Archive for September, 2013


Tijuana-welcome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love being able to highlight good news coming out of Mexico. Each day I read a number of news feeds about Mexico, and it’s not all good news, so it is always a source of encouragement to read about positive change in Mexico.

Just last week an article came out from that reported that Tijuana is 28% safer than Chicago. Read article here…

I already posted this article on Facebook a few days ago, but I wanted to make sure that you saw it in case you didn’t see my Facebook post.

There’s been a huge change for the better over the last five years in Tijuana.

Dawn and I visited Chicago this summer, and we didn’t feel like we were in an unruly city. The media does play a big part in our perception of a place.

This quote from the article titled, Tijuana is much safer than Chicago, written by Brenda Colin and Omar Martinez describes some of our misconceptions and challenges of changing those misconceptions.

It’s very common when speaking well of Mexico that the neighbors up north do not recognize the changes that have been made, and continue to make comments about “the great danger of visiting Mexico”, but for those who have come and visit its cities, they know well that its nothing like “they” make it seem to be.

Comparing Tijuana and Chicago is only one example of how important is to look further into details before making your own judgments, and not just going by what everyone else thinks.

Keep praying for a renewed Tijuana and a revived border.

In His Grip, Dave

New Beginnings in La Paz
The group that met together to open up the new work in La Paz

The group that met together to open up the new work in La Paz

On Wednesday I participated in a historic event for the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (NPCM). The head of evangelism for the NPCM, the leader for the Church Planting  Center, leaders from the Fronterizo Noroccidental (Northwest Border) Presbytery met with us to explain and agree on a plan to open a new field and start a new church in La Paz, Baja California.

I feel like this is huge, because it’s not always easy to find common ground and to agree to work together when people from different cities, cultures and organizations come together. Yet God made a way!

La Paz, Baja California

La Paz, Baja California

Another reason that it’s a major accomplishment is that there are not any Presbyterian churches in La Paz, and there are only a few churches. La Paz, which means, the peace, needs the prince of peace to reign in their midst.

I represented Mission to the World (MTW) at the meeting, and I presented our missionary workers who will be working alongside the national church planter, Peter and Jenny Boling.

It’s exciting to be part of something new!

I learned some more about Mexico during our meeting. There are 27 cities in northern Mexico. These 27 cities contain 80% of the population in northern Mexico. There are 50 million people living in northern Mexico. The other interesting fact is that the northwest part of Mexico has less than 2.5% of the presbyterian churches in Mexico.

Praying for the Prince of Peace to Reign in La Paz
Praying for the work in La Paz

Praying for the work in La Paz

Anyway you look at it the need it huge. That’s one of the reasons that I ask you to pray. This is the Lord’s work and only he can bring the increase.

Peter and Jenny Boling are now living in Los Cabos, and they will begin doing the preliminary work to start the new church. In the meantime we will be working with the NPCM and the Church Planting Center to find a lead church planter. The Lord knows who that will be, but we don’t know yet. Pray that the Lord raises up the right person for the ministry.

In His Grip, Dave

A Church Planting Network in Mexico
Monterrey, Mexico

Monterrey, Mexico

God opened my eyes even wider as I was challenged to consider working with others to reach Northwestern Mexico for Christ. I found myself feeling encouraged and at times overwhelmed.

I felt overwhelmed, when I got my eyes off of the cross, and focused on my own efforts, and how I would be able to accomplish the task of seeing the gospel extend to other parts of Mexico. I was encouraged as I considered joining with others, and an already strong church planting network that is based in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Church Planting Center

The Centro para la Plantación de Iglesias (Church Planting Center) is a ministry of Mission to the World (MTW). Dawn and I played a small part in the beginnings of this effort. We served in Mexico City when the seeds for this work were being sown.

Not everything that MTW has done in Mexico has borne fruit, so it’s thrilling to see when God does put his finger of blessing on a work.

Connecting Movement Leaders
Andres Garza and Daniel Nuñez chatting over a wonderful Mexican meal

Andres Garza and Daniel Nuñez chatting over a wonderful Mexican meal

One of the most exciting things for me on this weekend was that I was able to introduce Daniel Nuñez from Tijuana and a movement leader in his own right to the group here. I’m not sure what God will do as a result of the connection that Daniel was able to make with Andres Garza, who leads the Church Planting Center, but it’s fun to watch.

I enjoy dreaming about what might be. What could be! That’s at least part of what vision is all about.

