Hi there!

My name is Ryah. I’m a 3rd year BSc in Global Resource Systems student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. I was wonderfully blessed to be Hope for the Island’s first farm intern! My three month internship at HOPE in Siargao (from May to July 2016) was truly one of the best times of my life—lots of hard work, but super rewarding.

At the Organic Farm, I observed first-hand the success of several sustainable agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, integration of livestock, green fertilizers, etc. I had studied these concepts before in school, but it was so refreshing to see them in action at an actual farm. I love how the HOPE farm produces fresh, healthy food for local Siargao communities in a sustainable way – it is good for both the people and the environment.

Over the three months of my internship, I learned so much from the HOPE farm family and I got plenty of hands-on farming experience such as planting and harvesting a variety of crops, removing weeds (“hawa” in Siargaonon), and shovelling/harvesting some good ol’ goat manure (excellent for the plants, but definitely not good for the nose – ha-ha). My Excel/Word skills came in handy as well to enhance the efficiency of record keeping at the farm.

In addition to farm work, I participated in HOPE’s Kids and Youth Ministries, sharing God’s love and His Word with others. It was such a blast to work with children and young adults in the Siargao community. In the process of ministering to others, I was also ministered to by the HOPE staff and established positive relationships with them; it was a great pleasure to work and serve alongside them.

Altogether, my experiences during the internship were invaluable; I loved getting to know the people and integrating into the Siargao community. I have gained so many wonderful friends and been blessed with plenty of treasured memories.

I thank God so much for bringing me to HOPE, it has been a huge blessing in my life; He certainly provided guidance and protection throughout my stay. I would also like to thank the HOPE leadership team and staff for their hard work and dedication in the service of the Lord and of their community, and for giving me the opportunity to do my internship in Siargao. I am so happy and grateful to be a part of the HOPE community, and I hope to go back to Siargao in the future!

Please continue to read how Ryah’s time at Hope impacted her family and our Hope family.

Hi, Derek and Jenn.

We would just like to thank you for giving Ryah the opportunity to do her summer internship at Hope for the Island.

She had a great time, learned a lot from the organic farm and the ministries, but mostly gained wonderful friends!

It is truly a blessing to her and we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to you and the Hope staff both in the farm and the compound for all your help and assistance during her stay there.

May the Lord’s blessings be upon you all always and all the best and more power to Hope for the Island! May the Almighty Father continue to bless many through your programs and ministries!

Shalom!

In Christ,

Eric & Lourdes

 

Hi Mr and Mrs Rondolo,

Thank you also for entrusting your daughter to us. You have done a great job raising Ryah in the Lord. She has a big heart that is evident in the way she served and loved while here. We pray God continues to stir her heart for missions and that what she learned here will impact her life and relationships back home. We also pray God leads her or someone like her to come back some day to continue to labor alongside us for the Kingdom of God! Scripture rightly says, that the laborers are few and the harvest is plentiful!

All glory and honor to Jesus!

In Christ

Derek

My name is Anna and I recently led a Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Maui School of Biblical Foundations and Missions Team (SBFM) to Hope for the Island.

Hope for the Island is an exemplary example of what it looks like to serve and worship God in every facet of your life. We, as a team, had the privilege to serve alongside the staff and live life with them for two whole months.

We had the expectation to come serve, teach and disciple the staff and community, but as we did, we were served, taught, and discipled by each of them too. Our team was greatly impacted by the staff- their testimonies, their lives and the way they pursue God authentically and passionately.

I believe that Hope for the Island portrays what Jesus has always intended the body of Christ to look like; their lives reflect Jesus and they display His heart so beautifully all throughout the community. Whether we are visiting with the widows or playing with children, the confidence in Jesus that they carry and how the gospel has changed their lives is evident and God is glorified. Because of our time at Hope for the Island, I can easily say that none of us will ever be the same. We were inspired, encouraged, challenged and sharpened everyday. Read more…

Donna is someone who visited Hope for the Island and has become very dear to us. I could not talk her into sending me her picture to share with you. We are grateful however, for her ability to share word pictures with us about her time there. Enjoy!
Elaine

I visited Hope for the Island Ministries for about 10 days after having heard about it from a friend who had met Derek briefly at a church in Hawaii. My friend was so impressed by what Derek shared that she suggested I contact the ministry before I headed to the Philippines. I did so and was very blessed by my reception and visit there. Read more…

My name is Wendy and I had the opportunity and privilege to serve at Hope for the Island with a mission team from Cross Church in Winnipeg. All 17 of us had a wonderful time sharing God’s love by serving and using the gifts and talents God has given to us in a variety of ways.

