Archive for February, 2014

God lifts Us Up to Serve

As we climb out of this trial we’ve been going through, or should I say as God lifts us out of this trial, things are looking up for us. In the Lord’s grace we are able to get back in the groove of ministry.

Ensenada & Denver Come Together
Iglesia Nueva Jerusalén in Ensenada

Iglesia Nueva Jerusalén in Ensenada

On Wednesday, Dawn, Hannah and I went to Ensenada for some ministry meetings to set up a short-term missions project for the summer. Skyview Church from Denver is planning on coming to work with the church in Ensenada.

Iglesia Nueva Jerusalén, New Jerusalem church, in Ensenada will receive Skyview. The church from Denver will work the Ensenada church to reach out in the community.

I met the Nueva Jerusalén church last summer, and they asked me if I could find a church to partner with them in ministry by helping with VBS, and other community outreach.

Encouragement Through Short-term Ministry
Ricardo Sanchez, one of the leaders from the church that we are working with

Ricardo Sanchez, one of the leaders from the church that we are working with

I enjoy groups that come down to minister. Our desire is to see this ministry project be an encouragement to the Mexican church, and a great opportunity to learn, grow and serve for both groups.

Nueva Jerusalén doesn’t have a pastor right now, but they are a good group of people who love the Lord. They have a heart to see the Word of God go forth, and to reach their city for Christ.

Our Dream

This is a short-term trip, but our long-term dream is that one day soon we will plant a new church in Ensenada. We are talking to a couple right now that are applying to Mission to the World, and they would like to minister with us in Ensenada.

Our prayer is that this experience will not only be an encouragement and blessing to both of these groups, but that it will open the doors for further ministry. O that God’s kingdom will be expanded in Ensenada.

Join us in Prayer
Dawn & Hannah enjoying some fish & shrimp tacos! Ensenada is famous for it's fish tacos, so it was a  cultural experience - Muy sabroso!

Dawn & Hannah enjoying some fish & shrimp tacos! Ensenada is famous for it’s fish tacos, so it was a cultural experience – Muy sabroso!

Pray with us as we bring this trip together. There are a lot of details that go into setting up these ministry trips. One of our prayer requests is that the Lord would bring someone to work with us that has organizational and administrative gifts. Someone that can help us grow our short-term mission trip ministry and ministries of mercy.

God does provide we just have to wait on his timing.

In His Grip, Dave

In my last post I wrote about how we’ve endured a season of trials, but now things are getting better. We are hopeful and even rejoicing in what God is doing!

A Time to Build
Two of our friends, Pepe & Ulysses working on the house. They also helped me get my car fixed!

Two of our friends, Pepe & Ulysses working on the house. They also helped me get my car fixed!

There are various seasons of life

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

— Ecclesiastes 3:4

The passage in Ecclesiastes 3:3 also mentions, “a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” among other things. There is a time for everything.

The Lord has been bringing healing, and whereas we felt like we were being broken, God is building. He is building in our lives, as well as literally building via the ministries we are serving with.

Even in the midst of the tumultuous ride that we’ve been on, the Lord has been at work. Last week we had a wonderful time with Redeemer Church San Diego and Lo Mejor del Trigo Rojo Gomez.

Hunter Benson, back left with some of the others from Redeemer that came on the trip

Hunter Benson, back left with some of the others from Redeemer that came on the trip

I talked to Hunter Benson, the leader of the Redeemer group, and he told me about all the positive reports that he has been getting since the trip from those that joined us.

I also saw Scott Griffiths, who guided the construction on the pastor’s home. Scott said he really enjoyed working with Redeemer. They did a great job, and worked hard to get the project done.

You might remember that my car broke down during the trip. It needed a new fuel pump. I was able to get it fixed for a reasonable price, which is a huge answer to prayer. I picked the car up on Friday, and I saw the house at the church in Rojo Gomez. It’s close to being finished.

While I was at the house they were working on the some of texturing, so they could paint the inside of the house, and put up the kitchen cabinets. Our hope is that the house will be completely done and ready for Abraham and his family to move into in about a week.

