Posts Tagged ‘Training’

A Tough Transition Back Home
Virginia Diaso – November 5, 1935 – March 19, 2020

Life has been both difficult and crazy since I returned from Cuba. I saw a lot of fruit while I was with my friends on the big island, but I wasn’t prepared for what was waiting on the other side of my trip. I returned close to midnight on Wednesday, March 18. Communication with my family isn’t easy when I’m in Cuba, because there is very little access to the internet. Finally, on my way home, I was able to talk to my brother, John and I found out that my mom didn’t have much time to live.

I hoped and prayed that I could get to Fresno before my mom moved to heaven, but I wasn’t able to make it in time. Thankfully John called me in the morning on Thursday and suggested that I talk while he put the phone up to mom’s ear and I was able to tell her of my love and say good-bye. I’m grateful for that opportunity. Later in the day I called back and talked to my other brother, Greg and right when I got off the phone with him my mom moved to heaven.

Then as everyone knows we’ve had this pandemic Coronavirus going on which has made it challenging to do basic things that we’ve all come to expect. We still haven’t been able to have a graveside service for my mom, because of the all of the restrictions. It’s an odd time, and we definitely appreciate your prayers during this season of our lives.

I wrote a tribute to mom in the last post and you can read it here…

An Amazing Time with Mi familia Cubana
One of the groups of church planters that we trained in Camaguey

My time in Cuba was amazing, and I find that often when the Lord is working through us in a dark place that there is opposition. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore.

When I was in Cuba last September I was able to train a number of church planters, and I learned that it would be better to train them in cities closer to where they live. This time we held four training events in four different cities and we had 102 church planters attend. One of the most exciting things is that the Cuban leaders did most of the training. This alone is reason to celebrate, because now they can continue with the work even when I’m not there. Another important consideration is that I’m limited in what I’m allowed to do and I desire to be wise and careful while I’m in the country.

These pastors, many of them lay leaders are such quality people that love the Lord. Most of them have such a deep commitment to the Lord that it motivates me to have more faith and devotion to follow Jesus.

The Church is Growing!
One of the group activities during the training

In one of the cities where I was we worked with a group that has started 16 churches in the last year, and their goal is start 30 by the end of 2020. That’s one of the reasons I come back home so stoked! King Jesus is doing a great work on the big Island despite all the obstacles.

Pray for Us & Our Cuban Familia
Our Cuban familia

I’d appreciate your prayers for our familia. Even when things are normal in Cuba life is difficult. Long lines for basic needs are common. What the US is going through now still doesn’t match what the average Cuban experiences on daily basis. Yet, God in his marvelous mercy is at work.

The churches can only meet in very small groups now with the Coronavirus and they don’t have the same access to the internet that we have. Pray for the Lord’s care and provision for them during this time. Many of our friends have asked us to pray them as they’ve shared their growing struggles, and how the quarantine has made things worse.

Look to the Father in this Season
Dave & Dawn

I feel like the Lord wants to wake the church up during this season. My prayer is that we will use this time to strengthen our families and to spend more time with the Lord. Grow in your intimacy with the Father. He is calling all of us to the secret place!

He will care for you as he promises to do.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'”

Psalm 91:1,2 ESV

Thanks so much for joining Dawn and me on this journey of faith. I would like to write more about my time in Cuba in my next post. There are many magnificent stories to tell.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Traning Pastors and Church Planters
Training with Red de Multiplicación in Mexico City

I give thanks for the goodness of God! Over the last month I’ve been able to train church planters in Cuba, Mexico City and Tijuana. I love helping pastors start new churches. It’s the most effective way to reach people for Christ, and this is true no matter where you are in the world.

A number of the pastors I work with have so little. It strengthens my faith as I see the sacrifices they make for the kingdom. When I’m with these friends and see how they live and minister it helps me to put things in perspective about what is truly important in life. One of the things we struggle with in America, and I’m sure it happens around the world, is comparing ourselves to others. The devil uses this to get our eye off of the ball, off of what is truly important. I’m reminded of how Christ told us to put our “treasure in heaven where neither moth or rust destroys and where thieves do no break in and steal.” Then Jesus drives the point home and tells us, “for where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20, 21).

The enemy wants to to forget where are true treasure lies.

That’s not to say that it is easy for the church planters that I work with. Nor does it mean that they never struggle with comparing themselves to others. Yet, I do believe many of them do not get as entangled in some of the trappings that we trip over in our more affluent culture.

