NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2018
I have some amazing news to tell you, so I have decided to send another newsletter quite soon after the previous one.
There are many different types of sport in which talented people can develop high levels of skill, such as figure skating, gymnastics and so on. Hosea has its own particular skill set. I could call it “the skill to run a school in different cultures”. During past years we have stumbled and crawled up, stumbled again then got up once more, like a skater who is determined never to give up until they’ve mastered the move.
Tonga is a country where it is impossible to buy land for building purposes, because according to the law all land belongs to one or the other tribe. And even if members of a tribe would promise to rent you a piece of land, soon the chief of the tribe might well say No.
Our main school building in Tonga has been in bad state for years and years, so much so that at one point the children had to hold buckets over their heads because the roof was leaking so much. The walls too had big holes in them, so the wind blew straight through. Thankfully, a Finnish donor came to help and a few years ago we were able to get the roof and walls repaired and so the buckets could be put to better use elsewhere.
Hosea Tonga school renovations
This year our school accepted the normal intake of 100 pupils to the pre-school, but in addition we took several special needs students whom the government schools had rejected. We had been asked to take these children and give them some special tuition. After some thought we answered, “Yes, providing we can get some more room” because our old school building was already totally full. Amazingly enough, someone then decided to let us use the broken down building next door for this purpose. We were happy -- at least there was a roof over the children’s heads, albeit leaky… and we still had those good old buckets to use during the rainy season.
One day two men walked into the school in the middle of a school day. Tongan people are friendly and generous, so the children performed some beautiful songs for the visitors. They listened and gazed around the classroom and the building, where the poor conditions were very obvious to their eyes. One of the men seemed to ponder for a while before going up to our head teacher to ask her: “What is the most pressing need in your school?” Dorothy answered: “The roof leaks, that is the most urgent thing.”
The visitors then left. But soon afterwards one of them came back to the classroom and said: “The Lord spoke to me when I left and told me that I need to pay for the renovation of this school.” Our head teacher Dorothy could do nothing but nod. She told me that she didn’t actually believe the man. We have received so many promises from different people and organisations over the years without anything actually coming to pass. Dorothy wondered if this would be a similar empty promise.
A few days later the man turned up at the school again saying that he had visited the hardware store and ordered all the necessary construction materials for the repairs, and that they would soon be delivered to the school yard. And this really happened. Soon afterwards the man appeared again at the school and said: “Now I have a builder and workmen with me, can we start the work right away? We will renew the roof first.”
Tonga school children doing a performance to tourists Hosea students
At that point it started to dawn on us that this time it was TRUE! And so the renovation began. Teachers and pupils’ parents were all speechless with surprise. This is how it feels when you have been praying for a miracle for a long time but nothing has happened. Finally we get tired of waiting, even though Psalms 27:14 encourages us: “Wait for the Lord. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.” I have to admit that my strength had already failed and impatience had won. But right then God showed up with a miracle.
There was another victory when we received permanent permission to perform for the tourists who visit the island on large cruise ships. In fact, some professional dancers and singers had already been chosen to perform, but then someone decided to ask us if our children would like to come along, since they had done a few performances earlier. On these occasions, many of the tourists arriving at the harbour had been really thrilled to watch the little students performing national dances for them. After the performance the tourists had collected quite a substantial amount of money amongst themselves for the school. Naturally we were very willing to perform in the future too! The first show has already happened and it was a huge success. What else can I say about the goodness of the Lord?!
The principal of the government school in Sablayan has now been officially named as the head of all the high schools for the whole of Mindoro Island, and he has promised to open all the high schools for the gospel during his term in office. Nathan, Hosea’s young evangelist, will have busy times visiting schools one by one to preach the gospel to their students.
Lord Mayor is being blessed
This new leader is well aware of the great results of our Hosea schools during all these years and he now wants to be officially part of the Hosea school board and to have a role in directing the youth work in Hosea. He also wants to be the music teacher in our school. That is really amazing because we have been praying for a music teacher who would want to join our team. We still do not have musical instruments but the Lord has done unbelievable miracles before, so this is not a problem for Him.
Schools are back to normal Hosea Hotel is nearing completion
The hotel / college is not quite yet ready because the three recent typhoons and heavy rains with severe flooding have delayed the building work. Now the work has started again on the premises, rooms are being painted, windows and the workmen who will fit them have arrived, tiling is underway and water tanks have been fitted on the roof. The construction work is done by manpower without cranes and heavy machinery and that is why it doesn’t happen as quickly as in the western world.
Bed frames have been made
We will also start renovation work on the Aroma school building soon to repair the damage caused when the floodwaters covered it. The city mayor has visited our main school and thanked Hosea for providing for and taking care of evacuees during the disaster. We fed all those people who escaped to our school, both physically and spiritually. The mayor also asked for prayer for himself so that he would have wisdom to lead the city.
I want to thank you all for your prayers. I am especially grateful to those who prayed when yet another typhoon was on its way towards the island. Your prayers had power: the typhoon changed its route and went in another direction.
With my love and blessings,