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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.