greg louganis...nuf said
Just living in the Hunter House - Derek was kind of our 5th roommate. =) There are so many memories, Char! I keep thinking about how Miss Organized-Detail-Oriented-Fun-Loving Chic wrangled in Mr. Unorganized-Wait-Til-The-Last-Minute-Crazy-Fun-Loving Guy....and all the obvious hilarity that could follow that! I love thinking back to the two of you and how it all began. Those are the best memories.
The first three things that come to my mind when I think of the memories I have of Derek are the tears he would shed when speaking, whether in front of the youth group, at church or even in a personal conversation. His conviction and overwhelming love for the Lord ran deep and was demonstrated in each tear that fell as he spoke of God's unfailing love in the midst of our sin.I was blaring David Crowder in my apartment yesterday and couldn't help but think of Derek and that green t-shirt he wore much too often!I also think back to the memories I have of the leaders meeting before youthgroup, to come together and pray, asking God to show up. Derek's authenticity and humility were so apparent and he challenged us as leaders to do the same!
When you and Derek first moved to GR, I remember Derek coming to work and looking like Doug's twin (besides the noses). From there on out, I called him "Junior." It was fun working with Derek, besides him not wanting to learn how to do any paperwork, he daily told me we should come to Crossroads, until we finally did. :)One of the most vivid memories I have of Derek was when we went to your house to watch a basketball game with the two of you. Derek all of a sudden started going on and on about this kid in the youth group who accepted Christ. It wasn't even a commercial and his intensity was overpowering the exciting game that we were watching. It just showed that his passion for Christ was even greater than sports!Of course our annual Christmas card pics that he was always so excited about will never be forgotten. ;)I also share a birthday with Derek, so I will always think of him on that special day. Love you and your whole family Charity!
My favourite memory of Derek was when the youth group went the Newark, Jersey and we were all at Central Park and there was this panhandler there with this amazing guitar case which he had painted and he was playing really kool music. I asked Derek to dance with you and he was like "no, I don't think so" and the youth got all involved ans was like "Yeah! Do it!" So you two danced randomly in Central Park and it was beautiful. You two portrayed one of the most beautiful marriages.
I'll never forget how it was "love at first meeting" when we were introduced at Joe and Paige's Bible Study with Harvest Church back in Illinois. The friendship that the six of us shared was a blessing in my life then and has continued to be. Even though the miles have come between us, the friendship has remained. We have had some fantastic times together in Illinois, Cabo San Lucas, and Grand Rapids. I remember dancing on the furniture together while we blasted some music in Cabo, indulging in steak at Gibsons, passionately discussing God's word and smiling at each other when Derek would get fired up about the Final Four! I will forever be grateful for those memories and for the way Charity and Derek prayed for and supported me since Mark died. I've never forgotten how Derek has hugged me and with tears in his eyes told me time and again how he and Charity would pray for me and how they missed Mark. It brought me comfort and I hope that at least on some small level to be able to do the same for Charity and the girls. Derek's energy, love, commitment to his faith and family has left a wonderful legacy here on this earth.
I'll never forget when Derek came and spoke in chapel at GR Christian a few years ago. He spoke on the absolute Holiness of God: "It is a BIG deal." Talk about passion! His message was not well-received by all, but it got everyone talking, and he was right on with the message. I recall one of my teachers saying afterward, "I think that man was a prophet" speaking a word that our school needed to hear. I agree.I also remember Derek providing valuable counsel to me as I made a decision to play college basketball. He encouraged me to do so and in the days following always talked about how we would gladly take it to me in the driveway any time...Though sad for the loss of a godly man passionate for Christ, I can smile admiring Derek's legacy and picturing him with his long, outstretched arms and giant hands praising his Lord right now...
One of my favorite memories of Derek and Charity was as leaders in our youth group in Chicago. They won a group dancing move with high schoolers that blew away any other groups, watching Derek move with his tall body was amazing and fun. He will always be remembered as "Spirited with the Joy of The Lord." Daryl and I are praying for you Charity and know that Derek is dancing with King David before our LORD in Honor and Glory.
Big Bob's Pizza leftovers! Every morning I came to watch the girls I think Derek asked me at LEAST three times before he left "how ya doin' girl??!" He really. really. cared. My first impression of him was meeting the whole family before I started nannying. He was passionately filling Will and I in on your parenting philosophy and he looked at Ella-barely 2 with her mischievous little Ella grin-and said "Ella! You're a sinner. You don't know it yet. But you need Jesus just like the rest of us". We laughed but it was then that I knew we were blessed to have him (and you. and your girls) in our lives. He was a dad who cared more about the souls of his girls than most I had seen. And they will reap so much fruit from the seeds of love he has sown already.-Erin Weatherhead
Derek's passion for life spilled over into all he did. Here's just a small memory of mine, but I think it paints an accurate picture of the way he lived:I remember playing pick-up basketball with Derek a few years ago, shortly after meeting him for the first time, and marveling at the ferocity of his play. Nevermind that he had been out of organized basketball for half a decade or that it was a just a friendly 2-on-2 game amongst friends. Derek played with the same fiery determination with which he lived his life. In a word, intense. But he knew how to compete, and in doing so, he made those around him better. And as intense as the game might get, afterwards he was right there with one of those giant arms draped around you, lifting you up and encouraging you. To me, that is a portrait of how Derek's passion impacted others; he intensely devoted his life to doing those things he was passionate about. And in doing so, he made a profound impact for Christ and made those around him better. Sometimes on the court, but far more often where it really mattered. He will be dearly missed.