The Challenges & Trials
Training with Ben Meyer, Abraham Velazquez and Federico & Blanca Muñoz and other church planters in Tijuana

These pastors do face many obstacles and many trials as they serve the Lord. My heart goes out to them, and I find myself often wishing that I could do more. So when I’m training them I always seek to be sensitive to the Spirit and what is going on in their lives. That way Dawn and I can encourage them and pray for them.

Just before I started writing this I received a message from one of our dear friends from Cuba telling us that her cousin just lost her baby, and another close friend of theirs was killed in an accident. On Friday Dawn and I met with some of our church planters that live near us on the border and their daughter told me that she was sleeping on cushions on the floor, because they don’t have a bed for her. It breaks my heart to learn how many of our faithful friends are living and the circumstances that they are facing.

When we train it’s more than just how to plant a church. It’s more than just how to write a vision statement or a mission statement we have to care for the individuals. When we can bring the need for competencies, knowledge, emotional, spiritual and physical needs together we see the Lord working in amazing ways. It’s one of my chief joys in ministry. To care for the whole person and their families. The relationships that we build are priceless!

The Rewards of Ministry
Church Planting Training with our Cuban friends

Part of the reward of ministering in this way, apart from seeing churches planted, and people coming to Christ which is a true reward within itself is the love and relationship we develop with these church planters. As I’ve mentioned in the past some of them come to refer to Dawn and me as dad and mom. Some of their children call us their grandparents, which I guess is also part of getting gray as we age.

As we minister in this way we see the Lord bringing rich and bountiful blessings. We see the church growing, and people coming to Christ. Lives and communities are being transformed by the gospel!

All this is made possible by so many people like you who pray for what God is doing here. God hears your prayers and he responds. It’s exciting to be on mission with God. Thanks so much for joining us on this wild and joyful ride!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Challenges & Opportunities of Life in Cuba

Our group of leaders with the Red de Multiplicación discussing church planting at Café La Habana in Mexico City

After I’ve spent time in Cuba with our dear friends, our familia Cubana, I always feel like I have so much I could share, so much I would like to write. It’s hard to capture it all in a short post. Yet I will attempt to give you a glimpse.

One of the things I learned on this trip is that my birthday, December 2nd is an important albeit sad day for Cuba. It is the day that Fidel arrived on the shores of Cuba from Mexico to overthrow the government and begin the revolution. When I told my Cuban friends when my birthday was they began to laugh because it is now an infamous day.

Interestingly enough I was just in Mexico City last week, and I had a breakfast meeting to discuss church planting. Our meeting was held at Café La Habana, which is where Castro met with others to plan out the revolution. The changes he brought have had devastating consequences on the people and the country. It breaks my heart to see how the people suffer.

This bus with all the metal bars on the windows and the metal seats made me feel like it was a bus for prisoners. This is the normal mode of transportation for Cubans. Usually, the bus is standing room only, but we rented this bus.

While I was there Cuba was experiencing a petroleum crisis, so it made it very difficult for the people to find transportation. The transportation isn’t very good to start with. The pastors often have to wait up to 5 hours or more to find available transportation when they are traveling to other cities for their ministry.

The petroleum crisis also means that the price of basic food goes up: chicken, rice, pork, cooking oil, eggs, etc. It’s so hard to see these precious servants of our Heavenly Father living on so little. Yet God is gracious and He is caring for His people. The Cubans I know are resilient and they have such strong faith that it strengthens my faith when I interact with them.

I share my experiences in Cuba to educate, but also with the hope that you will pray. God is doing a great work there. The church is growing. People are coming to faith. The Lord is healing people and providing in supernatural ways.

God is Growing His Church

Our church planting candidates and staff at the Discovery Center

While I was there our team which was made up of mostly Cuban leaders evaluated 10 individuals, 5 church planting couples. These church planters always leave our time together with glowing reports. I love the opportunity to meet and encourage these new leaders. Like I’ve shared before, I’m always struck by their commitment to serve the Lord and His church under such challenging circumstances.

Pastor Yeisel & Liannys Basulto
Pastor Yeisel and Liannys

One of the young couples I met there, Yeisel and Liannys who are my kids’ age, so I felt a special connection with them. They’ve only been serving at the church where they are, which is near Santi Spíritus for 10 months. The church has already grown from 9 to 50 people in that short time. They have tremendous potential as leaders.

