Hope for the Island Canada Board Member, Charlene shares about her recent visit to the Philippines.
The sights and sounds of Dapa greeted me as I walked off the boat and headed from the port into town. Vendors were selling their fruit and vegetable produce. Trikes and multi cabs were honking at each other as they transported their fares to various destinations. The smells of roasting chicken and other delicacies wafted through the air as the lunch hour approached. I smiled and with tears in my eyes, I knew I was back home just where I belonged!
In the midst of numerous trials and struggles here in Canada this past year, my Lord once again answered my prayer and sent me across the world back to Hope for the Island for my fourth visit. Brian and Elaine and my husband Dennis joined me. It is always so good to see our extended family again. What a joy to get to know and spend time with some of the newer additions to Hope – Jerry and Ching, Leah, Janice, Jennifer, Gina and Govani!

I went to town every chance I could. I love embracing the every day life of Burgos, watching rice drying on the road, women sweeping or baking bread and mostly loved watching the kids play and call out our names as we walked by. The kids know how to make fun from anything! Whether its a 2-boy ride on a skate board or my favourite was a boy with a roller blade on only one foot and a flip flop on his elbow for a pad! He zoomed and raced with big smiles having the most fun ever!
One memory I will cherish always was my visits with JoyJoy. She sits quietly on her porch listening to her favourite praise and worship music from within the house and sings the songs quietly to herself. As we walk up and sit beside her and embrace her small hands her infectious smile beams and she warmly invites us to sit with her a while. I learned a Visayan song “Sa Presentia”. JoyJoy said she knew the song and I held back tears as JoyJoy and I sang that precious worship song together.

Saturday morning Kid’s Ministry was a joy to be a part of! I love spending time with the kids singing songs, playing games and learning Bible verses as a lesson is shared from God’s Word. The children soon knew my name as we all sat together coloring our Bible lesson. We then provide a hot nutritious lunch for each of them.
On hot afternoons at Hope, children will wander over either to play a game in the sand or chat together under the shade of a coconut tree. Those were perfect times for the making of fun animal balloons for everyone! What fun to watch them giggle and smile as they ran around playing with their new found toy!
No matter what the task, no matter what is required or needed, I am happy to serve in whatever capacity at Hope for the Island. At times, the tasks take their toll on my physical body in such a hot humid climate, but for me they seem effortless. My joy and inner strength come from His strength and grace. I have returned to Canada knowing God will once again send me to Hope for the Island next year. I pray for Derek, Jenn, Makana and Brison and for the Hope Staff as they continue to serve their God showcasing the love of our Lord Jesus Christ to each and every person they encounter.

Posted by: In: Van Family 25 Aug 2014 0 comments

Once again I am dealing with an infection following a scrape on my leg. I was admitted to a hospital in Cebu. My leg is swollen and the redness has moved from the wound down to my ankle.

I was put on two different IV antibiotics that seemed to have no effect and am waiting on culture results. I am concerned that I may have built up a resistance to these drugs when I had the last infection and surgeries. They are now changing my meds, doing a culture and checking for diabetes. I have a new doctor now who specializes in infections and is taking on my case.

Jenn is back at Hope for the Island with our kids, where we have a team of 17 visiting from Canada. Being alone in a hospital on this side of the world brings with it just a few challenges. I will leave most of those things to your imagination. Some wild thoughts you may have are probably close to reality. I am thankful that a close friend in the city has taken time to help just at the right times. Normally patients have a “watcher” or companion with them at all times because absolutely everything from supplies, meds to something as simple as ice or water has to be purchased outside the hospital. You even have to walk what seems half a block to call a nurse. Not the easiest thing in my condition.


All trials remain to be an opportunity to respond in faith and expectancy. God is good! Thanks for your prayers.

Posted by: In: Kid's Ministry 22 Aug 2014 0 comments

Bailan is a small barangay (village) in the northern part of Siargao Island. We have never done an outreach there and were so excited to work with the local government in the area.

