importance of having a relationship with Christ, and how Good our Father is. He desires to give us good gifts. He is a good and loving Father.

After we talked for a little while he also told me that he had been involved in witchcraft and tarot cards. I asked him if he’d be open to praying with me, and he said he was, so we began to pray. I led him to pray to receive Christ as his savior, to confess his sins, forgive those that have hurt him and to break off his past relationship with witchcraft and evil. It was an hour drive from the airport to my hotel because there was a lot of traffic.

After we prayed, since we had time and I felt like he could use it I asked him if he’d like to pray some more to break off whatever evil he had been tied to and to download God’s goodness and love. He was willing so we continued to pray. After we prayed and I shared with him and encouraged him by the time we got to my hotel his countenance had changed. He looked less heavy. He told me he felt peace. Hallelujah!

Thankful for the Openness in Peru

One of the churches found it Lima. We pray for much more!

I found that the people in Peru were very open and willing to pray with me. I was able to pray and share the gospel with all my taxi drivers and led five others in prayer to confess Christ. A number of my taxi drivers were from Venezuela. More than 10% of Venezuela’s population has left the country, because of all the political unrest there. This I’m sure makes them more open. It’s uncomfortable to have to move so far and leave your home, but the Lord uses these trials of life to open people’s hearts. As Jesus said, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36 ESV) Earthly comforts don’t compare to what heaven has to offer.

It’s so good when the Lord opens these doors to people’s hearts, and he lets me be a part of that. This is life-giving for them and for me. When I have these opportunities I’m reminded of the sower and the seed, not all the seed will bear fruit. Yet, if we aren’t sowing, if I’m not sowing there is not an opportunity for the seed to produce fruit. Also, it’s the Spirit’s work to bring growth. We do our part in dependence on our loving Father.

Your prayers make a difference. The Lord hears as we cry out to him and he provides the increase. Thank you, Jesus!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Thankful for the Lord’s Answer to Prayer

Manizales, Colombia

I just returned from Colombia and Peru. I greatly appreciate your prayers for my trip and opportunities to minister there. The Lord answered and I’m overwhelmed by God’s love and all that I see him doing.

My time in these two countries was special on numerous fronts. I was able to spend time with and minister to some people that Dawn and I have come to love. A number of the people I shared the gospel with responded and the Lord gave me the opportunity to pray with people and see them give their lives to Christ. It was also enjoyable to participate in meetings with a number of church planting and missions organizations represented to plan, pray and strategize on reaching key cities in Latin America.

Colombia and Luis & Kerly

Dave & Dawn with Luis & Kerly in May of 2018. Kerly was pregnant with their second son, Neythan, who was born in June of 2018

The Lord blessed Dawn and me richly through our relationship with Luis and Kerly, who live in Manizales, Colombia. We first met them when they were living near us in Ensenada, Mexico. Dawn and I had the opportunity to visit them last year in Manizales and I thought it would be a while before we could return. Luis and Kerly have become like family to us, and they hold a dear place in our hearts.

Dawn wasn’t able to accompany me on this trip, because she is taking care of her mom at home. It’s a new phase and a season for us in life and ministry.

The Gospel Changes Lives

Luis on the far left and Kerly in the red shirt holding Neythan, their other son, David is to the right of Kerly with their family

On this particular trip, I met Luis’ family for the first time. His dad, Roberto, brother, Christian, sister-in-law, Angi and niece, Daniela. They came to stay with Luis and Kerly for a few days. Luis asked me to share my testimony with them.

I enjoy telling others about how Jesus changed my life, and how they can have a personal relationship with the Lord. Our story now includes the pain of our daughter, Hannah’s early home going, and the hope we have to see her again one day soon. I believe part of Hannah’s legacy is the many people we’ve been able to talk to about the hope of something greater beyond this world. Our hope of the world to come!

After I explained the importance of Christ’s work for us on the cross and how he made it possible for us to be forgiven and to become a part of his family, I asked them if they would like to pray with me.

They all agreed to pray with me!

I find most people I meet are open to at least have someone pray for them, and many are willing to pray with me when I ask them. They confessed their sins and their need for a savior. I encouraged them to forgive whoever they felt they needed to forgive and that was a special time as well. Then we went on to pray to break off in Jesus name any strongholds the enemy had over them, because of witchcraft and any involvement with any evil spirits.

