Archive for June, 2013

Dave and Dawn in Chicago

Dave and Dawn in Chicago

Hope for Healing

Dawn and I are learning and being recharged this week at a conference in Wheaton, near Chicago. We believe that part of our calling on the border is to see the Lord bring healing and wholeness to many who have experienced brokenness. We are grateful that God has given us this opportunity.

The conference is at Wheaton College. The school started around 1860, so it has some great history.

The Billy Graham Museum

The campus also houses and runs the Billy Graham museum. The museum looks at impact the gospel has had on America, and how it has gone out to the world. Since it’s named after Billy Graham it does trace his ministry from beginning to present. The museum also highlights some other evangelists that the Lord has used in the U.S.A., such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, etc.

Billy Graham's pulpit that was shipped around the world and used at his evangelistic campaigns

Billy Graham’s pulpit that was shipped around the world and used at his evangelistic campaigns

I found it inspirational to look back on how the gospel has had a profound effect on the U.S.

It is sad that the church has lost some of her influence in our country today. Yet the Lord is still using the Church, and God is still on the throne.

Our Prayer

O Lord, please do bless and stir up many to receive the healing and wholeness that only the gospel can provide. Grant us your bountiful blessing as we seek to make an impact on the San Diego – Tijuana border. Our eyes turn to you. Lord, please do work!

In His Grip, Dave

The Lord Gave us Another Outstanding Week.

It was hard to beat the wonderful experience with the children’s outreach in Tijuana this last Saturday. So we didn’t try, but it did give us some great momentum going into this week!

God Works Through Relationships
Martha, Dawn and Abraham getting to know Rafael

Martha, Dawn and Abraham getting to know Rafael

On Tuesday Dawn and I were able to share the gospel with a Rafael. After we shared the gospel with Rafael, and probed a little we believe he had already trusted Christ, but that he is still a very young in his faith.

Rafael is hungry to learn. He told us he wanted to find a good church, and learn more about God through the Bible. We introduced him to one of our favorite pastor friends, Abraham. Our new friend, who has a new-found faith is looking to get plugged in, and to grow.

We first met Rafael at Harbor Mid-City. He came to visit, because he was in San Diego with his parents. They were visiting a friend of his mom’s that goes to Harbor Mid-City. Wow! It’s so good to see God work through relationships on both sides of the border.

Encouraging the Hearts of Pastors

After our meeting with Rafael, Dawn and I spent some time with pastor Abraham and his wife, Martha. These are some of my favorite times in ministry. Abraham has such a heart for the Lord. He wants to serve the Lord, and honor him in all that he does. Abraham asks me some great questions, which forces me to lean hard on Jesus.

A New Church Connection
Pastor Mauro and his wife in a small group discussion

Pastor Mauro and his wife in a small group discussion

Then to top the day off I taught at a new church that I’m establishing a relationship with. The pastor’s name is Mauro. He is a great man, who loves the Lord. His church is going through some growing pains.

Dawn and I had such a good time worshipping with the church. The people responded really well to my teaching. The church has been through some difficult days over the last few months. They are in need of healing, and hope.

Our prayer is that the Lord will use the little that we bring to be words of comfort and healing.

I found it interesting, because I just loved my time teaching at this church. I left filled up. Before I went to the church though, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. For some reason even though I usually feel so encouraged afterwards, I feel like I don’t have the energy or desire to teach or preach before I get up to do it.

I reflected on this tendency after I spoke, and I think part of the battle is that Satan wants to discourage me, and keep me down. This is another reason why your prayers are so important!

Today we are off to a conference in Chicago. Pray with us that the Lord ministers to us, and fills us up at this conference, so that we are better equipped to serve here on the border.

In His Grip, Dave

David Jr. face painting. He had quite a line waiting for his famous painting!

David Jr. face painting. He had quite a line waiting for his famous painting!

Fun Activities and the Bible

I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness this past Saturday when we ministered in Tijuana. I led a group of 23 down to Pípila in the eastern part of TJ to work with our friends from Lo Mejor del Trigo.

Our goal was to minister alongside the Lo Mejor del Trigo church in Pípila, in order to bless the community through an outreach to children. One hundred and twenty children came. They were treated to all kinds of fun activities: face painting, balloons, weaving a lanyard, making beaded bracelets and necklaces, soccer and a Bible story. The kids loved it.

Cindy Frueh with Annabelle and Marcelina

Cindy Frueh with Annabelle and Marcelina

Our team from Harbor Mid-City did a wonderful job working with the children and those from the Pípila church. Cindy Frueh organized and coordinated our group to ensure that all the activities were fun, and done well. Everyone had such a wonderful attitude. The light of Christ shined brightly.