Bailan #1reszThe day was SO intensely hot. As soon as we arrived there was not time to rest, we unloaded eleven bulging door-to-door boxes from our truck. Kids, youth and adults were then registered and put into groups. It was evident the kids in that area were hungry for the Word of God and ready to listen. Our team was excited to see what God would do in the lives of the people in Bailan. We were greeted by youth who were so kind, hospitable and joyful.
I had the pleasure of ministering to the adults who have no access to a bookstore; blog or TV shows on parenting or family. They have no where to turn for advise. I felt honored to be able to connect with them by sharing in their language about what God says in the Bible. I am personally blessed by receiving a weekly phone call from a dear mentor friend.

I was open about my personal parenting challenges as well as insights into parenting issues I see here. Our island is changing as tourism increases and families are opened up to new influences.

Nermilyn (Hope staff) taught the youth and kids about salvation and forgiveness of sins. When asked “who would like to receive Jesus in their heart and turn away from their old life?” every child and youth raised his or her hand! The kids made a cross as a craft to remember the decision they made to accept Jesus and what He did for them. The soil was ready for the seeds planted that day. We pray for fruit from these decisions. We know getting into God’s Word is vital for growth that brings about change in lives.

We thank God for such an amazing time and for those of you who donate items for the door-to-door boxes that are shipped. If only you could see the faces as they receive something from the box!!!

Posted by: In: Organic Farm 15 Aug 2014 0 comments

We are experiencing the busiest time of year! This is the hottest season but also a very productive season. The farmers labor every day in the intense heat to be sure we always have enough mulch available for the beds. It differs a lot from the season we came through with torrential rains and heavy winds.

The summer season is also a time when all of us at Hope take a turn spending a day at the farm. We pull weeds or cut grass. Visiting teams or individuals to Hope for the Island are offered and, usually take advantage of, a day at the farm to experience how it operates.

Let using grass cutter
Beyond the regular veggies and herbs we produce, we have introduced new varieties to Siargao Island such as swiss chard, beets, kohlrabi and turnips. Some resorts and families are now becoming accustomed to having fresh vegetables delivered weekly.

We are excited that the farm has been showing a profit. After many years of sweat, toil and tears this is a huge breakthrough in an island that is only now being introduced to farming of this kind. Gradually as the farm earns, this will in turn allow us as a ministry to be more sustainable, while also enjoying a healthier diet.

God has honored our hard work and prayers and has given us favor in the land. We are blessed to have such a hard working faithful farm team!

r2RyPs7S-M414jfTa7srbP4pI41bDXgBHYi4pP3bY5sEach summer we take every opportunity to share God’s love with our local youth. A YWAM team from Australia joined us in ministering to 120 youth during a three-day Youth Camp at Hope for the Island.

The intense heat did not slow them down. Young people participated during the day and then spent the night on our compound. As night approached not a word could be heard as they fell asleep exhausted from a full day.

Our focus for teaching was about identity. A false identity is shaped and lived out. They listened intently as we shared about the mistake of believing who you are because of your home life, status or talents.

When small groups broke off and during follow up, we were not prepared for what we heard as they were given opportunity to share and give testimonies. Many girls opened up about their insecurities and the guys shared about home problems and misunderstandings. Read more…

Posted by: In: Kid's Ministry 15 Jul 2014 0 comments

Filipinos love fiestas. It is a special time with friends, a time for fellowship, food and lots of activities. Villagers will always return home even if they are living or working elsewhere. Each year brings numerous fiestas. Sometimes people are busy for weeks preparing for them. Those facing many problems in their day-to-day life set them aside and participate in the festivities. Relatives, friends and strangers that attend are welcomed into homes to eat and even stay overnight. Most often people borrow money that becomes a heavy burden to pay off throughout the year just to beautify their simple homes and prepare food.
The fiesta is of Spanish origin. Spain, being a Roman Catholic country, set aside certain days to remember particular saints with processions and celebrations. When Spanish missionaries entered the Philippines during the mid-1500s, they found that the fiesta was a convenient tool to help teach Filipinos the Roman Catholic faith.
When the Spaniards came, many communities were given names of saints. Nearly all towns have a patron saint to remember. Town fiestas have many faces. They usually feature a mass and a procession. Long after the religious ritual is completed, people eat, drink and enjoy the rest of the day. Read more…

From Jenn:

For previous reports on this ministry click on this link: 

I had the pleasure of driving Let to Del Carmen to follow up with two of the kids in our Hope for the Island Malnourished Program. We were so pleased to see them clean and happy.


