Our Founding Pastor

Dennis Heppner

Dennis Heppner grew up in Canada and was called to ministry as a young boy. Dennis and his wife Denie, who was also called to missions as a child, pastored 4 churches in Canada, but in 1987 the door opened to come to the Philippines as missionaries. They brought their 4 eldest children with them and the kids grew up here. In 2006 they adopted Emma Rose, a special Filipino treasure and a gift from God to their family.

Dennis has been a missionary evangelist in Asia for 25 years. He was the director of LIFESCHOOLS of ministry and pastored 3 churches in the early years of his ministry based in the Philippines. He is currently the founder and President of Developing Effective Leaders (DEL), superintendent of Church of God West Asia, and the founding and lead Pastor of the vibrant, growing Church of God Makati.   

In 1990, Denie began to use her nursing skills to help urban poor women and children. She and Dennis founded Gentle Hands Inc., a humanitarian organization whose focus was a birthing clinic where women received good prenatal care and had a safe place to give birth. 6,000 babies were born at Gentle Hands from 1990 to 2005. The focus of Gentle Hands then shifted to child rescue under the direction of the oldest Heppner child, Charity, and her husband Evan Graff. Their 5 children have grown up here.

In 2011 Jonathan and Tracey Heppner and their children moved back to the Philippines after an absence of 9 years to assist in publicity and fund-raising for Gentle Hands. It’s a family effort, with everyone doing different things to make Gentle Hands a place of rescue and healing for abused, abandoned and sick children. Many of these little ones find “forever families” and are adopted to loving parents.

Dennis and Denie and their whole family, including Josh and Melody who live in Canada, are committed to missions, leadership, and the call of Christ.