Posts Tagged ‘travel’

My Trip to Cuba
Dave with Mario & Yany

I’m on my way to Cuba to encourage our growing familia. They are people that Dawn and I have come to love. Every time we are on this big island we see the Spirit breakthrough! So I go expectantly.

Dawn is not able to join me on this trip. She is staying home to care for her mom. It’s been a new season for us since Dawn’s mom, Alice has come to live with us. Dawn isn’t able to travel with me as much.

The Lord is opening of some doors and ways for Dawn to join me on some my upcoming trips. We are also praying about the possibility of both them joining me on my next trip to Cuba in June. You can help us by praying that the Lord will show us the way, and make it clear to us. I think it could be a wonderful opportunity! Dawn’s mom still has an adventurous spirit after living in the Ukraine for 20 years.

I’d also appreciate prayer for my time with our familia in Cuba. I will be in four different cities after I land in Havana. First I will go to Sibanicu and Camaguey with Luis and May. Then I will go to Cabaiguan with Mario and Yany. I will end my trip in Jatibonico with Justo and Sara. While there I will have the opportunity to see and encourage a number of our friends.

Join us in Prayer
Dave & Dawn on this journey together
  • Pray for Dawn and her mom, Alice while I’m away.
  • Pray for our family including David and Emily, Jonathan and Hannah and my parents Ron and Virginia.
  • Our son David has had some health issues recently that we are concerned about, and we would ask prayer for his health and healing.
  • Pray for the Lord’s protection while I’m in Cuba.
  • Pray for His Spirit to breakthrough and to minister and encourage our Cuban family and friends.
  • I will be in Cuba until March 18th, and I usually have little to no internet access while there, which makes communication sparse.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

My Trip to Cd. Obregon & Hermosillo
The country side on the road from Cd. Obregon to Hermosillo

In my last post I wrote about my trip to Northwestern Mexico. such a great encouragement to see how the church is growing. On that trip I also connected with two church planting couples that are just beginning their work.

I went to Cd. Obregon and Hermosillo to learn more about how the church is growing and reproducing. As I was preparing for the trip the Lord reminded me that I knew a church planter in Cd. Obregon and that there was a new church plant starting up in Hermosillo. I was able to get some good time with these two pastoral couples.

Cd. Obregon: Pastor Roberto & Gabriela
Dave with Pastor Roberto & Gabriela Mendoza and their family

Pastor Roberto Mendoza and his wife Gabriela are starting a church in Cd. Obregon. I met Roberto a few years ago, but I had never met his wife, or his family. It was a joy to meet them. It’s so good when Jesus orchestrates and brings things together!

Roberto and Gabriela have been working on the church plant for two and a half years. They are at a point where they are doing well, but they also need some encouragement. Roberto shared how lonely it can be to plant a church. My heart goes out to him. It was so clear that our loving Father arranged this time.

One of the wonderful things about connecting in this way, and spending some good time together is that it opens the doors for future ministry. It makes it easier for me to know what some of their needs are, and how I might spur them on and strengthen them along the way.

Pray with us for Roberto and Gabriela. They are doing an important work in establishing a beachhead in Ciudad Obregon. Pastor Roberto has a vision to start more churches in the area and to educate future ministers of the gospel! So good! Lord, grant them the desire of their hearts for your honor and glory.

Hermosillo: Hector & Lulu
Dave with Pastor Hector & Lulu Bautista

From Ciudad Obregon I took the bus to Hermosillo. I just happened to be there the same week that a new church planting couple, Hector and Lulu Bautista were there looking for a house. They are moving from Jalapa, Veracruz to Hermosillo. That is a long move!

They’ve never lived in Northern Mexico before, and there is a huge difference between northern and southern Mexico. One of the main differences is there aren’t as many churches in Northern Mexico.

I had never met Pastor Hector and Lulu, so again Jesus brought everything together at just the right time. Hallelujah!

Hector asked me if he could stay in contact with me so I could mentor him and encourage him as he starts this church from scratch. They told me they are starting from zero. They don’t know anyone in Hermosillo. That is definitely the hardest way to start a church. Of course, nothing is too difficult for the Lord, but it is important to understand some of the challenges they will face. Also it’s super important for them that they don’t feel alone.

Join us in Prayer!
Dave & Dawn – Thanks for joining us on this journey and for praying with us

Dawn and I are praying that the Lord uses us to help plant 1,000 churches over the next 15 – 20 years. When I see Jesus open doors like this I know he’s at work. It’s the Lord’s desire to see his church grow and multiply.