I dream of a day when San Diego and Tijuana will be an even bigger hub for the extension of God’s kingdom on the border, and in northwestern Mexico.

Andres Garza sharing about the dream of MTW for northern Mexico

Andres Garza sharing about the dream of MTW for northern Mexico

I learned this weekend that 96% of the Presbyterian churches in Mexico are in the southern Mexico. There is a huge need for the church to grow and be strengthened in northern Mexico, and even more so in the northwest.

Keep Praying

I believe that part of the reason the Lord is increasing our vision and in doing so our boundaries is because of so many of you lifting us up in prayer.

Tomorrow I leave for some meetings in the La Paz, Baja California where we will discuss the opening of a new church planting field in that city. La Paz is the capital of Lower Baja California, and we don’t have any churches there. It’s a strategic city with a huge need. Join us in prayer that the Lord will go before us and bless our time in La Paz.

In His Grip, Dave

Lo Mejor del Trigo – Pípila
Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

Dave and Dawn with Rodrigo, Nancy and Luz

Just the other day Dawn and I met with Rodrigo and Nancy Vallarta. Rodrigo pastors the Lo Mejor del Trigo Church in Tijuana in the community of Pípila.

Rodrigo was excited as he was sharing about a new family that started coming to the church in May. They came to Christ through the witness of the church, and they were baptized this last month. Our prayer is that the Lord will bring many more to the cross.

The church in Pípila is going to celebrate it’s one year anniversary on November 3rd. Just a year ago Harbor helped them to start the church. It’s encouraging to see all that the Lord has done in the last year!

Outreach to Children and Families
Festival Infantil - Outreach to Children in Tijuana

Festival Infantil – Outreach to Children in Tijuana

Harbor Mid-City continues to partner with the church and bring down groups to serve, and help with evangelistic outreach. In June over 120 children came to the “festival infantil”. We already have the next one planned for October 26th.

I love being able to bring together those in our church at Harbor to minister alongside our brothers and sisters in the Pípila church.

Having fun with bubbles

Having fun with bubbles

When I visited the church last month I recognized two of the children who had come to the children’s event, and they are now attending the church.

Rodrigo and Nancy tell us that bringing all the Americans down raises curiosity, so more children and families come.

It’s so good for our people to encounter some of the needs, and differences they see when they cross the border. I believe the Lord even uses the long border wait to get back into the U.S. to teach some valuable lessons about what many have to deal with daily.

Join Us in Prayer!

Pray with us that the Lord continues to grow this church. Pray that he gives pastor Rodrigo and his wife, Nancy wisdom as they serve together and provide leadership for the church.

Dave with Daniel Nunez

Dave with Daniel Nunez

On a side note, Daniel Nuñez, the leader of the Lo Mejor del Trigo movement, and I are leaving for Monterrey, Mexico early today. We are going to visit the Church Planting Center with the hope of increasing our vision for church planting in Tijuana. I also believe it will be a great opportunity for our friends in Monterrey to meet Daniel and to learn about his vision and what he’s doing to accomplish it.

Pray that it is a fruitful and productive trip. Also pray for Dawn while I’m gone. She does get lonely, so it’s a sacrifice for her when I travel.

Thanks so much for standing with us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave

Dave preaching

Dave preaching

This past Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to preach in Spanish at Harbor Mid-City. I preached on Genesis 37 – God goes before you.

Joseph’s Dreams

Joseph dreamt two dreams in Genesis 37. The dreams were an indication of what God was going to do through Joseph to save his people. It shows that God is the hero of the story!

In the midst of the two dreams the story is told of all the dysfunction among Jacob’s sons. They hated Joseph. They wouldn’t even speak to him kindly.

A Family of Dysfunction

This was due in large part to the favoritism that Jacob showed to Joseph. Jacob learned this from his parents, as Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob. The sins of the fathers are passed down to the third and fourth generation.

Then as the story moves along with Joseph and his brothers, they decided to kill him. First they grabbed him and threw him in an empty cistern. The very next verse, verse 25 says, “Then they sat down to eat…” So they threw in a dry cistern and then had lunch as if it were just another day at the office.

Joseph’s Strength of Character

Joseph through all of this proves to be of higher character than his brothers. This is one of the reasons God was able to use him to be the leader that he became in Egypt. He saved his family, the tribe of Israel and the people of Egypt through his foresight and leadership. He was a type of Christ as he was also betrayed, and then they both saved their people.