Joy in the Journey

It gives me joy to see how committed God is to his work advancing. I know it isn’t dependent on me. I am thankful that he allows me to be involved, and to be blessed as I work with friends to bless others.

Thank you so much Jesus for this tangible demonstration of your love.

The Lord Builds the House

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

—Psalm 127:1

O Lord, do build the house. Do watch over the city. We recognize our dependence on you for all things – for the advancement of your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!

In His Grip, Dave

The Highs & Lows of Life
The Diaso Family at Christmas!

Jon, David Jr. Hannah, Dawn & Dave with Daisy

Over the last several weeks we have experienced some highs and lows. I’ve written about the huge trial our family has been going through.

Paul in Romans 12:15 encourages us to, “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” It has felt like we’ve done more than our share of weeping recently.

In Ecclesiastes Solomon writes about different times and different seasons of life. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Almost immediately upon starting 2014 we found ourselves in a pit. It was easy to weep and difficult to laugh. We lived in fear. There were days of despair. We felt many of the negative emotions that most experience when they are going through a dark time in life.

The good news is that now we are starting to smile and rejoice in the Lord’s deliverance.

The Lord Lifts Us Up

We found ourselves in a valley, fighting for hope. Those days caused us to identify with the time for weeping that Solomon speaks of. Yet despite the sorrow we felt, the Lord sustained us. He gave us strength through the trials we endured. He used the prayers and love of faithful friends to keep us upright.

Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice

Over the last week things have been getting much better. God has brought healing to our family! He’s grown us and drawn us close to him.

Now we are rejoicing!

We give thanks for your loving support. Where would we be without our friends? Where would we be without our God?

Continue to pray for the Lord’s comfort and his healing work.

In His Grip, Dave

A Fruitful Weekend in TJ
Redeemer working on the kitchen cabinets

Redeemer working on the kitchen cabinets

Wow! What an outstanding weekend the Lord gave us in TJ!

On Saturday morning I met the Redeemer San Diego church at the border, and we drove into Tijuana together. Redeemer brought 38 eager people down to minister with the Lo Mejor del Trigo church in Rojo Gomez.

Ministry Through Building and Connecting
Having some fun while putting the roof on

Having some fun while putting the roof on

Our mission was to build a parish home for Pastor Abraham Velazquez and his wife, Martha. That was the main focus of the trip, and the group pulled up their sleeves and got to work once we made it to Rojo Gomez.

One of the highlights of the trip is just seeing people from very different cultures, who speak different languages come together to minister together. I could tell that it really touched the heart of a lot of those that came down.

Redeemer also worked with Pastor Abraham to minister to children from the community. They lead the children in fun activities including crafts, painting and games.

Then Abraham taught the children a gospel story about the prodigal son. The children that came were very engaged, and they enjoyed their time with the group. I’ve included a sample of the time in the video below.

A Home for Abraham and Martha
The group working hard to finish up the house

The group working hard to finish up the house

It was so encouraging to see how hard everyone worked to complete the pastoral home. This home will be a huge blessing to the church, and specifically to Abraham and Martha and their two children Gadiel and Salmai.

It’s important to have someone live next to the church partly due to the need for security. I just talked to one of my friends, Pastor Leo Nevarez about this very need. Leo pastors a church in Rosarito. He told me that a group donated a number of toys for Christmas gifts for the children in the community. They stored the toys in the church, but before they were able to give them to the children some thieves broke into the church and stole 100 toys.

What a bummer for the church and the children!

That is one of the reasons it’s important to have someone live near the church. In this case it also helps out Abraham and his family. They don’t have a car at this time, so it aids them in their commute to work.

A City Set on a Hill

Our prayer is that the church in Rojo Gomez will be a city set on a hill that shines the light of Christ brightly in the community.

Abraham said that since he started serving at the church it has grown from about 30 to over 100. In many of the churches in Mexico there are many women and very few men. They started with three men and now they have more than 11. God is blessing!

Prayer & Praise
Worshipping together before we start the work

Worshipping together before we start the work

Join us in praising the Lord for the good work that he is doing on the border. It makes my heart glad to see people’s lives changed as they minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love seeing our friends from Redeemer being affected in a significant way through their interaction with the Mexican people.

