September 2018 Update

Dear Family & Friends,

September was a very full month with lots of travel and adventure.  Take a walk through the month with us.

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The first week of September was preparing for Karen’s (Michelle’s sister) Celebration of Life that was held on September 7.  It was a good day of remembering and spending time with family.  We will miss her.

During that same week we had long time friends, Pepe & Adriana Rivadeneyra, from Guadalajara, Mexico, join us in Kelowna.  In between funeral prep we did some exploring with them…

The next week we were to be off to Mexico City to host our global ministries leadership team (GMLT), but Michelle’s flights were delayed a few days as Mattea spent three afternoons in the hospital dealing with the combination of mononucleosis and strep throat.  Thankfully she is doing much better and only missed one week of school (second year nursing at UBC Okanagan).  Michelle was able to catch up to Murray and the GMLT in Mexico City.  Here are some pics from that adventure.

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From Mexico, Michelle traveled on to Missio Nexus for a conference attended by other CMA Canada leaders and mission organizations from all over North America.

That was followed by a very adventurous trip down to Mar del Plata (no space to go into details, but she had to deal with a country-wide strike in Argentina upon arrival and ended up taking an Uber from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata).  This was a meeting with the Alliance World Fellowship/Latin America where leaders from across Central/South America and the Caribbean came together.

If that wasn’t enough adventure, Michelle also made her way over to Paraguay to visit the Samuel House team there.  This was a divine appointment and God met all of them in those days together.

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And, while Michelle was on the road this month, Murray stayed home to work on graduate studies at UBC Okanagan and run the regional office.  It is nice to enjoy the colours in Canada this fall.

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Thank you again for joining us on this walk through September.  Continue to pray for Mattea’s health, for strength for October’s adventures, for health for all of us, and for the least reached in Latin America that still need to hear about God’s incredible love.

Murray & Michelle

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August 2018 Update

Hello Friends & Family,

We say it every time, and we will say it again, thank you for following us, praying for us, and supporting us in so many ways.  We are privileged to work together with you, representing you in Latin America and the Caribbean.

One of our yearly highlights is being involved in the Leadership Matters Course.  This is an opportunity to do a 12 day intensive leadership course for leaders from different countries and organizations.  August 12-25 was that opportunity in Spanish, with 38 leaders from 14 countries involved.  Murray was able to be a part of this effort, Michelle will be a part of the course in Canada in December 2018.

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Trainer Team from 9 different countries.

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One of the biggest things on our hearts over these past five months has been Michelle’s sister Karen’s journey towards her passing from this life to the next.  Many of you have followed her journey on Facebook.  Karen “graduated” on August 31, 2018.  Click here for more information on her life.

Our biggest family news this fall is that we are all living in the Okanagan, for the first time in 9 years (we “split up” in the summer of 2009).  Mitch & Lauren, along with Mikaela are living on M&L’s new farm in Vernon.  Myles and Mattea are living with us in our home in Kelowna.  Here is our latest family pic…

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Names (left to right):  Murray, Mikaela, Michelle, Lauren, Mitch, Janice, Myles, and Mattea in front :0).

Thanks again for standing with us.  If you want to become part of our weekly prayer team (with a commitment of one hour of prayer a week – we supply up-to-date requests weekly) please contact us by leaving a comment on this page.  You can follow this link to partner with us in giving.  Let us know if you have any questions about which account to give to.

Murray & Michelle

 

July 2018 Update

Greetings family & friends,

Thank you for remembering us this month.  It has been another full one.

We are so thankful for our home valley, the Okanagan.  As many of you know, we are living here because of some health issues that Michelle needs taken care of here in BC.  It is from here that we travel to/from Latin America.  God has been so gracious to us.

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One perk about traveling south is that we can stop along the way and have a holiday.  We enjoyed a week at the Pacific Ocean, which was so restful and much needed.

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From there we had the privilege of being with our teammates from Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, and Paraguay.  We had a great time at a hotel in the mountains outside of Mexico City (Cuernavaca).  Mark & Cheryl Buchanan were our speakers and led us in asking Jesus to touch our eyes again.  The West Life church in Calgary provided the music, youth, and children pieces of the retreat.  Here are some pictures…

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One special treat was to have some of our intercessors with us.  These ladies pray at least an hour a week (along with others in Canada and the US) for these international workers and the Sun Region.  It was great to have Shirley, Jeanette, and Eleanor with us for the retreat week.

