Archive for November, 2011

I just read about the value of giving thanks in a blog by Katya Anderson. She referred to a study that demonstrates the correlation between happiness and giving thanks.

“According to this Washington Post article, researcher Jeffrey Froh found that early adolescents who counted their blessings in a journal every day were more satisfied with their lives, and schoolchildren exposed to a gratitude curriculum reported more appreciation and happiness.”

If it works for children, I’m sure it works for adults as well!

Today I would like to give thanks for the godly mentors the Lord has given me over the years. Two of the most important men in my life apart from my dad, are Dr. Thomas Graham and Dr. William T. Iverson.

I will feature Dr. Graham in my next post, so stay tuned. Today I will focus on Dr. Iverson.

Bill Iverson & Dave

I met Bill 27 years ago when I entered seminary. It was a time when I was young, and thought I knew much more than I actually did. Bill had a knack of putting us in uncomfortable places, and letting us squirm a little. It was practical theology at it’s best. He used to call it theology with skin on.

I have many stories from my time with Bill. One of my fondest memories is from my first semester in seminary. Bill took me down into the city of San Bernardino. It was the seedy part of town. I grew up in the suburbs, so I didn’t feel entirely comfortable in the places we visited. We found ourselves in this run down coffee shop. Bill being the gregarious guy that he was just started talking with different people in the coffee shop. He noticed one of them had a book, so he asked him about it. He was friendly in the way he asked, and he showed interest in those he talked to. He always looked for ways to engage people.

I saw Dr. Bill boldly loving these people, and I was astonished. I said to him, “Bill, how are you able to talk to people so easily, I always feel afraid to engage people I don’t know.” He said something I’ll never forget. “Remember these people are scared too, and you have something they don’t have, you have the Holy Spirit.” Then he added, “Just learn to enjoy people.” Wow! what a great lesson.

I also went on my first trip to Mexico with Bill and a group of seminary students. I share this story, and how the Lord used Bill to lead me to Mexico in one of my early posts – God’s Leading to the Border

One of the philosophies that I’ve held on to in all my years in ministry is that, ministry flows out of relationships. I learned that in a very real sense in that coffee shop.

If you ever get a chance to talk to Bill he’s sure to bring up the part he played in hooking Dawn and me up. And it is true that when I first met Dawn she lived right across the street from Bill, and his wife, Ann. Bill and Ann helped foster our relationship!

God has blessed me in having two such godly figures in my life. I hope to write more about each of them in my blog in the future. Both of them are 83 years old. They are both still very involved in ministry.

Bill at 83 is planting a church in New Jersey. I think he’s still got more energy than I do! He was just featured in an article in byFaith Magazine. You can check out the article here.

In His Grip, Dave

Daniel Ezequias Silva

I’ve asked you to pray for the birth of Mario and Silvia Silva’s baby boy. Daniel Ezequias arrived on October 28! Mario and Silvia are proud parents and we happy for them. They have two daughters, Silvia “Chivis” and Cesia. You might remember that Chivis stayed in our home this last year from September till February.

We are praying and trusting the Lord with Mario and Silvia that they will be able to join our team on the border. It’s been encouraging to see the steps of faith that they are taking towards moving to the border. Mario pastors a church in Mexico City. They are building a relationship with another church with the idea of merging with them. This will provide someone to lead and care for the people after they move.

It’s very encouraging for me to see these steps of faith, as there are still many unanswered questions before us. Two big obstacles to overcome are getting them a visa, and coming up with the finances for them to live and serve with us. We’ve talked about a bi-vocational model which can help ease some of the financial burden. We walk by faith, and not by sight, right?

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

Dawn and I appreciate your prayer for Mario and Silvia’s growing family. We pray that the Lord will show us the way, and make the path straight.

The more I think and pray about it, I believe that having them be part of our team is key as we seek to plant a church, and see a movement of God on the border. Our prayer along with our partners is that the gospel will so fill the binational cities of San Diego – Tijuana that they will be renewed in every way–socially, spiritually, and culturally.

We are thankful for you as we celebrate Thanksgiving! Thanks for standing with us. We couldn’t do it without you.

In His Grip, Dave

Amish Farm in Lancaster, PA

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit two churches in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Westminster and Harvest. They are in Amish country. A friend from the Harvest church, Lee Troup took me around Saturday afternoon to visit some Amish farms. He also introduced me to a few Amish families. It was a good learning experience.

Lee shared with me what he knew of the Amish way of life. They do some things very well. They are great at community, and caring for one another. They are also able to take care of themselves without depending on the those from the outside. Lee told me that 80% of the people stay within the church. That’s much better than most of our churches do.

The beauty of Lancaster!

