Posts Tagged ‘The Gospel’

Coffee with Special Friends in Colombia!
Dave & Dawn visiting our MTW missionary colleagues in Bogotá Colombia

Dave & Dawn visiting our MTW missionary colleagues in Bogotá Colombia

I loved the wonderful coffee in Colombia, and as wonderful as the coffee was there was much more for us to experience in Colombia. We spent the first part of our time in Colombia in Bogotá where we saw many of our MTW missionary colleagues, including Joe and Becky Harrell. We first met the Harrell’s when we served together with them MTW in Mexico City. From Bogotá, we went to Manizales.

Manizales is not far from Bogotá. It’s only about an hour by plane. Manizales is near coffee country. Dawn and I spent a few days with a young couple, Luis and Kerly who we first met in Ensenada where Luis was studying for his doctorate. They are a gifted and loving couple, and they love Jesus.

Something New in Manizales
Dave and Dawn helping launch the new cell group at Luis and Kerly's home

Dave and Dawn helping launch the new cell group at Luis and Kerly’s home

Luis and Kerly wanted to start up a cell group in their home and they were praying for a good time for them to start it up. They felt like the Lord was leading them to start it while we were there, and they wanted us to help them kick it off. Luis and Kerly asked us to share with the group some of the things that the Lord had put on our hearts.

Dawn and I had a wonderful time with the group, and we enjoyed sharing with them and leading them in prayer. Those who came responded really well to what we shared, and they told us that it helped them and it encouraged them. One particular couple wanted us to come to their house the next day.

Freedom & Forgiveness in Christ
Dave & Dawn with Luis & Kerly. Kerly is due with their second child any day now

Dave & Dawn with Luis & Kerly. She is due with their second child any day now. They opened doors for us to minister to their friends!

So on Saturday Dawn and I went to David and Maria’s house. After we shared a meal together we all went into their living room. Their two grown children and Maria’s mother also joined us. Dawn and I lead them in prayer, and as we prayed we discovered that Maria was carrying a lot of fear and guilt. She was very open with us and told us that when she was 17 years old she got pregnant and she was afraid and didn’t know what to do. Maria didn’t want to tell her parents so she decided to take some herbs that she thought would cause the baby to abort. She also got up on a chair and jumped down hoping that would cause the baby to be aborted.

She was still carrying tremendous guilt because of her attempt at aborting her baby!

In God’s grace, she wasn’t successful in aborting her child. And her son, Jorge was in the room with us and he was praying with us.

We lead Maria with the support of her family through some prayers to cut off the guilt and shame that she was carrying. We reminded her of God’s promises in Romans 8:1.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God promises to forgive those who are in Christ. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!

Dawn and I encouraged Maria to ask Jorge to forgive her for trying to abort him. It was such a beautiful moment. I wish you could have been there to experience it with us. Maria and Jorge were crying as they asked for forgiveness, and we all began to cry with them as we saw God move and bring healing.

Maria told us she felt the peace of Christ after our time of prayer! It was so good!😊 Thank you, Jesus!

The Power of the Gospel

After our time of prayer, we learned that Jorge was not following Christ and hadn’t yet given his life to Jesus. Yet he was there praying with us through the whole time, and he was so loving to his mom when she asked him for forgiveness. So I asked Jorge if he had ever prayed to receive Christ, and he said, “no.” I asked him if he would like to give his life to Christ, and he said, “yes!”

I took some time to explain the gospel message to him. How Christ died for his sins. Christ died the death that we should have died. He lived the life that we should have lived. He paid the penalty for us. Christ defeated sin, death, and Satan on the cross and through his resurrection. I went on to explain the importance in placing our faith in Christ in trusting His work and in calling on His name so that he might be saved from his sin.

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

After I shared these truths with Jorge I asked him again if he would like to pray to receive Christ, and he said, “yes.” Then I had the privilege of leading Jorge in prayer to repent of his sins and to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. His family joined us in prayer. We were all rejoicing after that seeing God’s mighty hand.

David and Maria and their family are such sweet people. Just like our friends Luis and Kerly. It’s like the Lord just knit our hearts together, and the Lord continues to grow our family. It’s one more way that I see the Lord redeeming our daughter, Hannah’s early home going. So painful, yet our Papa loves us and he brings healing and hope!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

 

Many Opportunities to Minister as We Traveled
Dawn and I walk on this winding road of faith together

Dawn and I walk on this winding road on mission with the Lord. Seeking to share the love of Christ wherever we are, and whenever the Lord opens the door!

