Life is a journey. It often takes twists and turns that we don’t anticipate. Last week we were on a plane over the Pacific Ocean, on our way back to Kelowna. We had just spent 5 days closing out our house in Costa Rica – another emotional transition begins.
This turn in the journey still has numerous uncertainties, but we know the One who goes before us! As you may remember, 12 years ago Michelle had a brain tumor. After surgery the levels that are used to determine the tumor’s activity never went back to normal; so all these years she has, along with her specialist, been monitoring those levels. In February this year, after normal blood work, we discovered that her levels had risen significantly. She saw her specialist in April and it was decided that she would need to begin life long drug therapy to control the tumor growth. It will take too long to figure out all the details of that to be able to move back to Latin America this summer, so we will continue to do our job from Canada for now. Last Thursday Michelle had her second treatment. We are praying that it will do what it needs to and that her body and this medicine will become really good friends.
The day before her first treatment, she read a verse from Matthew that says; “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” It has been a good reminder to stay in the now, because God promises to supply all we need in the now of this journey.
Here are a few highlights of the last few weeks:
From Panama we went down to Venezuela and had a great retreat with our growing Caracas team. This also is a great group of people committed to seeing transformation happen in the capital city.
After a couple weeks at home (when Michelle had her first treatment) we headed to Mexico for the national church Assembly. We then had a 4 day Strategic Team Review of the work in Mexico City. Pictured above is the review team that did a great job interviewing people for those 4 days. We got some great direction from our time together.
As mentioned above we then spent almost a week in Costa Rica closing things out. We don’t have pics because our heads were in boxes and suitcases the whole time :0)
The weekend we got home was Father’s Day and these are some fun pics in the foyer of Vernon Alliance Church with two of the most special young ladies on the PLANET!
Thanks for taking time to follow our journey.
Murray & Michelle
Dear Family & Friends,
Wow, we have had a full season these past couple months. Here are some highlights/pics for your perusal.
Most recently Murray was at Camp Nakamun (NW of Edmonton, AB) (www.campnakamun.com) as a trainer in a Leadership Matters Course (lmccourse.org). It was 16 days away from family but a great opportunity to train with some great people and to make many new relationships with leaders from China, Indonesia, Europe, Middle East, Caribbean, South America, Africa, North America, and New Zealand.
For the first week at the course the weather was cold (like -20C at night) and the lake was completely frozen. This offered a chance to do some snow shoeing on the lake each day for exercise. Not often can you walk on water, but in a Canadian winter it can be the normal experience :0)
One of those things was rediscovering the beauty and majesty of the flat part of Canada. What a country we get to live in and be from. Imagine walking along this road and listening to Shawn McDonald’s Yahweh.
Now, the contrast of the Canadian prairie and the Caribbean coast, on Sanibel Island in Florida, is rather obvious. We had the privilege of being in Florida to meet with our CMA US counterparts for Latin America. The US leadership team and the Canadian leadership team had a great week together. Fred Hartley was our speaker (www.collegeofprayer.org) for the first 3 days. We really enjoyed the deep learning we did together as well as the great conversations. The picture was taken from a restaurant balcony during one of our meetings. We didn’t actually stay at the beach :0) but at the Shell Point Village Guest House (shellpoint.org).
Prior to that we spent 8 days in the Toronto area with our global team for CMA Canada (www.cmacan.org). We have the privilege of working with a great team that gives strong leadership to our movement in Canada all around the globe.
Just before arriving in Toronto Murray had the opportunity of being in Antalya, Turkey with 2 CMA Latin America leaders. Javier Cortazar (right) serves as the Regional Coordinator for the Alliance World Fellowship/Latin America. Mario Perez (left) is the president of CMA Peru. We were attending a conference together to see what God is doing in Central Asia. These were inspiring days together as we talked about what God could possibly do with Latin Americans who are willing to serve in Central Asia.
We were even able to spend some time at Big White, enjoying the beauty of the mountains and the thrill of sliding down them. It gave us time to spend with our kids as well as some Manitoba relatives (Wiebe/Dalke gang).
Thanks for walking backwards with us through the last couple months. Stay tuned for more updates.
Murray & Michelle
New Year’s Greetings to Family & Friends,
Find below some pics and stories from the last couple months.