On the other hand, since they isolate themselves from the outside they aren’t big on outreach and missions. The Bible encourages us to be in the world, but not of it. It’s very difficult to have dialogue with those outside the church if we don’t interact with them. That’s the area where the Amish are weak.

Then on Sunday after church I went out to lunch with Eunice Nichols, who is an 85 ball of fire for the Lord. She attends Harvest Presbyterian Church. We had lunch with a friend of her’s, Wo. Wo is not a believer. He claims to be a Quaker. He questions whether Christ is the true Messiah. Eunice wanted to share the gospel with Wo, and she wanted me to help her do it. So together we talked to Wo about our Savior, and our need to trust in Christ alone. Unfortunately, Wo was not very open.

After lunch Eunice told me that she felt like she was bolder than she might have been if she was alone. She seemed encouraged that she was able to be a witness for Christ, although at the same time saddened that Wo was so closed to the gospel. Please pray for Wo that he will humble himself, and come to know Christ.

As I drove away that day, I thought, Wow, I hope I love the Lord, and have as much fire in my belly as Eunice when I’m 85!

In His Grip, Dave

Daniel Nuñez leading the church

It was apparent that many were praying last weekend, as we held the Living in Grace conference in Tijuana with the church, Lo Mejor del Trigo. The Calls had some major car issues before the event started, which had me a little nervous, since we were dependent on them for transportation. It should be no surprise that when we serve the Lord, that our enemy would want to discourage us, and attack us. I’ve often seen that he will use things like cars, or other mechanical items to prevent an important ministry event from taking place. But our God is greater than our enemy!

The Lord came through as He always does. A church took care of the Calls while they were stranded in Albuquerque, and they got their van fixed just in time to make it back to the border to help out. Praise the Lord for meeting their need, which helped tremendously with our conference.

I sensed the Lord’s presence as we were with Daniel Nuñez, and his church, Lo Mejor del Trigo. The people in the church responded well to Bill Yarbrough’s teaching on grace. Daniel told me that the people won’t change overnight, but it was a needed message. A number of people in the church struggle with adding things to the gospel. This is a common problem that churches face on both sides of the border. One of the difficulties in regards to adding things to the gospel is that you can never do enough, and you will eventually burn out. It is Christ alone that saves us, and the Holy Spirit sustains us as we walk this journey of faith. You can read more about the conference here: day 1, day 2, day 3.

Daniel looks on as a woman in the church gives testimony to God's powerful work in her life

Jesus speaks of the Word of God as being seed that is sown. I pray for fertile soil, where this seed will germinate and bear much fruit.

Daniel is doing a great work. It’s exciting to see all the workers he is training up to serve, and to lead in the church. He has been able to plant 12 churches in six years, and he has a goal to plant 50 churches in twenty years. I pray that he not only reaches this goal, but exceeds it. I pray that it will be a gospel centered movement. As this movement grows may they have a deep and enduring impact on Tijuana and beyond.

The Lord truly blessed our ministry launch in TJ, and I pray this is only the beginning of seeing His powerful work as the gospel goes forth on the border!

I would appreciate your prayers as I’m traveling now on the East Coast. I will be in Lancaster, PA this weekend, and in Baltimore, Gaithersburg and Annapolis next week.

In His Grip, Dave Diaso

David, Jr., Dave, Daniel, Bill and Ray

Bill Yarbrough has done an outstanding job leading Living in Grace in Tijuana with our friend, Daniel Nunez. The first night we had a great group. As Bill began to share about how helpless we are to save ourselves, and our complete dependence on the Lord for our growth in Christ, they slowly got on board. At first, it seemed like they were wondering where he was coming from, but as he shared more they began to warm up, and become more engaged.

We had a real downpour on Friday, so we had to cancel the event that was planned for Friday night. The church we were going to meet at required people to drive through mud, and huge puddles. This meant that the people would not show up.

On Saturday things dried up some, although it was still hard to get to the church we made it. The group on Saturday was comprised of a number of pastors and their spouses. It was thrilling to see their enthusiasm to come and learn. All of these pastors have at least one other job to help sustain himself. Their commitment to serve the Lord is laudable.

Bill, Dave and Jim crossing back into the USA on foot

We have one day to go, Sunday. We are excited to meet with our dear brothers again. It is so encouraging to see people begin to get the concepts of grace. It’s been quite an experience crossing back and forth across the border. It’s giving us a glimpse of what ministry here might look like.

Thanks for praying. We do sense the presence of your prayer. God indeed is moving in the hearts of men and women on the border.

In His Grip, Dave

Crossing the Border into Tijuana

We are off to a great start! Bill Yarbrough did a great job presenting our need for grace. He really connected with those that came, and we had a good group. The people that came got the message, and they were very encouraged by it. Thanks so much for praying, as I sensed God’s leading, and His presence.