We began our trip to South America in Montevideo, Uruguay. As I wrote in my last post we believe it was an advance for us attending the Red de Multiplicación conference. So good to see various church traditions coming together for the cause of Christ in the Latin world!

After our time in Uruguay, Dawn and I flew to Bogotá, Colombia. Dawn loves to share her faith, and she boldly does it while we travel. It’s amazing to watch how the Lord prepares the people that we meet.

Ripe for the Harvest
The love of Christ can and does change people hearts!

The love of Christ can and does change people’s  hearts!

On the flight from Montevideo to Bogotá, a young woman, Veronica sat next to Dawn on the plane. We were all tired when we first boarded the plane as it was an early morning flight. When they brought us a meal a little later, Dawn began to interact with Veronica. As the two of them talked about their family background when Dawn told her that our daughter, Hannah had moved to heaven Veronica began to cry. She is a very tender and caring person.

She told Dawn about some of the trouble she had experienced with her boyfriend and her family. One thing we learned on our trip is how common it is in both Uruguay and Colombia for couples to live together and not get married. Colombia has one of the highest rates in the world at 80%.

As Dawn and Veronica continued their conversation she told Dawn that her grandmother had been praying for her. She was running away from her troubles, but she felt like God was trying to get her attention.

Dawn shared more with her and told her about Jesus love for her, and the gift of eternal life that Christ came to give us through his death and resurrection. Veronica was ripe. The Lord had been working in her heart. Dawn prayed for her, and Veronica cried some more as she felt the Lord’s peace and presence.

After Dawn explained the message of the gospel to Veronica she led Veronica in prayer to receive the greatest gift ever given. The gift of eternal life in Christ. The Lord’s peace filled Veronica’s heart.

The Gospel Does Bring Change & Transformation!
Dave & Dawn in Bogotá Colombia

Dave & Dawn in Bogotá Colombia

I’m thankful for Dawn’s boldness to share the love of Christ wherever we are. We don’t always have a whole flight to share with the people we meet.

As we were getting ready for another flight Dawn felt led to give a woman a Bible tract, and she explained briefly what the tract contained. The lady told Dawn that she thought God was trying to get her attention because she had just sat next to a Christian woman on her previous flight. Wow! Amazing how the Lord works!

One more airplane gospel story. We had a long layover in Bogotá before we flew home, so we went to a restaurant to hang out and wait for our flight. Dawn noticed the woman sitting next to us had been on our previous flight, so she felt like she should take the opportunity to share with her.

When Dawn and I share with people we often weave in the story of our family and how our daughter moved to heaven. We talk to them about the importance of having faith in Christ. That’s what has sustained us since Hannah’s early homegoing.

Dawn told the young woman that she recognized her from our previous flight. She began to tell her some about our family and God’s plan. The woman was surprisingly open and she told us she had just prayed in the morning that the Lord would guide her. She is from Manizales, Colombia where we had just come from so we gave her the contact info for our friends that live there. Amazing in just that short time the gospel connection that we were able to make. Thank you Jesus!

Pray for More Open Doors, More Fruit
Luis, Kerly and their son David. Our friends from Manizales, Colombia

Luis, Kerly and their son David. Our friends from Manizales, Colombia

It’s so important to sow the seed of the gospel. It doesn’t always land on fertile ground, but it is surprising as we pray to see how the Lord often leads us to people who are open and ready. Our prayer is that the Lord will continue to open the doors for us, and we will see more and more people come to Christ as we sow the seed.

There are many other exciting experiences we had as we ministered in Uruguay and Colombia. I hope to continue to share more about our trip in my next post.

Please join us as we pray and minister wherever the Lord takes us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Inaugural Church Service
Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading us in a time of prayer and commissioning for Mere & Edna. It was a special time!

Pastor Daniel Nuñez leading us in a time of prayer and commissioning for Mere & Edna. 

On Sunday Dawn and I had the great joy of participating in the inaugural service of the new church in Mexicali that was built in Hannah’s memory. This church holds a special place in our hearts for many reasons. The more obvious reason is that we built it as a living memorial for our daughter, Hannah! It’s also special, because of all the friends and churches that pitched in to make this a reality. There were well over 50 that helped from the US and some more that gave in Mexico.

