The End of an Era

Dear Family & Friends,

Greetings to you from Kelowna, BC. We trust that each of you are experiencing the presence of our heavenly Father, who loves us all and watches over us in so many ways.

This has been an interesting season in all of our lives. It is hard to describe the varied emotions that we have experienced in this last year. In November 2019 we had a conversation with our leadership in The Alliance Canada, letting them know that we would step down as the regional leadership couple for Latin America by June 30, 2020. Little did we know that we would go through that transition in the middle of a pandemic! They graciously gave us a one year home assignment and we have used this time to assist churches with their vision for global involvement, to work on education, and to discern what was next for us.

It has become clear to us that we are to remain in Kelowna. Michelle will pursue a more focused coaching career (with an emphasis in conflict engagement training, coaching, and mediation). Murray will pursue a PhD at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, in September 2021. This will allow us to be close to our family and help care for some of their needs. We are also looking at the ways that we can more fully engage our own community through involvement and research.

The end of this month marks 29 years as international workers with The Alliance Canada. This career has had us living in Canada, USA, Mexico, Egypt, and Costa Rica; and traveling to many countries and falling in love with people from so many different nationalities, cultures, and languages.

Thank you for walking alongside of us in this journey. Many of you have partnered with us in so many ways – friendship, moral support, financial support, emotional support, and your prayers for us have made a difference. “Thank you” just doesn’t seem sufficient, but it is what we pass on to you – our gratitude for believing in us.

Since our last update earlier this year, we have continued to speak virtually in churches, done leadership seminars, spoken in international conferences in Spanish, mentored young leaders, led and participated in boards, coached individuals and couples, studied, done a bunch of writing on different topics, cared for family members who had need, buried Murray’s oldest brother (who died on March 8), and a host of other things. We have not been taking as many pictures as we used to (especially when we were traveling), but we share a few pics with you now…

We had a day of skiing at Big White. We love spending time with our grandson. Our latest family photo (partial) was at Murray’s brother’s burial. Fishing and time on the lakes in the Okanagan are wonderful. Mattea moved into her own apartment on May 1. We continue to do much virtually (preaching in two churches at the same time in this shot).

This ends our formal use of this blog to update you on our international worker life. If you want to stay in contact you can post a comment and pass on your e-mail address (we will not let it be posted to the website) and we will correspond with you directly through e-mail.

Murray & Michelle

Early 2021 Update

Dear family & friends,

We trust that 2021 has started well for you. This past year has been like few others in our journey, and we expect that many of you have similar stories. Here are a few points of update.

Zoom! Zoom! Not sure if you remember the Mazda ads, but Zoom Zoom is the new reality for much of our work. We are thankful that so much can happen virtually and that there are platforms like Zoom (and a whole host of other online platforms) that allow us to continue to connect with people on various levels.

Leadership Matters Course (LMC) (

Both of us continue to be involved in training leaders internationally. Michelle is part of the pioneering team that is doing the first set of training virtually at a global level. Currently she is training from 10:00pm until midnight on Tuesdays and then coaching on Thursday nights with leaders from Taiwan, Philippines, and India. She is also on the committee to get a combination retreat/virtual training course going inside of Canada. Murray continues to be on the leadership team for the Spanish version of this leadership course, meeting monthly with the Spanish trainers and working towards a virtual version and hoping for an in-person training course in 2022. Please pray that this essential leadership course will continue to meet the ever-changing needs of leaders around the world.

TeachBeyond Mexico / BridgeWay North American School

One of Murray’s ongoing engagements is being on the boards of these two organizations. TeachBeyond Mexico provides training and resources for schools in Mexico that are interested in doing transformational education. BridgeWay is one of the key schools in Mexico City that provides for the needs of MKs from various mission organizations, and is a lighthouse in the community. Currently the school (like all Mexican schools during Covid) is limited to virtual school. BridgeWay is doing a great job at continuing to provide great education. You can check out the website here. You can check out TeachBeyond’s website here.

University of British Columbia

As some of you know, Murray is doing further studies as a grad student at UBC Okanagan. His area of focus has to do with the role and impact of religious institutions in refugee settlement in Kelowna. All of the research data has been gathered and he is moving into the thesis writing process this month. The research process has opened doors for all kinds of new relationships with people from various cultures and walks of life.

Levite Summit

Over the last few months we have both had the opportunity to give the leadership workshops for the Levite Summit (you can check Levite Summit out here). Jon Buller and his team do an excellent job at equipping those who lead churches in music, worship, and the arts. It has been a privilege to add in the leadership skills component into this training.

The Alliance Church in Canada

We continue to serve the churches in BC with regards to their global involvement. The current Covid restrictions in the province mean that we cannot meet physically with pastors/leaders nor visit churches, though we do continue to meet virtually with them and small groups. Please be in prayer for local church leaders as they navigate so many ongoing dynamics. Pray for wisdom as they think creatively about opportunities and challenges around the corner and around the world. You can also pray with us that more doors will open to serve these churches in the months to come.


