Archive for September, 2011

Dave speaking at MTW vision retreat

Sunday night we started a vision retreat at the MTW office just outside of Atlanta. It’s an opportunity to get to know people who have a heart for the world. They are checking out MTW, and looking at some possible places to serve. I had the opportunity to share our story with them, and to take a crack at persuading them to join us in our work on the border.

There are 21 great people here. It’s a lot of fun to talk to people who love Jesus, and have a strong interest in serving in missions. We are praying that the Lord will build our team. We have Ray and Michele Call, and a single friend on our team. We are hoping, and praying that Mario and Silvia Silva will be able to join us soon.

We could really use somebody to help us with mercy ministries, but we also have other needs. I feel like we could always use people who are gifted in evangelism. It’s a great comfort knowing that the Lord goes before us, and He builds our team.

In His Grip, Dave

Gene Bowman @ V7

This past Sunday we had a BEAMM Launch Lunch. It was an opportunity to share with friends mostly from Village Seven Presbyterian Church about BEAMM, E4 teams, and our work on the border. We also raised some money to help launch us off to the border. Gene Bowman, BEAMM’s coordinator came up from El Paso to share in the event.

Gene spoke about the challenges we have on the border. Here are some of the stark statistics. There are 8,500 orphans, 30,000 abandoned homes, and an average of 8 people killed a day on the border. Yet as Gene shared there is hope, because of the transforming power of the Gospel. It is really the only true hope. A number of lives have already been transformed, and we are praying that we will see a spiritual tsunami that sweeps across the border.

We also need workers to see the gospel go forth on the border. We are recruiting E4 teams. The concept is based on Ephesians 4:11,12, which says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up the body of Christ…” The idea is that we need people with different gifts to see the church equipped and grow, as the gospel goes forth.

Dave speaking at the BEAMM Launch Lunch

The Lord brought a good group of people to the lunch, and we had some great friends helping us to pull off the lunch. Just putting this lunch together was a good model of how the body of Christ works. Thank you Jesus, for good friends who are gifted, and willing to help! It was so encouraging for Dawn and me to have so many pitching in to pull the lunch off. It was also a huge blessing to have a such a good group come out to support us through the event!

The Lord keeps moving us closer to being on the border. We are still waiting for our house to sell, so we can move. Thanks for praying for our family, and for the sell of our home. We are confident it will come together in His good and perfect timing.

In His Grip, Dave

Our Living in Grace Group

Dawn and I just finished up the week in Ridge Haven in North Carolina at Mission to the World’s, Living in the Grace conference. Although before we came I felt like we had too much going on to be able to fit this in, it ended up being a source of great encouragement. It we nice for Dawn and me to have some time together. It was wonderful to grow deeper in God’s grace, and it was a special blessing to see old friends. We also enjoyed making new ones.

Dr. Paul Kooistra

Dr. Paul Kooistra, the MTW coordinator was the main speaker for the event. He shared about the power of the gospel to change our lives. Part of the gospel is realizing that we are fallen, and helpless to save ourselves. C. S. Lewis stated, “When you look in the mirror, you are not looking at an ordinary person, but an immortal in a ruined condition. A horror and a corruption such as you now meet on in a nightmare.” Not very flattering stuff, but when you consider that Christ died for us in our corrupt state, and through his death and resurrection he lifts us out of the pit. That he has redeemed and rescued those in Christ. It gives us reason to hope, and praise Him! Only the gospel will change a human heart.

Another great quote from the week comes from Dallas Willard, “In the spiritual life, one never rests on one’s laurels. It is a sure receipt for falling. We deserve nothing before God, no matter how far we have advanced, and we are never out of danger. As long as we are ‘at home in the body’ (II Cor. 5:6), we are still just recovering sinners.”

Jerry & Peggy Cross

In addition to learning and growing through the teaching, and small groups we were able to connect with some old friends. Jerry and Peggy Cross were at the conference. We served with them in Mexico City, and we’ve known them for over 20 years. We hadn’t seen them in eight years or more. It was a real blessing to be able to catch up with them.