Thank you Jesus!

Thank you friends for standing with us in prayer.

We did have two setbacks, which reminds me that we need to intensify our prayer covering.

My car broke down while we were in Tijuana, and it is still there being repaired. One of the vans Redeemer rented was involved in a fender bender coming back into the US. It is a real headache trying to work with the insurance companies. Pray that both of these cars will be fixed soon and without any major expense.

I give thanks that the Lord kept us safe and used us to spread the love of Christ in Mexico.

In HIs Grip, Dave

An Exciting Weekend Ahead!
Fun in Worship with the Children

Worship & Outreach with the Children in Rojo Gomez

Today I’m making the final preparations for our weekend taking Redeemer San Diego to Tijuana to work with Lo Mejor del Trigo in Rojo Gomez.

The prep isn’t my favorite part of the trip, but if you don’t prepare well the experience will reflect that. We want everyone from both churches, on both sides of the border to have a wonderful experience.

Your prayers are huge! So please continue to pray and lift us up.

Two Churches Working Together for God’s Glory

I am looking forward to working side by side with friends from these two churches. The churches bring so much energy, and it’s so good to watch them connect with people from a different culture, who speak a different language.

The love of Christ is very evident as those that come to serve bless their brothers and sisters in Christ. The light of Christ also shines brightly through these dear friends. The Lord uses the curiosity of those that live near the church to attract them. They are curious, because there are a lot of people, and most do not look like them or talk like them.

This will be the second time these two churches will work together, so over time relationships are built and God does some amazing things.

I look forward to writing next week about all that the Lord will do through this outreach.

Pray for a Fruitful Outreach in TJ
Dave at our missions table with Pastor Abraham and his wife Martha and their two children

Dave with Pastor Abraham and his wife Martha and their two children, Gadiel and Salmai

We head down to Rojo Gomez Saturday morning. Pray for the safety of the group, and that the Lord will use us to bless the community and the Lo Mejor del Trigo Rojo Gomez church. We will be building a home for Pastor Abraham and his wife, Martha. The church will also reach out in the community through fun children’s activities.

Thank you so much for joining us on this journey!

In His Grip, Dave

Redeemer San Diego & Lo Mejor del Trigo
Tury Nuñez with Martha and Abraham Velazquez and their children Salmai and Gadiel

Tury Nuñez with Martha and Abraham Velazquez and their children Salmai and Gadiel

Yesterday was a great day! I spent the day at Redeemer San Diego’s missions fair with Pastor Abraham Velazquez and his wife, Martha along with their two children and Tury Nuñez from Lo Mejor del Trigo in Tijuana.

It was a wonderful day, because I love talking to people about our work. I love Abraham, Martha and Tury and the others we work with in Tijuana. It was fun to be with them.

It lifts my spirit when I find other people who are interested in our work on the border. They have a super group of people at Redeemer, and they have a keen interest in missions.

Upcoming Missions Outreach in TJ

I am leading 45 people from Redeemer down to Tijuana this coming weekend. They will be ministering at Abraham and Martha’s church. It warms my heart to see the growing relationship between Redeemer and Lo Mejor del Trigo church in Rojo Gomez.

Abraham and Martha are some of Dawn and my favorite people that we work with in Tijuana. We enjoy serving with them and they are easy to love.

It’s exciting that Redeemer is bringing down such a large group to TJ. As I was interacting with the people at the church a number of others told me that they wanted to go on the trip, but that it had already filled up by the time they decided to sign up!

Wow! I look forward to what the Lord will do through this group this weekend.

Abraham told me that a number of people from his church will be coming to work on the building project and outreach this weekend. I think it’s going to be a great time to bring people from two countries and two or more cultures together to live and serve together for a couple of days.

Join Us in Prayer
Dave at our missions table with Pastor Abraham and his wife Martha and their two children

Dave at our missions table with Pastor Abraham and his wife Martha and their two children

Pray that the Lord goes before us and richly blesses our time this weekend. We need the Lord to protect those that are participating, and to give us his success in our efforts to serve.

Pray for Hunter Benson, who is the missions pastor at Redeemer and who is working with me to organize the trip. There are a lot of details and planning that go into making sure this a good experience for everyone.

