Posted by: In: Van Family 07 Sep 2017 0 comments

Life in Canada has officially started now with our kids off to school. They have been eagerly anticipating this day well before we even told them we were headed for Canada.  It blessed us to see them warmly welcomed and already connect well with the small community at Heritage Christian School in Kelowna.

Our family is overdue for a little routine and calm! The last few months for our family have been a little out of the ordinary insane.  As challenging as the months were leading up to our departure from Philippines, it was incredible to witness God lead and protect us.  Our family was in close proximity to the ongoing war in Marawi and escalating terrorism.  The last few weeks before leaving my kids were starting to feel a little anxious. Arriving in Manila one of them said, “Papa it feels so good to be safe and know there is no chance of being kidnapped.”

In under a month we managed to juggle making two big moves from both Cagayan de Oro city and from the ministry base at Hope for the Island in Siargao. Over the last 2 years we have been back and forth each month residing in both these places. I am amazed at the favour we met in the face of what could have been obstacles too great to overcome. Preparing Hope for the Island and our family for this big of a transition in less than a month and under the circumstances, was nothing short of a miracle.  Along the way we would stop in the moment as a family to pray and thank God for each situation we saw God working in.  It was a great way to recognize God’s provision and help restore perspective in the midst of the chaos.  We found ourselves rejoicing in the trials and came out on the other side stronger and with a renewed confidence in the power and realness of God!

The first few weeks on Canadian soil have kept us on the steady pace of craziness (seems to be the only way our family rolls!) After a warm welcome at the airport and a couple of nights rest at a friend’s place, an opportunity to attend a 5 day Christian family camp came our way. Can’t say I would recommend this under similar circumstances, but not a bad choice when you don’t have a place to stay until the end of the month! After the jet lag and wide eyed culture shock wore off a little, we settled in well to the flow of camp activities.  In many ways it was great for us to have fun as a family and to quiet our minds and hearts.  It was a blessing to have a week to not think about what we left behind nor all the unknowns ahead of us.  We were also ministered to through some solid Biblical teaching. Those who have walked closely with us through the years know that each return visit in the past comes with a deep longing to be fed.  One of the things I look most forward to as we establish ourselves here is to develop relationships we can be sharpened in.  We are excited to get out and find a community of believers to grow in Christ and share life with.

The day finally arrived to move into the place we will potentially rent over the next 4 months. It felt so good to empty out our bags we have been living out of for months and to settle in.  The excitement however came to an abrupt halt when we saw a cloud of smoke rising through the trees just beyond the property.  We discovered a forest fire that started just off the road. It quickly spread upland with the strong winds. With years of typhoon and other calamity experience under our belt, our family went into game mode. Together with the owners, we were able to do what we could to protect the property and move the animals before the forced evacuation.  In the process Jenn broke her toe loading horses to the trailer but as usual she carried on smiling and positive.  We got away with our important documents and a few clothing items we were able to throw into our borrowed car.  Thankfully some great friends welcomed us into their home while water bombers and firefighters worked around the clock to save homes and lives.  After praying and casting our burden before the Lord, we all had a good laugh as we contemplated how interesting our lives are. No such thing as normal in our vocabulary. We went from escaping war and turmoil in Philippines to escaping fires!

 Video Kelowna Fire                            Video 2 Kelowna Fire 

With the fires contained at least in the critical spots, we were able to return to our rental the other day.  It was a relief to settle into this incredibly beautiful place near to the city but surrounded with dense forest and a creek. This short term rental came as an answer to the prayer request I shared in our last update.  Being around nature was what my mind and body desperately longed for. Although we have been in a polluted big city for the last 2 years, the majority of our 20 years in Philippines has been on a small undeveloped tropical island.  Living for so many years surrounded by jungle and the wild unpredictable weather off the Pacific, it’s no wonder I feel most connected and at home in nature.

Two months before we left the Philippines the President declared martial law and the city of Marawi was laid siege to by ISIS affiliated terrorist groups. By the hand and grace of God  we were out of the country and able to watch developments from afar.  We were on a planned 1 month mission trip through Malaysia as a family. This was a low budget trip with hostel only accommodations and a backpacker travel itinerary.  We were eager to serve and learn about history, culture and religion.  It was great exposure for Makana and Brison that led to some great conversations and growth.  The highlight of the trip came at the end. It was an experience like no other.  Even our teenage kids who were raised on a remote rustic island found the experience challenging to say the least.  Our family spent 10 incredible days deep in the heart of the Borneo rain forest with the Penan people.  I first discovered these special people when I was searching for communities where we could serve.  I was fascinated to read about a nomadic people who solely survived and flourished on the forest until being forced into settled communities and now suffer poverty and disease as a result.  It was shocking to read articles describing some of the atrocities the Penan have gone through.  They have been mocked for being uncivilized and given no rights while they watch their home in the forest being wiped out at an alarming rate. Large scale commercial logging and plantation companies together with an ambivalent government are responsible for decimating the Penan.  I was amazed when I discovered one lone tour group that organizes trips into this area.  They warn that it is only for the adventurous who are willing to rough it and can handle the physical demands.  Of course i signed our family up!!! The purpose of these organized trips is to help the Penan people generate income as they attempt to survive out of their element.  Money was not a concern before but they now find themselves lost and hopelessly dependent on a foreign oppressive system.  Little did we know that God was the one who ordained for us to step foot in a world that would forever impact us.  Over the course of the next couple weeks I will attempt to put into words what we feel God is leading us to walk out in faith with and how it beautifully connects with both Hope for the Island Philippines and us now being in Canada!! Your prayer support is greatly appreciated as we pray for God’s wisdom and guidance and formulate our ministry plan! Please also pray as we continue to work out the logistics of becoming a resident in a new place.