There is tremendous pain in this story when you consider all the hate and hurt that happened within a family. It reminds me of the Mexican telenovelas, or even our own Soap Operas.

It’s amazing that Joseph was sold into slavery at the age of 17. He was not able to go to Sabbath school, or learn anymore about God from the Egyptians. Everything he learned about God from his parents was already instilled in him at age 17. He was able to stand strong against all odds in Egypt. He was imprisoned unjustly and he still was able to maintain his faith and thrive amidst all of this.

Joseph was truly a prince of a man.

God’s Healing Work
Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pie...

Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois, 1863 oil on canvas, at the Musée Municipal Frédéric Blandin, Nevers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then after Joseph is reunited with his family. He sees that God has worked in the heart of his brothers, and brought about change. They are reconciled in God’s grace.

When Jacob died, the brothers feared that Joseph might seek revenge. Joseph responded in Genesis 50:20,

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Joseph did not deny what his brothers did was evil, but he was able to forgive them and recognize that God used even their evil for his good. That was one of the messages that the Lord gave Joseph in his dreams about the future events. God was saying in a sense, “I go before you, and I prepare the way so that my people saved.”

Then later came Jesus, who died on the cross for our evil deeds. He provides a way for us to be forgiven and saved. Hallelujah!

When you feel down or discouraged remember that God goes before you, and that he prepares a way.

In His Grip, Dave

The Noche Mexicana
Dawn and Dave celebrating the Noche Mexicana

Dawn and Dave celebrating the Noche Mexicana

Wow! What a wonderful time we enjoyed celebrating the Mexican Independence day, with all our friends here on the border.

We began our fiesta in the afternoon to bring in the Noche Mexicana. Great food and amazing friends equaled an outstanding time. Now I can’t wait till our next party.

Events like this are huge for us in connecting with people and growing deeper in our relationships. Our hope is as we grow closer and deeper it will also open more doors for us down the road.

God works through relationships.

One of the fun things that happens apart from the amazing food is the grito that the president of Mexico gives every year.

The Grito
Feasting with our friends!

Feasting with our friends!

Here is the Grito, which literally means the yell. I list it first in English then in Spanish:

Mexicans! Long live the heroes that gave you the Fatherland! Long live Hidalgo? Long live Morelos! Long live Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez! Long live Allende! Long live Galena and the Bravos! Long live Aldama and Matamoros! Long live National Independence! Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico! Long live Mexico!

Edgar and Lilia festejando

Edgar and Lilia festejando

¡Mexicanos! ¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria! ¡Viva Hidalgo! ¡Viva Morelos! ¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez! ¡Viva Allende! ¡Vivan Aldama y Matamoros! ¡Viva la independencia nacional! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!

Lord break through in Mexico and with all the Mexicans living on the US side of the border.

In His Grip, Dave

A Stressful Week
Dave, Dawn and David Jr. with Dave's parents, Virginia and Ron

Dave, Dawn and David Jr. with Dave’s parents, Virginia and Ron

Last week the Lord brought my dad through an open heart bypass surgery, for which I’m very grateful. Thanks for praying.

It was a stressful week!

My dad going through such a huge surgery. Then the owner of the home we are renting said that she might want us to move out in two months, or she is going to raise the rent. We had some other family challenges back in Chula Vista. I felt stressed, and I thought the enemy was trying to discourage us.

God’s Loving Care

I took all this to the Lord in prayer. God reminded me that he is going to take care of our housing needs.

I felt like he spoke to me in this way, “The Father wants to give me good gifts not a stone or a serpent. Wait on the Lord. He will show me in due time. God is going to do a great and mighty work. Trust. Have faith. Wait.”

I’m not sure I have a clear sense on what God is going to do, and in my weaker moments I doubt.

The View of TJ from the local Starbucks

The View of Tijuana from the local Starbucks near our home

Dawn and I were praying and talking about our concerns and our hopes for a house. We love the location of our home, and it seems too early to have to move, since we’ve only been here one year.

It would be close to impossible to move right now with all the things we have going on through the rest of this year. If we were to move it also seems like such a waste of time and energy!

Don’t Laugh, Trust God

Then Dawn said a few people had told her with all the ministry we do out of our home we may need a bigger home, maybe a five bedroom home. I laughed, because homes are so expensive here and it would take a true act of God for us to be able to afford a home like that. Yet, I shouldn’t laugh because this is not too big of a challenge for our God.