Let had so much fun playing the peek a boo game with Eliza. She is 4 years old now and hasn’t progressed much in weight or height. You can definitely see that she interacts well with people and is quite a cheerful little girl. Her mom mentioned that she easily gets sick. Currently her asthma is acting up and she has a bad cough. I was so impressed by this mother. She has another daughter who is 2 years old and is quite healthy. This dear lady found Eliza on the side of the road! Her health has been a challenge from day one. She was very malnourished and her body was covered in skin diseases.  I thanked the mom for her constant love and care and encouraged her that many are praying that Eliza’s lung will become strong and she will gain weight.  Read more…

Posted by: In: Mercy Ministry 01 Jun 2014 0 comments

Mercy Ministry doesn’t always look the same at Hope for the Island. We recently had the awesome privilege of witnessing twenty-one couples get married. They were living together and had never been joined in holy matrimony.

Please take the time to read Hope staff member Let’s account of how this came about. Two pastors from opposite parts of the world, Pastor Mozo from our island and Pastor Duane Siemens from Winnipeg, Canada, who was here with a team, got to be a part of God’s plan for these men and women.

I have grown up believing that every child deserves a happy home.  Being with Hope for the Island for 8 years now, and involved with our Hope for the Island Learning Centre for 5 years, I have encountered many different kids in a variety of difficult situations.

A seed was being planted in my heart every time I heard stories about kids being left alone by mothers who have to work. Some children are born out of wedlock or may not have proper documentations because they don’t have fathers present at birth. Years passed and I still felt nudges in my heart every time I heard of unwed couples with kids. Read more…

Posted by: In: Merlyn, Testimonies 01 May 2014 0 comments
Every once and a while we are blessed to get feedback and testimonies from those God allows us to minister to. Below is an unedited testimony shared by a woman who is dear to our heart.


My name is Marlyn Espanto, a single parent of 7 children.Year 2004 when my husband decided to work in Manila because life is hard here in the province. Since the time he left he never came back for us again. Later on I found out that he is already living in with another woman and never even thought of us, his family.
I don’t know what to do, having to feed 5 children under me since my eldest is already married and is living in another city, and the other one is a working student in Manila also. I started harboring hatred in my heart and then I started to learn how to drink, then neglecting my own kids as well.
One day I just noticed that Joe one of my sons is always not at home during Saturdays. I usually scold him even spank him. One time tried to look for him and to my surprise I found him here at Hope for the Island. I saw him listening to the words of God together with the other kids and led by a staff from Hope.
I cannot spank him nor scold him since then because for the first time again in a long time I have seen my son happy with all the smiles and coming home telling us even his other siblings all that he is learning. And his younger siblings taking so much interest as well. It became a joy in my heart hearing my children having those times of stories, and then I realized that I cannot guide them just by myself, so why not let God work out in the hearts of my kids through the Hope kids Bible study and snack times.

Read more…

Posted by: In: Mercy Ministry 14 Apr 2014 0 comments

Hope for the Island continues to be a place where people from all over Siargao Island come to seek help and receive comfort and peace.  Acts of love and mercy create open doors that impact lives. Simple acts of care and concern look different for each soul we minister to. It can be cleaning and dressing wounds, providing assistance for health emergencies, giving meals to hungry widows, lending educational resources to students, feeding malnourished children, caring for pregnant mothers in need or initiating community service with kids and youth. These all establish a level of trust with locals and openness for deeper spiritual matters.
Read more…