I appreciate your continued prayers for my family. We aren’t through the trials yet. I think things are getting better, but at a much slower pace than I would like. “O Lord, grant me and my family patience, wisdom and grace during this time. Thank you for watching over us, and giving us your strength to endure.”

In His Grip, Dave

God is at Work Through Our Weaknesses

Despite the trials we’ve been experiencing there are some wonderful things that the Lord is doing! Yes, God does works through our weaknesses.

A New Church Plant!
Pastor Ivan Casados with the land for the new church site behind him

Pastor Ivan Casados with the land for the new church site behind him

On Thursday I had a great meeting with two of my colleagues and we got excited about the new initiatives we feel the Lord is leading us to take on this year. God has provided the funding for us to start to new church planting project in Tijuana.

The pastor that will be leading this plant is Ivan Casados and his wife is Rocio. They are choice servants of the Lord. The church plant is in an area of Tijuana called Valle Verde, which means Green Valley. It’s a misnomer, because there isn’t much green in the valley.

At the moment I’m working with Ivan on going through an evaluation process to enable him to be better prepared to lead the church plant.

We’ve been working on putting this project together since the Fall, and we’ve had a few set backs along the way. It makes it all the sweeter to see this coming together.

April Launch for New Plant

We are planning on building the church in April. Please join us in prayer as we continue to work on making this happen all for the glory of God that his kingdom will be expanded on earth as it is in heaven!

Grateful for Prayer

Thank you for all the encouragement as my family and I have been going through a difficult season. Things are definitely getting better, and we know the Lord is hearing and honoring your prayers. We are not out of the woods yet, so your prayers continue to be huge for us.

We are looking to Jesus and thankful for friends as we endure this storm of life.

In His Grip, Dave

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less…
Billy, Hillary, Hannah & Dawn. We were blessed by Billy and Hillary coming over to encourage us yesterday!

Billy, Hillary, Hannah & Dawn. We were blessed by Billy and Hillary coming over to encourage us yesterday!

The last couple of days the Lord has been encouraging me through friends, hymns and praise music.

The theology found in many Hymns is rock solid and profound. Hymns not only help us worship the Lord they also remind of the eternal truths of the Bible. Hymns like, When Peace Like a River, Grace Greater than Our Sin, Nothing but the Blood and My Hope is Built.

Then there are great songs like, Jesus Loves Me and As the Deer Pants for Water.

My Hope is Built on Jesus

I love the words found in these hymns. For example the Hymn, My Hope is Built:

1.	My hope is built on nothing less 
	than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 
	I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
	but wholly lean on Jesus' name. 
	On Christ the solid rock I stand, 
	all other ground is sinking sand; 
	all other ground is sinking sand. 

2.	When Darkness veils his lovely face, 
	I rest on his unchanging grace. 
	In every high and stormy gale, 
	my anchor holds within the veil. 

3.	His oath, his covenant, his blood 
	supports me in the whelming flood. 
	When all around my soul gives way, 
	he then is all my hope and stay. 

4.	When he shall come with trumpet sound, 
	O may I then in him be found! 
	Dressed in his righteousness alone, 
	faultless to stand before the throne! 
—Text: Edward Mote, 1797-1874

I understand that there are many who don’t like hymns and you may be one of them, but you can’t argue with the value of the timeless truths found in them. It brings me much comfort to sing and to meditate on what God has done for us through the Son.

Yes, that give me hope!

Doesn’t it encourage your spirit? Doesn’t it lift you up?

A New Birth is on the Way!

We are ready to start a new church plant in Valle Verde in Tijuana. In the midst of our tears and sorrows the Lord is still working, and his kingdom is advancing. We will start the work on this church planting project as early as next week!

Prayer Covering

The Lord has been reminding me through the trials our family is going through how much we need prayer covering to protect us. I don’t fully understand the angelic war that goes on in heaven and on earth, but in Ephesians 6 we are told to stand firm in the battle. Paul exhorts us to put on the full amor of God and to pray.

Your prayers play a huge part in this battle that we are engaged in.

Keep praying! Thanks so much for standing with us in prayer!

In His Grip, Dave