The International Fellowship of Hope celebrated its seven year anniversary on April 10, 2016, and what a blessed time the past seven years have been. It has only been possible by the Grace of God and thanks to the love and support of my family, friends, and all the many wonderful people who have made the mission possible. Following a Mass and procession we received the blessing from Fr. Peter at Sto Tomas De Villanueva Catholic Church in Talaga, Cebu for our mission, our work, and our continued success in serving God.

I know if I try to recall all the wonderful blessings and miracles that we have been fortunate enough to witness (and in many cases to be a small part of by lighting so many candles of Hope one candle at a time) I will undoubtedly forget many important events and wonderful people, so I am asking each of the Board members and Associate Directors to also provide a brief summary review of what has happened with each of their separate missions. Yet I want to now share many highlights of each of their missions that stand out vividly in my mind.

 Donald Dean, President of the Board: Don has faithfully served the mission as president for seven years while also working personally to sponsor and help those seeking recovery as well as attending and supporting recovery meetings in the USA, Mexico, and the Philippines. Don is indeed a real leader by his example and a gift to the mission.

 Pastor Marie Tatum, Vice-President of the Board: Marie has been a faithful servant of the Lord not only sharing her time, talent and treasures with our mission but also volunteering her time to serve and help build E.P.I.C. (Every Person Is Called) Ministries. We all continue to pray and I ask others to join in prayer for blessings on her mission work. Marie visits and serves the homeless and hungry freely donating and sharing her own money. She personally brings them the message of HOPE with food, guidance, fellowship and witnessing her faith by sharing her own testimony in the saving grace and power of our Risen Lord Christ Jesus. Marie is a gifted writer and speaker sharing her talents by visiting many churches throughout Colorado as a featured speaker and also on radio broadcasts. Marie is a tremendous blessing to the mission and to all those she serves.

Pastor Craig Meyers, Secretary of the Board: Craig is a faithful servant of the Lord hosting a free Sunday morning breakfast and fellowship at our home church in Iliff Colorado. Craig not only shares his gifts with the mission but also helps others who seek the saving the Word of God. Craig is working on developing his own mission named Project Ephesus that will be an ALL THE WAY HOUSE (not a half-way house) not only for men recovering from addictions but for every man that wants a deeper more meaningful life with Christ Jesus. We ask everyone to please pray for the success of his mission.

 Edmund Ferguson, has volunteered for the past three years sharing his time and talent with the mission helping work on the websites and as a Recovery Coach supporting and helping recovering alcoholics and addicts. Although one of our youngest members at 21 years old has already begun a life of service to God and the mission.

Au Au (Aurea Maskarino), the Associate director in Leyte now has ten (10) elementary students she is working with where we have seen her small group of children receive the blessings of an opportunity for an education. Four (4) of them graduated this year to high school with special honors or merit awards. During this past year, they have received her help from IFOH for tuition, books, supplies, uniforms, graduation fees, clothing and food for themselves and their families. She has also helped when necessary with food and medical care for infants and their mothers, and with some emergency medical care and necessary medication for other adults in the community. AuAu coaches and helps the children in her home with their prayers and studies and also makes computer skills learning available to her students in her own home. Without her help they would have no other way to learn computer skills. AuAu is devoted to God and His service and remains a continued blessing to the mission and those she serves. She attends mass regularly and prays the Rosary almost daily. She is a devoted prayer warrior for the mission and for her co-workers in the field.

Rose (Maria Rosalina Orboc), the Associate director in Cebu has 3 students she is sponsoring, 1 in high school, one in technical school, and one in college through her help of obtaining an IFOH student loans and grants. She has worked with the AA and alanon family recovery groups carrying Gods message of Hope to suffering alcoholics, drug addicts and their families. She has helped bring clothing, shoes, and necessary hygiene items to prisoners in the local jail. She has traveled to AA conventions attending numerous meetings locally, Dumaguete, and Bacolod to gather more information. She has provided dental and medical care, medication, transportation to doctors and clinics for children and adults ranging from loss of vision and stroke victims to asthma and childhood diseases. She has helped find and provide work for plumbers, electricians, carpenters, call center workers, and laborers. She has donated space on a small parcel of land in Argao for building a small residence and home office for IFOH Visayas. She is working with a local priest to help get space donated for AA and alanon meetings to be started in southern Cebu Island. She recently traveled to a treatment center in Northern Mindanao to obtain information and literature in Visayan language to help start an alanon group in Dumaguete Negros. She has taken priests to the dying for their last confession and Sacraments, she has visited the sick in hospitals and the homes and funeral homes of the deceased offering prayer, comfort and donations to the families. She attends mass regularly, is devoted to prayer and meditation with the Holy Rosary and Divine Chaplets. She is a blessing to God and to the mission and all those she serves and helps. She has been a tireless prayer warrior for the mission, for her co-workers in the field, and those we are able to serve and to all the wonderful and generous people who help support us and our work.

Michael Brockbank, owner of Iliff Computer Center, Inc and his associate Brett Rice have donated countless hours of their time and talent to building and maintaining our website. Without their help it would not be possible to share the good news of our mission and share about all the candles that are being lit and those that are being helped by the Grace of God through the hands of His workers in the field. We all pray for Michael and his family and his businesses that they will prosper and yield and bear much fruit for the glory of God and that God will bless him and his family with the gifts of faith and hope.