Dawn warned me, “You shouldn’t laugh. Do you remember what happened to Zechariah the priest, the husband of Elizabeth when he doubted? He was unable to speak and he remained mute until John the Baptist was born.” (Luke 1:5-23)

I didn’t really care for Dawn telling that, but she does have a point. What is difficult for man is not difficult for God. The Lord can and will do a great and mighty work in our midst. He didn’t bring us here to abandon us!

Lord, forgive me for my unbelief. Do lead us as we look to you for your provision for our home, which is our ministry launching pad!

In His Grip, Dave

Ron & Virginia Diaso (Dave's dad and mom)

Ron & Virginia Diaso (Dave’s dad and mom)

On Wednesday my dad, Ron Diaso underwent an open heart bypass surgery. It made for a stressful day, but the Lord answered our prayers, and my dad made it through the surgery.

I asked many to pray through this blog, Twitter and Facebook and many responded. I’ve been extremely encouraged by the outpouring of love and prayer support.

Thank you for praying!

Thank you Lord for coming through! Thanks so much for giving us more time with my dad this side of heaven.

I do pray that my dad will grow in his faith and love for the Lord, and use the time well that the Lord has gifted him with.

God blest me by enabling me to be in Fresno with my parents and my brothers during the surgery and these days of recovery. My dad was moved from ICU on Friday, and we are hoping he will come home by Monday.

Thanks for standing with us friends. You are a tangible reminder of God’s grace and his loving care for us.

In His Grip, Dave

David Jr. celebrating Mexican Independence day with Dawn and Dave in Mexico City

David Jr. celebrating Mexican Independence day with Dawn and Dave in Mexico City

Last night Dawn and I were reminiscing with David and Jonathan about some of the experiences our kids had in Mexico City. David Jr. wrote this story about a night of adventure, that the Lord used to strengthen the faith of my young family. I love the way David tells the story!

Car Troubles in Mexico City

My mother always reminds me of a story of our time spent in Mexico. It was late and dark as my mom drove through a very poor and equally dangerous part of Mexico City on Donceles road. The only light came from the high beams of our van. Sitting in the back seats were my six-year-old little brother Jon, my four-year-old sister Hannah and seven-year old me. We were making our way back home from a dinner at a friend’s house when the van suddenly hit a boulder-sized pothole and the van came to a screeching halt. Our tires were blown out. Hannah started bawling in her car seat, while Jon and I just sat there confused.

“Mommy what’s happening?” I asked, “Why aren’t we moving?”

My mother was obviously freaking out as she was shaking and busted into immediate prayer mode, but was trying her best to keep her calm for us. She wondered what to do. We were in the worst part of Mexico to be stuck in. I could tell mom was getting worried so I suggested, “Mommy let’s sing,”

“Sweetie I’m not really in the mood to sing right now” my mom responded. Obviously I disagreed. I had one of those musical books that play a song when you push the button.

“Come on mommy we’ll all be happy if we just sing . . . John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, his name is my name too…” Tears began to roll down her face.

“Mommy are you okay? Are we going to die?” I asked timidly.  Confident that I could cheer her up, I exclaimed, “Don’t worry mommy! Remember Daniel in the lion’s den? We just need to have faith and pray!”

Jon, Hannah & David Jr. having some fun

Jon, Hannah & David Jr. having some fun

My mom looked back at us with a warm smile and thanked me for being so brave. She began praying as I piped in one last time.

“Mommy just in case we die, we should pray with Hannah because she doesn’t know God. And remember to pray in Spanish so she’ll understand us.” After a few hours of being stranded, God answered our prayers. A man came up to us and offered us his cell phone to call our mechanic Jorge.

I enjoy listening to this story from David Jr’s perspective. The missionary life isn’t always an easy one, and living in the largest city in the world was not a walk in the park. You might remember the experience I shared a few months ago about being kidnapped in Mexico. Yet, God took care of us. He taught us to trust him even in the midst of trials. It’s a lesson we continue to learn as we minister here on the border.

Join us in Prayer for Ron Diaso
Dave, Dawn and David Jr. with Dave's parents, Virginia and Ron

Dave, Dawn and David Jr. with Dave’s parents, Virginia and Ron

Tomorrow, Tuesday I head up to Fresno to support my parents. My dad will have an open heart bypass surgery on Wednesday, September 4th at 7 AM PT. Please join us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave