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….
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.
I 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,
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!
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
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,