Thanks to each and everyone of you who have been on this journey with us.  Some of you have been along for the ride well before missions ever penetrated our hearts and others of you have partnered with us through the years.  We have all tasted and seen that God is indeed good and faithful! God truly does amazing things when we make ourselves available to Him and obeys His word. With great joy I look forward to what He has in store as we continue our missions journey.  We live a life not by what we can see or work out on our own, but with confident and secure faith in a living true God!

Please feel free to ask questions and we will answer those in a video in our next detailed update 🙂

Our family finds our self in need of a few things as we settle in. Those in the BC area may have some of these things not in use for sale or give away.   Click her to see list

Feel free to email us at byfaith65@hotmail.com or text (204) 915-7209

 

Blessing

Derek Van Ryckeghem

 

From Cristina: Hope for the Island Staff

I would like to report what is happening for me in Cagayan de Oro. Although Kuya Derek’s family is no longer living here with me, I praise and thank God for His favour and grace. He has worked through all the transitions in ministry at Hope for the Island and in my life as well.

It is different living alone without the Van Ryckeghem family, but I know that God is with me. God always has a reason for how He works.

I am also thankful for the knowledge and wisdom that God has given me even though we are loaded down as Social Work students.

I am thankful that I passed the preliminary examination with the second highest score! I was also elected Secretary for the Junior Social Worker Association of the Philippines. All glory; honour and praises belong to God.

Please keep me in your prayers. I miss you all but it is not about me but my Abba Father.

Thank you

Posted by: In: Staff 31 Aug 2017 0 comments

Hope for the island has some new faces!

Our family spent some time with them at the farm before we left for Canada.

We recently accepted to the team some new passionate people with a heart to serve. We are excited for what the Lord has in store!!!

Posted by: In: Scholarship 31 Aug 2017 0 comments

Hope for the Island Scholarship program is making a great impact on the lives of the students involved!

Our new batch of 25 students is now regularly attending school and has been productive according to the teachers’ feedback.

We have incorporated Math, English and Science classes as part of our after school program.  This is helping students overcome a lot of learning barriers and associated anxiety. Many students were not excelling in the past and were dropping out of school.

 

 

Students not currently part of our Hope Scholarship, have approached our staff asking if they too can be part of the tutorial classes.  These opportunities provide ways for us to develop the trust within relationships that is needed to disciple them effectively.

Scholars also clean our Hope for the Island property. We have also organized community service programs where they are learning to develop a heart of servant hood with a variety of opportunities to give back.

 

Our goal is to build connection with the students’ families so we can minister to them as well. As we respond in obedience to the Lord’s example of love and compassion, we know the right doors will open.

 

SUPPORT A STUDENT FOR ONE SCHOOL YEAR $120

Posted by: In: Discipleship 30 Aug 2017 0 comments

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Thank you so much to those who sponsored the new batch of Bibles. It is so great to dive into the Word of God with these young people and now they don’t need to share Bibles.

In the three different youth groups our Hope For the Island team leads, we are working through the book of John. Each of the youth study the chapter on their own through the week and come ready to share / ask questions at youth fellowship.

In one village, some of the youth struggled to attend Youth Group the next week because they knew that people would mock them because of carrying a Bible. Only a priest or pastor is seen with a Bible so the people will laugh at them and call them names. We need to pray for our youth that they will support one another to be bold in their faith and love for God’s word.

 

Here is a testimony from Nerm:

 

We prayed for Bibles, now we are blessed and thankful to God that He answered our prayer to have Bibles in our youth groups. Thank you so much for the people who supported for this.

In another youth group, we reviewed our topic of SALVATION from last week. Many are new and have heard the Gospel but have seemed tentative to respond because of fears and peer pressures. Our staff shared their testimonies and the impact Christ has had in their lives. They were able to share the fears they overcame to trust God and walk in faith. As a result of that open heart time each of the new youth responded in faith to the gift of salvation!!! They are committed to be discipled and are excited about the changes to come in their lives!