The church is in an area where there are a number of witches and altars to foreign deities, which is common in Cuba. They live right next to a brick-making factory, and all the smoke is causing Liannys health problems. She’s had an allergic reaction which adversely affects her eyes. Pray for them as they endure such hardship, and serve so faithfully.

The group of church planters who joined us for a day and a half of training

The other event that I was involved in while I was in Cuba was helping to train church planters. We had 20 church planters join us for the training. The lack of transportation kept more from coming. It was such a rich time, and the Lord met us in a wonderful way. One of the highlights was as part of our time we spent time for praying for couples and individuals. We all felt the Lord’s presence, and we left strengthened.

Join Us in Prayer!

Yany, Rachel and Jorge leading worship in Cabaiguán

Join us in praying for all these wonderful church planters. The Lord is doing something very special in Cuba despite all the opposition. Just today I received an email from one of the church planting families, Mario, and Yany who live in Cabaiguán. They told us that one of their church planters, Pastor Jorge and his wife, Rachel are starting a new mission church. We pray for the Lord’s protection for our Cuban family, and the continued multiplication of the church there. Hallelujah for all that Jesus is doing!

God is Growing His Church

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Work in Mitla

SIL Missionaries in Mitla, Oaxaca

I made it back home from my ministry trip to Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico. I must admit I’m tired, and it wasn’t an easy trip, but I’m encouraged by what the Lord did through my time in Oaxaca. It was amazing for me to get to know and learn more about the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) missionaries.

I was in the city of Mitla in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. SIL has a center there for much of the training and the translation they do. I enjoyed training the SIL missionaries and getting to know their stories.

Of course, while I was gone it seemed like the whole world’s attention was on the caravan arriving on the border. Which is ironic, since that’s where I live, but I wasn’t here when all the action was beginning.

My Highlights From Mitla

Ryan teaching a complicated (for me) training module on translation

One of the highlights for me was when one of the participants was leading his practice teaching session. He decided to do a lesson on some technical ideas related to translation. I was immediately lost. All the people at my table lit up with excitement and looked at me. I could tell that this was something they loved, and they take a healthy bit of pride in their trade.

They were so excited that they could help me as I looked on bewildered as Ryan led the session. I didn’t understand much of anything that they were talking about, but they assured me it was basic or beginners level. Well, even though I didn’t have a clue it was enjoyable to see them get so worked up about their craft.

The Many Languages of Mexico

Having some fun putting our learning to music

I learned during my time with my new friends that there are approximately 365 languages spoken in Mexico. That is the 5th highest number of languages spoken among all the countries in the world. The Bible has been translated in 150 of the languages in Mexico. SIL is currently working on 70 more languages. Some of the translations take 34 years or more, which is hard to imagine.

These missionaries go into villages with almost no access to the outside world for months at a time while they are working on the translation projects. Since I’ve always done my missionary work in large cities it’s hard to imagine living and working in these remote areas.

Join Us in Prayer

Mitla, known as the city of the dead

I thank the Lord for the work of SIL and the opportunity the Lord gave me to train and get to know these very committed servants. Dawn and I would appreciate your prayers for the ministry of SIL and for future opportunities to partner together with them and others for the kingdom.

We’d also appreciate your prayers as we head to Colorado this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with our two boys, David and Jonathan. Then our son Jonathan will be married on December 1, and I will be performing the wedding ceremony.

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

Multiplication in Mexico and Beyond

Group of Pastors and leaders that went through the Red de Multiplicación training in Comalcalco, Mexico near Villahermosa

This past week has been a special time for Dawn and me. On October 3, we landed in Villahermosa, Mexico, which is in southeastern Mexico. It’s the first time in all our years in Mexico that Dawn and I have spent any time in this part of Mexico. We enjoyed getting to know the people and learning about the ministry and the culture.

The first few days we helped lead some training on church health with a team of trainers with Red de Multiplicación, “Multiplication Ministries.” We’ve begun to partner with Red de Multiplicación as they are working with churches throughout Mexico and in many countries in Latin America. The Lord has used them to see more than 1,000 churches planted! We are thrilled to play a part in this movement!

An Increased Vision!

Dave leading a training module on small groups

Recently through prayer and a good friend’s prompting the Lord put it on my heart to be involved in helping to see at least 1,000 churches planted. Dawn and I believe the best way to do that is to collaborate and partner with other like minded ministries.

