Archive for April, 2015

Amazed By God’s Work
Dave & Dawn with Sol & Victor

Dave & Dawn with Sol & Victor

I continue to be amazed by God’s work of transformation on the border. What a wonderful God we serve!

The new church plant in Rosarito, Lo Mejor del Trigo Plan Libertador is off to a great start. Dawn and I had dinner with Pastor Victor Bravo and Sol this last week. It was so good to hear more of their story as well as what God is doing in their church.

The church is only four weeks old, and they already have 20 adults and 15 children coming to their service. Today (Sunday) they celebrated día del niño (children’s day). They blessed many children in the community, and in doing so shared the love of Christ.

Vision for a Greater Work
Dave with Pastor Victor in front of the church

Dave with Pastor Victor in front of the church

When Dawn & I talk to Victor and Sol about the church their faces light up and they start telling us about their vision for the church. They want to offer after school tutoring for children in the community. A huge need.

Soon a big factory will be opening near the church, and they want to reach out to the people who will work in that factory and minister to them and their families. Those are just some of the ideas they have.

I’ve seen over the years that building a firm foundation, having a good beginning plays a big part in determining the success of the church.

Lift Up Victor & Sol in Prayer

Continue to hold up Victor and Sol as they lead the church and reach out in the community. Pray that the Lord continues to give them a large vision for their church and that he enables them through his Spirit to see their vision realized.

God is a big God, and he has big plans for Victor and Sol and the church in Plan Libertador!

In His Grip, Dave

God’s Work in and Through Oriesa in Ensenada
Oriesa ministering the love of Christ in Ensenada!

Oriesa sharing the love of Christ in Ensenada!

Oriesa Wiyono, a young medical student, who is currently working as paramedic in San Diego wrote a beautiful piece about what God did in and through her while she was in Ensenada, Mexico. I asked her if I could share what she wrote on my blog, and she agreed, so I’ve copied it below. You can check out her blog site here…

Dawn, Hannah and I had such a wonderful experience while we were in Ensenada with the team from Redeemer Presbyterian Church and La Nueva Jerusalen. I love reading how God used the trip to touch of the lives of those that went on the trip.

Oriesa’s Testimony
Oriesa with Christina Tan, Teresa Tan, Patricia Lee & Tiffany Lu

Oriesa with Christina Tan, Teresa Tan,
Patricia Lee & Tiffany Lu

Jose is this 5′0 foot, brown skin, hazel eyed man with this funny and bright infectious personality about him. When I had told him that I drive an ambulance in the states, he tells me that I should drive “rapido y furioso” like the Fast and Furious movie as he proceeds to make an artificial honk and wail siren sound. Jose lives with his wife, his daughter with down syndrome, he serves as an elder at his church and he currently attends school in order to obtain his high school degree in hopes that he may return to the seminary program he once was a part of. During our seafood dinner near the Ensenada Coast, he shared with me stories about misfortunes along with blessings in his life. While on the topic of medical missions, he proceeded to ask a question that would greatly impact my perspective during the trip.

“…would you rather share the gospel or provide medical care for the people in Ensenada?”

“Provide medical care,” I said, “I.. uh….it’s easier.”

As I answered, I felt a sheer rush of guilt that had gripped my heart. A team nurse on the trip named Patricia had shared with me that the one big thing that we are unable to do in heaven that we can do on earth is to share the gospel, but here I was, afraid, timid and worried about the sake of my comfort and embarrassment. I felt my cheeks go flush as they often did. I’d been exposed and made bare to a man who I barely knew, who barely knew me. I gritted my teeth and told Jose that I was scared to share the gospel because a rejection–to me feels as if someone was to reject my whole entire being and essentially everything that I live for. I mean… it took me 22 years to understand such a backwards paradigm of love, how am I to share it with someone in such a short period of time? But as I thought about it on the drive home, the concept of His love is so simple. It really is.

The past 22 years of my life has been Christ teaching me this one thing–Jesus loves me, but it is I that has rejected Him countless times, spat in His face, ran away, crucified Him, sought pleasures in worldly things and treasured His gifts more than I treasured my Savior. How selfish of me.. I took advantage of His love and I ran away like a shameless robber.

I then remembered that Jesus said in John 15:18-21:

If the world hates you, remember that is has hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? A slave is not greater than the master. Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.