The Lord has raised up a special couple to lead this church, Pastor Mere and his wife, Edna. We didn’t really know them before we began this project, but we’ve quickly grown to love them. They are a gifted young couple, and they have a deep love for the Lord.

The Lord Brings All the Loose Ends Together
Pastor Mere & Edna sharing at their first church service!

Pastor Mere & Edna sharing at their first church service!

I found it interesting that when Mere was young he attended church with his good friend Abraham Velazquez. Abraham’s father was the pastor of this church. Then as they got older they both attended a church started by Ministerios Transformación and pastored by our good friend, Jaime Rodriguez. From there Abraham who is a gifted worship leader and pastor began to minister with Pastor Daniel Nuñez.

Eventually, Abraham and his wife Martha began to lead the church in Rojo Gomez. This church has grown significantly and is one of the few churches in Tijuana that has a second service. They are making a huge difference in the community.

Wow! It’s so wonderful to see all these connections. Each one of these people is very special to us. All of these friends were able to be there on Sunday, except for Pastor Abraham.

A Special Service – The First Service!
The new church built as a Memorial to the life of Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

The new church built as a Memorial to the life of Hannah Elizabeth Diaso

Mexicali starts getting hot in April and May, and it was 105 on Sunday. That is hot! We prayed that the air conditioning would be installed by Sunday, and the Lord graciously answered our request.

The first service is always special since there is only one first and it’s the start of something new and exciting. I love being a part of bringing the gospel through the bride of Christ, his church to a new community. Dawn and I pray that there will be many more churches that we can play a part in planting not only along the border but throughout Mexico and beyond.

Of course, now there is much work to be done in this new community. Pray with us for Pastor Mere and Edna. They need wisdom, encouragement, and stamina as the Lord works through them. We’ve seen time and time again that servants of God going into new territory become targets. The enemy attacks and they need much prayer covering for protection. We want them to stay strong as a couple and as a family.

Thanks for Standing With Us!
Elissa and Dawn along with other friends and family

Elissa and Dawn along with other friends and family from when we built the church

We give thanks for all of you who have prayed, given and cheered on along the way! We give thanks to the Lord for this living memorial for Hannah. I was feeling down the other day, missing my daughter and a friend reminded me that this church is a living memorial and it represents what was important to her and that the Lord will use it for His glory to impact the lives of others.

One my ongoing prayers since Hannah moved to heaven is that her death wouldn’t be in vain, and I understand that it isn’t because of all of the Lord’s wonderful promises. Yet, I wanted to see some tangible evidence. This is one of those things, and I believe there will many more.

Thank you for standing with us on this long, joyous and sometimes painful journey!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

More Loss in Oaxaca
These two ladies, Alicia and Laura lost their home in the Earthquake. They are standing on the foundation of what once was Laura’s home.

These two ladies, Alicia and Laura lost their home in the Earthquake. They are standing on the foundation of what once was Laura’s home.

Last week I wrote about the two cities I visited outside of Mexico City that suffered much loss during the earthquakes. One church in Jojutla that was totally destroyed. The shock waves that came from the quake caused major structural damage to the other church we visited in Joquicingo. I visited those two churches on the first two days.

The next two and a half days I visited the people in the State of Oaxaca. This part of Mexico was hit very hard by the earthquakes. Even the aftershocks were bad. The people told me one day the aftershocks started at 7 AM and they lasted all day until about 4 PM. This was after many had lost their homes, and endured the loss of loved ones.

Can you imagine the fear that would cause? The panic?

Thousands of Homes Destroyed
Some of the people I met in Ixtepec from one of the churches

Some of the people I met in Ixtepec from one of the churches

The first city we visited was Ixtepec. Our new friends told us that close to 2,000 homes were destroyed during the earthquake in this city. We met some of the people who lost their homes. They are having to make due until they can rebuild. One of them Laura is staying with some friends. The government is helping many people rebuild, but Laura was denied government assistance, because of the way her home was built.

Wow! I felt horrible for the people there. The earthquake causes lasting damage, and it takes people a long time to climb out of the hole they find themselves in.

Laura is not the only person that was left without a home and without help. While we were visiting a number of disgruntled citizens organized a protest and they were blocking the highway because they wanted the government to do another assessment of the damage done. They felt like they needed more help, and I’m sure that many of them do.