As for many of you, getting together with family can be very challenging in these days of higher restrictions. We have learned to find creative ways to be together outdoors. A winter skate on a nearby pond, walks, and other activities will have to suffice for now. We are so proud of Myles and Mikaela who both graduated from Okanagan College in January – Myles in engineering and Mikaela in marketing. They are both employed full time in their fields and are really enjoying their career choices. Mattea is in her last semester of nursing at UBC and will graduate in April. Mitch & Lauren continue with life and work in Vernon, caring for Emil, and awaiting the arrival of their next child in July 2021. We feel so blessed to live near our family at this time.

Thank you for your ongoing love, support, and prayer for us. If you would like to support our work you can give here. Your ongoing prayers for the above mentioned areas would be much appreciated. And feel free to leave a comment and give us an update on yourself and how we can be praying for you.

Murray & Michelle

Derksen Update Fall 2020

Dear Family & Friends,

What a world we live in right now! There seems to be so much going on and so many changes in how we function in this world. We pray that each of you is finding deep inner peace in Father. If there is any way that we can support you, please feel free to write a comment on this blog.

Along with the effects of COVID-19, we have also been going through a season of transition in our lives. In late fall we had a conversation with our supervisors in our mission and let them know that we sensed that we should be handing over our leadership role as the Latin American (Caribbean Sun) regional developers for the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada. We worked for months with them and our teammates in the region to design and implement a succession plan. We are so thankful that together we were able to accomplish the transition by June 30, 2020.

We are very thankful for our global team, which consists of the regional developers from the other regions around the world, our VP couple, and our member care couple. What a great team of people we have had the privilege of working with. Here is a picture of our last Zoom (the new normal for international leadership :0) when they celebrated with us together and affirmed us in such personal ways.

We also had the privilege of being fare-welled by our whole team in the region. What a joy to be with our colleagues one last time, all in one online environment.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve with these people for the last 12 years. For those of you who have followed our journey for a while, we left Egypt in 2008 to take on the regional leadership role in Latin America (where we started our international career – Mexico 1992-2001). We started the regional role living in Costa Rica, but have led the region from Kelowna, BC, for the last 7 years because of Michelle’s need for ongoing treatments.

“So, what’s next?” is the question that we are often asked. And the answer to that is, “We don’t know!” We feel a bit like God has called us to an Abrahamic/Sarahite journey, where God said to Abram “leave what is known to you and go to a place that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 – our revised translation :0). So, we left behind what is known to us and we are trusting the LORD to show us what is next. In the meantime we are doing a one year home assignment which gives us space to serve the churches in British Columbia, study, and rest. That is our current mandate.

And, of course, we get to spend time with our immediate and extended family. For a season all of our kids live here in the Okanagan (2 in Kelowna, 2 in Vernon). We didn’t know that this would ever happen, but we are sure glad that it has!











Of course this little guy, Emil, son to Mitch & Lauren, is a highlight for us right now.  We are so thankful to live close (he lives in Vernon) and to be a part of his life.

Thank you for your ongoing love, prayers, and support.  We continue to be supported by the Global Advance Fund of the Alliance Church in Canada.  Please consider giving towards our support by using this link.

You can be praying that this will be a good season of serving the BC Alliance churches, of serving our local community, of learning, and that it would include good rest for us as well.  Feel free to use the Comments section to communicate with us.

You are much loved and appreciated.

Murray & Michelle


Christmas Musings

FullSizeRenderDecember 24, 2019

What would the Christmas story sound like to someone who has never heard?  Absurd, really!  A King, eternal no less, infinite, full of power and rule, choosing to take on limits and confines?  That doesn’t make any sense!  Actually, even as a disciple, as I think about it, it doesn’t make any sense…

Except, that I am the recipient and benefactor of His choice and I know it in a very poignant way.  His love has changed and moulded me.  His forgiveness has given me freedom.  His presence and power fill me with peace and productivity. His grace continues to extend to me daily.  His deep heart of compassion is touching me more and more as he deepens my heart and opens my eyes.  Even though it sounds absurd, I know it is real, because His coming and His incredible gift of life has changed and continues to change and fill me!  I’ve also seen the veil come off and life and light come to other people’s lives and hearts as they encounter the living God!

This week I have been pondering the immensity of his coming and sacrifice.  I remembered an old hymn that describes him so well.  Consider HIM.  Emmanuel.

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

(He Giveth More Grace, Annie J. Flint)

Merry Christmas!  We appreciate your ongoing partnership with us.  We love journeying with you.  May you know today that absurd and incredible love of Emmanuel and have the joy of seeing that love continue to transform lives, ours included!

Murray & Michelle

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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)…



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…


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…


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…


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ( 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.


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  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.


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.

ITA Leader Summit Bangkok 2018

One of our great privileges is to serve as trainers with the Leadership Matters Course (  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.

Joy Tira and Murray Nov 2018

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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