Posted by: In: Van Family 02 Jan 2016 0 comments

Our trips back and forth to the island are always an adventure. Our recent trip was a grueling 17-hour journey to get back to Cagayan de Oro. Although my body was wrecked from the trip, I felt alive with joy remembering all that God did over our thirteen days on the island. It was a blessed trip connecting heart to heart with our staff, teaching His word and being home where our heart is called.

Jenn and I take turns traveling back to Hope for the Island to spend around ten days there per month. When there are school breaks we can travel as a family. A one-week semester break freed up Makana and Brison to be with us. It was great to see them have fun and get back to their island ways! In this challenging new season as a family, we have confidence in God and His plan. Despite adjustments, we see this test of faith as an answer to prayer.
Here is some of what has happened during the 5 months we have lived in the city…

God provided a small clean home for us to rent in a safe neighborhood!

We were blessed with a reliable used truck. Driving in the city is a little nuts but fun!

Makana and Brison attend a great Montessori School with other classmates. They are adapting well and with resolve. They now have friends and have good grades. This is a great testimony to the hard work and perseverance of Jenn’s homeschooling years!

Our kids have new and varied opportunities to develop through youth groups, voice lessons, rock climbing, field trips, camping, team sports and volunteering as they did at HOPE.

After 16 years of marriage Jenn and I finally get to go out on dates!!! We are plugged into a good mission minded church and we have joined weekly growth groups. This was an answer to prayer because we lacked the blessing of being in relationships that challenged and sharpened us.

We are establishing great relationships that can lead to future ministry/networking /mission teams coming to Hope for the Island.

Fast and reliable Internet connection free us to work on Admin / office work requiring good connection and proximity to agencies. Most of these tasks are tedious and require a lot of patience and discernment especially with corruption being a real issue here.
Jenn and I are developing ourselves with great parenting / ministry / leadership training online. This is something we never had the luxury of before.

We have taken opportunities to visit farms and attend seminars that educate us as to how to further develop sustainability at our Hope for the Island organic farm.

We have fun as a family when we escape the city and get out in nature on Saturdays. Mountain ranges are beautiful and the temperature is actually cool! Pine trees and strawberries bring back Canadian memories. Our kids wish there was snow. I tell them it is overrated! ?

Beyond prayer for our family as well as ministry needs, please pray for protection. Nearby provinces are known for rebel activity and radical religious groups. The threat and opposition Christians are facing in the world is at each of our doorsteps.

A year ago it wasn’t a threat to stand in your faith in North America. That has changed and will only worsen. It may look different from one place to the next but the response to the new spiritual climate should be the same. We are called to be set apart in the way we obediently live for Jesus and carry His life-giving message of hope and love. As we seek to reflect Jesus and extend grace by the leading of Holy Spirit, circumstances and people we encounter will be impacted.

I pray for an urgency to stir in the hearts of all God’s children as we prepare ourselves for the groom to come. As Jesus so perfectly put it in Matthew 5:16:

 “Let your light so shine before men that they may

see your good works and glorify your father in heaven”    

We should not be surprised that the world is going in the destructive direction it is and acting like the world because it is “the world”. The response we are to take is to do what God calls us to do rather than react in the flesh and act like the world. We are to remember God’s grace in our lives and extend that unmerited grace to others according to the fruit of the Spirit. We are called to be His salt and light as we live by faith in the trying days ahead. There are many things God desires to do in and through His body before Christ returns. Let us endure and bring in a great harvest for His glory!


Posted by: In: Youth Ministry 11 Nov 2015 0 comments

Most of the youth we have the privilege of connecting with and serving each week come from despair, extreme poverty, broken homes and neglect. Sadly many youth walk down the familiar repetitive cycle of destruction as a result of deeply rooted wounds and no role models. In spite of the beauty of Siargao Island and the many smiles seen by visitors, there is an underlying hopelessness that is a very real struggle the kids and youth face.

Our staff knows very well the ongoing battle because of their very similar heart wrenching past. By God’s grace our staff have walked through the process of healing and restoration! They know the power of being forgiven and forgiving others and move forward daily in the freedom, identity and purposes of Jesus. It has been an honor to be a part of their redemption stories coming to pass. Even greater is to see the cycle go full circle, as our staff who we used Read more…

Posted by: In: Testimonies 24 Oct 2015 0 comments

God really has worked in my life according to His plans. He worked in ways I did not expect. God used all experiences and situation to reveal Himself and for me to know His plan is perfect. He even used people to make clear His message to me. Thank God for the right people He brought into my life to help me see the light.
As far as I can remember, I started attending Hope for the Island Kid’s Ministry when I was around 5 or 6 yrs. old. I was so young.

All I remember that time is that there are these strangers who wanted to befriend us and told us some amazing Bible stories. At first I had no idea why these new people came to share each week. I always attended because my playmates were also there. Almost all the kids in our village would go and I followed. I had so much fun and was very curious what would happen each time they came. I was very excited when I was able to move from the kids into the Youth Ministry!