The Church – A Place of Refuge

Later that evening we went to Tehuantepec and visited a church there, Jesus of Nazareth church. This church was damaged, but not nearly as severely as the churches I visited the previous day. The interesting thing about this church is they became a center for other churches and organizations to send aid, and they began to distribute food and other necessities in the surrounding area. Always good to see the light of Christ shine in the midst of dark and difficult places.

Horrible to Think of the Loss of so Many Lives!
Juchitán is close to the epicenter and the city suffered much loss

Juchitán is close to the epicenter and the city suffered much loss

The next day we visited a few more cities, and one of the cities we saw was Juchitan. 300 people died during the earthquake in Juchitan. My friends, who were from the church that had helped with outreach said that it was like a large funeral as so many people in the city were mourning their loved ones. As we walked through the city we could see piles of debris from all the fallen homes and buildings.

A government building on the town square of Juchitán that was damaged

A government building on the town square of Juchitán that was damaged

It was shocking, and it saddened my heart to think of all the loss. I mean my family knows loss since our daughter recently moved to heaven. Yet I can’t imagine losing so many people at the same time, plus losing the comfort of your home. What do you do? Where do you go?

The Light of Christ Shines Brightly in the Darkness

Thankfully the church was there in the time of need, and they are still doing what they can to help and to share the love of Christ.

I’ve learned we don’t always have all the answers to life’s hard questions. We don’t always know why? Yet, God is there. The Lord demonstrates His love through His people. We rejoice in His good work.

Continue to pray with me for these dear people who suffered so much loss. Many of them still do not know Jesus. We pray that their eyes will be opened!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Even the Rocks Give Testimony
Dave & Dawn in St. Peter's Cathedral

Dave & Dawn in St. Peter’s Cathedral

I found my first trip to Rome to be a spiritual experience. I wasn’t expecting it, but as Dawn and I saw the beautiful sites and history, so much inspired by our Faith, and the Story of the Bible. To see Mary, Joseph and Jesus in paintings and sculptures in the Pantheon one of the oldest buildings in the world, speaks to the longevity, the endurance of the Church. God has preserved His Church.

This truth is even more evident in the Vatican. Regardless of the missteps of the Church over the centuries, it’s amazing to think of how the Lord God Almighty has preserved His Church. The Church today exists in many forms around the world, and although there have been sects and offshoots there are many that still faithfully preach the foundational message of the Gospel.

The Message Found in the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo's masterpiece found in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s masterpiece found in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel is not only beautiful, but it tells the story of the Bible from the Creation of the World and Man to Moses and the Law to Christ and his life, death and resurrection. On the front wall of the Sistine Chapel the largest painting depicts the final judgement something that we tend to shy away from today in our churches. It seems that many churches today are timid and afraid to talk about sin. They either under emphasize sin and it’s effect on the world, or they over emphasize it and forget God’s grace. The other issues the church is reluctant to address today are hell and the final judgment. All these themes are amazingly and strikingly captured in Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

The Challenge of Preaching the Full Gospel in Our Age
Inside St. Peter's Cathedral

Inside St. Peter’s Cathedral

I believe part of the reason we shy from these themes in the church today is that they were not preached with love and balance in the past. We’ve also been influenced by our culture and we live in an age of tolerance. Anything that divides we tend to stay away from.

I understand being sensitive and careful in how we communicate the gospel with our culture. Yet, if people fail to see the darkness of sin and the despair of hell, they will not appreciate fully what Christ did for us. Christ death and resurrection are minimized if we don’t realize how lost we are without his saving grace found in his death and resurrection.

Pray to Grow and Know God in a Deeper Way
Worship in Spirit and Truth

Worship in Spirit and Truth

My desire is to grow in loving God, represented in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I want to know Him more and love Him in a greater way. Jesus says in John 10 that His sheep know His voice. I definitely want to know His voice and be able discern the difference between His voice and all the other many voices calling for my attention. I pray that my love for Christ will exceed my desire for man’s approval. That is not easy. It’s hard to be called names, or for people to think you are foolish when you follow Christ. Yet, this often happens to those who love Jesus. It happened to Jesus himself.

Pray with me and my family as we seek to put God’s kingdom first. I must admit that often I fail miserably. I don’t love as Christ loved, but as He works in me I see transformation and His Spirit doing a Holy and wonderful work in my family and in me. Praise be to God! Thanks for praying with us and for us!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Growing Together in the Gospel
IMG_6381.jpg

Dave leading a Session on the Gospel, the Cycle of Renewal

God’s deep love for us is beyond comprehension. His grace is indescribable. The more we ponder what Jesus did for us on the cross through his death and resurrection, we find ourselves marveling at such an amazing and sacrificial love. These are all aspects of the gospel.