We had a fantastic time working alongside the Hope staff, who day in and day out faithfully serve the Lord and the people on the island. We spent time with youth and children who regularly visit Hope. The love of Jesus was shared in tangible ways as we spent time with them. We did acting classes as well as volleyball and baseball camps. Relationships were made, all had fun and we made some great memories! I praise God for the amazing things He is doing in the lives of the people there.

Other opportunities included doing outreaches in two different towns or barangays as they are called. There, we were able to connect with kids and adults of all ages and share the Gospel with them. We had lots of fun singing, sharing Bible stories and playing games with the kids. What a sight to see even the adults joining in a game of musical chairs and dancing the “Hokey Pokey”. We also took part in handing out Bags of Hope for the children that included small toys and simple toiletries among other things. There were quilts and clothing for the adults; things we tend to take for granted in North America. It was thrilling to see the look of joy on their faces.
Wendy -

It was amazing to visit with believers in their homes in Burgos. God reminded me of this verse of scripture while we were there: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself untainted from the world.” James 1:27 ESV

Nany Floring-
During my visit with a widow named Florencia or Nanay Floring, we had a great time in fellowship and God really opened my eyes and made me think about how I live my life back home. We brought a love gift for her and in the bag was a towel. I will never forget the look of happiness on her face as she wrapped the towel around her shoulders, snuggled right in and giggled to herself. All this because of a towel!

After a time of prayer for her failing eyesight, we asked if she had any other prayers requests. She very simply replied, “I have everything I need”. Looking around, I couldn’t help but think how little she had, but how content she was. For me, it was a humbling experience realizing how blessed I really am and what “things” bring me joy and what I could be without.

Our time at Hope was filled with many wonderful experiences and we learned a lot from everyone we met. We are so thankful to God first and foremost and give Him ALL the honour and glory! And we are so thankful to Derek and Jenn and the rest of the Hope staff for allowing us to come to serve and love the people of Siargao Island.

From Elaine: Hope for the Island Canada

Although it has been some time since my trip to Hope for the Island, I continue to get requests for a personal report. I used to write an update after each trip and apparently you enjoy it.

Can this really be the 14th time I have been to Asia? Sleep eludes me when I travel so I am most often awake for over 50 hours with little more than a catnap on a plane or airport bench. This grueling trip has consisted of 12 flights and 4 boat rides. I am finally convinced that my efforts to save money will be my demise if I insist on taking this route again.

Our Cross team prepares to leave-The Philippines either works its way into your heart or you struggle with it. Needless to say, there is a special place in my heart for this country. I arrived with my husband Brian and Hope for the Island board members and friends Dennis & Charlene. Very soon after returning home, I would be requested to accompany a mission team of 17 from Cross Church. Trip #15! It was a joy to be a part of this group who served with passion!

Brian and I, as well as Dennis and Charlene, have been on this journey many times together. We comfortably eased into the bustling port of Surigao City. The buzz of the local transportation, which is little more than a converted motorcycle, brought back memories that made us smile and filled my heart with a strange comfort. Even the never-ending roosters crowing remind me of where I am and how much I love it. Read more…

Steve Klassen is one of our Hope for the Island Canadian Directors. He led a team from his church in British Columbia, Canada to the Philippines. They share from their mission trip experience….

Steve


I led a team of 17 to Hope for the Island from Cloverdale Baptist Church. As a Canadian Board Member, I really stand behind the vision of Hope. I had previously been there in 2008 with my 11 year-old son Jude and again in 2010 with my 11 year old daughter Adrianna.