Dawn and I have found in Latin America especially, although it is true in the U.S. as well, that it’s important to deal with witchcraft and evil spirits. The majority of the people we talk to in Latin America have either been involved in some form of witchcraft or someone in their family has. I’m grateful for the power that there is in the cross. Jesus breaks strongholds and through his sacrifice, he forgives us and removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. There is power in the blood of Christ!

Prayer and the Peace of God!

One of the many hummingbirds in the beautiful setting of Manizales, Colombia

After we prayed I asked them how they felt, and they said they felt peace. That was a life-giving time for all of us. Luis then shared and encouraged them to grow in their faith, and he talked about how he wanted to support them in following Jesus. It was a truly beautiful time!

Manizales is a beautiful city set in the mountains in Colombia. It’s near where they grow and cultivate delicious coffee. There is also a huge variety of hummingbirds in that part of Colombia. I never knew there were so many different kinds of hummingbirds.

Dawn and I began to pray a few years ago that the Lord would expand our borders and open the doors for us to minister beyond Mexico, and we are seeing him answer this prayer. From Colombia I flew to Lima, Perú and the Lord surprised me again with open doors and all the opportunities in Lima. I hope to write more about my time in Lima in my next post.

Thanks so much for standing with us in prayer! It is thrilling to see how the Lord is so faithful to hear us and answer our prayers.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Celebrating the Church we Started in Memory of Hannah

Mana del Cielo – The church we built in memory of our daughter, Hannah

We celebrated the first year anniversary of “Mana del Cielo” Church on Sunday, May 5th. This is the church in Mexicali that we built last year in memory of our daughter, Hannah. We sensed early on that the Lord had his hand on this church in a special way.

Soon after Hannah moved to heaven I told our good friend Pastor Daniel Nuñez that I’d like to build a church in memory of our daughter. Daniel was one of the first people to come to our house when Hannah passed away. He is one of our closest friends and ministry partners here on the border. Dawn and I were interested in starting a church to honor Hannah’s memory in Mexico because she was born in there and she loved the people of Mexico so we believed that this would be a good way to have a living memorial.

A Life-Giving Community of Hope

Pastor Mere leading the church

I remember when Pastor Daniel first told me that they were thinking of starting the next church in Mexicali, and if I’d like that church to be the one that we helped to start. At first, I thought Mexicali is a long ways from where we live, but then we felt like we should do get involved in this community just outside of Mexicali.

One of the first times I went to visit Mexicali our son, Jonathan was in town and I was able to take him with me. We had a wonderful father and son time as we drove to Mexicali. Jonathan loved being out there, and he started to play with the children that lived nearby. Later that day he told me he’d rather visit the church than the cemetery where Hannah was buried. The church represents life and light in the community.

Dawn and I have enjoyed getting to know Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna this past year. They are leading the church in Mexicali. Mere and Edna are a young couple, who have a lot of gifts. They are doing a great job of sharing the love of Christ in the community and leading the church.

The Lord’s Hand is on This Church

Cristina & Conchita with the picture of Hannah that I gave to the church

Once we got involved we felt like there was something special about this church. We met Cristina who lived right next to the church. She had been praying with her family for 3 years that the Lord would bring a church there. Cristina also told me that even before she started praying the Lord gave her mom, Conchita a sense that He was going to bring a church to the community.

On Sunday I talked to Cristina and Conchita some more. Conchita said that the Lord actually gave her a vision regarding the church. She saw a church in some clouds being lowered onto the land where the church now sits. The Lord’s ways are mysterious at times.

Then Conchita told me that she wanted to see a picture of Hannah because she had a vision of a young woman. She saw her face three times. I did bring a picture of Hannah so that they could hang it in the church. When I showed the picture of Hannah to Conchita she said that was the face she saw in the vision.

God works in Mysterious Ways

Our day of celebration at the church in Mexicali

I can’t say I understand all these things and the way the Lord is working in the church. I do believe though that the Lord has his hand in a special way on this church, and he is going to use it in a powerful way in the community. There is such a need for the gospel to break through the darkness that we find all around us. I believe we are prone to underestimate the power of the gospel. The power it has to bring change and transformation to an individual, a family, a community, an entire city and beyond!

