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.
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!
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.
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).
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
Dear Family & Friends,
We trust that this year has begun well for you. Here are some of our comings/goings as we launched this year.
Our first trip for the year was to Mexico City where the TeachBeyond Mexico and the BridgeWay North American School boards met (http://www.bridgewaymexico.com/). We celebrated the signing of a new rental contract for our location, and made some significant strides forward in our board decisions. Please continue to pray for us as a board and for our director, David Brownrigg, as significant work (including fund raising) needs to happen in the next few months to be ready to launch in August 2017.
This is our board with some additional guests who helped us celebrate the signing of the contract.
This is the courtyard of BridgeWay North American School – our CMA Canada leader, Brem Frentz, is praying a blessing over the school.
After the board meetings our Regional Leadership Team came to Mexico City for our annual meetings – coming from Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Canada. We took the Kairos Course (http://kairoscourse.ca/), along with the Canadian Pacific District leadership team and some BC pastors. What a great week of learning and hanging together.
Canadian Pacific District (BC) gang.
Kairos Course Mexico City 2017 group photo.
Weekend site seeing in Mexico City – Sun/Moon pyramids and downtown Mexico City.
Michelle then stayed on in Mexico City for another course – Developing a Discerning Heart, used to disciple women leaders. She had a great time with some of our teammates and leaders from Venezuela, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, US, and Canada.
Leadership training week.
Mexico City is an amazing place with about 23 million (greater city area) plus people.
Thank you for following this blog and spending a few minutes praying for us and those we work with. We are thrilled to be part of such a high quality team.
Murray & Michelle
Dear Family & Friends,
May 2017 be an amazing year for each of you. Here are a few snippits from our lives in 2016, starting in April.
In April we were able to make a stop in Costa Rica where our teammates, Curtis & Linda Doell, help train local leaders who are doing an amazing job at seeing neglected communities transformed in many different ways.
We were also part of a consultation in April regarding the role of various partners (Canada, US, Chile, and Peru) in Cuba. What a great sense of camaraderie and solidarity, especially facing the various changes that are happening between the US and Cuba at this time.
In May the biggest accomplishment was the launch of the Leaders Matters Course (wetrainleaders.org) in Spanish. This was the culmination of 4 years of planning and mini courses. What a great success it was. The next one in Spanish is planned for August 2017 with an even greater number of Spanish trainers. We are excited about this leadership skills course.
At the end of May, beginning of June our Canadian Alliance family had our get together at General Assembly. What a time of refreshing and a time to see God doing many really cool things among us. We feel privileged to be part of C&MA Canada (cmacan.org).
Later on in June we went to Winnipeg to celebrate Kilcona Park Alliance Church’s 40th Anniversary (www.kilcona.org). This was where we “cut our teeth” in pastoral ministry from 1987 to 1991, and where our boys were born (while living in our first “owned” house ever :0). It was great to be together with so many people we intersected with during those important and fruitful years.
We spent Canada’s 149th birthday in Victoria, BC and on the island with family and friends. What a great heritage we have in this country and we are so thankful for all the support we get from here. We truly are blessed people.
In July we got to spend some time in Mexico, partly on holiday, then on retreat with our teammates there, plus speaking in a couple of churches in Guadalajara (which was our first international post 1992-2001). It was wonderful to reconnect with so many people.
One of the key activities in August was visiting Chile – Santiago, Temuco, Quellón, and Iquique. What an amazing country, full of people that are so warm hearted and hospitable. We made many new friends and ministry partners in the 9 days that we were there. It was winter in August :0).
In September we got to spend some time in Kelowna and area. We had Gabriel & Iris Li, our team leaders for the work in Aruba, with us and got to show them some of the beauty of the Okanagan.
October saw us back in Toronto for our regular meetings with other regional and district leaders from CMA Canada. On a weekend retreat with our global team we were able to stop by Niagara Falls, ON. What an amazing place. Truly one of this world’s natural wonders.
From Toronto Murray was able to travel on to Turkey for a conference of Latin international workers sent out from many South America countries. The conference was held close to the ancient city of Ephesus on the Aegean Sea. It is so good to look back at history and realize that although the city, that was host to a famous New Testament Church, is no longer there, the faith that inspired that church stills lives even stronger in most of the globe.
From Turkey, Murray was able to attend the Alliance World Fellowship meetings in Bangkok, Thailand. Once again the gathering of Alliance people was inspiring, especially with leaders there from Syria and Iraq where so much conflict is happening and where the church is staying and working closely with refugees. Mitch (who lives in Qatar) joined Murray in Thailand for some adventure :0).
November was a full month, with trips to: Whistler, BC for the district pastors retreat; Paraguay to help get the Maskells settled in their new location; Venezuela to speak in some churches, help formulate an aid plan, and spend time with our teammates there (Wong, Hiebert, and Dyer); Panama to meet up with some of our Chinese partners; and Mexico to spend a few days orienting our new team leaders there (Blake & Kathy Penson).