There is a sense in which grace is such a basic Christian concept, and yet it is also profound. It is not always easy to fully grasp, and live out. One of my friends with Mission to the World has described it as trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. Even when you are holding it, it tends to slip away. We are so prone to either go towards gritting our teeth, and trying harder or just giving in, and doing what we desire. We either add things to the gospel, or we become overly liberal with our freedoms. Neither one of these are healthy nor good choices. We need to look to Christ and Him alone, not only for our salvation, but for our daily walk with Him. We are powerless to live the Christian life in our own strength.

Bill Yarbrough presenting the gospel of grace

I’m excited that the conference is off to such a good start. Now I’m looking forward to continuing, and seeing the Lord work. We will go into Tijuana again on Friday, and stay overnight. The conference continues all morning on Saturday. Then on Sunday we conclude with Sunday worship, and we will wrap up the conference on living in grace.

Continue to pray for the Lord’s protection, and His rich and powerful blessing.

In His Grip, Dave

Dave with Daniel Nunez

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning today! We are launching our first ministry event in Tijuana. It’s the first big thing we are doing in ministry on the border. Bill Yarbrough, who is MTW’s Latin American director is flying in to lead the conference. Bill was a missionary in Mexico for a number of years before taking on his present position.

We are partnering with Daniel Nunez, and his church planting movement, “Lo Mejor Del Trigo,” to put this event on. I have some video of Daniel at the bottom of the ministry partners page of this blog.

When I planned this event about six months ago, I was sure we’d already be living here. It’s created some additional challenges pulling this off, since we haven’t moved yet, but we do have a place to stay, and we have transportation, so the Lord is making it work.

I feel a little apprehensive since this is our first big event, and I haven’t been able to spend much time in Tijuana yet. I covet your prayers today for peace, safety, and that as the gospel goes forth that it will bring change to people’s hearts and lives. Also that our ministry will be strengthened through this, and get off to a good start!

Jim DeWitt, Dawn and Dave with Juan Arjona

Yesterday, Dawn, Hannah, Jim DeWitt and I were able to meet with Juan Arjona, who’s planting a church in Escondido. It was great to be able to visit with him, and encourage him. We do pray that his ministry will grow, and be strengthened.

I especially appreciate your prayers for us today as we go to Tijuana! Lord, please do grant us your rich blessing, and protect us.

In His Grip, Dave

David Jr. is in the middle with the blue shirt

Every time we come to the border God strengthens and confirms His call for us to be here. Even though we haven’t been able to move yet, we are thankful that we can visit. The Lord uses these visits to enable us to see our friends, ministry partners and the needs of the border. We meet and make wonderful new friends.

This past weekend we’ve been able to visit our friends from Harbor Mid-City, and friends at New Life La Mesa. There are so many extraordinary people at these churches that it’s impossible to list them all.

Stephen and Bradford Phelan are among these extraordinary people. Since our house isn’t selling, which has forced us to wait, I asked Stephen Phelan and his prayer ministry team if they would pray for us on Sunday. They always have a time for prayer during communion after the sermon. Annie Day is one of the key leaders on the prayer team. Annie has prayed for us in the past, and she has a real gift in the area of prayer and discernment. The Lord has used her to encourage us in a big way.

Our friends at Harbor who prayed for us

On Sunday Annie, Karen and Edgardo prayed for us. It was such a healing experience. Their prayers strengthened our hearts. It also reminded us of the spiritual battle that we are in. Satan doesn’t want us to be able to minister on the border. Thankfully, we serve a great God! Christ defeated Satan on the cross, and through his resurrection. We must live, and walk in this victory.

I know that ultimately the Lord is in control of when our house sells, and how soon we get to the border. Yet it is also true that Satan, our enemy, the roaring lion would want to discourage us. He wants to keep us from getting here. He wants to render us ineffective. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities of this world. Praise be to God, that Christ has overcome. We are more than conquerors in Christ! Nothing shall separate us from his love.

We not only experience opposition our selves, but those on our team do as well.  Ray and Michele Call have been in the thick of the trials and the battle lately. They just had their van break down outside of Albuquerque. They’ve been stranded there for five days waiting for the transmission to get fixed. A huge expense, and inconvenience for them. We have our first big ministry event in Tijuana coming up on Thursday, and we could really use them to be here. Pray with us for the safety of their family, and their soon arrival back to Bonita, California.

I just heard from Ray a few hours ago. They did get their transmission fixed, and now they are on their way home! They hope to make it here by late afternoon on Wednesday.

Again, I thank you for standing with us in prayer. Thank you for holding us up. I thank the Lord for you, for our friends at Harbor and our friends around the world who are upholding us in prayer.

In His Grip, Dave