We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving as an extended family in Kelowna in October. It was great to have almost the whole Derksen family together.
It ended up being the last time that our family would gather with Murray’s dad present. He had a massive heart attack on October 22 and passed into glory on November 2. We miss him like crazy!
We had the privilege of having some meetings in Lake Louise, Alberta. What a beautiful place. It did our hearts good to be in such amazing creation.
In December the girls and us made a trip to Costa Rica for some meetings. It was good to stay in “our” house in Costa. The green scenery was a bit different than the white we left behind.
In Costa Rica we had the privilege of meeting with some great leaders in Central America (Costa Rican pastors pictured above).
Thanks for visiting our blog and keeping up with some of our comings and going.
Murray & Michelle
Dear Family & Friends,
It is about time for an update from the Derksens.
We left Costa Rica mid June and landed in Kelowna, BC on June 17. We had our townhouse for sale and it sold within 2 days of us arriving home. We bought another house in the next couple days and moved at the end of July. It made for a whirlwind start to the summer.
One of our July highlights was our multi-team regional retreat in Mexico. We had our teams from Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and from a Caribbean island with us. It was a great to be together.
August had us home in Kelowna for a bit, in Calgary, in Manitoba with Kilcona Park Alliance and some time with extended family, and then back down in Costa Rica for a conference. At a family wedding (congrats Caleb & Emily) we had some time with all of our kids. That is always a special treat for us.
September was the start of the school year for the girls. They got settled in and then Murray & Michelle headed to Gurumdur, Turkey (about 45 minutes north of the ancient city of Ephesus). We were there as trainers in training with the Leadership Matters Course (www.leadershipmatters.ws). It was a long but enriching trip where we were able to invest time and energy into 35 participants from 15 different countries.
Our fall is active but we are thankful to be home in Kelowna for Thanksgiving. We will be able to see all of our kids and spend time with our families. This is a once every 5 year chance for us to spend this particular weekend with family and we plan to cherish it.
Thanks for your love and prayers.
Murray & Michelle, Miki & Matty
Hey there family & friends,
It’s been just over a month since our last update and again it has been a full schedule on this side of the Americas (Costa Rica).
A key event in May was when Murray, Michelle, and Mikaela went to Venezuela for the Leadership Matters course on relationships. Murray & Michelle were trainers (in Spanish) and Mikaela cared for the Hiebert boys so that Chris & Angela could also be trainers. It was a great opportunity to develop relational skills in most of the CMA leaders in that country.
After the course Murray stayed on in Caracas for a few days, meeting with the team, and taking a day to do something exciting. Paragliding over the mountains west of Caracas was a spectacular experience. First time ever and something I would do again, and again, and again.
Murray went straight from Venezuela to Mexico City for further meetings about a joint venture called The Coyoacan Project. This is an effort to start an international Christian school in the Coyoacan area of Mexico City, in partnership with a local church and a community development group. We are excited that the plans are moving forward and we anticipate an August 2014 launch. This will not only supply a great educational option for our MKs but it will be a key avenue for impacting that part of Mexico City.
June has already had some excitement. Mikaela had her first jumping competition at the beginning of the month. It has been so cool to watch her confidence and ability grow in a short period of time. She loves being on a horse.
We had a chilly mountain retreat with our house church people – high above San Jose and close to the Barva volcano. We will miss this group of people who have been a joy to be with weekly for the past 2 years.
Murray had another adventure this month with some friends 40 miles off the west coast of Jaco, Costa Rica – deep sea fishing. The last time he went was over 15 years ago. This trip was amazing – 4 tuna, 1 mahi mahi, 2 sail fish, and 3 blue marlin (sailfish and marlin were catch and release of course). It was a memorable day with friends and God’s incredible creation.
June 12 was Mattea’s graduation from Middle School at Country Day School. It was a great celebration with her classmates and their families.
On June 17 we move from Costa Rica back to Kelowna, BC, Canada. We plan on returning in one year. We are looking forward to being close to family and friends for a time. Our plan is to come back to Costa after the year for another term.
Thanks for your prayers for us and for keeping up with us through this blog.
