Archive for March, 2014

Baseball & Church Planting
Dave with Pastor Ivan

Dave with Pastor Ivan on the foundation for the new church plant

I’m excited about two events that are going on this week. One is the beginning of baseball season, and second is the building of the new church in Tijuana.

On Tuesday I will be with some church planters to discuss church planting in Southern California and Tijuana. Then after the meeting we’ll go to a baseball game together. That’s like a day made in heaven!

Hope for Valle Verde

As much as I may enjoy baseball, the new church is even better. When you think of all the lives that will be touched, and the people who will be reached for the kingdom in the community of Valle Verde in Tijuana. Wow! What a privilege to play a part in that.

Join Us in Prayer
Meeting on Sunday with some of the people that will be going to build the church in TJ

Meeting on Sunday with some of the people that will be going to build the church in TJ

Pray with us for all the details as we make the final preparations for our trip to Tijuana with a group from the Harbor network of churches on April 5th and 12th. I’m still working on setting up all the van transportation, and getting all the insurance forms filled out. The details aren’t the fun part of the trip for me, but very necessary if we wish to have a successful trip.

Our church planting couple Ivan and Rocio Casados just got back from the church planting assessment center in Monterrey, Mexico. They did very well there, and told me that it was a real blessing for them to be there. Ivan said that they were able to learn more about themselves and church planting through their time in Monterrey.

Thank you Jesus for your good work!

One of the many things that encourages me as we serve here on the border is that the longer we are here the more we learn and we are able to improve. God’s grace enters in and allows us to do an even better work.

Rejoice with us! Pray for a wonderful two weekends and a Spirit  inspired launch of this new church plant.

In His Grip, Dave



Be Still My Soul
The Diaso Family at Christmas!

The Diaso Family – growing together in God’s grace

Through our work in the ministry and our family trials God has been teaching me some great lessons. One of them is the importance of resting in him.

That has not been an easy lesson to learn. The Psalmist in Psalm 46:10 says to cease striving and know that I am God. Yet I continue to strive.

I’m grateful that the Lord does not give up on this slow student. He is a patient and loving teacher.

There are some wonderful promises in the Bible, that I have a hard time believing. Just think of Psalm 127:2, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Draw Near to Jesus
pastor Leo leading us in prayer

pastor Leo leading us in prayer at the border

I think that’s an amazing verse, because I often feel guilty if I’m not staying busy. There’s this battle to be always at it, always doing something that at least feels productive. Jesus said Mary had chosen the better thing as she was at Jesus’ feet while Martha was busy serving.

The Lord has impressed on my heart that I need to grow in listening to his voice, and to do that I need to be quiet. I ask the Lord that he will work in my heart and help me to slow down and rest in him.

When I meet with the pastors I’m working with, I’ve been encouraging them to learn to listen to the voice of God. It’s essential for ministry, especially if we want to last and be effective.

God calls to come before him and to rest in him

God calls to come before him and to rest in him

O Lord, please continue your holy work in me. Make me like Jesus. Cause me to work hard, but also to slow down and to rest in you. Be still before the Lord.

In His Grip, Dave




A New Church is Born
Pastor Ivan Casados with Pastor Daniel Nuñez on the new church's foundation

Pastor Ivan Casados with Pastor Daniel Nuñez on the new church’s foundation

On Friday afternoon pastor Daniel Nuñez and his wife, Yolanda and I went to visit pastor Ivan Casados at the new church plant site in Valle Verde. They just poured the slab for the foundation last week, so it’s exciting to see the progress on the building.

Ivan gave us a good report about how excited his people are about the construction for the church. It will give them more visibility in the community and create the opportunity for them to reach new and different people.

We are praying that we will have the majority of the church building completed in time for their first service on April 13th, Palm Sunday. Join us in prayer that the Lord will bring everything together for his glory, and that the church will reach their neighbors as the gospel goes forth.

Training Our Pastors
Rocio & Ivan - Please pray for them as they lead this new work

Rocio & Ivan – Please pray for them as they lead this new work

Pastor Ivan and his wife, Rocio are heading to Monterrey, Mexico today for a church planting assessment center. This will help them to discover their strengths and weaknesses, which will be a tool to aid them in being better church planters.

