Posts Tagged ‘the Big Island’

Pastor Federico & Blanca Muñoz
Dave & Dawn with the Muñoz family – front row: Junior and Paola
Back row: Damaris, Dave, Daniel, Federico, Blanca, David, Dawn

Dawn and I feel like proud parents when we think about all the church planters that we are working with who are ministering in Mexico and on the Big Island. The couples become like family to us, which we enjoy. It’s one of the ways the Lord is bringing redemption and restoration to us, which is something we’ve prayed for especially since Hannah moved to heaven. A number of the church planters refer to us as their mentors and as their father and mother, which is a real privilege for us to have that type of relationship with them.

I’d like to highlight one couple that we are especially proud of, Pastor Federico and Blanca Muñoz, who are planting a church in Mexicali. Federico and Blanca stand out, because of their deep commitment, boldness, and creativity in sharing the gospel. It’s been fun to partner with them, and watch them in action.

Church Planting in the Midst of the COVID Crisis
Pastor Federico sharing the love of Christ in front of his house

They started their church plant in the summer of 2019. They had 6 months to reach out and develop relationships before the pandemic hit. Over the last year, it’s not been easy to make contacts, which is key when your goal is to start a church with people who don’t yet know Jesus. I have sought to encourage Federico and Blanca as they have gone through this most unusual year. I thought that since so many people are fearful because of the Covid crisis, that it was an opportunity for the gospel.

As we prayed, God gave this young couple an idea to try to hold services outside in their carport. Their children are gifted musically and they love to help out and they enjoy leading worship. Their teen children pitched in when they started to make the shift to outdoor services. Surprisingly, their neighbors showed interest and they came out of their homes to listen and participate.

Church in the Park
Pastor Federico & Blanca Ministering with their family in the park

Later, Federico and Blanca ended up needing to move to a different house, so we prayed that the Lord would open up new doors for them and show them how to reach out in this new community. They began to hold Bible studies both outdoor and online. Then in March of this year, when some of the restrictions in Mexicali were lifted, they began to hold services in a nearby park. Through their boldness and creativity, they started meeting more people in the park. They asked the new friends who they were meeting if they could pray for them, and most of them said, “yes”!

I have to admit the restrictions have slowed down our church planting progress, yet I see how the Lord has also opened some doors. It’s forced our church planters to be more creative, and people who would not have had the opportunity to hear the gospel are being reached, because of the change in plans.

God is Building His Church!

I’m often reminded of Joseph’s reply to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (NLT). The Lord protects us and He goes before us. It’s important to remember as we build the church that it is His church, and as the Lord promises the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.

God is building HIs church in Mexicali and Beyond
Please Pray & Extend Your Hands to Help

Please join us in prayer for Federico and Blanca Muñoz as they share the love of Christ in Mexicali. Pray that the Lord will lead them to people who are open to the gospel and that the church will grow as they reach out in the community. Dawn and I would appreciate prayers for all of the church planters that we are working with so that we see lives changed and communities transformed by Jesus.

Consider a donation today to help us plant the seed of the gospel on the Border, the Baja and Beyond!

The situation for our familia on the Big Island continues to worsen. The cost of goods are increasing by 400 – 500%. You can read more about the situation on the Big Island here… Your prayers and generosity will aid these families and the gospel in undeniable ways. Make a donation today by clicking on the link below!

Thank you!

Click to Donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Thrilled About Serafina

Baby Shower in Colorado for David & Emily and littler Serafina!

New life brings excitement, and we are thrilled about the soon arrival of our first granddaughter, Serafina Grace Diaso. She is our oldest son, David and his wife, Emily’s first child. We just can’t wait to meet her.

Last week Dawn and I were in Colorado Springs for the baby shower. The event took place on March 21st, the first day of Spring. Wouldn’t you know that it snowed! That’s Colorado for you. Although I must admit that the snow did make for a beautiful setting.

We all had a fun time with our family celebrating David and Emily and the coming of Serafina.

While we on our way to Colorado we got some disappointing news, and I took some time to pray in route. As I prayed the Lord encouraged me. He reminded me that Serafina is due at the end of April which is the same month that Dawn and Hannah were born in. I believe that the Lord’s hand is on little Serafina in a special way and that the Lord is going to bless our family and many others through her. Our Papa God is going to use her to bring healing to our family. The healing and the blessing will extend beyond our family.

I don’t feel like this is wishful thinking, I believe the Lord was encouraging me in this way as we flew and headed towards Colorado. Thank you, Jesus for caring for our family and these details!

Dawn and I had such a good time visiting our family, David & Emily and Jonathan & Hannah.

A Special Gift That Made Me Cry

Hannah Elizabeth Diaso and the engraved bracelet

We shared a special meal with David and Emily on one of our first evenings in the Springs . David made some delicious tamales. He’s become quite a cook, and he specializes in Mexican cuisine, which we all love!