Derek, Jared Moberg, Josh Maurer, and I High-Fiving each other getting fired up watching John Piper Youtube videos in the Taatjes living room during our couples bible study!-Mitch Vander Baan
If anyone were to ask what image springs to mind when I think of Derek Taatjes, it’s easy: his wide, charismatic, beaming, infectious smile! Derek brightened every room he entered. It doesn't surprise me in the least that Derek found his calling in reaching out and connecting with others. His personality was rare and truly magnetic. Even in death, Derek continues to minister and bring people together. What an amazing man God created when he brought Derek to this earth. Heaven has truly gained angels.I am praying continually for God’s peace to surround the entire Taatjes and Carpenter families. You are loved.Sincerely,Anne Courtade
I was a few years behind Derek in HS at FHN. We had many friends in common and he really helped me see on a New Year's Eve long ago that just because you've made mistakes doesn't mean you have to keep repeating them. He was a great guy with a huge personailty that touched me and so many people. He helped me be the me I wanted to be - - - he helped so many be better Christians!-KS
I am a nanny and on two specific occasions I remember him getting down to my level, pointing his finger at me and gently, but intentionally telling me, "YOU are investing in eternity with those boys!"It certainly changed my perspective :) And is a great memory of him to have!-Heather McGannon
The main thing that comes to mind when I think of Derek is his larger than life personality! You couldn't help but feel his presence when you were in the room with him. When I look at his picture I can't help but smile, yet I have tears in my eyes too. Though it has been many years since our days at Taylor University, I will always remember how Derek brought fun to every group of friends he hung out with.Heather Delp
I remember his handshake (I am merely an average sized man, after all) that began our short conversations before or after church or at HS group at Harvest.Also, every time I think of him, I remember a blocked shot from his days at TU that ended up several rows deep - even though the stands were only on the side of the court, not behind the glass. It got kind of loud after that.-kris johnson
My memories of Derek start with Charity.Charity and I were colleagues at Priority Health when they moved to Grand Rapids. She was instantly endearing, capable, and intelligent coworker. When she talked about Derek, there was a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. When I met him, I understood why. What a guy!I witnessed their excitement in starting their gorgeous family. Each time Charity announced she was pregnant, she beamed. Balancing work and family is a struggle and they worked hard to make sure their babies were loved and cared for in the best possible way. They made sacrifices to ensure Ella, JoJo and Dylan had lots of time with each of them. My family had the pleasure of getting to know Derek better when he coached Ella and my daughter's soccer team. Watching that tall man running around with those 4 year old girls, was a sight. He had enthusiasm, joy and lots of high fives! It was a perfect first sports team experience for my daughter and it was because of Derek.When Dylan was born, my family was so excited because we had watched Charity grow each week during soccer season. When we came to visit, Derek took his girls and my two kids outside to "shoot hoops" while Charity and I talked and snuggled Dylan. What a thoughtful man. Most husbands would not think of doing this! When we left I remember vividly, Derek not just saying "thanks for coming", but really looking into my eyes and telling me how "kind" it was for us to come. He was so genuine and it made an impression on me.I never heard Derek give a sermon, however, he was teaching me through the way he lived. He was teaching me by the example he set as a husband, father, friend and coach. Derek and Charity were teaching me how important all the little things you do everyday, all the love and respect you show those around you in all the little ways are what makes an extraordinary life. Thank you, Derek.
Whenever we would hang out with Derek and Charity I would look forward to a nice relaxing night where we could spend some time talking and maybe watching a game on TV. Instead I would always end up watching Derek chase his girls and mine around the house all night. He would pretend the end of his hand was "the claw" and the girls would run around screaming trying to avoid it only to be tickled intensly when "the claw" finally caught one of them. Everytime that we got in the car to leave I would say to my wife "it would have been nice to hang out with Derek a little more but he just played with the kids all night." He was passionate about his children and most other children he met as well. Looking back it is like he knew he only had a limited time with his kids so he wanted to make the most out of every second he had.Wade Vugteveen
During the summer before my freshman year of high school, the youth group went to South Haven for a beach day. This was one of my first events with the youth group and one of my first chances to spend time with Derek. A few other freshman and I rode in Derek's van. As soon as we started pulling out of the parking lot, Derek started talking to us about something, and he got so passionate about us that he turned around to look at all of us in the backseat while he was driving. As he turned out of the parking lot and onto the road, he was so focused on whatever he was telling us that he pulled into the left lane! One of the other people in the car had to ask him why he was in the left lane before he moved. Derek's passion and humor as displayed through this event made me excited to spend the net 4 years in his youth group, and what a blessing those 4 years were!Beth Hicks
Charity, through the storm, through the rain and through the hurt and pain don't give up or give in just stand.
