Posted by: In: MarkAnthony 27 Sep 2014 0 comments
14 years old and 40 lbs

14 years old and 40 lbs

Mark Anthony is a young man who is dear to our hearts. God worked an amazing miracle by healing him of advanced stage Schistosomiasis many years ago. This disease comes from a parasite commonly found in communities surrounding us. The parasite continues to multiply because of poor sanitation. Areas such as rice lands where contaminated water gathers is perfect breeding ground for the parasite. This parasite excretes an enzyme that allows it to enter even the thickest skin on the soles of feet.

When we encountered frail little Mark Anthony, we immediately travelled with him to the hospital on another island. On the way to the hospital Mark prayed with me and put his faith in Christ. Doctors said he was as good as dead when they laid eyes on him. When Mark heard these insensitive words, he naturally started crying. I encouraged him not to listen to what man says but to place his trust in God.

Lab tests unfortunately only confirmed the bleak reality of his hopeless condition. God had different plans however for Mark Anthony! Over the course of a few days God miraculously restored all his organs and his blood. Life, color and weight gradually came back and he was released from the hospital a short time later.

We nursed him back to full health with a good diet and a lot of love. His short life has been marked by much suffering, abuse and hardship, yet his deep faith in God and connection to Hope for the Island has allowed him to overcome each obstacle.
There was a time we lost touch with Mark when the elderly woman who had cared for Mark Anthony passed away. His biological parents both died of the same disease when he was a child. We continued to pray for Mark Anthony.

During one of our recent outreaches we saw him! Although his life had not been easy, he looked good and was doing what he could to find odd jobs to survive. I offered him an opportunity to work at Hope for the Island Organic Farm and he jumped at the opportunity. Because of the many years Mark Anthony suffered, he was not able to perform hard labor. His development has been stunted in many ways because of his illness, but we found simple work duties at the farm that he is capable of doing.

It has been amazing to watch the joy and dignity rise within him now that he has productive, consistent work. All our farmers love to work with him. His joy and love for God is contagious!

We love his smile, especially when he is worshiping with his guitar. We are so happy to have him as part of our lives once again!!

Posted by: In: Mercy Ministry 24 Sep 2014 0 comments

LALU #11For the past four months Lalu has been showing progress. The local doctor worked out some assistance for Lalu and her great grandmother to travel to Cebu City. There she saw a specialist about her flexed arms and legs at no cost to the family!

After several consultations and tests, she was given meds and an exercise program that is helping. As part of our Feeding Program, we supply her with a healthy meal a day and have added chewable multivitamins that were donated.

Lalu is slowly gaining weight and is much more responsive. Through a donation, we were able to get a wheelchair for her as well. This gives her much needed mobility. Previously her great grandmother had to carry her everywhere!

 

 

Posted by: In: JoyJoy 24 Sep 2014 0 comments

photo 32We mentioned JoyJoy in the recent blog you received from us. We couldn’t wait to give you the good news!

JoyJoy is a delightful young lady who has an incredible story of faith and trust in God. If you are new to this journey, please click on this link to see previous blogs.

Related Links:  Read all of JoyJoy’s story

Our Hope for the Island team followed up with her at her home and reported the following:

Thank you Lord for what you are doing in JoyJoy’s life, you are so amazing and wonderful! A testimony from her mother testified that they have not lost hope and continue to trust for more miracles in their daughter’s life.

At the last follow up appointment with the doctor, He said the brain tumor is getting smaller! Her mother directly attributes this change and gives God glory for the prayers that Pastor Duane and his team from Harvest Church prayed over JoyJoy while visiting from Canada.

She is still having difficulty walking and will need to exercise daily because they believe she now has rheumatism. We believe God has heard our prayers and JoyJoy is in His hands.

We are so grateful to you for your prayers and continued encouragement for this family.

We love you JoyJoy!!!

Read more…

From Dennis Derkach- Hope for the Island Canada Board Member

I am blessed to have visited Hope for the Island for a fourth time in five years. My wife Charlene and Brian and Elaine experienced life as it happens on the island.
I was excited because this time we were not with any church group or non-profit organization but as a board member of Hope for the Island.

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I was immediately entrenched in the day-to-day operations. I renewed acquaintances with familiar faces that faithfully serve at Hope and met the junior staff that has come alongside the veterans. These new friends became family by the end of the trip and are very dear to my heart. They called me Kuya Dennis and I was honored.
The personal one to one time I got to spend with Derek enlightened me on the challenges of running a non profit organization, being a father, husband, mentor, big brother and director. His day was jam packed with responsibilities, some similar to those in Canada but others that are unique to the culture of the Philippines. I was impressed with the fact that his day began with fervent prayer time and devotions with God. I believe this is a key element in the provisions God has given to the ministry.

I was there to see the medical system at work and the difficulties and expenses occurred while being on an island that is not in close proximity to a big city. I was there helping with the nipa when Derek injured his foot and saw how he trusted God to meet his medical needs and while in pain, still persisted in doing the work of God he was called to do.

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The faithfulness and commitment I saw in Derek, as Director of Hope for the Island was very impressionable as was his 4:30 in the morning jogs with his son Brison and a group of boys he mentors. When the jogging was over they would return to his house to a wholesome breakfast and a time of devotions in studying God’s Word with them. Many of these boys do not have a father figure and it was good to see how they respected Derek out of the relationship and time he spends with them. One of their excursions was to TakTak falls for a swim and again Derek taught them a few Bible memory verses.
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Jenn took the female staff on a weekend getaway to a quiet area on the island to fellowship, pray and mentor them. She has a heart to encourage the girls to be all they can be as women of God. Jenn also spends time with the staff in prayer and teaching in a weekly Bible study. Besides being a mom, wife and Godly woman of many talents, she finds time to spend with God daily to seek His will and direction for the family and ministry. Jenn has a passion for the Organic Farm and with the assistance of God and the farm staff has brought that area of ministry to a point where owners of restaurants and resorts on other islands are requesting the farms produce.

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I went into the village of Burgos to visit and pray for children and families. I especially enjoyed the Saturday ministry time with the children. I got to play games, teach a Bible lesson and then feed them a meal. In my session with them, I shared the story of caterpillars changing to butterflies and how God changes us spiritually into a new creation. I enjoyed special playtime with the children who would come to Hope for recreation. We would play with animal character balloons that Charlene made.

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My time on the farm included doing chores such as spreading manure around the vegetation and painting wooden stakes to identify rows and crops.

I heard the dreams, desires and stories told by the Hope family and watched as the final parts of the old Mission House were torn down. It was a bit emotional as I recalled the fun times I had ministering in the old house. I understood the necessity of tearing down the old in preparation for the new. God has a new beginning planned.

I thank God for each time I can visit Hope for the Island and look forward to when I can be a part of God’s ministry there again.

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!
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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…