It turned out that my time in Youth would be the most amazing years of my life. Every Friday night I was able to spend it with other youth who also want to know more about God. Every Friday I always told myself that this day will be for God alone. I did not want to follow my other classmates to parties because I can see they did not have peace or joy.

Honestly speaking if Hope for the Island did not provide a place for me to encounter God I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would have become like so many teens that ended up suffering consequence of following sinful life. I can remember so clearly May of 2009. It’s the time where I made the decision to put my trust in and follow Jesus! I accepted what He did for me as my Lord and Savior.

Shortly after I also had desire to be a part of serving the kids in my community and became one of the volunteer assistants at Hope for the Island. That was truly one of the best experiences that really brought a great impact in my life and gave me God’s heart for others.
Now I am in college pursuing God’s plan for my future. At Hope I learned that despite hardships around me God will do something great in my life if I obey and follow Him. I still have a long way to go in my relationship with God, but amidst the busyness of college pressure, I have held to what I learned in the past. I am still living with it and will continue living with it! God’s word is my armor and shield wherever I go. He guides my every step!

The foundation I have from my time at Hope for the Island opened a door for me to become a full-time GK Volunteer. I work with various communities all over Bukidnon province in order to impart the culture of caring & sharing. I teach the Lumad youth in various parts of Bukidnon who have difficult access to proper education being too far away from the cities. I enjoy helping with organizations that train and educate struggling youth. I enjoy mentoring them to be future leaders. I am able to teach them that trusting God and hard work gives way for God to fulfill His great plans.

There is nothing better than knowing God and being in a personal relationship with Jesus. Having God in your life means we share in His passions, serve as He served and help the poor and needy. God always provides a way for us to fulfill His purposes. The choice is ours but as a Christian it’s our call and responsibility to care for others. It’s our responsibility to help lead others to Jesus who alone saves. God is my reason for everything. Without Him, everything would be meaningless.

Thank you to all who have and continue to support and pray for Hope for the Island. My life was changed because of you.

Posted by: In: Testimonies 20 Oct 2015 0 comments

I am glad to share with you my life journey with our Lord. My name is Gonzalo O. Monter, Jr. I usually go by nickname JR. I am 23 years old and currently, I am an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) working as a teller in a financial institution here in Doha, Qatar. I am enjoying the gift of life that God has given to me. I have so many things to share with you about my life and it will be exciting because it’s not about me but more about God.

At an early age, I heard about who God is since my family is religious. It is still vivid on my mind when Hope for the Island started in the year 2001. Missionaries from a different country came to live and volunteer their lives. I actively joined the ministry for kids and continued in my teenage years. There were some hindrances for attending due to religious issues being brought up by people It didn’t stop me to continue because I am learning about Jesus.
To be involved in the HOPE helped me a lot. I learned and come to know Jesus and the real purpose of my life in this world and what will be our life after death. Read more…

Posted by: In: Youth Ministry 02 Oct 2015 0 comments

This summer we had 130 youth ages 13 and up attend our Hope for the Island Youth Camp. It was a camp unlike any other we have had.

We have been praying for years for some youth we knew needed to surrender their bad habits and sinful lifestyle to God. Our prayer was for them to be saved and truly follow Him with all their heart.

God used His Word to convict hearts. The final evening was a life changing moment for so many. Jing offered the youth a chance to surrender their life to the Lord. She reminded them of the fact that many have been coming to youth group for years. They confessed to be Christians, but they were living defeated lives, bound by their addictions and poor decisions.

When the final challenge was given, no one responded and no one came forward to be prayed for. Praise God for Jing’s boldness. She kept challenging them to examine their lives and to accept the embrace of God who was pursuing them. Read more…

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 29 Sep 2015 0 comments

Learning about yourself and your true identity is the basic theme of the seminar we held at Hope called Plumbline. The Hope team has a desire to work with heart issues and issues that hold us back from fully surrendering to God. We had been blessed by a similar course with Pastor Duane Siemens from Canada and now once again the theme continued with Plumbline.

We all need to be willing to walk the same path as the people we minister to. Locals struggle with issues of self worth, unforgiveness and not knowing how to anchor on to their true identity in Christ.

We have had previous discipleship sessions discussing forgiveness and who we are in Christ. Jing really felt the need for the Hope staff to go deeper to their roots and so we participated in Plumbline. We knew there were still those who were being held back by their cultural customs or past hurts.

Sheila and Joy were great seminar leaders who came and not only led the teaching but also met and prayed with each staff one on one. Brian and Dennis from Canada and Ryan from Hawaii also participated while they were at Hope for the Island.

It was evident that the staff had been impacted when we spoke to them about their experience after the seminar. They were now pushing past their shyness and walking in freedom. Something new was stirred in their heart. We saw increased joy and fresh passion for teaching and discipling kids, youth and adults.

It was such a blessing as ambassadors for the Gospel, to have opportunity to participate in this seminar. Being filled up and checking your heart condition is vital for ministry. Fully submitting to God and His will for our lives not only changes us, but how we minister as well. Our serving becomes an overflow of what is already going in our own lives and heart.

We want to keep serving well!