That is our prayer as Mere and Edna minister in Venustiano Carranza the community where the church is located. The gospel is going forth to bring life change. We give thanks for the good work that He has begun, and we look forward to hearing all the God stories that will come as this church reaches out and shows the love of Jesus.

Jesus said that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). The growth and expansion of the church are inevitable. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ! Glory be to God!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Training Translators in Mitla, Oaxaca

Dave leading a training session with SIL missionaries in Mitla, Oaxaca Mexico

This week I have the privilege of training the Summer of Institute of Linguistics (SIL) missionaries in Mitla, Oaxaca Mexico. Mitla is known as the city of the dead. Wikipedia states, “The name Mitla is derived from the Nahuatl name Mictlán, which was the place of the dead or underworld.” In the spiritual sense it doesn’t have the greatest history, and there is much need in this area.

There are a number of indigenous groups in the state of Oaxaca that do not have the Bible in their own language. It’s amazing to me as I talk to the SIL missionaries about their translation work. Some of them travel back and forth to small and isolated villages. They’ve put in years of hard work in seeking to bring the Bible into the native tongue of the many tribal groups that live in this part of Mexico.

The Amazing Work of SIL Missionaries

A fun and active training session

No one can question the commitment these missionaries have to bringing the Word of God the gospel to lost and hurting people. One particular woman I met has spent 32 years working on translation for one particular tribal group. Usually it doesn’t take that long to translate the Bible, but sometimes it does. I met others who’ve spent 16 years working with a team to translate the Bible. The work of translation is a long and laborious ministry of love.

Another thing that impresses me about the SIL missionaries is that they are extremely intelligent. Can you imagine all the work and training involved in learning how to translate the Bible into another language. It’s complicated and strenuous work.

Jim DeWitt leading the training at the SIL center in Mitla

My good friend and colleague Jim DeWitt invited to join him and to be part of the training team as we train the SIL missionaries in train the trainer material. It’s an excellent resource for them, and I wonderful for me to serve in this way. Jim grew up as an MK, missionary kid in Mexico. His parents served with Wycliffe in Mexico, so he has deep roots here.

Join Us in Prayer!

Pray for Mitla and the many Unreached indigenous groups in Oaxaca, Mexico

Pray with us that the Lord will use our team as we minister to these missionaries this week. It’s a great opportunity to influence them and be used to help them improve in the very important work they are doing!

Thank you so much for standing with us and for praying for us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Open Doors on the Road
The Youth leading us in worship at the mother church where Luis is pastor

The Youth leading us in worship at the mother church where Luis is the pastor

Dawn and I are often amazed by all that the Lord does when traveling and when we are here on the border ministering. We recently returned from a ministry trip to the Villahermosa area, which is in Southeastern Mexico. We went there to work with a team to train pastors and church planters, but God had much more in mind for us.

On the weekend we were supposed to go Coatzacoalcos to meet with some pastors there, but those plans fell through. That gave us a great opportunity to spend more time with Pastor Luis and his wife, Gina. Luis asked me to preach in one of the mission churches.

Prayer Brings Breakthrough
Worship at the mission church where I preached. Pastor Luis is leading the service

Worship at the mission church where I preached. Pastor Luis is leading the service

It was a celebration service as they were celebrating the anniversary of the mission. At the end of my sermon, I asked the people to stand and I led them through a prayer that I’ve found to be powerful in helping set people free. After the time of prayer, I told the congregation that Dawn and I would be willing to meet with anyone that needed prayer.

At first, no one asked for prayer, but during the meal after the service one of the women told me she would like to meet with us.

Dawn and I met with Patricia and her twelve-year-old son, Mauricio. We found out that Patricia’s husband had recently left her, and it was hard on her son. Mauricio was acting out and even threatened to kill her. After hearing their story we led them through some helpful and powerful prayers, and we explained the gospel to them.

New Life in Christ

We asked both Patricia and Mauricio if they would like to pray to receive Christ with us. They said yes, so Dawn and I led them in prayer. Immediately after the prayer, we could see a shift in Mauricio’s attitude. He was experiencing the peace of God.

Dawn and I realized that it was important for them to reconcile with God, but also to reconcile to one another. We helped them to pray and to ask for forgiveness. Mauricio asked his mom to forgive him and then he gave her a big hug! Patricia was in tears as they hugged. God is good!