We give thanks for Cindy, and all of those who helped. She did such a great job leading, that it took a lot of pressure off of me.

Since things went so well, it gives me much hope for the future that we can come alongside the church in Pípila and be a blessing to them.

Give thanks to the Lord with me for the marvelous work he has done, and he continues to do!

Fun with the Piñata

Fun with the Piñata

Dale, Dale, Dale …

That’s how the song begins when the children are attempting to break the piñata. After the children got their fill of all the other activities we finished it off with a big piñata filled with candy. Then since the children worked up an appetite, our Mexican “hermanos” made a wonderful meal with tamales, beans and salad for them.

I must admit before the event I was a little worried about all the details coming together. I don’t feel like organizing all the logistics is my strong point. Yet the Lord chose to work through my weaknesses. It was a success, because of the wonderful team of people from our church and from the Mexican church that came together to serve.

Jonathan having some fun helping the children paint a mural

Jonathan having some fun helping the children paint a mural

God Causes the Increase

It was also encouraging interacting with those from the church. They told us how the church is growing. In the last month the church has seen four new families come to Christ, and get involved in the life of the church.

God is working in Tijuana in a powerful way.

Since the church just started in November they still don’t have many young families with children, so we are hoping that this children’s event will give them a big boost towards reaching young families in the community. Join us in prayer for this need. O Lord, hear our prayer!

In His Grip, Dave 

Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

The Gospel Shines Brightly

Earlier this week Dawn and I met with pastor Rodrigo Vallarta and his wife, Nancy. They lead a Lo Mejor del Trigo (The Best of the Wheat) church in eastern Tijuana. The area of the city is called Pípila.

It was so encouraging to meet with them, and to learn how the Lord was providing for them.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about their church, and I listed some of the needs they had as a prayer request. Click here… to see that post and those requests.

The Lord’s Awesome Answers

God has provided in wonderful ways for Rodrigo, Nancy and the church.

  1. The local church was able to pull together and put some bars on the windows for security, since it had been broken into and it wasn’t safe to leave things of value in the church.
  2. God reminded Rodrigo of a dentist in Tijuana that told another pastor friend that he would be willing to treat people who didn’t have the means to pay. Nancy went to the dentist this past Wednesday. We are anxious to find out how that went! She still suffered through tremendous pain for more than a month.
  3. Some items were also donated to the pastor and the church: a car, a computer and the funds to put in electricity at the church site.
Rejoice in His Provision

Sometimes we pray, but forget to thank God when he answers. I want to make sure everyone knows, and ask you to rejoice with us in how the Lord marvelously provided for them!

David reminds us in Psalms 103:2 (ESV)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits

Family Outreach in Pípila
Nancy & Dawn - We are praying the Dentist visit will take care of the pain Nancy has had, and bring healing.

Nancy & Dawn – We are praying the Dentist visit will take care of the pain Nancy has had, and bring healing.

Tomorrow (Saturday) a group of us from Harbor are going to partner with the church in Pípila to do an outreach in the community. We are going to have a number of fun activities for children, and then a meal for the families that come. There are 20 of us that are going on the trip.

Friends from the church in Pípila are already messaging me, and letting me know how excited they are that we are coming. When Dawn and I met with Rodrigo and Nancy on Tuesday, Rodrigo said he was thrilled that we were coming so soon after we helped start the church last November.

Rodrigo also told me that the church is growing. God is moving in the community. We pray that this outreach will help them to further their reach.

Join us in Prayer

Join us in prayer that the Lord uses the fun activities and Bible stories to help the church make a positive impact in the community of Pípila. It’s a wonderful way to get the word out, and to make more people aware that the church is there. A city set on a hill. We are also praying that we will be an encouragement to the people in the church. How pleasant it is when the brothers dwell together in unity!

In His Grip, Dave

A great time at the "convivio" at our house on Sunday afternoon

A great time at the “convivio” at our house on Sunday afternoon

One the many things I love about our Latino friends is that they are strong relationally. Whereas, you might say Americans tend to be more task driven, Latinos are driven more by relationships. One isn’t better than the other, but Dawn and I do enjoy the latino culture.

One of my core values, or philosophical beliefs about ministry is that

Ministry flows out of relationship

That belief is not unique to me. The last time I was in Mission to the World’s headquarter’s I noticed they have a big banner that says exactly that, “Ministry Flows out of Relationship.” The point being that if you don’t have the foundation of a relationship with someone it’s hard to move forward. It’s hard to get the task done.

Convivio and the Bible

In Spanish a gathering is called a “convivio” the verb is “convivir” which literally means, to live together. This aptly describes time that is well spent living, laughing and loving with others.