When we finished eating David and Emily gave me an unbelievable gift. It was so amazing it made me cry. They gave me a bracelet with something our daughter, Hannah had written before she moved to heaven. It’s also engraved with Hannah’s actual handwriting. Tears formed in my eyes as I read what it said, and Dawn also began to cry when she read what Hannah had written.

It says, “Dear Lord this is what I long for I wanna be where you are! I can’t wait to go home with you and live in happiness all fo the days of my life. I love you! Amen.”

When Hannah wrote this entry in her journal she referenced Psalm 27:4. “The one thing I ask of the Lord— the one thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple” (NLT).

It warmed my heart fo read what Hannah had written. It was like a kiss from heaven. A reminder that God was preparing her heart to go home to be with Him in the days and months leading up to her sudden departure. We miss her so much, but we are thankful for the hope that we have in Christ. Hallelujah!

Give thanks with me for new life, and the assurance of the Lord’s good work!

Extend Your Hands to Help Our Familia!

Our Familia on the Big Island!

Before I say goodbye, I’d like to remind you of the ongoing and tremendous needs on the Big Island. I just received a note from a pastor today that told me that his $25 USD monthly salary was only enough to buy a package of coffee, some cooking oil and a package of detergent. Can you imagine living on that!?! How can you feed your family? on top of the exorbitant prices, they are having to wait in line for 5 to 8 hours to buy these products, when and if they are available.

Please extend your hands to help these beautiful families, our familia.

Donate today by clicking on the button below! Thank you!

Click to Donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Goodness of God!
This building was once used for witchcraft to worship idols – it is now being converted into a church! The white altar in the middle has been removed – it was used for their pagan ceremonies.

God is so good. He is a good Father, and it’s wonderful to be on mission with him. It’s not always an easy journey, it’s filled with twists and turns. We are on an adventure, and as we love and seek our Papa God there is joy and fulfillment.

A Life and a Church are Transformed by the Gospel
Dave on a video call with Lazara

Just a few days after wrote my last post, The Light Invades the Darkness, I met the woman that had been in involved in witchcraft on the Big Island. Her name is Lazara, and she and Pastor Nelson shared more of her story with me. She just recently gave her life to Jesus. I talked to Lazara on a video call (photo on the left). I was able to encourage her and pray for her. As I prayed, she began to cry. It was special to see God touch her over the phone and through the miles.

Lazara used to lead a group involved in spiritism and witchcraft. She has a building like a church where they met to hold their ceremonies. Now that she has come to Christ they are in the process of cleaning out the building of all the articles that were used to worship idols and demons. The white altar which was used for their ceremonies in the photo above has been removed. They put up a cross and they are placing the Ten Commandments and Bible passages on the walls of the building. What a glorious transformation!

Nelson wrote me this morning and said that the Lord is using Lazara to bring many to Christ. The building that was used to worship Satan is now being converted into a church! It reminds me of the Apostle Paul and his amazing conversion. God used him in a powerful way to bring many to Jesus.

This testimony is so rich, and it reminds me of the power of the gospel. We often pray for transformation. We pray for people to come out of the darkness and into the light, so it’s so good to see it happen right before our eyes.

Gospel Expansion
Sara, Justo’s wife discipling some of the women that recently came to Christ

One of the other pastors on the Big Island, Oniel told me about a wonderful story of grace renewal. He went with his leaders to the homes of two families that recently received Christ and they helped them destroy their idols that they used for witchcraft. The church also baptized 14 new believers in the past week!

Another special friend, Pastor Justo told me that their church had seen 20 people come to faith in the last month! God is on the move. Dawn and I are receiving a number of reports about people coming to faith and being released from the bondage of witchcraft. It’s exciting to be part of God’s kingdom work.

Please Extend Your Hands to Help!
Our Familia in Need on the Big Island

At the same time, because of the ongoing pandemic the economic situation continues to worsen. Pastor Jorge just wrote me this morning about how bad things are getting, and he asked us to pray. Jorge is one of the pastors that we’ve been sending financial aid to. I think the Lord is using the scarcity to cause people to see their need for Christ. Yet, the needs are very real, and it hurts our hearts to see our familia suffer.

Dawn and I want to continue to help, and do more so that we will reach even more families on the Big Island! Your prayers and generosity will aid these families and the gospel in undeniable ways. Click on the button below to give today. Extend your hands to provide food and basic necessities for a family in need!

Click to Donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Victory in Jesus Over Santeria
Our familia is faithful to pray!

In the last month we’ve received a number of messages from our familia on the Big Island informing us about the battle that they are experiencing. The battle rages on, but they are seeing victory as the light of Christ penetrates the darkness.

One of the pastors, Nelson told us that their church has been dedicating time to prayer and fasting for breakthrough. He said as they were faithful to pray that the Lord answered in a big way. A woman who not only was involved in witchcraft, but she was a leader among them. She led a group of people involved in ‘brujería’, witchcraft in the city where Nelson’s church is located. It may be hard to believe coming from our context, but she’s led hundreds of people because there are so many people who are involved in Santeria in that area.