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We made an excursion to Taxco one afternoon.  Mexico has so many amazing places…

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We were home for a couple days, then headed to Manitoba.  We got to spend a few hours with Bruce & Nancy Adams (lead pastor of our seamless link church – Kilcona Park Alliance).  We also got to spend a few hours with Rick & Susan Kilbrai and family, international workers who have just landed back in Canada from Mexico City for their one year of home assignment).

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Then we spent the weekend at a family wedding down in Morden.  It is so good to be back to our prairie roots (Murray was born in Morden and Michelle in Regina).

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We are now home for a week before heading to El Salvador for the Leadership Matters Course in Spanish where we will both be training for almost 3 weeks in August.

Thanks for joining us for this mid summer update on what is happening in our lives.

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Murray & Michelle Derksen

*for more information and for donation options please visit our bio page.

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June 2018 Update

Dear family & friends,

Thank you for your ongoing partnership with us.  It is a joy to have you follow us, pray for us, and support us in this adventure that we are on.  We appreciate you a LOT.

Here is a brief recap of the past months.

March was a month of meetings in Toronto where CMA Canada leaders gather each year to talk through the big issues.  We are thrilled with what is happening with our Alliance family across Canada and around the world.

March is also birthday month in the extended Derksen family.  March 6 (our brother Rob’s birthday) came and went with both sad and happy memories (Rob died in May 2017).  Then we had the chance to celebrate Mom Derksen’s 83rd birthday as a family.

Mid March took Murray to Mexico City for board meetings with TeachBeyond Mexico and the BridgeWay North American School.  Mexico City is a thriving metropolis of 22 million (plus) people.

After Mexico City Murray traveled on to Guadalajara (where we lived from 1993-2001) for some more meetings.  It was good to reconnect with many people during that time.

We finished March with some meetings in Canmore, AB.  What a great time with leaders from BC to Manitoba, in a very nice setting…

Easter weekend is always an enjoyable family time.  Michelle’s custom is to make pasa (Easter bread), and she usually makes enough to share…

The annual Easter egg hunt is still enjoyed by our adult kids, relatives, and friends…

April held some unique experiences.  We met with our Venezuela team for a couple days at the beginning of the month.  Please continue to pray for those in Venezuela during this very challenging season in their history.

We were also able to make a trip to Cuba and Mexico City with the leadership team that we work with in Latin America.  Dr. Charles Nienkirchen was our teacher/guide as we walked through the streets of Havana and then Mexico City learning about the history of the conquistadores and the religion that they brought with them.  We learned a lot about how those events of 500 year ago continue to impact today.  Here are some snapshots of those 10 days together.

Cuba…

Mexico City…

Michelle carried on to Guadalajara to do training in conflict awareness and management with the seminary there…

April also saw us start another journey – Michelle’s sister Karen Braun’s return of ovarian cancer.  Karen spent 3 weeks in hospital in April, returning home at the end of April knowing that this cancer will most likely take her life.  It has been a hard journey so far, but not one that is without hope.  We would appreciate your prayers for Karen & Doug and their family as they continue to walk this uncertain road…

May started with a trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island where Michelle was taking a course…

We had some of our colleagues join us in Kelowna in May (Curtis & Linda Doell) prior to them heading to Paraguay this summer.  It is always good to host them and to spend extra long linger time in conversation.  The Doells lived on the same property in Costa Rica with us and we have been colleagues for 10 years.

Michelle spent 10 days in Toronto in May with the new workers heading out around the globe.  Here she is with a couple of them…

 

June started off with the General Assembly of the CMA in Canada.  It was an amazing time as an Alliance family, going deeper and finding out how we can go further on mission together…

After Assembly there was a reunion of the Hillsdale youth group from the early 80’s.  This was Michelle’s youth group…

Michelle also had the opportunity to to attend Soul Care in Airdrie after Assembly.  This was a deep time of learning and personal ministry.

The rest of June has been office time, with some family time mixed in there as well.

We appreciate you taking the time to visually walk through the last period of time with us.  Please comment as you like.  You can also check out our profile on the CMA website here.

Blessings.

Murray & Michelle

 

February 2018 Update

Dear Friends & Family,

We trust that 2018 has started well for you.  Thank you for your love, prayers, and support of what we are called to do.  We appreciate the time you take to read these updates and to say a prayer while you do :0).

Here is some news since our last update.

Just before the Christmas break Murray was able to go to a main island in the Caribbean and spend some time with leaders there.  It was good to see what God continues to do in that land.  We are hearing really cool community stories of what is happening through relief efforts since the hurricane as these leaders and churches reach out.