We were all back together in the snowy Okanagan for December. Mitch & Lauren came in from Qatar, Myles from Chilliwack, and Miki from Vernon for some fun and special Christmas celebrations.
From our family to yours, we trust that 2017 will be an amazing year for each of you. May faith rise up in you and may your relationship with God fill the caverns of your life.
Murray & Michelle
Some Prayer Items:
- We head back to Mexico mid January to spend time with our regional leadership team (Jan 14-21). Pray for the Spirit of God to do His work among us during that time together.
- Michelle has a leadership development course for women that she will participate in as well (Jan 23-29). Pray that the material will be useful for the development of female leaders throughout the region.
Here is a bit of an update from the Derksens in the last couple months.
Winter in the Okanagan is short, but it sure is beautiful where we get to base ourselves these days.
Some special guests came in for Miki’s 18th birthday in January. It is pretty hard to get a straight-faced photo from this family.
We get to work with some pretty special people in the Leadership Matters Course (wetrainleaders.org). The Spanish trainer team spent 5 days together in January to finalize the details of the translation. We go to Lima, Peru in May to offer the first full LMC in Spanish!
As a bonus, while in Florida for LMC, we got to spend time with the Bernie Petrescue clan. What a great re-connection with dear family.
For Valentine’s Day Michelle was in Cuba with a teammate there and Murray was with the girls at home. This was the girls’ gift to Murray. Pretty special gift from Purdys.
Michelle got to spend some time on the island of Cuba where she was able to help do some leadership training for key women.
She also got to spend time in Mexico City with some of our projects there, and time with the Alliance Pray Team that was there doing some significant intercession.
Our son Mitch (wife Lauren) moved to Doha, Qatar in January and we were able to go and see their new place and new world in February for a holiday. Our first full evening was spent at the Souk (market) and it made us feel like we were back in Egypt.
In fact our first meal was Egyptian – kosheri, falafel, and chicken schwarma.
The architecture in Doha is stunning, and more construction cranes in one city that we have seen ever.
There is even a Tim Hortons in Doha.
The newer Katara Cultural area of Doha is like being in Rome when it was first built.
It was wonderful to hang with our son and daughters (Lauren is there for a visit now but moves there this June with Mitch – she has some music teaching contracts to fulfill first).
There are many mosques, but this one by the souk was pretty spectacular, especially with a full moon as the backdrop.
Even the malls are like mini cities inside air conditioned buildings.
Mitch’s office name plate at his office.
The trip to the Islamic Museum of the Arts was pretty special. See our Facebook page for many more images.
We spent half a day at the Singing Sand Dunes – it was pretty spectacular!
Once again, the architecture is very creative.
March always includes a trip to Toronto where we meet with many Alliance leaders from across Canada and around the world. This is our global team, the one we get to do life with. What a great group of people to work with.
We enjoy sitting at the table with these leaders from the Alliance in Canada.
Thanks for walking through these last couple months with us.
Dear Friends & Family,
We trust that this preparation time for Advent is a special time for you and your family. It is a time to prepare because He has promised to come again, in His perfect timing, just like the first time: “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman…” (Gal. 4:4). The “right time” may be soon.
Here are a few photo updates:
We ended our last update at the end of August at Iguazu Falls on the tri border of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. That was a spectacular place.
Fall in the Okanagan is birthday time for Mattea (9/23) and Murray (9/28). The colors in Canada are inspiring.
A week in Peru was exciting. Murray got to preach in a church there and attend the pastors’ retreat. Spent an afternoon visiting a mountain village high in the Lima mountains (but note quite into the Andes mountains).
In early October we were in Toronto with the CMA leadership from around the globe, as well as these special guys who give leadership to the CMA in Canada.
Canadian Thanksgiving was spent in the Okanagan with family. That was a real treat.
October held a trip to speak at a missions conference in Colombia, then a quick trip over to neighboring Venezuela where Murray had a great time with the CMA team as well as a day spent with the CMA national leadership team. What amazing people we work with and partner with.
The big event in November was the All Region Retreat in Mexico where all the CMA US and CMA Canada teams gathered, along with each country’s president couple and VP couple. We had an amazing time in His presence. We had another chance to honor Joseph & Helen Lee as well as partner even closer with Tim & Melanie Wendel. It was a great week.
December took Murray to Orange County, CA, and the Saddleback church where the Finishing the Task conference was held. It was great to meet Rick Warren, listen to Francis Chan, and catch a Ducks/Sharks game at the Honda Center.
Now, it is time for some family moments and some quiet days at home. Thank you to so many of you for praying for us throughout the fall. We are thrilled to see what God is doing in so many ways.
And thank you for continuing to pray for Michelle. She continues to have treatments every 5 weeks. The first few days after her injection are challenging, but we are thankful for His mitigating healing in her life allowing her to live a “normal” life the rest of the weeks before the next treatment.
Add a comment or write us to let us know how we can be praying for you.
Dear Friends & Family,
Here is an update (long overdue) from the Derksens. We will walk you through some snippets from the last few months.