Youth in Siargao Island are not much different than youth in other parts of the world. There are so many distractions that pull them away from opportunities God places before them to grow in faith. In grace and love we will persevere to love and support these vulnerable youth.

Praise Report that just came in:

The girl with the pink top in the first picture texted Nerm to let her know she placed her trust in Jesus! She was congratulated by all when she came to Youth. She was really happy and in tears. Please continue to pray for her and that each new believer would continue to serve and grow in the Lord.

 

Posted by: In: Mercy Ministry 25 Jul 2017 0 comments

From Elaine:

We first shared the story of 23 yr. old Reshel in Dec 2016. Our hearts were moved for this young lady. I knew there was a way to help, but the solution would take time.

My friend Angela and I set out to find a suitable walker in Winnipeg. God provided what we needed, now to get it to the other side of the world.  It was taken apart to fit in a box and left Winnipeg along with other donated blessings for the 3 month journey over the ocean to Siargao Island.

The really awesome part of this is that the box arrived in April when our Winnipeg team of Angela & Jeff, Dennis & Charlene and Brian & I did.  Jeff was very aware as he put it all back together, the incredible impact this would have on a young girl’s life.

What a joy to see the end result of how God worked!  We headed down the road in our Hope for the Island truck with Hope staff, to a village in the northern part of the island. In true island style we had no idea if she was home or not. You just show up and hope for the best! Reshel had no idea that we were coming and why!!!

The walker was unloaded. Reshel shyly peered around the corner of a curtained off room.

An explanation was given to Reshel as to who we were and why we were there. Tears flowed as Reshel took her first few shaky steps. Before long she was turning corners recklessly and soon needed a rest!

As we prayed and got to know her, we heard that she had been promised help previously and how that promise fell through. A huge disappointment only brought this young lady closer to her God as she persevered and intensified her prayers believing for a miracle. Her faith and love for God inspired us all.

Over and over again others and myself witness the way God works in this ministry. It gives those of us who live in the western world a visual of our God in action.

If we are hungry we can go to a food bank, if we are sick we can go to a doctor or hospital, if we need money we can get a job or apply for welfare.  We don’t need to apologize for our way of life and the privileges we have. It does however make we wonder if I would trust God as Reshel and others on this island do every day for their daily food, family, health and safety.

Read Reshel’s previous post 

Witness the answer to prayer as you watch a 2 min. video Reshel Video

 

Posted by: In: Staff 08 Jun 2017 0 comments

From Derek:

We are blessed to have four young women join us at Hope for the Island. These students will be serving at Hope for two months. They are from Mindanao State University in Marawi City where conflict with radical Islamic groups and military is ongoing.

 

From their heart:

We are so thankful to escape Marawi City and serve for this season at Hope for the Island!

As we prayed and prepared during travel, God gave us His Word in the book of Nehemiah. He was going to use us over this time to help rebuild. We prayed into this, as well as for those left behind in Marawi.

War between the military and Maute/Abu Sayyaf exploded near our school. It all happened so fast and then our President declared martial law. Although we were shocked by what was happening around us, we had a confidence knowing God is with and for us, so it didn’t matter who was against us!

The day that we planned to travel to Hope for the Island, news came that every entry and exit point on the way to Iligan had been closed. For 2 1/2 days we were trapped in our school in the middle of war with no electricity and no water. The morning of May 25th, we received a message to evacuate and go to a place where we could be rescued. As we escaped, we prayed and cried to God for the situation that Marawi was facing.

We praise God because He ordained everything, giving us a vehicle to ride on. We left at 10 a.m. and arrived in Iligan at 7 p.m. The one hour trip turned into nine hours because of the other people also fleeing the city. We, as well as our family, thank God because we arrived at Iligan safe and sound.

Continue to pray for Joy’s family who is still in this area. She has sleepless nights at times not knowing if her family will be killed.

Some family did not support our decision to go to Siargao Island to serve at Hope because of fear. We know God called us to go and even spoke clearly in dreams to us. We must obey and trust God to give peace to our families. We must follow God’s greater purpose in spite of what happens to us. For us, that purpose is to serve here alongside our mentor Kuya Jerbie.

When we arrived, it was clear that God has blessed this ministry. The Hope team has been so hospitable and kind. The warm welcome we received made us feel as if we had been here a long time.

We are honestly amazed to see the various ministries the Hope team handle. They are ready to serve in any way and help our team develop to be more fruitful and anointed in the work God has entrusted to us.

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 20 Apr 2017 0 comments

Jesus Fiesta:

Many villagers came from all over. The highlight for me was one particular lady. She approached me and asked if we had a Bible to give to her. One soul craving for God’s Word!

Treasure Hunt:

Along with the Singapore team we had a treasure hunt. We told the people they should first ask God for His treasures.

