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January 2014 Update

January 17, 2014

New Year’s Greetings to Family & Friends,

Find below some pics and stories from the last couple months.

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We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving as an extended family in Kelowna in October.  It was great to have almost the whole Derksen family together.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

October 11, 2013

Summer/Fall Update

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.

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Michelle walking in the forests near our new house.

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.

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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.

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Lauren, Mitch, Miki, Myles, Meagan, Matty

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.

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We had one afternoon to visit Ephesus. This is the amphitheater from Acts 19.

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

May/June Update

June 12, 2013

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.

LMC Venezuela 2013

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.

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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.

Miki Riding Comp June 2013

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.

The Girls

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.

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June 12 was Mattea’s graduation from Middle School at Country Day School.  It was a great celebration with her classmates and their families.

Mattea Grad 2013

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.

Derksens June 2013

Thanks for your prayers for us and for keeping up with us through this blog.

Murray & Michelle, Mikaela & Mattea

Spring Update

April 24, 2013

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.

Charmayne and us 2013

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.

Hong Kong 2 2013Hong Kong 2013

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).

Muskoka Winter 2013 Cottage Fire 2013

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.

Coyoacan Steering Com 2013

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.

Lima 2013

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.

House Church 2013 House Church Kids 2013

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.

Miki Riding 2013 Miki Jumping 2013

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

December Update – Lots of Stories

December 20, 2012

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.

Muskokas (Ontario) in the fall.

Muskokas (Ontario) in the fall.

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!

Ottawa

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.

LMC Costa Rica 2012

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.

Arenal Volcano.

Arenal Volcano.

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.

The bay that Hemmingway would go fishing from near Havana.

The bay that Hemingway would go fishing from near Havana.

Prayer retreat.

Prayer retreat.

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!

Strategic Team Review team.

Strategic Team Review team.

Pepe & Adriana Rivadeneyra

Pepe & Adriana Rivadeneyra

Murray & Arturo Ybarra (with his own personal puppet)

Murray & Arturo Ybarra (with his own personal puppet)

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 Coyote Project Steering Committee

The Coyote Project Steering Committee

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.

Mitch & Myles skiing at Big White, Kelowna, BC.

Mitch & Myles skiing at Big White, Kelowna, BC.

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!

A Blue Morpho butterfly.

A Blue Morpho butterfly.

Poas Volcano, Costa Rica.

Poas Volcano, Costa Rica.

Braun Family at Poas Volcano.

Braun Family at Poas Volcano.

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.

Mikaela, Murray, Mattea, Michelle

Mikaela, Murray, Mattea, Michelle

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

Venezuela Retreat 2012

September 14, 2012

Family & Friends,
We just returned last night from a great week in Venezuela.  We spent last weekend with the national CMA pastors and had a very meaningful weekend.  We then made our way to Caracas and had a super week with our team, refining our vision for a house church movement in that city.  We also had some fun together and enjoyed some of the culinary variety of Caracas like 4D ice cream – for those of you who have had the experience.

Some of the attendees of the Venezuela Pastors Retreat September 2012

We are home for the weekend now and then Murray heads to Nicaragua on Monday morning (Sept 17-21), by bus with the Costa Rican pastors, for the CMA Central American yearly get together.  This is a great time to get to know these leaders better and to support them in what they are doing.

Thanks for remembering us in prayer and for supporting us in the various ways that you do that.

Murray & Michelle, Mikaela & Mattea

September 2012 with M&M

September 3, 2012

Dear Family & Friends,

Thanks for the various ways that you stand behind us in our calling.  We would appreciate your prayers for us in the coming weeks:

September 7-9 we will both be in Venezuela speaking at the annual CMA Pastors’ Retreat.  This will all be done in Spanish of course and we would really like the Holy Spirit to manifest himself this coming weekend in a variety of ways.  Pray also for the ability to express His heart in Spanish.

September 10-13 we will be meeting with our CMA Canada team in Caracas to pray, talk through strategy, and just spend some time together.

September 17-21 Murray will be in Nicaragua for the Central American CMA Congress.  Pray for safety as he travels by bus from Costa with the pastors from here.

Below is a family picture.  When we are with our kids (like this summer) we love to go to A&W in Canada.  This is our last family date before Meagan joined the family.

 

Family date at A&W

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