June 2019 Derksen Update

Hello friends & family,

Thanks for taking a moment to read our June update.  It has been another great month, with much travel and some really exciting developments.  So, let’s take a short walk through the month together.

Our month started with a visit from dear friends from New Zealand.  Janice was a Rotary Club exchange student in Kelowna and lived with our family back in 1980.  Her and Evan spent a week with us and explored some of Kelowna (while we were in our home office :0).

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An integral part of our international work is the development and sending of new team members.  Michelle had an opportunity to be with them in Toronto, using her skills to co-teach a session on conflict engagement.

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Being grandparents is wonderful :0).  We had the opportunity to introduce Emil to our moms (the great-grandmas).  It is great to see the generations together.

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Summer in British Columbia also means time at the beach, and when we can do it with the broader family it is always that much better!  One June weekend we got to spend a day with the Derksen clan in the Shuswaps.

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We began a 15 day trip June 14.  Michelle traveled to Dallas, TX to be part of an intercessor networking training weekend.  Not only did her and other Canadian C&MA intercessor network leaders get training, but they heard some incredible stories of what God is doing globally.  The relationships started in Dallas continue to develop and we are excited about what this conference will do in Canada and through Canada and around the world.

We then met up in Aruba and spent a couple days with Gabriel & Iris Li, the pastors of the Aruba Alliance Church.  It was great to see progress in reaching out to the 6,000+ Chinese living and working on that island.

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From there we headed to Panama City and spent time with our Canadian Chinese couple there – Stanley & Rosa Leung.  The Leungs have only been there for 5 months and are already seeing some clear ways to be involved in reaching the 300,000+ Chinese living and working in Panama.

After a couple days in Panama, we headed further south to Paraguay, via Argentina and Brazil.  Ciudad del Este is a multicultural setting where thousands of people from various parts of the world live together in a free trade zone.  This is a prime location for Curtis & Linda Doell, the leaders of a cross-cultural training center, to help train Latin American professionals in character and practical cross-cultural skills before they leave the continent.  C&MA Canada sees this type of partnership as a key way that we can come alongside our Latin American partners.  We finished our visit there with a leadership summit where we talked about the future of the training and how best to have a constant flow of new candidates.

After a 34 hour return trip to Kelowna, we were significantly depleted and took a couple days to recover.  And on the last day of June we celebrated 35 years of marriage!  Yup, we made it this far, and are more in love with each other than ever before.

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Thank you for your prayers and support for us again this month.  If you want to know more about us and our ministry, you can send us a note through the Comment part of this page, or you can check out our biography information at the C&MA website.  We also invite you to consider the giving options towards our support or different ministries we have direct contact with.

We look forward to our next connection with you.

Murray & Michelle

April/May 2019 Derksen Update

April/May 2019 Derksen Update

Thank you to each of you for taking time to visit our blog.  We appreciate your interest, your thoughts, your prayers, and your ongoing partnership in so many ways.

April was a bit quieter month for us as we spent much of it in our home and home office.  Michelle had a significant birthday (but we cannot say which one :0).  Murray finished a semester of school at UBC Okanagan.  We enjoyed extra time with family over the Easter weekend (see following pics)…

 

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By the end of April we were ramping up for a season of travel once again.  Murray had the opportunity to travel to Dubai where the Global Church for a Global World conference was held.  This was a gathering of about 200 delegates from international churches from every continent (except Antarctica).  International churches have a unique opportunity to reach least reached people groups in the various cities they are located in.  In the Caribbean Sun region we have recently partnered with the Union Evangelical Church in Mexico City, as well as assigned a new team to start another international church in Mexico City, a city with as many as 1 million expatriates and less than a handful of churches reaching them.  The time in Dubai was well spent in networking.  It is also a cool city to visit…

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We had a family wedding the first weekend of May, which gave us a unique opportunity to get our family together for a picture.  We love our family very much and they are key stakeholders in all that we are in life…

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From the wedding headed south to Mexico City for a Strategic Review.  Every 5 years we take time to listen to our staff and partners to see how we have been doing, and looking into the next 5 years to see what we need to change and adjust.  Mexico City is a key ministry zone for CMA Canada within Latin America.  We are thankful for the full on engagement of the international workers and partners in making this a great week with lots of good listening.  Please pray for the Mexico Leadership Team as they take this information and put it into an action plan…

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When we returned from Mexico City we went straight into the Canadian Pacific District Conference in Vernon, BC.  Michelle  co-lead a 90 minute workshop on conflict engagement, and the two days proved to be great days for networking with the pastors from the CPD – which is always a privilege to renew relationships and make new ones (we served in the CPD office from 2001-2004 before heading to Egypt).

