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Despite a serious health setback, a Southern California pastor is still moving to Kurdistan

Despite a serious health setback, Dave Gonzales, senior of pastor of Calvary Chapel Cerritos, California, is about to make the move of his life. He is planning to travel, with his wife Jenny, to Kurdistan, also known as “The Other Iraq” because of its safety record amid the violence in the rest of the country, to start a Calvary Chapel.

Andrew, Dave and Jenny Gonzales at KWVE 107.9 FM in Southern California after an interview with Dan Wooding for his Front Page Radio program

Their son Andrew is already in Kurdistan.

The Southern California pastor, who has made numerous trips to Kurdistan, says he has fallen in love with the people of the region and now feels “God’s Call to move there and establish Calvary Chapel Dohuk, the first Calvary Chapel in Northern Iraq. [Dohuk is in the north of the country in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.]

Gonzales told the ASSIST News Service that he plans to make the “big move” on February 16, 2011, but admits that it was nearly hijacked by a serious kidney illness and he is praying for a miracle that he will be completely healed.

The pastor explained his serious health situation in this way: “I had some dye injected into my veins five years ago for a stent placement in my heart, and it caused my kidney function to drop from 100% to a 54% function. As each year passed the % of function would drop slightly. It continued slowly to drop yearly until recently when I had my most recent blood test.

“My kidney function has now dropped to 12%. Unfortunately, that is the level they normally begin dialysis. The symptoms of kidney failure is fatigue, weakness, leg pain and cramps, difficulty breathing at times and if left untreated, sudden death!

“I told the kidney specialist my ‘plans’ to move to Iraq and plant the church there. He is a good friend. I told him that my fear was NOT dying in serving God, but my ONE fear was becoming so ill and debilitated that I would not be able to get around adequately, from being so sick and bed ridden, that I couldn’t serve, teach and minister to the Body there.

Dave Gonzales preaching in Dohuk on a previous visit there.

“He said that if I was to move there, in this present condition, and if if the condition worsened while in Iraq and received no dialysis, I would in fact die within a short time!

“That’s NOT what I want to do to for the Body of Christ there in Iraq. I want to be a blessing and help the church there. I do NOT want to be a concern and a worry to all our brothers and sisters in Iraq.”

Gonzales told me that he has just had another blood test and that revealed that his kidney function is 12% and that it needs to be at least 20% to avoid dialysis.

“A normal Creatinine level is 1.2 and mine is now 5.1 and 6 is dead!” he stated. [Creatinine is an element that indicates kidney health and function].

Dave added, “If my levels are corrected enough by God through prayer, and if I can lose 25lbs, I will then fly to Iraq to start the work as originally planned.

“After six months, I will return to the United States. At that time I will decide whether I will return to Iraq or remain on at Calvary Chapel Cerritos as the Pastor.

“This is as far ahead as I can pray and plan without canceling my plans all together. We continue to pack and go ahead as if God will restore my health enough to have me go there in February.

“I know you will pray. I am not afraid of dying, BUT, I do not want to be an unnecessary medical burden on the church when I meant to be a blessing to it. Pray, Pray, Pray!”

Now Gonzales, the latest news is that he says that he and Jenny will be leaving on the trip in just over two weeks.

He updated the situation in a message today (Tuesday, February 1, 2011) in which he said, “Hi Dan, we’re nearing the final stages of our packing and the house is about ready for the renter who will move in on the very day we leave, which is the morning of the 16th of this month.

“I hope to establish the beginning of a work there in Dohuk during the six months I am there. I have our translator now looking for a place for us to live in. She has located a 1035 sq. ft. apartment which is available. She will be looking at it this week and send me a video of the place.

“I’ll be back here on July 13th for a checkup and to see if my condition has improved. This condition with my kidneys has caused three doctors and a close nurse friend to tell me, ‘Don’t go’, as they say the risks are great. If the condition worsens, sudden death can occur.

“As it is, my kidney specialist wants me to start preparation for dialysis. IHowever, ‘m trusting God on this one. Andrew, our son, is already in Erbil [the fourth largest city in Iraq] as of last Thursday. He will be married in early June and I plan on doing the ceremony!

“Only the Lord knows what will happen after the 6th month checkup is done here in the U.S. I’m feeling much better now that I have ‘cleaned up my act’ regarding diet, and my Creatinine level, which was at 5.1, which is a bit better. My most recent blood test showed the level at 4.7 which was an improvement, but still bad! I appreciate your prayers my friend.

“We need a miracle of God! God bless you. Dave, Jenny and Andrew.”

Dave Gonzales added, “I’m relying solely on our Lord to sustain me and heal me to the point of moving me out of the danger zone as far as my kidney function is concerned.”

If you would like to send Dave Gonzales message telling him that you are praying for healing for him, you can e-mail him at:

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