I’m sure it’s not too hard to believe that even ministers need the gospel. Actually, that’s a key point, the more the pastor understands the work of Jesus on the cross. The more he meditates on the depth of such love, and what it means for us. As he applies it to his own life, he is more effectively able to share it with others.

This was one of the key themes we covered last week during our incubator training. It fell to me to cover explaining how each of us is renewed by the gospel. We talked about the cycle of renewal – the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, we respond in repentance, which leads us to faith, which leads us to worship, and in response in faith and adoration we obey.

Some of the simplest points of the gospel are also the hardest to apply. I’m not sure why, but I think one reason is that there’s something in us that thinks we can earn God’s favor. We quickly forget, it’s through grace. That’s why Luther said, “we have to beat the gospel into ourselves,” and that “all of life is repentance.” A number of people have also said that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves.

How Do We Reach Our Neighbor with God’s Love?
IMG_6373.jpg

Jorge Aleman leading the group through a discussion on philosophy of ministry

Another theme that we covered was how to develop a philosophy of ministry. Related to that is the importance of considering the seeker, the not yet Christian in all our activities. In other words, when you are planting a church it’s good to keep in mind as you design your activities that there will be seekers there. There will be those who are interested, but don’t yet have faith.

The world is changing and it’s more apparent now than ever that we live in a hostile deeply divided world. The church planter has to keep all these things in mind as he reaches out to the community that the Lord has called him to minister in.

God has given us a wonderful group of guys that are going through the incubator church planting training. It’s always enjoyable to be around this group. I come away enriched from all the interaction.

IMG_6375.jpg

Some of our pastors who are going through the incubator training

Prayer and Opposition

Thanks for praying! We experienced our share of attacks, set-backs as we prepared for the training. My phone died for two days. It’s not easy to live without a phone, especially in the middle of a training event. One of our colleagues forgot his passport, which meant we had to change some of our plans for our prep work. I got sick the week of the training event. The Lord led me to a doctor in Mexico that prescribed some medication, and by the second day I was feeling much better.

The latest setback is our van is not running well, and since it has 208,000 miles on it I’m working with our mechanic to see whether it’s worth it fix it. We will see! Still waiting on that. Dawn and I appreciate your ongoing prayer for that need.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Incubator Church Planting Training
Church planting incubator training

Church planting incubator training

Pastor Ivan and I met this week to work with on planning and preparing for the incubator church planting training. Next Thursday we start our second phase of the training with 11 men who are involved in different phases of planting a church.

We believe that this training is a huge step forward in seeing our leaders here on the border and in the Baja better equipped to lead their churches!

Ivan went through the incubator training with our partners at the Church Planting Center in Monterrey, Mexico. Now that Ivan’s finished the course he is helping us train others. It’s exciting to see his progression, and to have him as part of our training team.

New Life in a Funeral Home
Dave & Dawn with Pastor Ivan and Rocio and their son Brandon

Dave & Dawn with Pastor Ivan and Rocio and their son Brandon

After the meeting Ivan was sharing with me some wonderful stories of how the Lord is working in his church that he started 2 years ago. He told me about Orlando and Martha Castro and their daughter, Diana.

Ivan and Rocio met Diana a few years ago as they were ministering in another church, and although she is young she has a real love for the Lord. She prayed for her parents that the Lord would touch their hearts. Then about one month ago Orlando and Martha started attending the church. Diana cried with tears of joy when her parents came to the church.

Unfortunately, about a week ago Orlando’s father died. Ivan was concerned that Orlando might blame God and stop coming to church. He felt like he should go visit Orlando and his family, so Ivan and Rocio went to the funeral home to show their love and support to the family. While visiting the family and paying their respects, to Ivan’s surprise Orlando asked him if he wold preach at the funeral home.

Ivan shared the gospel, the love of Christ with all Orlando’s family and friends. After he preached about the hope that we have in Christ he invited them to place their faith in Christ, and eight of them prayed with Ivan and put their faith in Christ! Hallelujah!

God indeed does work in mysterious and marvelous ways. He’s always working, we just have to be sensitive and look for it.

Thank the Lord with me for the wonderful work he is doing through Ivan and Rocio Casados in Tijuana, Mexico!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org