Even while that conference was happening we must admit that our minds were on the anticipation of the due date of Mitch & Lauren’s baby.  On May 25, at 10:44pm, at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, little Emil Stefan Derksen was born, weighing in at 7lbs. 7oz., and 48cms in height (well, length because he doesn’t spend much time upright yet :0).  So, we are grandparents for the first time.  A new journey begins…

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Seeing and holding little Emil has already reminded us of how much God just enjoys us as his creation.  We get so caught up with our own brokenness, failures, successes, work, and so many other things.  We are finding it amazing just to sit and stare at little Emil.  How much more does God enjoy watching us as his creation?

Thank you for your prayers for the least reached people in Latin America, pray too that God would raise up many workers for his harvest from within Latin America.  Thank him with us for new life and all the lessons in life to be learned as a new season in our family begins.

For more information about us, please check out our bio page on the CMA Canada website.  To partner with us in prayer you can subscribe to this blog.  We always appreciate financial partnership.  You can click on this link for ways to give, and please send us a note if you are looking for ongoing ways to partner with us and our ministry.

Thanks again for the visit.  We will send another update at the end of June.

Murray & Michelle

 

February/March 2019 Update

Dear Family & Friends,

We trust that where you are spring has/is springing and that the intrigue of new life and new beginnings will capture your hearts and minds.  Here is a brief update on our lives over these past two months.

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Like for many Canadians, winter seemed to linger a little long this year.  And, just when it felt like it was going to end, it would snow again, or get colder.

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At the beginning of February we headed east to Winnipeg to spend time with Kilcona Park Alliance church where we lived and pastored from 1987-1991.  As you can see, we were greeted by more snow and even colder weather than in BC.  But, as always, the time with our friends (and some family) in Manitoba was rich and warm.  We are so thankful for great partnerships with churches like Kilcona.

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We had the privilege while in Winnipeg to pray with a couple of our faithful prayer warriors (Jeannette and Pat).  We meet weekly with them, and others, in an online prayer room, so it was special to actually be face to face during the prayer time.  If you are interested in praying with us weekly and being part of our intercessor team, please contact us at michelle.derksen@hostmailbox.ca.

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The weekend included a quick trip down to be with family in the Morden/Winkler, MB, part of the province.  Let’s just say that we were thankful we made it there and back safely.

A week after arriving home from Winnipeg we landed in Mexico for university spring break.  It was a treat to spend a week resting with our daughters.  Our brother and sister Brian & Helen were staying close by and we got some down time with them too.

We arrived home just in time to celebrate our daughter-in-law’s birthday.  Family time is always a treat.

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That next week we celebrated Mitch’s 30th birthday too. Lauren gave him a fishing boat for his birthday so us boys got out to give it a try (doesn’t attract fish yet though).

 

A week later we were back in Mexico.  Michelle spent her time doing member care with the 13 families on the ground in Mexico City, while Murray met with the board for TeachBeyond Mexico and the BridgeWay North American School.  Below is a picture of the Alliance Center in Mexico City where we normally stay and have many meetings, followed by a picture of the BridgeWay board enjoying a farewell dinner with the current director of the school.  We were thankful to be able to hire a new director that very same weekend.  The school continues to be in very capable hands.

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After enjoying our home and our own bed for almost a week, we headed to Toronto for our semi-annual meetings with the global team we are a part of, as well as with the Alliance Canadian leaders.  This is always a rich time of strategizing, making decisions, stretching and discussing the big picture themes that are part of movement forward.  Here is a picture of our global team along with the support staff from Toronto.

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We got home and found that spring had started to sprout from the ground while we were away.  Let’s just say we are thankful for new life, especially after a longer winter.