Posted by: In: Mercy Ministry 21 Sep 2015 0 comments

Leaning HouseThis story is about a fiercely independent 76 yr. old widow who lives alone. Her humble home was leaning precariously on the side of a hill in the village of Burgos. Each typhoon that hit our area only made it worse.

When we approached Nanay Tanysa about tearing it down, she was concerned that she would have nowhere to go.

Under the umbrella of our Mercy Ministry, we supplied new and used materials to help make her home more stable. Family and neighbors tore it down and rebuilt on the other side of the road.

It may not look the way we would imagine, but we are learning that sometimes we have to put our western agendas aside and let locals lead the way.

We featured Nanay Tanysa in one of our recent blogs sporting her new donated sunglasses. These protect her eyes during long days of breaking large rocks into little pebbles with a hammer. It takes her two days to fill a bag that earns her 18 pesos or 50 cents =$7.50 month!

Our Mercy Ministry regularly calls on her to spend time praying and developing relationship. We supply her with dried veggies and rice to provide her the energy she needs for rock breaking.

Your donations help us have the resources in place to make decisions such as this. We are able to provide funding as God leads for a variety of needs. What a joy to see her smile and thank God. This simple blessing gave a sweet elderly lady the dignity and love that she deserves. We give God the glory for His provision.

The cost to bless this dear senior was about $100! THANK YOU!!!

Please take the time to click this link and view the 34 seconds of video. It begins with moving day for this independent lady, moves to the view inside her NEW home and finally she poses in the door of her NEW home.

My New House

Posted by: In: Bags of Hope 21 Sep 2015 0 comments

Thank you for how you have embraced Bags of Hope. Thanksgiving is upon us soon.

Read how Jesse from Winnipeg has challenged her family for the second year in a row in the following email:

Hi To all My Family,
I’m inviting you for our Thanksgiving Celebration. Let’s make it more meaningful.

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks to our LORD for everything that He has done for us and all the trials He carried us though during this year.
Let’s not forget the true meaning of “Thanksgiving Day”

Over the years, we have gotten caught up in Holiday tradition and have completely forgotten what brought about the holiday celebration to begin with.
From time to time we all need to be reminded of the struggles for survival that we experienced.
But as a Christian let us not forget that there are people all over the world who are facing the same struggle, some people living in a hostile environment; starvation, death by disease, etc.
But, even through the worst of the worst, God is with us… We as an individual person need to reach out to the people today who are facing these struggles and show them that they too have much to give thanks for no matter what situation they are in.
We don’t have much, but let the small things make a wonderful experience. It would not only enlighten our kids about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. It would also remind all of us that this special celebration is more than just preparation of a large family meal.Last year during Thanks Giving Day we gave about 18 Bags of Hope instead of having a fancy dinner at the restaurant. Read more…

Posted by: In: Staff 25 Jul 2015 0 comments

The following is a testimony that was shared by Ching in her own words at our Hope for the Island Mothers’ Day ministry time.

Before I was a Christian, I know in my life there is God, but I don’t have faith in Him. I didn’t mind having God in my life. I lived a life that follows and does all that I want to do in my life. I don’t care about other people, and I don’t even care if I hurt other people and even my own family. In short, I used to live without Christ and I followed what my flesh want. With all of these deep in me I don’t have peace. Most of the times I don’t understand my life and anything happened in my life I blame God.

I thank God that He had given me a chance to know Hope for the Island and had a chance to join their ministry. Since I join Hope, that’s how I started hearing God’s word and learning the truth. They keep reminding me about the Word and letting me know that what God is looking is our heart if we have relationship with Him. By God’s help and having devotion everyday slowly I understand what is the truth and blaming God because of all things that happened to me is totally a mistake. There I found out that God never failed me, it was me who stays away from God. Those time I realized the reason I don’t have peace is because I don’t have a relationship with God. Having a relationship with God is the best thing that ever happened to my life.

One day I decided to be baptized knowing that my life is now own by God, no one pushed me to be
Now, I could say I’m a change person and now I am always on guard and being sensitive if I’ve done wrong or not. I could now sense the works of the Holy Spirit in me. And I am careful not to entertain the works and lies of satan.

I thank God for His love and forgiveness that I experienced. Now, I am experiencing the real joy and I have peace within me.
Picture cooking
I could say, there is no impossible with God, before I was a sinner now I am a renewed person. I am grateful for everything that God has done in my life and also with what He is doing now with me and with my family. I am happy serving God.

Posted by: In: Philippines Facts 09 Jul 2015 0 comments

National Bird- Philippine Eagle                                                         National Fish – Bangus

Caribao Cooling Off

Caribao Cooling Off

National Animal – Caribao


National Flag Consists of an 8 rayed sun- three golden stars- a red stripe & blue stripe- a white triangle
The white color represents peace & purity
The red stripe represents courage and bravery
The blue stripe is for noble ideals
The sun represents the beginning of a new era of self-determination
The 8 rays stand for the 8 provinces that rose in revolt against Spanish rule in the late 19th century.
The 3 stars stand for 3 principal geographic areas Luzon, Visayas & Mindanao
In wartime the red stripe will be on the top. In peacetime the blue stripe will be on top.