We also saw John and Sue Burch. We went through cross-cultural training in Detroit with them 21 years ago. I guess, I’m dating myself. We’ve been in missions for a while now. John and Sue served with MTW in Australia, and now they work in the spiritual life department in Atlanta. David White, who used to work with BEAMM in El Paso – Juarez leads the spiritual life department. It was good to be able to catch up with him as well.

John & Sue Burch

Now we are getting ready to fly home. We don’t really have any time to catch our breath as this Sunday we are having a lunch after church to promote and help launch our ministry with BEAMM as we prepare to move to the San Diego – Tijuana Border. We are praying that 300 come to the lunch, and that the Lord will use it to move us that much closer to being fully funded and being on the border. Please pray with us that this event is a huge success!

In His Grip, Dave

Dave & Dawn with Ron & Queta Shaw

On Sunday, Dawn and I were able to see some good friends, and former colleagues with Mission to the World, Ron and Queta Shaw. They served in the spiritual life department at MTW. Ron was a pastor to the missionaries. The Lord used them many times to encourage us as we served in Mexico City.

They also ministered to us when we left Mexico. Ron reminded me, “Dave, don’t make an idol out of Mexico, and don’t make an idol out of being a missionary!” It took a while for those words to sink in. I really did love being a missionary in Mexico, and at the time it was hard to let go. It was something I needed to hear, and it has stuck with me to this day.

Even though the Lord is calling us back to the field, I still don’t want to make an idol out of being a missionary, or Mexico.

It was great to reconnect with the Shaws in Asheville, NC at their church. It was also fun to meet some of their friends over lunch at a house with a beautiful view of the North Carolina mountains. Such encouraging people. Thank you Jesus! Dawn and I enjoyed the wonderful Southern hospitality!

We are at Ridge Haven this week in North Carolina, for MTW’s, Living in Grace conference. It’s a conference that focuses on the gospel. If we are going to share about God’s grace with others, it’s important for us to be deeply rooted, and grounded in God’s love.

Ron Shaw wrote the material for this conference. I am reminded again while I’m here not to make an idol out of ministry, my children, people, etc. Do not put anything before God. Isn’t that the first commandment?

Thank the Lord for good friends like Ron and Queta. For friends that encourage us along the way.

In HIs Grip, Dave

Juan and Marta Arjona

While Dawn and I were in San Diego a little over a week ago now, one of the privileges we had was to connect with Juan and Marta Arjona. Juan and Marta are from Mexico, and they’ve been working on planting a church among the very poor in Escondido. It was a lot of fun to see them.

We met at this Mexican restaurant that served food from the Oaxaca region. They served “grillos,” crickets, and “gusanos,” worms. Delicious! Yeah, right. We passed on those delicacies. What we did have was very tasty or “sabroso”.

Even more “sabroso” was the fellowship we shared as we ate. Juan and Marta are doing a good work. They have a Bible study, and food distribution after the Bible study every Saturday. The mayor of the city loves them, because of the positive impact they’ve made. He said he wished there were ten more churches like theirs in the city. They have 80 people in their church, and they are doing all kinds of creative things to reach and love the people.

Juan with Dave and Ray Call

The challenge has been that since they are reaching the poor it’s been hard to fund their ministry. Last year Juan and Marta lost their house. They’ve wondered whether they should return to Mexico. Sometimes they’ve felt all alone, because there are very few doing this work in the States.

Our prayer is that the Lord will strengthen the way for Juan and Marta, and provide for them. They are faithful servants. We pray that we can be an encouragement to them when we get there. We’d love to see the churches in the area rally around them to see the ministry flourish. Pray with us that the Lord will bless in this way.

In His Grip, Dave

David with his Mom getting his room set up!

Since it’s Labor Day, and I have a little time to reflect I thought I’d share a sentimental moment. Yesterday, when I went into the balcony at church I saw David sitting at the table where he volunteers for Village 7. He helps with the projection system by running ProPresenter. I saw him for a split second, and a smile came to my face. Then all of the sudden I remembered, “Oh, David’s not here anymore!”

I suppose that was one of the many sentimental moments I will have as I adjust to my son’s new adventure, which takes him away to college. He’s at San Diego Christian College. I wrote about the beginning of his college experience a couple of weeks ago.