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We finished March with a day of enjoying creation from a different standpoint – a mountain top experience actually.  We were able to spend a part of the day with Myles & Janice, and the rest of the day with family from Manitoba.  We are so thankful for the beautiful Okanagan as a fantastic place to come home to.

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As always, we are thankful for the time you take to keep up with the Derksens.  We appreciate your partnership in so many ways.  If you want to know a bit more about us and our ministry please visit our profile page.  You will find opportunities there to partner with us.  You will also find ways to give to the work we are called to do.

Murray & Michelle

January 2019 Update

Dear Family & Friends,

We are so thankful for your partnership with us.  We are asking the Lord to fill you with faith, hope, and especially love (1 Cor. 13:13) this year.  Thank you for believing in us, praying for us, and partnering with us.  You are faithful friends.

December started out with a flurry.  Michelle served as a trainer in the Leadership Matters Course (wetrainleaders.org) at Camp Nakamun (NW of Edmonton, AB).  It was coooold on the outside, but warm and full of life inside the camp facilities.  She was part of a multicultural team in giving leadership training to 32 leaders and pastors from many countries.

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The rest of December held lots of family get togethers, friend dinners and visits, and some down time to relax.  Michelle has struggled with some health issues since her December 18th chemo treatment.  We would appreciate prayers for her health and wholeness, as well as wisdom for doctors to determine what the underlying issue(s) is.

January began with a fair bit of time in the office (catching up from taking time off at the end of December :0).  Murray started another semester of classes at UBC Okanagan, where he is a grad student.  January is a month of planning for the year, working on projects, and touching base with our teams.  It has been a good month for all of those things.

Murray made a quick trip down to Mexico City to spend time with the BridgeWay North American School board.  We are in search of a new director as our current director’s contract comes up at the end of June.  If you are interested, you can check it out here.  He also had a chance to meet with our team leaders for Mexico and Cuba.

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Thank you for starting this year with us.  We are heading to Winnipeg this weekend, so if you are in that area we will be speaking at Kilcona Park Alliance Church at 9:15am and 11:00am on Sunday, February 10.

Please check out our bio page here.  If you are interested in becoming part of our weekly prayer team please send us a note to suncrd@gmail.com.  And if you are interested in partnering with us financially you can click here.  Thank you for taking the time to meet up with us here on the blog.

Murray & Michelle

October/November 2018 Update

Hello Family & Friends,

We trust that all is well in your lives.  You are wonderful partners in this adventure of life that holds so much good and so much hard stuff all bundled together.  We appreciate your willingness to come by the blog once in a while and keep up with the things that God is doing in us and through us.

These have been unusually full months in our lives.  Murray has spent much energy on  studies at UBC Okanagan where he is taking some graduate studies (while working the office).  Michelle continues to do the bulk of the travel this fall.

Michelle returned from Mexico City, Orlando, Mar del Plata (Argentina), and Paraguay on October 3.  She was able to accomplish a lot in that 2 1/2 week trip and saw God move in some unusual and amazing ways.

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Fall in the Okanagan is beautiful.  It was also Canadian Thanksgiving and we enjoyed some great family time together.  It is great to have our whole family living within 45 minutes of each other between Vernon and Kelowna.  This is a treat for us after so many years living in other countries.  We didn’t expect our kids to live close.

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One of our great privileges is to serve as trainers with the Leadership Matters Course (wetrainleaders.org).  In late October we made the trek to Thailand to enjoy a leadership summit (lead trainers and trainer developers) with partners from many different organizations and from all continents.  It was a great week together.

At the beginning of November we had the privilege of attending the Canadian Pacific District Retreat in Whistler, BC.  It was a great time to reconnect with many pastor friends and to make new relationships.  This is a picture of Murray meeting with Dr. Joy Tira.  We had many significant connections that week.

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Michelle was able to travel to Mexico City in mid November.  One significant connection was with our Mandarin team in an area of Mexico City called Santa Fe.  Here is a pic of that neighborhood.

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As always, she had many great connections with our ministry partners in that city of 22 million + people.

Wow, so much can happen in two months.  Thanks again for your prayers and partnership with us.  If you are interested in supporting us financially please follow this link.  We appreciate each prayer that is said for us and the ministry God has given us in different places.

Send us a note through the comments section on this page, or ask a question.  We would be happy to respond.

Murray & Michelle

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

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

 

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