Tim Lewis has volunteered his time and energy to serving as a corporate officer and pillar of the fellowship. He is also the Treasurer of the fellowship. Without his help it would not be possible to continue the mission work thousands and thousands of miles from our Mission Church home in Colorado. Tim is always in our prayers for his health as he continues to serve God regardless of the medical problems he is having. Tim is a true blessing to the fellowship and servant to God.

Steven Kleimola, president of Mango Enterprises donated his time and talent and traveled to the Philippines personally to conduct call center training for job opportunities for several workers in Luzon and Mindanao. We all continue to pray for the success of his businesses that they will prosper and bear much fruit for the glory of God and the benefit of him and his family and those he helps, and that the blessings of God will be poured out abundantly upon him and his family.

Without these dedicated workers in the field carrying the message of Faith, Hope, and Love to the communities they serve through the corporal works of mercy the fellowship would not have enjoyed such wonderful success. By serving God… by serving those He has sent across their paths… these humble servants have helped light many candles to brighten the lives of so many people.  Please join me in continuing to pray daily that God’s blessings will be poured out abundantly upon them, their families, and those they are serving in their communities.

By the grace of God and the generosity and love offerings of our many friends and supporters, we have provided hundreds of kilos of rice to feed the hungry. We have helped make jobs for many people and been able to bless their lives with giving them an opportunity for work. We have donated to help victims in Manila, Leyte and Samar suffering from the ravaging effects from typhoons. We have installed water storage tanks in Davao, brought water supply, sanitary systems and electricity into homes in a remote province on Cebu island, and computers and internet to students and workers in Leyte, Davao, and Cebu. We have provided social and cultural opportunities by taking students and their parents or guardians shopping and out to eat in the cities many experiencing shopping centers and malls for the first time. We have donated to the medical missions of Dr. Mike in Davao, and Dr. Charles and Dra. Clarice in Cebu. We have donated to Habitat for the Homeless in Colorado and in Davao. We have made payments for families to keep them in their homes or meet their daily necessities in Colorado and in the Philippines. We have helped Christians and Muslims alike without asking questions of race, color or creed. We have donated rosaries and held prayer meetings in Davao, Leyte and Cebu. We have donated money desperately needed to help seminarians studying for the priesthood. We have donated to replace a chapel roof to provide shelter for worship, donated foundation pillars for a rectory and home for those who bring prayer and worship to the communities. Truly, I have experienced the love of God and His grace beyond my wildest expectations.

The little girl in Cebu that needed cancer treatments has survived by the grace of God and the prayers of the faithful. The students still need help with their expenses again this year to enable them to obtain even a basic education. The ongoing medication, medical and dental needs of the families will still have to be met. In short there is still so much work to be done. I don’t know how we will do it, but I have faith that somehow God will provide. He has already helped the mission do more than I ever thought possible with His abundant grace.

My personal mission continues to be primarily focused on working with alcoholics, addicts, and their families and yet God has opened doors for me to be His humble servant in so many ways I never imagined. My own social and cultural experiences have been broadened as I have been invited to share in celebrations and cultural events in the various communities. I have been honored to dine in the principal’s office following graduation ceremonies for students we sponsor in Davao, Leyte and Cebu, I have been invited to attend the JS Prom to photograph memories of one of the students we sponsor in Cebu, I have been able to attend a high school “batch reunion” with the Associate Director in Cebu and numerous fiestas and family gatherings in Leyte, Davao and Cebu enjoying Lechon Baboy (roasted whole pig) and a feast of native dishes. I have been invited to speak at graduation and ceremonies at local high school sitting with the past mayor of Cebu Sir Mike Rama.

We are still working to open a recovery retreat center in the southern area of Cebu Island and have explored many possible locations. Now it is up to God. If it is meant to be then it will be and the doors will keep opening for us. We need all the prayers and financial support we can get since there is so much work to be done.

The harvest really is plenty and the workers are few, but with God all things are possible. One of the problems with the treatment centers here in the Philippines (because of the poverty and lack of employment opportunity) is after the treatment centers help alcoholics and addicts to sober up when they are released, there is often nowhere for them to go with their families except back to the streets and relapse. With God’s help we will be able to provide an opportunity for them to bring their families to a recovery community where they can work together and share in raising crops and animals and we can provide basic shelter for them and their families in a safe alcohol and drug free environment.

I also have a deep gratitude for the past associate directors and many volunteers who are no longer active in our mission but made substantial contributions of their time and talent. Without the help of everyone that God has sent across the path of our mission many lives would not have been enriched. I will always continue to keep them in my daily prayers.

I also continue to pray daily for all the people who have so generously supported the mission work with their prayers or their donations. Without the prayerful support and the money to light candles of hope there would be no mission as we know it today. When I reflect on our short past I am truly humbled and filled with joy and gratitude. Thank you God and “God Bless” and thank you all.

Respectfully shared with you today by God’s Humble Servant and your brother in Christ

Pastor Mike