At the beginning of the year, the church felt compelled to pray against the evil in their city. They were praying all night long against the Santeria in their city, which is a form of idolatry and witchcraft. This woman who was a leader of Santeria in their city came to one of the church members and confessed that she was broken and that she couldn’t continue in her wicked ways. She just couldn’t do it anymore. They shared the love of Christ with her, and she gave her life to Jesus. Now she is growing in her relationship with Jesus and she is involved in the church.

Wow! Amazing! Thank you Jesus!

There is power in the name of Jesus!

The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail
Pastor Adolfo with his wife and the group he is training in church planting on the Big Island

As Jesus says in Matthew 16, the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. In Ephesians 6 Paul exhorts us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, because our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities.

Our prayers, your prayers are powerful. We destroy arguments and take down every lofty opinion that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are more than conquerors in Christ!

Our Familia Needs Your Help
Some of the families that we are sending aid to on the Big Island

Thank you so much for standing with us in prayer for all of our familia in Mexico and on the Big Island. Thank you for your donations that bring aid to the hurting and the downtrodden. One of our church planters on the Big Island, Lucas and Maria just sent me a note and asked for help, because the prices are going so high. A bottle of detergent costs $24 USD, and the average salary is only $25 USD a month. How are they supposed to live under such conditions? Basic food items like rice and beans cost 2 to 3 times as much as they did just a few months ago. Not only are prices high, but they have to wait in long lines to get their food, because there isn’t much food available.

Please extend your hands to help!

Dawn and I realize that after sharing these needs with you for a few months the urgency seems to wear off, but the need is even greater now, and we don’t know when things will get better. We’d like to ask you to make a generous donation today for our familia. They are so thankful every time they receive the donations that we are sending them. I wish you could see their smiles, and the gratitude that we can see on their faces when they receive the aid that we are giving to them. Give today your gift goes a long way. Extend your hands to provide food and basic necessities for a family in need!

Click to Donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God is Growing His Church in Southern Florida
Our group of church planting candidates and assessment team

This last weekend Dawn and I were involved in evaluating church planters in Davie, Florida just outside of Miami. All the church planters that we evaluated were Cubans. Usually, when we do our Spanish-speaking church planting assessments they are done either in Mexico or on the Big Island.

The first time I was involved in assessing church planters was in Mexico City 24 or 25 years ago. Dawn and I had never done a Spanish-speaking assessment in the US. It’s always a rush for us to minister to our wonderful Latino familia.

Most of the assessors that Dawn and I worked with were from Tijuana, Mexico although there were a few from the Miami area.

Amazing Commitment and Sacrifice
Dave with Pastor Daniel Nuñez

What struck me as we got to know these couples is their willingness to sacrifice in order to see the Lord’s kingdom grow. All of the church planters that we worked with are somewhat recent immigrants from Cuba, the Big Island. They struggled to live in Cuba, but they were able to serve full-time in the church.

Now that they are in Florida they have had to become tent-making bi-vocational church planters. While this has its advantages, there are also some challenges. One of the big struggles that they face is being extremely busy, and having very little time to rest.

Most of them commented that it’s harder to plant a church here in the US. When the Cubans come to the US, it seems like the American dream consumes them, so their commitment to the church and to Christ is minimized.

Despite these obstacles, the couples that we evaluated are willing to make the sacrifice and share the love of Jesus in their community. When I meet people like this it forces me to consider my own commitment to love and serve the Lord. What are my priorities? What could I do differently to serve more effectively? How can I better minister and encourage these church planters?

I find that whenever I’m involved in a church planters evaluation process that I not only am scrutinizing the candidates, but I’m also reflecting on my own life and habits. Dawn and I are very pastoral so we love to connect and care for the people we meet. We do have to be careful to maintain some distance so that we can evaluate them objectively, which helps them. Even though we do ultimately decide whether we believe they can be successful in planting a church or not, we do much more than that. We help them to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses and how they can be more effective in their ministry.

Then when our evaluation is made they are able to go out stronger with more tools. We also connect them to a church planting network so that they are not alone and isolated. It’s always surprising to me how many church planters do feel like no one cares. They don’t have anyone to talk to about their cares and concerns. For them to be connected to a network that will support them is huge.

Join Us in Prayer!
Pastor Iván leading the group through a training session

Thanks for praying for us and encouraging us along the way, so that we can work with these church planters and help them to be more successful in their kingdom work. Join us in continuing to pray for strength and endurance for the church planters as well as for Dawn and me as we minister.

Extend Your Hands to Help!
One of the local Cuban pastors leading us in a time of worship

Also, extend your hands to help our familia on the Big Island. The economy is not stable, and there are food shortages. Our familia tell us it’s not only that the food is expensive for them, but that there is also a lack of food. The lines are long, and sometimes even though they wait in long lines, by the time to get to the front of the line that there is no longer any food for them to buy. Make a donation today! Extend your hands to help and show the love of Christ. You can donate by clicking on the button below.

Click to donate…

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org