There was a lady on the beach. She was watching her son swim. We told her we believed that God wanted us to pray for her. She smiled then cried. She shared that she was ready to give up. She was very depressed and needed someone to talk to, especially about spiritual things.

We encouraged her and prayed with both her and her son. Then she gave us some money to buy food even though we tried to give it back and she always said no. She was blessed by us and wanted to bless us as well.

2nd midterm outreach:

Using drama and actions songs, we did Kid’s ministry with the Finland team in Pardo, Sambag and Mananga. I overcame my shyness to share the kingdom of God.

Jail Ministry:

Even though nervous, we entered to see prisoners who were happy to see us.  We shared a skit that spoke to their lives. Prayer with them followed testimonies and preaching the Gospel.

I was so blessed as God reminded me that I was a prisoner of Satan who believed his lies and when I found God I experienced freedom.

Hospital Ministry:

We prayed for the sick people and shared the Gospel.

Final Update:

Personally I learned a lot how to depend and to trust God. We spread the Word of God to eight different locations. I thought I can’t do it to share the Gospel boldly in areas I haven’t been and to people I don’t know, but God gave me courage.

The more I share my testimony the more I become bolder and God taught me that I am called to express not to empress.

One of my highlights was when we were in Tacloban. Personally it’s my first time having a prayer walk for almost 8 hours and along the way we met different people. It really wasn’t an accident because some of them really need a prayer. There was one old lady walking in the street, she can’t talk normally and she was so dirty and smelly. Every one of us prayed for her and one of the staff asked for a nail cutter to cut her long nails and he poured the water on her nails and he started washing her feet without hesitation.

God really rebuked me because on my own I can’t do it because she’s really dirty and smelly. When her feet were washed it reminded me how Jesus came and served the people. I prayed for her and I hugged her while praying for her.

It was my first time doing jail ministry, radio ministry, campus ministry, hospital ministry and building houses.

When we had our house-to-house evangelism we met a Muslim guy. He was touched by God and responded in faith to Christ’s love and salvation!

I had a lot of highlights dancing in the different churches and singing in the street. I discovered new things about me. I’m not shy anymore when I share my testimony in front of people and act in dramas.

God gave me more passion for the kids, seniors and orphans. While seeking God and praying He revealed to me that MISSION is not just in YWAM for 6 months but mission is a lifestyle and you can do missions everywhere.

Going back to Hope for the Island, I want to change.  I will tell the staff what God has done in my life during my DTS (Discipleship Training School) I want to minister to the youth and kids. I want to serve like what Jesus did and walk in obedience. I will do my best to be a good example and carry what God did in my heart through this experience back at Hope for the Island.

 

 

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 15 Apr 2017 0 comments

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

Nanay Angelita is one of the widows that Hope for the Island has the privilege to know and support! She has always suffered with ulcers. Her life has been affected a lot with pain. Her financial situation is not good. She always has to borrow money to go for check ups or to buy medicine.

Nanay is discouraged a lot because there doesn’t seem to be any improvement.  Each time we visit we pray for and encourage her to hold on to God because He is our best Healer.

We stand with her in faith for some change in her health. When we visited her a while back, she was smiling and really thankful to God. She said God had used Hope for the Island to show God’s love to her.

She said that the time we spend with her and how we care for her is a big help. When we asked about her ulcer pain she looked at us  with a big smile on her face and said, “I am so thankful to God because I feel very good and my ulcer pain is gone”.

Posted by: In: Children 15 Apr 2017 0 comments

 

We are very excited and motivated about KIDS MINISTRY.  The grade 6 elementary kids have been encouraged by our leaders to lend a hand with the younger children during ministry time.

It is an opportunity for us to evaluate who has the right heart and attitude needed to be future assistants.  It is such a joy to see those with a desire, participating as an assistant. We believe it is important to provide for them a way to step out in faith and be used by God.  These real life encounters with loving God and others, directs them down a path of obedience to God’s Word and possible leadership.

They look forward to moving on into Youth Ministry once they enroll in Grade 7.  Current Hope for the Island staff such as Marygrace, Janise, Gina and Leah also started out as assistants in grade 6.  They know full well what life is like for these kids as they overcome obstacles, find hope in the love of Christ and discover His purpose for their life.

We feel as leaders, that Kids Ministry is a huge opportunity to invest in the upcoming generation of future leaders and parents in this community.  We know God has a plan for each one of their lives.  What can compare to being a part of guiding these impressionable kids into a secure identity as God’s children and witness them bear fruit for God’s glory!

Hope staff testimony:

“These are the children in my Kid’s Ministry.  They are praying for each other.  I’m thankful to God because I was able to see these kids do something that usually only adults do.  They really have their own faith already in God and we can see it lived out.  Glory and honor belongs to God”