When I introduced the idea of a short-term mission trip to our church leaders, I was pretty sure I would get approval from church leadership. They went beyond that by fully endorsing the trip, raising support and awareness for the trip and for the ministry of Hope for the Island. I was shocked to see 17 applications, with 13 of them being youth. My children, Jude 17, Adriana 15 and Mireya 11 were among them.

CLOVERDALE MINISTRYI really believe exposing youth to short-term missions is important. God can use those experiences to stir their heart for the lost and the disadvantaged. God can use those experiences and lessons learned as a guide for life. I know God can prepare his future full time missionaries through exposure to the mission field on a short-term trip.

In their story, you will see the hand of God working through this entire trip. I was pretty concerned about the “youngness” of our team, but later saw how this team really was handpicked by God to do the ministry that He had set before us. What a joy it was to also minister to the staff and leaders of Hope for the Island!

Ministry that we were part of was often spontaneous. We discussed the need to be aware of the “promptings” that God uses to spur us into action. Ministry happens where we are and opportunities are all around us, in Canada, in the Philippines, or anywhere in the world.

I look forward to see how the important ministry of Hope for the Island grows in height and breadth because of the 17 that answered the call and went out!

At Your Service,
Steve

 

Sarah

When I think back to my escapade across the world at Hope for the Island, I remember a song I was taught in Grade 2. The words to the song were: “Wouldn’t it be nice to go somewhere where everybody knows your name?” That phrase describes the town of Burgos, Surigao Del Norte so well. Everybody in town knows your name within the first 48 hours. It only took me approximately 2 hours to feel like a part of the Hope for the Island family. I knew I was a part of something great that God was doing there in the Philippines. My heart aches for the part of it that was stolen by the staff, the kids and even the dogs of Hope for the Island.
Memories and emotions always seems to pause at one particular memory that makes me smile. It was made clear by my team leader that our group of 17 would take turns to help the staff wash dishes. We were warned that the staff would try to refuse our help and that we were to stay strong and insist on helping. Our team would take turns helping with dishes in pairs.
When it was my turn, all the youth stayed for dinner at Hope so I was faced with washing approximately 100 dishes. I was actually super excited to hang out with the staff. I was directed to a corner of grass area where huge circular tubs were filled with water. As I walked over, I saw I was being followed by some of the youth.

I told them I was going to help with the dishes and some of them offered to take my place. Big tubs of water were set up in assembly lines to wash, rinse, second rinse and dry the dishes. Some youth helped and others watched me. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been self-conscious about doing dishes. Eventually I was demoted to rinsing for taking too long and not washing the dishes clean enough. Filipinos can squat for a long time while washing dishes. My leg muscles were burning so one boy gave me a stool. They are very shy and he bravely started asking me about myself. That encouraged more conversation and I had what turned out to be an amazing time interacting with the locals…while washing dishes!

 