That was the last trip of the year.  We took some time to rest and spend time with family over the Christmas holidays.  It was great to get together with them all and have some fun together.

January started with a couple weeks of admin (catching up from being off) and then we were off to Chile.  We had been invited by the CMA Chile missions director, Jorge Barra.

First we spent time at their annual missions camp which had 98 people in attendance from Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile.

Then we were able to see a bit of Chile before the next event… What an amazing country.

We were invited to be the devotional and mission speakers for their annual CMA gathering.  It was a special event with some 320 pastors and delegates attending.

We even got to spend a few hours with a close colleague of ours, Tim Wendel, from the CMA US.  That was an unexpected pleasure.

We had a brief stop in Kelowna to do laundry, greet family, repack, and get back on the road.

Thank you again for following what God is doing in and through us.  We appreciate it.  If you want to know how to partner with us more formally please visit our bio page on the CMA website here.

Late Fall 2017 Update

Dear Family & Friends,

Well, it has been another full season of life.  We invite you to join us for a few pics and stories of what has been happening in our lives since mid October.

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We made our first ever trip to Spain mid October.  We met up with some CMA leaders from Chile, stayed with some CMA US friends in Madrid, and spent some time with leaders from around Europe and the Middle East.

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It was great to get to know the CMA Spain president and his wife, Juan Zuñiga.  A new partnership was forged between CMA Chile and CMA Spain.

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We took a train ride down to Alicante, with Jorge and Felipe from Chile, and spent some time with Ernie & Marilyn Klassen (not pictured), and visited some sites for potential ministry partnership together.

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Upon returning to the central part of Spain we joined a regional meeting in the area of Segovia.  Pictured are CMA presidents for Spain, Chile, and Ecuador, Chile’s missions director, along with the missions director for Spain and CMA Global (AWF) president Jura Yanagihara.

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On our way from Spain we had a short layover in Athens en route to Cairo, Egypt.  These are the parliament buildings in Athens.

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Our time in Cairo was significant in many ways.  For us it was a return home to many sites, smells, and sounds of the place that was our home from 2004-2008.  This visit to the cave church with our Chilean friends was memorable.

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We stopped in at Maadi Community School for a quick visit.  Michelle was on the board of this school and both of our daughters, Mikaela and Mattea, were classmates there for four years.

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We also made a quick stop at the old campus of the American University in Cairo (AUC) where Murray is an alumni having studied Arabic there 2004/2005.

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We made a stop at the Giza Pyramids and were amazed once again at the amount of history in this ancient country.

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Another stop took us to a hospital where these ladies teach nursing.  They are brave workers.

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On an outing, we stopped at the grave of Oswald Chambers (author of My Utmost for His Highest).  His headstone is the one right in the middle.  Amazing that a man of 43 had such an impact on the Christian world globally.

It was good to be back in Cairo and to see our Chilean friends catch a vision for this part of the world.

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On our way home we spent a day with our dear friends from Cairo, Mark & Felicity Jaffrey, who are staying at All Nations College in the UK.  It was so good to catch up, especially having just been in Egypt and rehearsing so many memories.  Some friendships last a lifetime.

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We got home to a beautiful fall season in the Okanagan.

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And within a day other close friends from Cairo visited us in Kelowna – Don & Mary Butler.  We are not sure why Cairo has played such a key role in our fall but we are thankful for the memories and for the way that God has used, and continues to use, Cairo as a place to inspire others to a deeper walk with Him and to greater impact.

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Within a week we were back on the plane and headed to Venezuela to spend some time with our team there.  The Hieberts and Kelly Dyer are special people who have been sticking it out in that country even though this is a very tough season for our Venezuelan friends.

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While Murray and Chris met with the national church leaders, Michelle had an opportunity to spend time with the pastor’s wives at a half day retreat.  It was great to minister to these ladies whose role has become more and more challenging.

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From Venezuela we headed a few miles north into the Caribbean, stopping in Aruba to spend a couple days with our CMA colleagues there.  Gabriel & Iris Li pastor the Aruba Alliance Church which is predominantly a Chinese congregation.  Here we are having some interesting authentic Chinese food with the leadership team of the church (two of whom are new believers).

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Gabriel & Iris Li have spent just over a decade starting a movement among the Chinese in Aruba.

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Our next stop was Quito, Ecuador to visit Rich & Lisa Brown.  They have the small vision of reaching the 300 million youth of Latin America!  And they are well on their way to seeing significant progress through many avenues, including Inca Link.