There is still work to be done, but it was so good to see the power of God break through in that situation. Pastor Luis is following up with them, and working with them as they continue to grow in their faith.

Continue to Join us in Prayer!
Thank you for praying for us, and for joining us on this journey!

Thank you for praying for us, and for joining us on this journey!

I’d like to ask you to pray for Patricia and Mauricio and others like them who are in need. The battle is very real, and the enemy doesn’t play fair and he doesn’t give up easily. We trust the Lord and his promises as he tells us that we are more than conquerors in Christ! O that this will be true in their lives, and that they will begin to walk in victory as they seek and serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord’s.

Pastor Luis told me that there are many people in the churches who are involved in witchcraft in Villahermosa. They hide it, but they secretly get involved in these occult practices instead of trusting the power of God.

Later that evening I was able to minister to a man who has been involved in witchcraft. I’d like to write more about that experience soon. Sometimes it’s hard to get all of what God is doing down. That often is the case, the Lord is doing so much that it’s difficult to post it all. Let me say in closing, I believe one of the reasons the Lord is opening these doors for us to minister in this way is because of all the people praying for us. My blog isn’t just about getting the word out, but we earnestly need and desire prayer.

Thanks so much for joining us and for praying with us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Mourning for a Dear Friend

Our beautiful young friend Mitchell moved to heaven on October 1

Today my heart is heavy, because we lost a dear young friend. Our 15 year old friend, Mitchell was battling leukemia. Dawn and I were praying for her, and we truly believed the Lord was going to heal her. I envisioned writing a different post regarding Mitchell, about how the Lord miraculously healed her. There’s so much we don’t understand about life, but I have to go back to what I know to be true, that God is a God of love. He has a good plan for us, and not a plan for evil. He is in control, even when it seems that the world is out of control and that we are living in chaos.

Mitchell for me was a real hero!

Mitchell happy to receive her backpack for school

Each time Dawn and I saw her she had this big beautiful smile. She also had an amazingly positive attitude. It was hard to believe that she was so sick. It was difficult to comprehend that she was approaching death’s door.

She loved and she showed concern for the other patients and her doctors. She prayed for them and she shared the love of Christ with everyone she came in contact with in the hospital. It was impossible to miss her infectious, gentle and caring spirit. Mitchell was mature beyond her years!

One of her doctors was cold and hardened at times, and he shared with Mitchell and Miroslava that he didn’t believe in God. Yet, Mitchell and Miroslava lovingly shared with the doctor and he began to soften. Seed has been planted and the Lord has begun to work in his heart.

The last few times Dawn and I visited Mitchell in the hospital we had the opportunity to pray with one of the other young patients, Erwin. He joined with us as we prayed. Also, a young girl who was in the bed next to Mitchell was crying and weeping loudly from her pain. We could see the concern for her in Mitchell’s eyes. She was such a loving and gentle young woman.

Then Dawn went over to comfort the young girl. Dawn prayed with her and began to show her Christ’s love.

When we left the hospital on that day Mitchell was weak, but we didn’t think it would be the last time we’d see her on this side of heaven. The young girl next to Mitchell said as we left, “God is going to heal me.” We do pray that he will. I believe that the Lord was using all the prayer, as we know that Mitchell and her mom where praying day and night, to raise the level of hope in that hospital.

Mitchell’s Strong Faith

Mitchell loved to pray and on this day she prayed with us for Juan who has problems with his kidneys, and the Lord ministered to Juan through Mitchell

I admire Mitchell’s strong faith in the midst of such difficult circumstances. I told Mitchell that she was like Daniel in the Bible. Daniel was a young man taken into captivity when he was about 15 years old, the same age as Mitchell. Daniel maintained his strong faith, and became a man of influence in Babylon.

That’s why or one of the reasons Mitchell is my hero, and why I admire he so much!

God’s Comfort in Times of Pain

The last two days I was with Mitchell’s family: her dad, Salvador; her mom, Miroslava; her sister, Kenia along with other family and friends. It was so hard to see their tears. Their deep and painful sorrow as they mourn. I prayed with them and sought to encourage them in Christ.

Yesterday they brought Mitchell’s body to their home and in the evening they had the wake. My good friends, Pastor Victor Bravo and his wife, Sol minister at the church that Salvador and Miroslava attend. Victor and Sol have walked through this painful journey with the family. The whole church has been coming together weekly to pray for Mitchell’s healing. Both Victor and Sol shared the love of Christ at the funeral service. It was a message of hope. I’m proud of Victor and Sol for the important work they do in the community of Plan Libertador.