Pray with us for these two couples, Roberto and Gabriela, and Hector and Lulu. They need wisdom from above and boldness as they share the gospel in the communities that the Lord has called them to. All of our church planters could use similar type of prayer. These are some of the other church planters we are working with Federico and Blanca, Mere and Edna in Mexicali, Davis and Luz in Tijuana, Petri and Yudy in Ensenada, Jose Luis and Ana in La Paz. There are others, but these are some of our newer church plants. Evangelism and new contacts is key when they are starting out.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Church Multiplication
Dave with pastors Samuel, Francisco, Roberto & Raul

On the road in Northwestern Mexico. This week I’ve traveled to some places in Northern Mexico that I’ve never been to, Ciudad Obregón and Hermosillo. I’m meeting with pastors and church planters. I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to get to know these outstanding men and women and to learn about their work. Such wonderful people who have made great sacrifices for the gospel.

One of the main questions I’m asking as I meet with them is if their church has reproduced? Have they not only successfully planted their church, but also started other churches?

Most of the pastors I talked to have already started other churches. One of them has started 3 churches in just a few years time. So encouraging!

We Long for More!

Dawn and I keep praying for more, and we are praying that we can help plant more churches throughout Mexico and Beyond. I like to say igniting church-planting movements on the Border, the Baja and Beyond! One of the principle places where we are seeing multiplication is in Cuba, but it is happening in Mexico as well. It’s so good to see the church grow.

I feel like one of the great advantages that I have when I meet with these pastors and learn from them is it also allows me to pray for them and to encourage them. The Lord has given me a love and a compassion for them, and we connect deeply in relatively brief period of time.

The Battle Rages On
Some of our Cuban prayer warrior friends. They know how to pray!

One of the pastors, Samuel told me that where he is planting his churches there is a lot of witchcraft going on, which is increasing in Mexico. He said because of that the people battle with more sickness. Samuel said his leaders have helped train them in how to pray and deal with the attacks of the enemy, but he also felt like they needed more help. We’ve found that witchcraft is a serious problem in Cuba and most of the other countries we work in. I believe that it’s on the rise in the US as well.

These pastors are right on the front of the battle lines, and they need encouragement and prayer support. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities, Ephesians 6:12.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:3,4 ESV

Even with these obstacles the church is growing. The church is multiplying!

Join Us in Prayer !

Dawn & I are glad to be on this journey with you

I celebrate this growth, and at the same time I long for more. Join with us in the battle. Pray with us and for us. Pray also for these pastors that are in the trenches seeing people freed from darkness through the light of the gospel! The battle rages on, but we have victory in Christ.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Grateful for the Opportunity to Give Testimony of All That God is Doing

At times Dawn and I travel to promote all that the Lord is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond. I love the opportunity to give testimony to God’s marvelous work where we are ministering. Over the past two months we’ve been visiting friends and churches in what seems like all over the place.

Colorado: Bringing Mexico, the Church & Family Together
Adolfo Josue, Pastor Adolfo and Porfirio at Garden of the Gods

Dawn and I went to Colorado together where we hosted the president of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico, Pastor Adolfo Arias and his son, Adolfo Josue. The director of the Instituto Juarez, a private Presbyterian school in Mexico City, Porfirio Camarillo also came. We had a wondeful weekend introducing them to Colorado and Village Seven Presbyterian Church. It was the first time that Adolfo Josue visited the USA.

The added blessing for us is could take advantage of the trip to visit our two boys, David and Jonathan and their wives, Emily and Hannah. The Lord encouraged us in many ways through this trip. When our kids were younger we always tried to include them in the ministry, and they grew up loving Mexico and our friends. It was so good to be able to introduce them to these friends. It fills my heart up when I see my boys and their wives enjoying getting to know ministry partners and friends in this way.

Our fun evening out for dinner with the family and our friends from Mexico

Saturday night we had the opportunity to go out to dinner with Aldofo, Josue and Porfirio. Our whole clan joined us including Hannah’s parents, Rich and Liz Blanco. We ate some good barbecue, which is something difficult to find in Mexico and had an amazing time together. Our mexican friends don’t speak much English, so Dawn and I had to help with translation. It also gave David and Jonathan an opportunity to work on their Spanish.

On Sunday after church we had a great lunch meeting with some friends on missions committee at Village Seven as well as Pastor Mark Bates and his wife, Tricia and Pastor Page Clark and his wife, Sarah. I enjoyed translating and helping Adolfo and Porfirio share about the vision to see the church in Mexico reach the next generation.

More Opportunities in Pennsylvania and Maryland
Dave sharing at Harvest Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

After we left Colorado I had a couple more trips. I went to the Philadelphia area, where Dawn’s brother, Ted and his family live. While there I visited a church in Lancaster, Harvest Church. I also visited a group from Trinity Church in Annapolis area. I drove up to New Jersey as well to see Dr. William Iverson. In my last post I wrote about the special visit with my friend and mentor Dr. Bill Iverson. It was a busy few days!