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Part of the visit included a day with the missions committe for CMA Ecuador, which includes their president, David Muthre, their Missions Director, Cecibel, and two key pastors from Ecuador.  This is another CMA national church that is becoming highly motivated in reaching the least reached globally.

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Finally this month we celebrate the fact that Michelle has finished her certification in Conflict Resolution and Third Party Mediation from the Justice Institute of BC.  This has been a three year process.  Just this morning she used her knowledge to train the staff at one of the Okanagan Alliance churches.

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And now it is time for December.  Murray has one more trip to Mexico and Cuba (Dec 9-15) and then we will take some time to rest from a very full fall.  We want to take this time to bless each of you with Emmanuel’s amazing presence in your lives during this holiday season when we remember His first coming, and anticipate His next coming.

Murray & Michelle

P.S.  Please check out our profile with the CMA to read more about us and to support us in prayer and giving.

Derksen Fall 2017 Update

Dear Family & Friends,

Life is full and good.  Below you will find an update on some of our adventures in the last few months.  We appreciate your interest and your prayers for us.

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The day after our last update my younger brother Robert died in Kelowna at the age of 50.  It was a sad event, but it brought our family together to remember his life.

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We found some opportunities in May and June to get out and enjoy some riding in the beautiful Okanagan.  Doug & Karen Braun (Michelle’s sister) are great riding partners.

May/June was a celebration of our youngest’s graduation.  This is our last child to graduate from high school and it feels a bit weird.  Mattea is studying nursing at UBC Okanagan this fall and living with us.

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May was also the Mexico Assembly gathering in which Dave & Arlene Peters were special guests, honored by the Mexico national church for their years of service in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico.  In attendance were also Dave & Agnes Hearn.

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June was a beautiful month in the Okanagan.  Michelle made a few trips to New Westminster/Victoria for courses in her certification in third party mediation and conflict resolution.

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She also participated in the Pre Departure Orientation for the Alliance in Toronto, where all new workers go through some deeper orientation to living globally.

July began with some rest time.  We travel a lot through the Caribbean region but only stop and enjoy it once or twice a year.  This year was vacation in Mexico, where we got to do something we had only dreamed of – swam with whale sharks.  It was an amazing experience.

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Later in July we enjoyed a retreat with our colleagues from Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Venezuela, and various countries where our Chinese co-workers minister.  We were 73 people in all, including a few guests from Canada.

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August had two significant events.  First we signed an agreement in which Chile, Paraguay, and Canada agreed to work together on Samuel House (10 month leadership training for missions candidates in Latin America).  This picture is the signing ceremony we had with presidents from Chile and Paraguay and members of the Samuel House leadership team.

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Later in August we saw leaders from Mexico, England, Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Peru come together for the 2nd Leadership Matters Course in Spanish (www.wetrainleaders.org).  This is something we have been working on for 5 years and we are glad to see some momentum developed.

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In September we were able to see some dear friends from our years in Egypt.  John & Rania were significant people in our lives and now live in the Houston area.

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In Nicaragua we had a chance to hang out with the presidents and pastors of the Alliance movement in Central America.  The speaker was Dr. Ernie Klassen and we were able to gift all the leaders with a copy of his latest book in Spanish.

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September also included a trip to Dallas for Missio Nexus (missionexus.org).  While there had the chance to go to the JFK memorial and museum.  This part of Dallas is quite historical with views of the old and the new.  Missio Nexus was good and challenging on modern issues with regards to missions movements around the world.

September was also birthday month for Mattea and Murray.  Vareniki is a family favorite, but we only get it once a year.

October started with meeting in Toronto.  For the second week Murray stayed in Toronto for more meetings while Michelle went to Mexico City to provide member care for our colleagues and their families after the September 19th earthquake there.  Let’s just say that the kids in Mexico City love their aunt Michelle!

And October also saw our oldest son, Mitch, and his wife Lauren moved back to the Okanagan from Qatar.  We are sure glad to have him close again.

We appreciate your interest in our lives and your ongoing prayers.  If you would like regular updates sign up for this newsletter.  If you would like to partner with us financially please click on this link and follow the directions.  We enjoy this adventure with you.

Murray & Michelle

 

 

 

Derksen Update April 2017

Derksen Update April 2017

Dear Family & Friends,

Thanks for your interest in us as a family and the various activities that we get to be a part of, especially in Latin America.  We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for us.

We started April with Michelle’s birthday.  It’s always good to have our girls home for such special occasions.