I was planning on going with Ivan and Rocio, but because of the trials my family is going through right now many friends and co-workers counseled me that it would be better for me to not attend this time around. I’ve worked with Ivan and Rocio and talked to other friends that will be there to make sure they will be well taken care of and have a good experience.

The assessment center is part of our larger plan to better equip our church planters. The next step will be incubator training that they will attend in the fall.

I’m thrilled that even though we’ve only been on the border for a year and a half that the Lord is moving this forward, and new works are springing up.

The Church Moves Forward on Her Knees

We should attempt great things for God, but in doing so we need much prayer.

Dave with Pastor Ivan

Dave with Pastor Ivan

Here are some specific prayer requests:

  1. Ivan & Rocio’s travel to and from Monterrey, Mexico and for a great experience at the assessment center.
  2. For all the details to come together in the building of this new church.
  3. We will be doing the majority of building on April 5th and 12th.
  4. I’m working on recruiting and organizing 50 – 60 people who will be coming down to build the church.
  5. Transportation – that we have enough for everyone, and that we don’t have any trouble getting to the site.
  6. That God will protect everyone that goes on the trip, and that they will all have a great experience.
  7. That the Lord will use this for his kingdom and his church will grow in Tijuana.
  8. That the Valle Verde church has a wonderful opening church celebration on April 13th.


Thanks so much dear friends. I don’t know what we would do without your prayer covering!

In His Grip, Dave

God Gives Us Hope in the Darkness
Dawn & Dawn with one of the children, Hannah

Dawn & Dawn with Hannah

When we find ourselves in a difficult place we might wonder if God will truly rescue us. We might wonder if there is hope in the dark places.

Dawn and I have seen the Lord intervene in the trial we have been going through. We found ourselves in the hospital for many days. At first we resisted, but it was as if the light broke through.

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

The Lord not only rescued us, but he brought us hope. Dawn told me that God gave her a peace, and she even felt his joy as she visited and ministered in the hospital.

We saw amazing responses to the love of Christ. Numerous opportunities to share the gospel. New friends coming and asking to pray with us.

God’s spirit truly broke through in a very unexpected place. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

We Give Thanks for All the Love

Dawn and I have been so encouraged by all the loving support we’ve received over the last couple of weeks. That has been one of the things that God has used to lift our spirits.

We would have never chosen this trial, and at times it seems like it’s deterred from our work on the border. In spite of this we know that God has a greater plan, and that he will use it for his glory which is ultimately good for us.

Mentors and Friends Encourage Us
Dave with Dick Kaufmann

Dave with Dick Kaufmann

One of my mentors, Dick Kaufmann, who was featured recently with his wife, Liz in an article in byFaith The Online Magazine told me that when trials come that they start looking for the good things that God is going to do. The article is titled, Transforming Grace and it’s worth checking out.

Dick & Liz Kaufmann from

Dick & Liz Kaufmann from

Here’s an excerpt from the article where Dick and Liz “point to I Peter 4:12-13 to help explain the purpose in their pain: ‘Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.’ Dick says, ‘When God allows us to suffer for Jesus’ sake, we are advancing God’s kingdom. That gives me courage and confidence that God is going to turn the tables on evil and use it for good.'” (ByFaith The Online Magazine: Transforming Grace:Dick & Liz Kaufmann by Susan Fiske, March 12, 2014)

We are seeing God turn the tables on evil already. God is doing not only good, but some outstanding things! Our family is receiving healing, and we are feeling much better.

Thanks for praying, and for caring for us! That does help so much as we journey with you. We are not alone, and we are so thankful for that.

In His Grip, Dave

The Lord’s Prayer
The beautiful sunset Hannah & Dave saw at Imperial Beach last night

The beautiful sunset at Imperial Beach

I grew up praying the “Our Father” or “The Lord’s Prayer”. The repetition caused the words to lose some of their significance.

In the last few years I’ve been struck by the wisdom and power found in this prayer that Jesus modeled for us. Of the many wonderful petitions and phrases in the Lord’s prayer, I’ve been especially drawn to the beginning of the prayer. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

I love to think of God’s kingdom expanding on the earth as the gospel is proclaimed. Dawn and I pray that this will be true of the border.

Lately we have also been praying through our present trial.