Murray & Michelle, Mikaela & Mattea
Dear Family & Friends,
Sorry for the delay in catching you up with our lives. We have had a very full Winter/Spring (well, in Costa Rica it has been one season this whole time – dry season). So, grab a coffee/tea and we’ll give you a brief run down.
After Mitch & Lauren left here in mid January we received another house guest. Our “niece” (Murray’s cousin’s daughter) came to live with us for 3 months. She had multiple roles: caregiver for our girls when we traveled, student teacher (in English) at the girls’ international school, student teacher (in Spanish) at a public school close to our house. Charmayne was a blessing wherever she went and it was a joy to have her in our home.
One of our trips this spring took us to Penang, Malaysia where many key leaders of the CMA in Canada met to talk about the future environment of our organization. It was a great time and we sensed a whole new level of commitment and unity. We are excited about the path our organization is taking and we are privileged to be a part of it.
Every winter we need at least 10 days of snow and cold – just to remind us that we are Canadians. We have our our global team meetings in March each year in Toronto. This year took us once again to a cottage, for retreat time, that was picturesque in setting (and content).
Another trip took Murray to Mexico City to have a follow up meeting with a steering committee whose desire is to see an international school started in the south central part of that city. We are excited about this project for many reasons: it will provide a place for our coworkers’ children to receive excellent education, and it opens the door to many new relationships.
Yet another trip took Murray to Lima to meet with CMA leaders from Canada, US, Latin America as well as global partners. It was our yearly CMA Americas meeting and was a great time of networking to see how we can continue to work together.
One of our weekly highlights is the house church that meets in our home on Sunday mornings. We love this group of people and have some amazing spiritual discussions. We celebrated 2 years as a “family” on Easter Sunday.
Finally, one of Mikaela’s passions is horseback riding. She has advanced quite a bit in these last few months. As parents we are nervous when there are spills and bucks and crashes – but this seems to energize Miki which just confirms that she is thriving in this environment.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us. We will try and update more often so that you don’t feel like you are drinking from a fire hose :)
Murray & Michelle
Dear Family & Friends,
So, it has been a bit since we updated you, so we are going to do a few pics and stories to get you caught up.
In October we were in Ontario for meetings with our Global leadership team. Part of those meetings included a weekend retreat in the Muskokas (north of Toronto). The colors were amazing!
After the Toronto meetings, Murray went to Gatineau, QC to spend some time with some Quebecois friends who will be joining our Caracas team in 2013. While there he took some time to enjoy Ottawa.
Our next major event was the two week long Leadership Matters Course in Costa Rica. We organized the event and then both attended as students. It was some of the best leadership skills training we have received in our 20 years living outside of Canada.
At the end of the leadership training we spent the weekend at Arenal Volcano with the members of our Global leadership team that had come to Costa Rica. The clouds cleared up (after two weeks with our heads in a cloud forest) and we actually got to see the volcano.
A week after the course ended, Murray headed to Cuba. It was an eventful week with some time in Havana and some time in central Cuba at a prayer retreat where 500 Cuban pastors gathered from 50 denominations. It was an amazing experience of unity – an example to all!
The next week Murray was in Guadalajara, Mexico where we lived from 1993 to 2001. He was there for a Strategic Team Review which was a really good process of looking back, at the present, and into the future with our projects there. It also was a chance to see some friends!
The following week Murray was in Mexico City with a team of people called The Coyote Project which is a steering committee looking into the possibility of starting an international school in one of our focus areas in that huge city.
This week, while we have been enjoying the tropics of Costa Rica leading up to Christmas week, our boys sent us this photo of their activities this past week!
Also this week we have had Michelle’s sister Karen and family (Doug, Caleb, Emily, and Tobias) with us. We spent a day at the Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. This is one of our favorite places in Costa Rica, as you can see.
Finally, we would like to say Merry Christmas from the Derksens (Murray, Michelle, Mikaela, and Mattea) from Costa Rica. Thank you for standing with us as family and friends. We love you very much and are thankful for the many ways that you find to love us and support us in our international adventures. We look forward to Mitch & Lauren arriving Dec 21. Myles & Meagan are spending Christmas with Meagan’s mom in Kelowna.
Murray & Michelle
CMA Canada – Canadian Regional Developers for Latin America & the Caribbean