As our parents get older we have plenty of opportunities to serve them.  This has been the case in March and April as we have transitioned Murray’s mom, Kae Derksen, into an independent living facility where she has her own apartment but doesn’t have to cook and clean for herself anymore.  We are already seeing her health turn for the good as she settles into a more relaxed lifestyle.  Honoring our parents is a big part of what we are called to (actually one of the 10 Commandments!).  Many weekends have been spent helping her transition.

Venezuela has been in the news a lot lately.  We appreciate your prayers for this country, asking God to help people see that their situation and needs will not be resolved by a political solution.  Pray with us that these very hard circumstances will be an invitation for people to turn to the only Solution (Jesus).  We have 5 teammates living and working in Venezuela.  Pray for their safety and influence.

While there we got be a part of a house church (17 people).  We heard many testimonies of how God is at work in people (especially at the heart level).  So much of the conversation in the country has to do with their dire circumstances.  It was so good to pause for a Sunday afternoon and talk about what God is doing.

Venezuela is a beautiful place with incredible scenery and flora.  Here are just a couple samples of God’s creativity.

We got back to Canada on April 25 in time for Michelle’s specialist appointment on April 26 in Vancouver.  We are thankful for Michelle’s good health.  Her doctor said that things are going well and that we will continue with this rhythm for another year (treatment every 5 weeks).  We are so thankful for God’s mitigating healing in Michelle – not an absence of her condition, but a grace to allow Michelle to live a full and healthy life in the midst of being treated for Acromegaly.

Spring has sprung (finally!) in the Okanagan Valley.  We are thankful for all the signs of life that we see sprouting around us.  It is a beautiful time of the year, and a good reminder that new life is natural.  It reminds us of Jesus’ teaching on abiding in him and the natural fruit that is produced when we do (John 15).

Prayer requests:

  1. Venezuela – that God’s kingdom would be established in the midst of economic and political turmoil.
  2. God’s continued healing in Michelle’s body.
  3. Increased enrollment in the BridgeWay North American School (one of our big projects in Mexico City).  Our reasonable goal is 50 students, but we have space for 135.  Pray that we will surpass our expectations.  Pray also for the recruitment of North American and Mexican teachers.  If you are a teach in Canada or the US and want to join the team in Mexico City, send us a note through the comments.
  4. Michelle continues to take classes towards her certification in third party mediation and conflict resolution through JIBC.  She has 3  courses in May.  Pray for stamina and a clear mind to learn all that she can.  She is already able to integrate what she is learning in her influence in Latin America.

Thank you once again.  Your love and support are welcome companions in our lives.

Murray & Michelle

Derksen Feb/Mar 2017 Update

Hello dear friends,

We trust that spring is upon you (if you are in North America that is :0).  It is beginning in the Okanagan and we are thankful after a rather long winter (snowiest winter in the Okanagan in at least 20 years).

February was another great month of seeing things move forward in many ways.  Murray was in El Salvador with Leadership Matters (wetrainleaders.org).  We have the second full Spanish course coming up this August 13-26 (Lima, Peru).  In preparation we needed to train some of the new trainers so met up in El Salvador.  People came from 6 countries and 5 different organizations.  We had a great week together.

Murray was also able to spend a meal time with Carlos Calderón, leader of the Alliance movement in El Salvador.  It is always a pleasure to spend time with national leaders.  They had a great heart conversation.

Twice a year we get together with the Alliance leaders from across Canada and around the world.  We are thrilled to be a part of a movement that is reaching the least reached globally and in Canada.  It is a privilege to sit at the table with these leaders.

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Among these leaders are long time friends.  Michelle is standing with Joanne (Gould) Beach (Director of Justice & Compassion) and Bernie Van De Waal (Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Ambrose University).  These three were in the youth group together at Hillsdale Alliance in Regina in the ’70’s!

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In the few days between Toronto and Cuba, we had some family come up from Florida for a visit.  It is always good to see our nephews and niece – Burt, Randy, and Melissa Petrescue.

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Amidst our travels, Michelle is working on getting her Certification in Conflict Resolution and Third Party Mediation at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).  In March she had a chance to teach 20 women leaders in Cuba with this information (see below).

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From Cuba Michelle traveled to Costa Rica where she met up with Murray (and Mattea and her friend Hailee) for some time with the Doells and Perrys on retreat.

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We really do have the privilege of working with some great people, in some really cool places.  Since we were there in Costa, we took the last few days of March (Mattea’s spring break) as holiday.  It was good to be back in Costa Rica and we took lots of time to process once again the reality that we are not living there any longer.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for us these last 2 months.  We plan to update this blog at the end of April with some more pics and short updates.

Murray & Michelle

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