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Friday, March 16, 2007

Community Reaction...

Hello All!

I have had some amazing experiences recently, regarding the community reaction towards my NBC25 Africa video. God works in such wonderful ways. Among an outpooring of e-mails and phone calls, a special man approached me from the Bay City area. He is a Priest from St. James Catholic Church and his name is Father Bob DeLand. A very out-going man with a heart of gold. He called me at the Television station and we had a great conversation about my up-coming Africa trip as well as his own traveling experiences. He has been a Missionary around the world. He mentioned travels in Austria, Nepal, and Nairobi Kenya. Among his duties as a priest, he also over-sees the St. James Catholic school system in Bay City. He asked if I would like to come and speak to the school children about my proffession and also my up-coming trip to Africa. Here's a few pictures from this well-behaved and very attentive classroom.

We had lots of fun talking about weather and Africa. They had great questions to ask. And they even gave me some great St. Patrick's day apparel for this up-coming holiday weekend! Father Bob asked me to go out to lunch with him after talking with the children. He even had a good chuckle when I unknowingly asked him [a Priest, mind you] if he was married. I gueess I have a pretty good excuse not being raised in the Catholic religion. Regardless, I think the entire school knew about my funny question before I left. :-) Anyways, his advice and kind words were such an inspiration to me. We talked about what to expect on my trip to Africa. He prepared me for the poverty, the disease, and the African hardships we would encounter while over there...But he also testified to their HOPE. And it went on from there...

He mentioned a word that really stuck with me. He said "Derek, go to Africa and EMBRACE those children. EMBRACE their families." When I later reflected on the word EMBRACE, it really "hit home" that this was indeed, my true intentions of the trip. Webster's Dictionary defines EMBRACE as the act to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly. After some praying and serious soul searching, I now know what God's purpose for me on this trip is. TO EMBRACE. I will willingly recieve these children and their families and help them to the best of my abilities. I really think the word speaks for itself. I will leave it right there.

But I do challenge you to EMBRACE what's important to you. Whether it be your family, friends, morales or idealistic values...take it to the next level. Never abandon what God has given you. Personally, god has given me this opportunity to travel to Africa. I will EMBRACE it with my heart and soul.



  1. Derek~ You are just the bomb! I'm so inspired by your endeavors and I love the updates. Prayers for this whole journey and will continue even after you get back. Love~
    A.Debi & U.Joel

  2. Anonymous7:55 PM

    Hi Derek,

    I have enjoyed reading(your blog) about your passion to serve the people in Africa. It sounds like a really awesome opportunity. It makes me wish I could serve on a trip like this. I'll be praying for you & the team as you prepare to make a difference. Keep the updates coming.


    ps. I found out about your blog through a friend(Neita).

  3. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I am so proud of you man! God is using you in amazing ways. Thanks for getting in touch, we need to keep in contact. I will continue to follow your blog. When you are in G.R. shoot me an email at Keep up the good work. I like seeing you in a suit. Have a good one.

  4. Derek-
    I have no idea how I came across your blog but my prayers are with you. I am a future missionary to Swaziland so it's cool to see you going there. I have a passion to serve the OVC's as well and when people ask me if we can bring healing to Africa, I say oh yes, with Jesus we can save one orphan at a time! Check out my blog, lots of stuff about Africa too. There is a great organization who I partner with Children's Cup out of Louisiana.
    Blessings to you and everyone on the team!

  5. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Derek -

    It's excellent to hear how you went to St. James and talked to the children about this wonderful cause that you're contributing to. I once was a student at St. James elementary, and am a parishoner at the church where Father Bob resides. He is a wonderful man, very kind and caring, and it's no surprise he offered you such good advice. I would love to hear more about your upcoming journey, so feel free to shoot me an e-mail at You definitely have a heart of gold. :)



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