One of the things I enjoy about sharing our story and the testimony of all that the Lord is doing is the positive reaction from those that I go to visit. I always seek to encourage them and let them know that Dawn and I couldn’t do this work without friends like them standing with us.

Road Trip to Northern California
Church planter connection event in San Jose, California

After I trip back East I made a trip to Long Beach, Fresno and San Jose to promote our work and to connect with some fellow church planters. This trip involved a lot of time in the car, and driving through LA, which I don’t enjoy. I don’t mind driving long distances, but I don’t like LA traffic. I’m not sure who does?

Pray for My Parents

My parents live in Fresno, and my mom hasn’t been feeling well over the last month. She was in the hospital for more than 3 weeks. It’s hard to see my mom struggling to breath. She has COPD, and recently she’s had a harder time, which has caused her to need hospital care. My mom just came home from the hospital last Thursday, November 14. She’s receiving home care now. Please pray for both my mom and dad for their health and the Lord’s peace. He promises to give us a peace that passes all understanding.

God’s faithfulness through it all

I feel like I skipped over a lot in an effort to keep this post shorter, but you can see we’ve got a lot going on. There are periods when we travel often. Usually I travel alone, since Dawn’s mom is living with us it’s hard for us to all travel together.

As I mentioned above I do enjoy being able to share all the testimonies of what God is doing among us. I’ve noticed as we have opportunity to encourage others it strengthens our faith also. For the most part I enjoy traveling, although I do need time at home and there is ministry here close by as well, so I need to keep that in balance.

We appreciate your prayers as we continue on this exciting journey of faith. Next week, Dawn, her mom and I will be heading to Colorado for Thanksgiving to be with our boys and their wives, which should be a good time. We pray that the Lord richly blesses you as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends and loved ones!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Reconnecting with Dr. William T. Iverson

Dave with Dr. William T. Iverson

I’m writing this as I’m on my way back from a trip to the Philly area. While here I was in a few places in New Jersey, as well as Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Annapolis, Maryland. It was a fruitful trip that gave me the opportunity to tell of the wonders of the Lord and all he is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond!

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting my 91-year-old professor, mentor, spiritual father and friend, Dr. William “Bill” Iverson. I first met Bill when I was a 24-year-old seminary student at the International School of Theology (ISOT). ISOT is affiliated with Cru. At the time the school was at Arrowhead Springs in San Bernardino, California.

A Spiritual Father & Mentor during My Formative Years

Bill when he was 15 years old seated on the far right with his family. Bill’s dad, Daniel Iverson was an influential pastor in Miami, Florida. He started Shenandoah Presbyterian Church

I came to Christ while I was in college at Fresno State. I believe I was 20 years old at the time, so when I went to seminary I was still a relatively young believer. I needed a lot of guidance. I remember I had my share of insecurities as I was growing in my faith and learning to lead.

Bill became an important father in my life during that time. He was a unique combination of being a bold intellect. He pushed me to study and learn from the church Father’s while I was in school. He’s also the boldest personal evangelist that I’ve ever met. We would often go into a restaurant and he would begin a conversation with someone and then he would open the door for me to step in and share the gospel. At that time I was timid and wet behind the ears, so I would stumble my way through sharing the gospel.

Today I share the gospel with strangers on a regular basis, and Dawn is even bolder than me in sharing her faith. That all had its beginnings with Dr. Bill.

I remember one specific conversation we had in an old greasy spoon in the downtown area of San Bernardino. Bill started up conversations that led to opportunities to share the gospel with two or three people while we were there.

After these conversations I told Bill that I felt timid or fearful to just talk to strangers like that. He told me something that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “remember that these people are afraid as well, but the difference is that you have the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you.”

Wow! That was a game-changer!

I can’t say that I all of the sudden became a bold evangelist, but it did set in motion my growth to becoming bolder and more committed to sharing the good news of the gospel.

The Beginnings of My Call to Mexico

Dr. Iverson (top middle in blue) & Dave (bottom right in red) with other ISOT students and professors on a retreat during the 1984/85 school year

Another huge way that Bill influenced me is that he led a group of 16 students from ISOT to Cuernavaca and Mexico City for six weeks in the summer of 1985. It was on this trip that the Lord gripped my heart and gave me a love for Mexico.

Dr. Iverson taught us, students, the importance of reading broadly to learn from other disciplines and to help us to engage with them and the world around us. He and the students I studied with made my seminary experience an excellent one!

Dawn used to live across the street from Bill before she moved into the city and became one of my neighbors. Bill likes to claim responsibility for Dawn and my relationship, which may be slightly exaggerated! Yet, he did know both of us when we were single and he definitely encouraged us in our relationship.

Dr. Iverson signing a book for me. He’s written 2 or 3 books (one of them is called, Jesus and the Ways of Socrates, which is available on Amazon). He always likes to give me books.