Hannah

Hannah

Hannah

When I signed up to serve in the Philippines at Hope for the Island, I was seeking to follow God’s leading in my heart. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but as I made preparations and continued to pray about it, I grew more and more certain that this was where God wanted me to go. I am so glad I did! It was one of the best experiences of my life!
I was blessed by many of the different ministries I participated in at Hope for the Island, but the Children’s Ministry in particular really touched my heart. Hearing all the children’s voices raised in singing “God is good to me”, having sweet little girls put their hands in mine and seeing the love of the staff for “their kids” as they were teaching—these were just a few of the things that encouraged me to look beyond myself and reach out to others for God’s glory.
At the end of our first week on Siargao Island, we visited another town to teach kids and youth and to encourage parents. After teaching a Bible lesson, singing songs and playing games with the kids, we distributed care packages and pillowcase dresses made by many of the ladies from my church. It was exciting to watch the kids receive their gifts, though the mothers seemed even more eager than their children when their turn came! When we gave out the dresses, one of the grandmothers put on hers and started to dance to the music playing in the background, a joy filled smile lighting up her face. It was such a heart-warming sight!
I had the opportunity to share a lesson on the importance of personal devotions to a group of teens. It was a big step outside my comfort zone to speak in front of people (and my age, too!) and to prepare the lesson in under 2 hours, but my lack of confidence in my own ability caused me to turn to the Lord and cry, “Help!” When my time came to speak, I waited expectantly for the sweaty palms, knocking knees and shaky voice, but they never came! God gave me calm and confidence to do my best.
God did more than answer my prayer to have courage in sharing this lesson. He knew I needed to be reminded of this lesson on the importance of daily devotions. I was getting so caught up in serving and making friends that I wasn’t putting my Lord first and struggled to seek Him through prayer and the Word. As other things crowded Him out, it became difficult to point my new Filipino friends to Christ and encourage them in their faith. But God graciously helped me get back on track—He is so faithful!
Jenn shared the story of how she and Derek came to the Philippines and started up Hope for the Island and one thing she said really spoke to me. She said, “It does not matter where you are, as long as you are at the center of God’s will.” Mr. Klassen also continually encouraged our team to listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit and to watch for opportunities to lift up Jesus Christ. It was exciting to do that in the Philippines and I loved being able to serve God by ministering to the Filipino people. But the call to obedience and serving is still there every day no matter where I am—even though doing God’s will in the Philippines was way more exciting than doing school or chores at home! I pray God would give all believers the passion and strength to pursue His will in every area of our lives!
Thank you, Hope for the Island, for your amazing hospitality, the fantastic meals, the encouraging fellowship and the wonderful blessing you brought to me and our team from Canada!
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints…we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” – Colossians 1:3, 4, 9-12

 

Dexter

Dexter with guitar
My experience at Hope for the Island was truly incredible. I got a chance to be a part of this ministry and I was amazed to see all ages of youth be so into God. While I was there I found it amazing to see all the smiles on everyone’s faces to come learn about God and at the same time have fun with another. I had so many great moments while I was serving there. Interacting with the kids while singing songs was probably one of my favorite things to do. You can see different emotions that the kids have when I played different songs. Every song has a different connection for each of them. I just love playing music and seeing other children singing Christian songs and getting so happy really puts a smile on my face. God works in many ways and getting a chance to see how He works in a place that I’m not used to is just amazing. This trip was a great eye opener for me and I would love to come back when I can.

 

Chris & Grace

I find myself always waking up in the middle of the night with dreams of people whom I had met at the Hope for the Island. Perhaps the reason may have been that we’ve been always talking about the Hope, if isn’t that, we’ve been always thinking about it and praying for it.

I just want to say thanks for the work you are doing to minister to all those people and even to us for His glory. We are greatly thankful for the opportunity of serving Him alongside of what you are doing on daily and weekly basis. It helped us understand and taste for two weeks, what you’ve been building up to further the Kingdom of God through the vision God has given to you.

We felt and saw the deep love, care, kindness, patience, compassion and the passion for the Lord and people. We also saw the wisdom of discernment in each one of you through your words and actions. We praise the Lord that Hope for the Island is giving a hope in Jesus to the people in the communities and being the lighthouse and the imitators of Jesus. You welcome them into your lives and offer yourselves to them by all the visits, follow-ups, practical gifts, Biblical teaching, and words of encouragement, prayers and fun. You are there for them and build up relationships in the communities with THE purpose and strategies.

We thank the Lord for making a huge impression in the hearts of our family and our team with the work you are doing. We would have loved to spend more time with Derek and gotten to know him more. We came home with the feeling that we have known him & his vision so much more than what time had allowed us through these last two weeks just by being there at the Hope.

We feel very privileged and blessed to be a part of the Hope family and co-servants of God. We thank you for sharing the blessings of hope, vision, love, opportunities of serving and your time of precious memories
We miss you all very much. We will continually lift you up in our prayers and especially for Derek’s health.
God bless you all! with much love & appreciation,

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.

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: Short Term Missionaries 12 May 2013 0 comments

I first met Zak & Kim Fast in February 2012 at a local church in Winnipeg. They were visiting that Sunday. Kim approached me after seeing a presentation I did that outlined what God was doing in the ministry on Siargao Island in the Philippines.   She asked me if we would accept volunteers to serve in the Philippines.

Read more…