In February we had an amazing week of meetings in Canmore (Three Sisters above) with Canadian leaders and the regional leadership team that we get to work with in Latin America (all seen below). We had a special week of encounter with the Holy Spirit. Wow!
Meeting with the Global Ministries Leadership Team is always a privilege. These are people who really understand us as they give leadership to other regions of the world. What a great team to be a part of.
A few weeks later we were in Costa Rica for a retreat with our language students and team mates. It was good to be “home” again in Costa. We miss living there, but are thankful that the work there continues. The four boys above are the Ulriksen boys and they had received Lego toys from their Venezuela colleagues.
At the end of March Murray was able to be in Manila for the Global Diaspora Network meetings. This is a group of people dedicated to reaching the 300 million people on the move (outside of their home countries) around the globe. What a task!
In April we made a trip to Venezuela. This particular shot was just too funny to not capture :0)
Mexico City was also an April trip where we signed some important documents. Not a “fun” picture but a good idea of how we spend some of our time.
In Regina, SK, we celebrated the life of Muriel Kelly. These two men, Eugene Kelly and Arnold Cook, have been mentors to us for well over 25 years.
In May we were back in Costa Rica for the Leadership Matters Course (lmccourse.org). It was great to work with our CMA and LMC colleagues. This is some of the best leadership skills training out there!
We also got to reunite with some close friends – Joe & Lori Pent :0) Our Costa family.
We were able to spend a couple weeks at home in June. Kelowna is not a bad place to base from.
Later in June we were back in Canmore, AB to meet up with our Global team once again. What a beautiful place both in the winter and summer.
We celebrated Murray’s mom’s 80th birthday at the beginning of July (her birthday was in March but we couldn’t get the family together until summer :0).
In July we took some holidays and Murray had a chance to ride with both of his sons.
At the beginning of August we were in Calgary for the Home Ministry Seminar for the international workers coming back to Canada for a season. Well, this was their Canadian welcome – in August!
The end of August held another trip to Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Mexico City. In the evening picture above, we are standing in Brazil, Paraguay are the lights to the right, and Argentina is the lights to the left. Quite the convergence. The waterfalls are the Iguazu Falls – known as one of the seven wonders of the world.
Some people ask us how we can live a “normal” life with so much travel. Well, let’s just say that this mug helps to inform Michelle about the Murray projects around the house :0).
Thanks for taking some time to go for a ride with us. We will bring an update soon.
Dear Friends & Family,
Well, the last few months have been rather eventful. We will give you a little snipit from each month.
July had us in Ottawa for the National Assembly of the CMA in Canada. Michelle made her first steps in Quebec while we were there (the farthest east in this rather large country of Canada for her). We also had an amazing time with colleagues from across Canada and around the world. Probably the best Assembly we have ever attended.
August held some holidays and a motorcycle trip for Murray and our son Mitch.
August was also a significant month as Murray went with a few other Canadian leaders to Ecuador to be part of the second all region (Latin America) missions conference for the CMA. It was held in Quito…
We had a chance to hang with George Verwer (Operation Mobilization)…
As well as spend some time at the middle of the world…
At the end of August we had the privilege of seeing Mattea baptized in the Okanagan Lake (Vernon, BC end). This was a picture of the lake before the baptism…
September was a really special month as we traveled to Germany for a Leadership Matters training course. We were able to take Miki and Matty with us and we had a wonderful time together. Here is some news from that trip. We started in Germany for the course, then made our way down to Heidelberg…
We were able to speak in a church on that Sunday, and they had a special prayer time for Michelle…
We got to spend time in a number of Germany towns, including Mosbach…
From southern Germany we spent a day in France. This is a small town that is likened to Venice…
And here is a family portrait taken in France…
And some of the countryside in France…
Next we spent some time in Switzerland…
Of which the girls’ favorite part was the Swiss cows that would just walk up to us while hiking in the Swiss Alps…
We then made our way to England…
Where we saw some ancient sites…
And some “ancient” friends from Cairo (Matchams)…
As well as some Middle Earth friends from New Zealand (Evan & Janice McKain)…
October found us in Toronto again to meet with the CMA Canada leadership. We also made our way to Mexico and then to Cuba. Here is a downtown shot, and then a typical Cuban car…
In November we ventured to Montevideo, Uruguay (a first for us) for another Leadership Matters event (in Spanish). We had a chance to hang with our US counterparts – Timothy & Melanie Wendel…
After the week in Montevideo we had the opportunity to go to Buenos Aires, speak in a CMA church there, and spend time with some great leaders. We got to the presidential palace (below), but didn’t meet with the president this time around :0)
December held a trip to Colombia where we are working with our national church leaders from across Latin America in establishing a missions training center. We are really excited about these possibilities (picture of gathered leaders, and some of the abundance of Colombia’s coffee region)…
And December was a special family time as we were all together for the first time in 1 1/2 years as a family. We felt amazingly blessed…
Thank you for spending a few minutes with us. May 2015 be an amazing year of new beginnings for you and your family. Please stay tuned for more consistent updates (one of those New Year’s resolutions :0).
Murray & Michelle