Jose then told me that we are all brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. And because of that we have this mission to extend the same kind of grace and rejoice in the glory of Christ with believers as we all have a calling to bring one another and the wanderers back home with the different gifts and talents He has equipped us with. Fear is inevitable, but don’t use it as an excuse to not extend the gift of salvation to someone else. He further reminded me that rejection is normal because as one body and as siblings, we fight, reject one other, spew out venom without words, take each other for granted (the provision of free medical care), we take the toys we want from each other’s grasp and we run–much like how we all have done to Christ…

But all the more, this ought to point me to the big picture of the magnitude and grace of His love.

You know.. if I were in their shoes, if I was lost, wondering and searching, I think I would like to know this:

“Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son to make a simple point: never mind what you’ve done, just come home.” – Unka Glen

With that said, everything we have done in Mexico is up to the Lord. Despite being able to see 445 patients in 4 days and being able to say that 40 people came to Christ, our works and efforts through calling these people, inviting them out to church, providing medical care, praying for them and following up with them are futile without Him. So how many will actually come back, attend the church and further their relationship with their Savior? None of us will know for sure, but we know God is always good and in Him, all things are possible.

IMG_9440So as I sit here having done nothing to live such a privileged life, I realize that I would often think back to the degree of injustice and poverty and it makes me so angry. However, being able to hear stories like Jose’s and just being able to see such an impoverished city has definitely opened my eyes to the Lord’s heart of compassion for the sick, widows, orphans and those in need. Im learning to be thankful for every drop of clean running water that I have, paved roads, clean toilets, insulated housing etc.. but it’s so easy to get caught up in safety, security and all these little things that we have or don’t have when at the core of everything–Jesus is all you need. He loves you. He will sustain you. He is enough.

The past 4 days in Ensenada have been humbling to say the least. When I was able to see the provision of medical care alongside the sharing of the gospel, I was so touched and that’s when I understood the power of short term missions. When I had returned, a lot of people asked me the purpose of giving someone high BP meds for two weeks–but see, that misses the purpose entirely. The mission had always been and will always be to share the gospel. Medical treatment lasts for a while, but Jesus heals for a lifetime.

That’s all there is to it.


God Can & Does Use Meetings!
Dave and Larry Trotter with Pastors Cesar Santizo, Felipe Hernandez, Benjamin Romero & Victor Hugo Herrera

Dave and Larry Trotter with Pastors Cesar Santizo, Felipe Hernandez, Benjamin Romero & Victor Hugo Herrera

Meetings aren’t always fun, but God can and does work through them. This last week fellow MTW missionary, Larry Trotter and I met with the presbytery for northwestern Mexico (Presbiterio Fronterizo Noroccidental). The meetings were held in Ensenada, Mexico. The Lord gave me the added bonus of being able to visit our friends and to stay with Jesus and Yudy Petrikowski.

Christ-centered Preaching
Dr. Larry Trotter teaching on Christ-centered preaching

Dr. Larry Trotter teaching on Christ-centered preaching

The presbytery is filled with a great group of pastors and leaders. They are enjoyable bunch to be with. They gave Larry the opportunity to teach three sessions on Christ-centered preaching.

What a wonderful opportunity!

It lifted my spirit to see the interest the men and a few women displayed as Larry spoke on such an important topic.

Our prayer is that the grace of God will so fill this region of Mexico that individuals, families, communities and even cities will be transformed by the gospel.

New Church Plant Beginning in La Paz!
Dave & Peter (the small guys in the back) with Benjamin & Blanca Romero and Victor & Fanny and Karis Gonzalez in Los Cabos

Dave & Peter (the small guys in the back) with Benjamin & Blanca Romero and Victor & Fanny and Karis Gonzalez in Los Cabos preparing for new church planting project for La Paz, Baja California Sur

We rejoice in other important advances as God is opening up for us new opportunities in Baja. Victor and Fanny Gonzalez will be moving to La Paz, Baja California in May  to begin a new church planting project there. This will be the first Presbyterian church in this city. La Paz is the capital of Southern Baja California. It is a key city.

Pray for Victor and Fanny as they move from the Monterrey area to La Paz. It’s a big undertaking, and they will need much prayer support.

Looking for More Church Planters

One more exciting bit of news is that we decided on the dates for the first church planting assessment center that we will have for this presbytery. It will held in Tijuana in October of this year!

Hallelujah! That’s a huge answer to prayer. Now pray that the Lord will raise up the right church planting candidates as we prepare for the assessment center.

Prayer & Praise

Dawn and I are so grateful for your prayers. God hears! We see him answering in big ways, despite our limitations. He is bringing healing to our family, even as we walk through this valley that we’ve been passing through.

Sometimes I wonder what God is doing, but then I look back and I marvel at all he has done. Join us in praising him! He is worthy of our worship and adoration!