They gave me an opportunity to share as well. It was so hard, but I’m grateful for the Lord’s grace that sustains me and the hope we have in Christ. Sol told me that I could minister to them in a special way, because of what Dawn and I went through with Hannah. I’m grateful the Lord can redeem our experience in this way. It also brought up some painful memories for me as we approach our daughter, Hannah’s 2 year mark of her moving to heaven.

Mourning for Mitchell and her Family

They held the wake in the front of Salvador & Miroslava’s home in Rosarito

As I was leaving Salvador and Miroslava’s home I felt so sad and concerned for the family. Even though I wasn’t crying at the time, in some ways it was like an overwhelming hopeless feeling. Even as I write this the tears start to well up in my eyes as I think of this precious family and the journey before them. Dawn and I have grown to love this family. We are deeply concerned for their well being.

Dawn and I personally know the grief they are passing through. The pain of losing a child, and I think there’s nothing more painful for a parent to go through. And I realize our children aren’t “lost”, but at times it feels that way. As I mentioned we are coming up on two years with Hannah, and there are still days that I feel heavy as I miss her.

I felt for the family as I left. I wondered whether they would be able to bear the pain and to sustain their faith in the midst of this fiery trial. I wish there was something more I could do to spare them. At that moment the Lord gently reminded me that he was able and that he would sustain them. I felt His peace at that moment.

Thank you Lord for that assurance. You are truly a good God.

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Earlier that day, on Tuesday morning, the day after Mitchell moved to heaven the Lord directed me to read Psalm 118 and I found it very comforting. The words found there gave me hope, and reminded me of the Lord’s unfailing love.

In the first four verses of Psalm 118 the Psalmist repeats the phrase, “His steadfast love endures forever.” The Lord is encouraging his people his church to remember and to declare the truth that, “His steadfast love endures forever!” If God is for us who can be against us? We have victory in Christ. We are more than overcomers. This is all true for those in Christ, Hallelujah and Amen!

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalms‬ ‭118:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Joy of a Changed Life!

Pastor Ivan with the people from the church who were baptized

On Sunday, September 16th Mexico celebrated their independence. The church also celebrated our liberty. Christ makes us free!

One of the most gratifying things in life and ministry is seeing a life transformed. This Sunday Dawn and I joined our good friends Pastor Ivan & Rocio Casados and their church for a special day of celebration. While we were with them we heard the testimony of eight people who had given their lives to Christ. Then we saw their joy and excitement as they were baptized.

God in his grace and mercy had touched each of these new believers with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Margarito and Lizet’s Testimony

Margarito and Lizet

Ivan introduced Dawn and me to Margarito and Lizet. The Lord brought them to the church 6 months ago. They were walking along the road and they noticed a group building a home on a hill in the neighborhood. The group was very friendly and they asked Margarito and Lizet if they would like some tacos. They said, “sure.”

The friendliness of the group was attractive to Margarito and Lizet, so when they invited them to visit their church they agreed to come. Ivan didn’t know it at the time, but his new friends were going through tremendous struggles. They were constantly fighting, and getting on each other’s nerves. They were also very poor, and they were having a hard time staying in business selling their products. It’s seemed like everything was stacked against them.

Margarito and Lizet decided to give the church a try. When they visited the church they found a loving group of people. As Ivan and Rocio begin to minister to the couple they noticed the problems they were going through, but they knew that Christ has the power to restore. Ivan and Rocio sowed the seed of the gospel and Margarito and Lizet were ripe for the gospel.

When Dawn and I talked to Margarito and Lizet they were smiling and seemed to be genuinely happy and in love. They told us how much they used to fight, and how the Lord had graciously delivered them.

God’s Grace Brings About Change!

Pastor Ivan sharing the good news of Christ!

The other people that were being baptized also had inspiring testimonies. God is on the move in this church and beyond!

This is the reason we plant churches. It’s not to have a nice building, but because these churches are sharing the love of Christ, which is creating real life transformation. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for your faithfulness!

Continue to pray for Ivan and Rocio as they reach out in the community of Valle Verde and Bosque de Ribera.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org