I give thanks to the Lord for Dr. Iverson, and for how the Lord used Bill in our lives! I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influence of my mentor and spiritual father. Thankfully the Lord brought other mentors into my life over the years, like Dr. Thomas Graham. I see God’s goodness and love in how he gave me such good men to influence my life.

For all these reasons and more it was so good to be reunited with my gregarious, intellectual, ironic and bold professor.

One of my prayers is that I can be a spiritual father and mentor to the men and women that the Lord privileges us to work with. I believe that is taking place through the church planters and leaders that we work within Mexico, Cuba, and other countries. Thank you, Jesus!

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

My Best Ministry Trip to Date!
Dave with Pastor Mario and his wife, Yany and their church in Cabaiguán

I just returned from a two week trip to Cuba. It was an outstanding trip, and the Lord showed up in some amazing ways. I’m not even sure where to start or how to communicate all that the Lord did while I was there!

This was my best ministry trip in 30 plus years of ministry!

Since I have been going to Cuba for a number of years now the relationships keep growing deeper, which opens the doors for more fruit. As I’ve mentioned before some of the Cubans refer to Dawn and me as mom and dad. They are a very relational and family oriented people.

Amazing Testimonies
Pastor Luis Jimenez leading the church in Sibanicú

Some of the highlights from the tip came from the testimonies about all that our awesome God is doing through our Cuban family. For example, Pastor Luis and his wife, May shared how the Lord used some of the prayers and promises that I sent them a few weeks ago. They read them out loud during one of their church services as they prayed and claimed God’s promises. As they cried out to the Lord they began to feel Jesus and the Spirit in a close and personal way. Hallelujah!

Another wonderful story. Our great and amazing God healed a woman who had cancer. Dawn and I sent Luis and May some prayers that we’ve found helpful as we minister in Latin America. They used these prayers to pray over Maria who had breast cancer. Unfortunately, Maria already had a mastectomy on one of her breasts. The doctors told her that she only had one living cell in her other breast. The church came together and prayed, and they believed that Jesus would minister to Maria and bring her healing.

When Maria went back to the doctor they didn’t find any cancer. The doctors not being believers got upset, and they told her that maybe the cancer had moved to her brain or her lungs. When they ran further tests they all came back clean. Maria was completely healed of cancer!

Freedom and Deliverance!
May praying with Maria and leading her to faith in Christ

Witchcraft, Santeria and other demonic practices are prevalent in Cuba. Many of my friends churches have witches, and altars to foreign deities near where they are ministering.

While I was with Pastor Luis and May they asked me to pray with them for a woman in the church, Fabiola who needed healing and deliverance. She had been involved in witchcraft in the past, and her ex mother-in-law was also a witch and she was putting curses on her. Fabiola is a beautiful young woman, and by looking at her you would never know what was going on. She told me that she had some terrible experiences with deliverance in the past, so she was a little nervous when she met with May and me. Fabiola said that although she was anxious she was also excited and hopeful, because she heard of how I helped another one of their leaders that last time I visited the church.

May and I spent about 3 hours praying with Fabiola and leading her to Jesus. It wasn’t easy, but it strengthened my faith to see Christ move in her heart, and bring Fabiola healing and freedom. It was a powerful time! We saw first hand how we are victorious in Christ. “Greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

Fabiola was so thankful and she had a beautiful smile when we finished our time together!

God is Doing An Amazing Work Through the Challenges!
Pastor Justo (far left) and his wife Sara (3rd from the left) along with the house church leaders in Jatibonico. They have a vision to reach at least 1,000 people

There were many other opportunities that I had to pray for people and encourage them. The Lord is so faithful to meet us at our point of need! I especially enjoyed my time of ministry with the pastors and church planters. Such special and dear people who have made so many sacrifices to serve the Lord.

Every time I go to Cuba I leave feeling that my faith is strengthened. I feel this way, because of the testimony of my friends, many of whom have become like family to us. They have such deep faith in some of the most difficult circumstances that I’ver ever seen. Most of them have a profound commitment to prayer and fasting. They live off of $10 – $50 a month, and yet they continue to faithfully serve the Lord. Instead of letting the challenges stop them they use it as motivation to trust the Lord to provide.

God sees their affliction. He is near the brokenhearted and he delivers them as he promises to do.

So Close yet a World Apart!
Some of the modes of transportation in Cuba – Quite an adventure!

The Island of Cuba is only 90 miles south of Florida. It takes less than an hour to fly from Miami to most cities in Cuba, and yet it’s a whole different world! It’s truly mind boggling!

There are many more stories that I could tell of people coming to Christ, of the Lord bringing healing, freedom and comfort to our friends on the island of Cuba. I hope to share more in a future post.

Thank you so much for praying for me for this trip. I strongly believe one of the reasons that this was my best ministry trip ever was because of all the prayer. The Lord does indeed hear our prayers!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org