Over the last few years we’ve gotten to know the ministry of Red de Multiplicación and how they are ministering with many different denominations. It’s been refreshing to see the church focus on their main mission of making much of Christ, by proclaiming the gospel and discipling people into the kingdom. It’s unique in some ways, because each denomination maintains their distinctiveness, and they work towards their goals. Red de Multiplicación comes alongside them to help them with a greater vision for church planting, and to provide training.

This encourages Dawn and me. We believe it’s in part an answer to our prayer.

Praying for More: The Tip of the Iceberg

Ben Meyer who is a missionary and a leader for Red de Multiplicación in Mexico. He’s leading a training module on vision.

While we were in Villahermosa this last week we were working with pastors and leaders from the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in this part of the country. They are facing some challenges in seeing the church grow, yet there does seem to be a growing desire for more. This increased appetite for more is taking place among others as well. Our prayer is that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Even though the church is growing, and churches are being planted there’s a need for so much more. We do pray that the Lord will bring increase.

Dave with the leaders from Quintana Roo, Mexico

After leaving Villahermosa I was able to go to Playa del Carmen for Mission to the World’s Americas area retreat. While here I was able to meet with another group of Presbyterian pastors and leaders who are interested in seeing more churches planted in this part of Mexico. They too would like to receive church planting training through Red de Multiplicación. Thank you, Jesus, and please continue to bring the increase!

When we see the Lord working in this way we can’t help but think the Lord is redeeming our daughter, Hannah’s early home-going. Now we’d also add our young friend, Mitchell to that list. The Lord is always working. He’s on the move!

I hope to write soon about some of the other amazing experiences Dawn an I had while we were in Villahermosa, Mexico.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Journey Continues!

Dave leading one of our training sessions for the incubator

Dave leading one of our training sessions for the incubator

Today I’m off to Mexico City. Dawn isn’t joining me on this trip. We enjoy traveling and ministering together, but I’m going to visiting some of the sites where the earthquakes from last Fall caused the most damage, so we decided it would be better for Dawn to stay behind. Her mom is with her, so I’m sure they will enjoy the time together.

 

A Wonderful Accomplishment!

The Pastors who took the Incubator Church Planting Training and Finished!

The Pastors who took the Incubator Church Planting Training and Finished!

Last week we accomplished a first for us. We finished up our incubator church planting training!

The incubator takes close to two years to cover the 16 modules that we train on. There were 10 people that took the course and 8 of them finished and graduated. I could tell that the guys were excited to graduate from the course. We gave each of them the opportunity to share their highlights. It was gratifying for us to listen to their testimonies.

One of the things we focused on throughout the training was the importance of being Christ-centered and gospel-centered. That the gospel and grace must permeate everything we do both inside the church and as we reach out to a world that is in deep need of a Savior.

Beautiful to See the Church Come Together

Pastor Jorge Aleman leading one fo the Sessions

Pastor Jorge Aleman leading one fo the Sessions

The participants that took the incubator training were from two main groups, Ministerios Transformación and the Presbyterian Church. Even though they come from different church traditions it was so good to see them come together to learn. They forged a friendship among themselves.

One of the pastors that helped us to teach the course is Pastor Jorge Aleman from Monterrey, Mexico. I’m thankful for the effort Jorge made to fly out and lead. He has some great experience in the church and he is a gifted communicator. Jorge encouraged the guys to invite one another to preach at one another’s church and to continue to further develop their friendship.

Church planting is the best way to do evangelism and to reach a city for Christ. If we want to have successful church plants we need healthy, fully trained and equipped pastors. That is one of the major goals of the incubator, to prepare the church planter for the ministry that the Lord has called him to.

Join Us In Prayer!

Prayer is an important part of the Incubator training

Prayer is an important part of the Incubator training

Dawn and I appreciate your prayers as we continue to coach, mentor and train these friends and partners in the ministry. Pray that they will be effective in their respective churches. They are all at various stages in their church plant. There is one common goal among them they desire to have healthy and growing churches. That is our prayer as well!

Thanks so much for joining us on this journey! Remember to pray for me as I head off to Mexico City to minister in and around the city for the next 10 days. I will also be in Oaxaca for 3 of those days. Much of the earthquake damage occurred in Oaxaca.

Lord, do pour out your Spirit and do I mighty work as I seek to minister and represent Christ and his church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org