This idea brings to mind some passages in the Bible, that express God’s heart for true fellowship.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. —Acts 2:42-44 (ESV)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2 (ESV)

“O Lord, that this would be a true expression of the activity and level of relationships exhibited here.”

The Importance of Building on a Strong Foundation

If you need to build on the firm foundation of a relationship in the U. S., it’s even more true in Mexico and other Latin countries. Much ministry is done over meals. Food is a wonderful way to enjoy one another and to get to know each other. When I take our American friends into Mexico I usually remind them of the importance of breaking break together. When we are willing to spend time with someone, it demonstrates that we are interested in them personally.

enjoying some tacos with Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Pastor Rodrigo Vallarta and their families in TJ

enjoying some tacos with Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Pastor Rodrigo Vallarta and their families in TJ

On the border two very different cultures merge. I see this every time I cross the border and go into Mexico. I also experience it in our church, because we have two languages (Spanish and English) and people from different cultures in our church.

I remember when I started going into Tijuana to get to know the pastors and ministry of Lo Mejor del Trigo. I asked Daniel Nuñez, the leader of the LMT movement in TJ, how I could work with the pastors. He recommended that I begin by spending time with them, and building a relationship with them. That was very sound advice. Since we moved to the border, Dawn and I have worked hard at getting to know the pastors and their wives. We’ve grown to love those that we’ve developed a relationship with.

Also, we’ve eaten some great tacos, and other wonderful Mexican cuisine along the way.

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

One way you can pray for us is that we will build a firm foundation for ministry here that the Lord will use for the expansion of his reign on earth as it is in heaven.

In His Grip, Dave

God Continues to Advance the Gospel in TJ
Abraham & Martha, Dawn, Cristina & Cesar (the pastors and their wives that Dawn and Dave were with this week)

Abraham & Martha, Dawn, Cristina & Cesar (the pastors and their wives that Dawn and Dave were with this week)

Dawn and I spent a wonderful afternoon on Tuesday with some pastor friends and their wives. It was wonderful, because we were able to encourage one another. We laughed. We shared heart to heart. We prayed for one another.

Even pastors need to be reminded of the gospel and grace. As Jack Miller and others have stated, we need to preach the gospel to ourselves.” Luther said, “we need to the beat the gospel into our heads.” Ministry can bring you to your knees, but God and the gospel lifts us up in due time. For some reason, we have a short memory and we tend to forget how desperately we need Christ and the gospel of our risen savior.

Christ-centered Preaching

In early May, Bill Yarbrough, Mission to the World’s Latin American International Director came to the border. While he was with us he was able to share with a number of pastors from the Lo Mejor del Trigo movement about Christ-centered preaching. Some of the guys told me they wanted more of the message of grace. Bill and I thought it would be helpful if we could encourage them to think through how to preach the gospel more powerfully in their churches.

I’ve been following up with the pastors. We are beginning to study together some of the principles of Christ-centered preaching. I can’t wait to see what changes this will bring to the pastors and those in their congregations.

Please Join us in Prayer

I believe as we move forward with the gospel that Satan seeks to disrupt and attack what we are doing, so we need major prayer. Pray that Christ will be lifted up in all that we do. Pray that God will bless and that the gospel will be powerfully proclaimed in San Diego and Tijuana as we minister on the border.

In His Grip, Dave

Roberto & Mana Shim

Roberto & Mana Shim

Today (Sunday) marked the beginning of a new era for Harbor Mid-City. Roberto Shim began his first Sunday as pastor of the Spanish-speaking congregation.

Roberto and Mana Shim have been very involved at Harbor for a while, but he’s just started leading the church’s Spanish-speaking ministry. We are excited about what lies ahead.

We will miss Edgardo and Elizabeth Avila. Edgardo was the previous pastor at Harbor. He pastored since the inception of the church. Edgardo and Elizabeth did a wonderful job leading the church. They are great friends, and it’s been hard to see them move on. Yet we know the Lord has a new ministry for them. He will use them as they seek him.

Change is not easy, but we are excited, because we believe that Roberto has the gifts the church needs to help it move forward today. Our hope and prayer is the same, that God’s kingdom will be expanded through the ministry of his church.

Just as Edgardo and Elizabeth have been great friends, we love Roberto and Mana. They are wonderful servants of the Lord, and they are a joy to work with.

I’ve been meeting with Roberto and Vicente for the past several months. We have been planning and praying. I feel like the Lord has given us a great sense of camaraderie. We are working as a team and thinking through how to grow the church and how to be a blessing to the community.

Lord, we do pray that your kingdom will be expanded on the earth as it is in heaven. Use Harbor Mid-City to be a blessing to the community. We ask that you would give us wisdom and boldness that your Word will go forth powerfully and that many will be reached for Christ. Give Roberto wisdom as he leads the church.

In His Grip, Dave