In His Grip, Dave

Dr. Christina Tan’s Missions Report
Dr. Christina Tan treating patients during the medical outreach

Dr. Christina Tan treating patients during the medical outreach

One of the doctors, Dr. Christina Tan, who went on our medical missions trip to Ensenada wrote a report of her experience. I asked her if I could share with you, she said yes, so here it is. Her story lifted me up, and I think you will enjoy hearing her point of view as well.

Joy Filled Ministry in Mexico!
Mexico was filled with joy, good friendships and rewarding work! Thanks for all your prayers for speedy border crossings, good health, and busy clinics!
The medical team from Redeemer Presbyterian Church with the translators

The medical team from Redeemer Presbyterian Church with the translators

Our team of 8 saw a total of 450 patients over 3 half days and 1 full day of clinic (Monday – 1/2 day at Ensenada church site, Tuesday – full day at a church plant on the outskirts of town, Wednesday – 1/2 day at the same site as Tuesday, Thursday – 1/2 day at a church plant among the farming community 1 hr away).

Everyone people were prayed for by our Mexican church partners, and about 50 prayed to receive Christ for the first time.
The medical team from Redeemer Presbyterian San Diego

The medical team from Redeemer Presbyterian San Diego

For the medically inclined, some of the interesting cases we saw were hypertensive urgency, poorly controlled diabetes, we were able to arrange follow up through a doctor at our partner Mexican church who may be able to see some of these patients for free. Many patients had their rotting teeth pulled by our dental expert, Sarah Oh.

Thursday evening, Teresa and I caught a flight to the bay area for some much needed time with family before getting back to work this week. One of the ways I was encouraged this time around was in seeing how God provided for our needs. As my Spanish vocabulary is limited to 5 words on a good day, having a good translator helps me out tremendously.


Dr. Christina Tan taking a break & having some fun with Manuella

Dr. Christina Tan taking a break & having some fun with Manuella

On our second day of clinic, we were greeted by 7 bright eyed junior high students who were volunteering their spring break to translate for us. They were fantastic! (see 2nd pic)We were so blessed by your partnership, thank you so much for your prayers! Praying that God would bless you and provide for you needs here (Phil 4:13) and most fully in

His mercy and love toward us in the new heaven to come:
(Revelations 7: 16-17)
‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Your sister,
Christina Tan
What a wonderful testimony of God’s grace shining through and working in the lives of so many people! Thank you Jesus!
In His Grip, Dave
The team from Redeemer Presbyterian San Diego

The team from Redeemer Presbyterian San Diego

Christ’s Love Shines Forth!

One of the many things I was impressed about last week during our medical missions trip was the love that our Redeemer Presbyterian San Diego showed. They demonstrated patience as they ministered to the many patients and showed them the love of Christ.

Their sacrificial service along with that of those from the host church La Nueva Jerusalén opened the door for the gospel to be experienced. The patients that came not only were prayed for and heard the gospel, but they also saw it lived out before them.

The Lord Brought The People
Maddie Smith working triage

Maddie Smith working triage

When we began the medical clinic I wondered how many people would come. It started slowly, but then the people started coming. Everyone pitched in and worked together so well.

The Beauty of the Gospel

It reminds me of the passage in Isaiah, which proclaims the beauty of the gospel.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” —Isaiah 52:7 (ESV)

Dr. Christina Tan taking a break & having some fun with Manuella

Dr. Christina Tan taking a break & having some fun with Manuella

The more than 400 patients that came saw the beauty of the gospel through the witness of the two churches from different cultures coming together. More than 40 of them responded to the call of the gospel and prayed to receive Christ.

Many were unsure of their security in Christ. We took the opportunity to strengthen them in their faith, and to encourage them to connect to the church and grow in the love for Christ and understanding of the gospel.

Pray for Lasting Fruit
Nurse Practitioners, Patricia Lee caring for one of the little patients

Nurse Practitioners, Patricia Lee caring for one of the little patients

Pray that the seed that was planted will bear much fruit and that it will be rooted deeply into their lives. Ask the Lord of the Harvest to draw those that are on the fence that heard the gospel to himself. That the Lord will strengthen the local body of believers and grow his church.

Praise him with us for his mighty work!

In His Grip, Dave

The Medical Missions Outreach – A Huge Success
The medical team from Redeemer Presbyterian Church with the translators

The medical team from Redeemer Presbyterian Church with the translators

On the ride back to the church after our last day of the medical clinic our Mexican brothers and sisters were sharing how much the last four days had affected them. They said seeing so many people in need reminded them of how blessed they are. Then they commented on the even greater spiritual need. What a blessing it was to share the good news of the gospel with so many!