Our Plea to Our Heavenly Father
Dave and Dawn - thankful for the Lord's renewing work on the border

Dave and Dawn – thankful for the Lord’s renewing work on the border

We pray the Lord’s prayer, Jesus’ words:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. —Matthew 6:9,10 (ESV)

Dawn and I find it helpful and uplifting to pray the Lord’s prayer, then to add. “there is no sickness in heaven (we usually mention a specific sickness or ailment we have, or a family member has) so we pray that you will bring healing.”

I find it comforting to know that one day there will be no more pain and suffering. It is also consoling to realize that God brings some of heaven to earth. We long to see heaven realized.

There is Healing in His Wings

God is at work in some amazing ways. We know he is the God who heals.

We are also learning that when something bad happens to us we can look for him to do a good work, so that grace renewal stories begin to take place.

One example of this is that while we’ve been visiting the hospital over the last week, Dawn has had numerous opportunities to share her faith. Two people have prayed to receive Christ. Others have been encouraged, and the light of the gospel is going out in a place where there is much despair .

Praise God for his good work.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

Is the Question Why or Who?

David Jr., Hannah and Jon,  bring us a lot of joy

David Jr., Hannah and Jon, bring us a lot of joy

My heart is heavy as we traverse through this trial. As far as I’m concerned it’s already gone on too long, but my Dad above has a different plan. His timing doesn’t always concur with what I would like.

It’s hard and all kinds of questions come to mind. Most of the questions begin with why? Yet I think there is a sense in which if I focus too much on the circumstances that It’s easy to get down.

The Psalmist’s Heavy Heart

I can identify with the Psalmist when he pens Psalm 42:1-5

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation” ESV

I have to remind myself again and again to hope in God.

Through friends, family and the Word of God I’m reminded to focus on the who. It gives me comfort to know the who that is somehow using even the worst of circumstances in my life. I’m grateful that the who is my ‘abba’ Father, my daddy. He is working to build patience, character and hope in me and my family.

The Value of Suffering – Rejoice

Romans 5:1-5 reminds me of God’s commitment to us.

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

Billy, Hillary, Hannah & Dawn. We are blessed by good friends who encourage us!

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ESV

Hannah with Daisy

Hannah with Daisy

Paul exhorts us to rejoice in our sufferings, which seems absurd at first glance. Yet he isn’t encouraging us to rejoice, because we enjoy suffering, or that we are masochist. It’s what the trials produce in us that Paul wants us to see joy in. Our Lord is very committed to his good work in us. He digs deep, in order to build a strong foundation.

Now that is a reason to rejoice. Lord, keep my eyes on Jesus. Keep me focused on your good work!

In His Grip, Dave

The Father’s Good Gifts: Ask, Seek, Knock
The beautiful sunset Hannah & Dave saw at Imperial Beach last night

The beautiful sunset Hannah & Dave saw at Imperial Beach last night

The last several weeks maybe longer the Lord keeps bringing me back to passages about persistent prayer, and the loving Father’s answer to our petitions. Yet I find myself doubting, and worrying.

One of my favorite teachings of Jesus on prayer is found in Matthew 7:7-11 ESV

““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Jesus exhorts us to ask, seek and knock. Then he goes on to use as an example the relationship of a parent to his child. A good parent will do whatever they can to provide for their child. Then Jesus contrasts our evil nature to the Father’s goodness and holiness.

The Father’s Heart
Thankful for Hannah & the beauty of God's creation

Thankful for Hannah & the beauty of God’s creation

Even though man has an evil nature in general a parent desires to love and protect their children. How much more with God, the Father?

Our loving Father wants us to come to him. He desires to give us good things. Jesus actually says “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

So why don’t we ask? Why do we worry? Why don’t we take Jesus at his word?

O Lord, I ask that you would work in my heart, and cause me to believe.

In His Grip, Dave

Dave & Dawn celebrating on March 5th

Dave & Dawn celebrating on March 5th

A Celebration of 25 Years!

Dawn and I celebrated 25 years of marriage yesterday, Wednesday, March 5th. Wow! It’s hard to believe! I can still remember when my parents celebrated their 25th.

It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been good. I have to praise my wife for making my life better. She doesn’t let me settle for just taking the easy way. She desires to take the road less traveled. The Lord uses her to push me in a good way to explore places that I might otherwise be reluctant to pursue.