Some friends and I were going through a rough time and met with him to get help in what to do. After talking about what was going on and going through verses that came to be very helpful, he asked if it was ok if we literally got on our knees and prayed together, and we did. His passion and genuine concern was overflowing. He was nothing but real with us.God gave us so much encouragement through him and even though I was never as close with him as most people he always would great me with that huge smile and even bigger hi-five. I finally made it to youth group for the first time last week and I am sooo glad I did. His messages were always so powerful and his last one was no exception. The one that has stuck with me the most was his one on Pride, and remembering how many times he would say that he also struggled with pride more than anyone.He never claimed perfection in fact he did the opposite. I am so excited to see you again in Heaven Derek! I will never forget how much of an encouragement you were and I thank God everyday for the short time I had with you and I thank him even more that you are with him now!
We lived across the street on Mayfield, and my daughter Shelby, then 3, had a h-u-g-e crush on Derek for the two-ish years between you moving in and us moving away. He would come jogging up the street, finishing a run (wearing The Headband!!), and she would see him and yell out, "Hiiiiiii, Derek!" He was so sweet with her. He would fold himself down on one knee, right down on her level, and look her in the eye, and talk With her - not just To her. She couldn't get enough of him. He was so proud and excited when you were expecting Ella, and when she was born. That big wide smile... such a proud papa, and you can see it in every picture of him with each/all of you. Every single shot is a treasure - so glad you have so many family photos of all 5 of you.You are in my prayers every single day, sometimes all day. Praise to the Son who sacrificed ALL so that we, as fallen as we are, can rejoice in eternity with God our beautiful Father!With love and prayers for comfort,Angela Johnson
Lots of memories!!! Scott & I smile when we think about how excited Derek was when David Crowder came to Mars Hill. He was there so early, making sure he was in the front row. and then I remember seeing his arms lifted up, praising God from the front row.I loved his passion!!!I also have to agree with Dani...lots of good hunter house memories. maybe we'll have to hash through some of those memories when all of us girls are together! ;)I am praying for you several times a day! I also want to encourage you that Derek's passion for Christ is spreading faster than ever! I have talked to several friends that have found themselves with a renewed passion for knowing God in a more personal way. I want to thank both you & Derek for having a love for the Lord that is contagious.I love you Char & I'm here to support you.
"We thank our God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom we serve with our whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is our witness how constantly we remember you in our prayers at all times." Romans 1:8-10a
one of my favorite memories of Derek is at Winterfest. he taught our whole team old-school dance moves (i.e. the shopping cart, lawn mower, etc) and we ended up having to perform in front of everyone later that night on stage. he was great - very into it, VERY dramatic... he thought it was great. he was in it with us and it was just RIDICULOUS and so fun! he loved to have fun.
I remember hearing a story that still makes me chuckle. Doug was taking Derek out to drive in the winter to a parking lot, you know practice spinning out donuts, like my dad did with me. Well there was only 1 car in this parking lot and Doug was showing Derek how it should be done. Well you can imagine what happened, Doug hit the 1 car in the parking lot. I can only imaging the laughter after that day of course that the two of them had about that incident. Shawn Tol
Whenever I think of Derek rather than a specific memory, I think of a place: the prayer room of the BSHOP. So many Wednesday nights @ 7 I would enter the BSHOP, receive cheerful hello and a high five from Derek, and then make my way downstairs to the prayer room. In that small space our team would gather—to catch up with each other, touch base on ministry stuff, hear a brief overview on what Derek was planning to share, and then pray. Derek loved being kneeled down, face to the ground crying out to our heavenly father. And as a team, that was the position we took every Wednesday before our gatherings as we prayed for the night. It was truly an honor and privilege to serve with Derek on The Intersection leadership team from the very beginning. It has, without a doubt, been a life changing experience—thanks to be God for the countless ways that He used Derek to challenge, inspire, and encourage me. [katie bury]
Derek,I miss you so much. It kills me to be serving these kids without you there. I miss the way you brought the gospel to those high schoolers. I miss the way you led the leaders of the ministry...the way that you served us. My heart aches in those moments when I can just imagine you walking into the room, setting the tone for the night.We had our senior banquet last week...Honestly Derek, I just wish I could have one more conversation with you. Just one more chance to dig into the Word with you. Derek...I miss you man.Your memory is embedded in my life.