David with his R.A., Emmanuel

Dawn and I are happy for David. We believe he is in a good place. We were very impressed with the school when we helped get him started. We are excited by the positive Christian atmosphere at the school. We loved seeing him interact with his new friends. He introduced us to Arturo, his friend from Guadalajara, Mexico. We also enjoyed meeting his RA, Emmanuel from Kenya.

We are thrilled that he is able to intern at Harbor Mid-City. He’s already started working with them. Stephen and Bradford Phelan are some of our favorite new friends. The Lord is blessing their ministry. Stephen just texted me yesterday, and said they had a glorious conversion during the service. Praise God.

Yet even with these many good and happy thoughts there are the sentimental moments. They are not all bad, but they do remind me that I miss having my son close by. This is something that all parents go through as their grown children go off to college. It’s not particular to those in ministry. I noticed when I posted things about David going off to college on Facebook, I got a few more comments than I normally do. My friends can relate.

I had to chuckle when I saw one of our friends, Kian Shuemann’s post on Facebook after leaving her daughter at King’s College in NYC. She said, “is feeling like a horrible mother,” then she listed all these things she got for Caroline for school, and then she remembered she forgot to get her a flashlight. Even though she said this in jest, it’s something all us parents wonder from time to time. Did we do it right? Did we forget something?

20 years ago! Sorry, David sometimes it's hard to remember you are not a little guy anymore

It’s hard getting used to not being able to walk upstairs to my son’s room to talk to him about baseball, college, ministry, dreams. aspirations, etc. Although the other day we used FaceTime to talk to him, which is similar to Skype, and we talked to him for a long time. It was almost as good as being there! Dawn who was crying at first, seemed reluctant to engage. I suppose she was overwhelmed by the emotion, and she too misses her son. After we got done with the call we thought, “Wow, in some ways that was better quality time than we have when we are together.” Maybe because when we are together, everyone is doing their own thing.

Son, our prayer for you continues to be that you grow to be more and more like Christ each day. We pray that will be reflected in how you serve him and love others. Amen!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

Dave, Dawn and Hannah with Mario, Silvia, Chivis, Cesia and Diane

We just returned from our amazing trip to San Diego. We had a wonderful time with Mario and Silvia Silva, their two girls, Chivis and Cesia, and their niece Diane. Mario and Silvia were our best friends our second term in Mexico. It was a great reunion.

Although we saw Mario in February, and Chivis lived with us for six months, we hadn’t seen the rest of the family for about 10 years. Wow, time flies! It’s such a blessing to see all the different places the Lord has taken us, and now he has brought us back together again.

Not only are Mario and Silvia great friends, but they love Jesus, and they have a strong interest in working with us on the border. This was one of many steps we need to take to determine whether the Lord is calling them to work with us.

It was so fulfilling to see them interact with many of our other good friends, and ministry partners. Stephen and Bradford Phelan along with Edgardo and Elizabeth Avila from Harbor Mid City. Ray and Michele Call our team members with BEAMM. Daniel Nunez our friend who is spreading the gospel in Tijuana.

Mario & Silvia, Dave & Dawn with the Phelans

One of the unfortunate events that happened while we were in San Diego was that Bradford had a miscarriage. We all felt for their loss. Mario and Silvia really wanted to pray with the Phelans, and say good-bye before they left.

Last Friday morning, Dawn and Hannah took care of the Phelan children while Bradford went to the doctor. When she came back we prayed for Stephen and Bradford. Mario and Silvia have a real gift in prayer. They pray with power, and with much faith. After we prayed Bradford said she felt the Holy Spirit’s presence. Praise God!

Continue to pray for Stephen and Bradford as they deal with the loss. Often healing is a process, and the Lord graciously uses the prayers and encouragement of friends.

Cesia, Mario, Chivis, Diane and Silvia (from left to right)

Lord, we continue to ask you for your healing touch for Bradford and Stephen. We also pray for your leading for Mario and Silvia as they consider whether you would have them serve you on the border. Make straight the way before us.

Thanks for your interest in what we are doing, and for your holy prayers!

In His Grip, Dave