I Give Thanks for My Wife
My wife, Dawn on our 25th wedding anniversary

Dawn on our 25th wedding anniversary

I know that because of her I’m a better man. It maybe somewhat of a cliché to say that behind every great man, there is a great woman. Yet in my case I realize that I am who I am today in large part, because of my wife.

We’ve endured together many of life’s storms, and even when we think we’ve had enough the Lord brings more. God has used the difficulties of life, even some of the recent ones that I’ve written about to cause us to grow. The suffering and trials have been used by the Lord to mature us, and to make us more like Christ.

Our children are one of greatest testimonies of Dawn’s hard work to raise them up. We’ve done it together, but I know that a lot of the burden has fallen on her. Since we work in missions I have traveled and been gone a fair amount, but Dawn has been faithful to love on our kids.

Now that our children have become young adults, it’s so wonderful to see how they are following Christ. I love watching them grow and learn how to use the gifts and talents that the Lord has given them.

An Excellent Wife Who Can Find?
Dawn & Dawn with one of the children, Hannah

Dawn & Dawn with one of the three children, Hannah

Dawn often likes to tell other women that they are Proverbs 31 women, and that she is a Proverbs 31 wannabe.

In Proverbs 31:28, 29 it says,

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

My kids and I do love her and we do praise her. We are forever thankful to all she has done, and continues to do for our family.

At the beginning of Proverbs 31 in verses 10 & 11 the writer asks,

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

Why did King Lemuel ask this question? I suppose it’s because it is not easy to find an excellent wife. In my ESV Bible at the start of Proverbs 31 there is a note stating that King Lemuel learned these lessons from his mom. He wants to pass theses lessons on to us.

In an earlier chapter in Proverbs Solomon pens something similar. Solomon writes,

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. —Proverbs 18:22, ESV

I recognize that I am blessed, and I give thanks to the Lord for his favor. It’s another demonstration of his love and his grace.

I give thanks for Dawn and I praise God for the good gifts that he has given to me.

In His Grip, Dave 

Lord, Lead Us & Guide Us!
Worship with Our Hispanic Group on Friday nights

Worship with Our Hispanic Group on Friday nights

The Lord is working on both sides of the border. There are needs everywhere we turn. One of my constant prayers is for the Lord to direct and lead us to the best, and most important things that we should focus on.

It’s not easy working on the border, there are so many opportunities. Yet as I often tell my kids, keep your eyes on Jesus and take one day at a time. That’s what we try to do.

God’s Work Through ESL
Lauren Howard leading some of our ESL students

Lauren Howard leading some of our ESL students

At the end of last year we lost one of our faithful ESL teachers, and he has been hard to replace. The Lord has heard our cry for help, for more teachers!

God is faithful, and he provided two excellent teachers for our Wednesday night class. Two young women, Lauren Howard and Berkeley Bagwell, who speak Spanish and have served the Lord in Spanish-speaking countries. They both have a heart to serve in foreign missions again in the future.

I’m thankful for all the energy and the new ideas they bring to our ESL class. They are great at loving on the students and reaching out to them.

Our Friday class which had been strong is making a comeback. We have two other new teachers for that class, and they are beginning to get things moving in a positive direction.

A New Class at the YMCA
Berkley Bagwell our other ESL teacher on Wednesday nights with Antonia & Yemali

Berkeley Bagwell our other ESL teacher on Wednesday nights with Antonia & Yamile

We are working on starting up a new class at the YMCA. Pastor Stephen Phelan met one of the leaders at the local ‘Y’ and he asked Stephen if we could provide ESL for them.

We are praising the Lord about this, because it opens up a completely new audience for us!

Almost every week we see people giving their lives to Christ. It’s wonderful to be in an environment where the Lord’s Spirit is moving in the hearts of men and women. Many of those that are deciding to follow Jesus are from our Hispanic group.

The Lord has used community outreach activities like ESL to make a difference in people’s lives. It meets a need as they desire to learn. Frequently, they come away with more! New life In Christ. Hallelujah!! Praise the Lord with us.

Praise & Prayer

Praise the Lord with us, and please pray with us. We look to Jesus to give us wisdom where to focus. We pray that God will strengthen our ESL program, and that more students will attend. Also that the Lord will raise up someone to direct our ESL program for me. O Lord, that many will come to Christ as we bless the community through teaching English.

In His Grip, Dave