Their comments impressed me and it encouraged me.

The Gospel Touched Many Deeply
Two of our loving doctors in the blue, sisters, Christina & Teresa Tan

Two of our loving doctors in the blue, sisters, Christina & Teresa Tan

God broke through in a big way! Not only in the hearts and lives of the medical group that came down to minister, and those in the church, but also the more than 400 that received medical attention.

This was one of the best, if not the best short-term mission project that I’ve ever been apart of. My congratulations to the medical group from Redeemer Presbyterian Church that came down with such servant hearts.

Not only did the team of women work long and hard, but they didn’t have water where they were staying and they weren’t able to bathe. They did all this without complaining.

Sharing the gospel and ministering to the people through prayer

Sharing the gospel and ministering to the people through prayer

We ministered to 450 people in only four days. Each of the patients were prayed for and then attended to by an amazingly loving group of doctors and medical staff. As we prayed for the patients a team of us also shared the gospel with them. Over 40 gave their lives to Christ. We encouraged many others who were Christians to get involved in the life of the church and grow in their faith.

God is on The Move in Ensenada
Patricia Lee lovingly caring for an infant patient

Patricia Lee lovingly caring for an infant patient

God’s Spirit moved in a very powerful way!

The home church Iglesia Nueva Jerusalén (New Jerusalem Church) did such a wonderful job promoting the medical clinic that we had more patients than we were able to attend to. One of the leaders from Redeemer San Diego said they felt like this was a true partnership in the way the two churches worked together. Both groups came together united in Christ to share the love of Christ in the three communities that we did the medical outreach in.

Another huge victory was that Dawn and Hannah were able to join me on the trip. It was such a blessing to have them with us, and to see them love on and interact with our friends.

God Heard Our Prayers!
Sarah Oh our wonderfully caring dentist

Sarah Oh our wonderfully caring dentist

Thank you so much for praying. When we do these intense weeks there is a lot of spiritual warfare that is going on. We sensed the pressure. But the Lord protected us, and he made the trip a big success.

Continue to pray that the many people who were touched by the gospel will be folded into the church and grow in their faith.

In His Grip, Dave

Medical Missions In Ensenada

I hope you are still living in the afterglow of Easter!

Kathie Kim & Sarah Oh from Redeemer SD in the middle surrounded by the leaders from iglesia Nueva Jerusalén

Kathie Kim & Sarah Oh from Redeemer SD in the middle surrounded by the leaders from iglesia Nueva Jerusalén

It’s because of Easter, because of what Christ did on the cross and through his resurrection that we are heading down to Ensenada, Mexico today to lead a medical missions outreach. A group from Redeemer Presbyterian Church San Diego will be ministering this week with the Nueva Jerusalén church. Redeemer and Nueva Jerusalén put in a lot of time preparing for a successful outreach.

Three Sites for Medical Clinic
A group we learned from performing dentistry in Ensenada

A group we learned from performing dentistry in Ensenada

Although I’ve led many short-term missions projects this is the first medical missions trip I have led. We are thankful for the wonderful group from Redeemer that is giving up their time to minister to the needs in Ensenada.

We will hold the medical clinic at three sites. On Monday we will be at the mother church (La Nueva Jerusalén). On Tuesday and Wednesday we will serve at one of their mission sites in a community called, Morelos. Thursday we will minister at another mission in the community of Maneadero.

Outreach to Children & Families
The Skyview group at the New Jerusalem church in Ensenada

The Skyview group at the New Jerusalem church in Ensenada

The church we are working with in Ensenada (La Nueva Jerusalén) is the same church that Skyview Presbyterian from Denver worked with last year. The Lord gave us an amazing time with them as we used VBS to reach out to children and families in the community. I recently heard from Skyview and they are planning on coming back this summer!

Dawn and I have grown to love the people in this church. We are thrilled that they are so eager to share the good news of Christ.

Join Us In Prayer!

Dawn, Hannah and I will be going on this trip. We’d appreciate much prayer for the group that is going down, as well as for our family. Pray that the Lord goes before us and prepares the hearts of the people we will be working with. Pray as we minister to people’s physical needs that the Lord will open the door to their hearts, and that they will welcome the good news of the gospel.

Pray also that many people will come to the clinic, and that we don’t have any trouble getting things across the border.

Thank you for holding us up in prayer. This is an important week for the ministry here on the border as we seek to see people’s lives transformed.

In His Grip, Dave