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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
January 2023

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NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2023

Wishing you all a blessed New Year 2023!

We have experienced a great variety of issues in our mission work last year, both positive and negative -- even feeling that  we have been up against a brick wall at times…

Nathan spent his December on Mindoro island. He received a medal of honourable distinction from the Philippines army, awarded to him by one of the military generals. This resulted from his cooperation with the military forces in the eastern and western parts of the island, where soldiers have provided protection and support for Hosea's mission team outreach, in terms of securing areas and travel routes. Without this special military operation it would not have been possible to conduct our mission work in such areas ruled by terrorists. Nathan was also given the privilege of awarding medals to the soldiers who had accompanied our outreach team. On their previous evangelistic trip our team had to make a sudden escape because of a terrorist attack, but I am pleased to say that their next gospel outreach during December was successful.

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Nathan Received a military distinction

In this way new areas of the island have been won over for the gospel, as well as food and medical help delivered to those in great need. A key outcome has been the planting of a new Hosea church in an area previously held by terrorists, known as Malpalo, which came about as we started providing food aid and holding children's meetings. Gradually the children were joined by adults and youth and a new church came into being. The bamboo hut being used for church meetings soon became too small, but to our surprise and delight the commander of the island gave us a plot of land on which to build a new church. All we need are the resources for its construction. To our further great joy we arranged a baptismal meeting for the new converts in Malpalo.

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Malpalo Hosea church members

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Baptism in Malpalo

At the end of last year we organised a youth festival in our main centre of Mamburao where young people were encouraged to bring their friends. The Holy Spirit came in a powerful way causing many youth to  turn to the Lord and seek baptism. Young people from Malpalo also attended the festival. The light of the gospel is shining into areas of darkness and terrorism. At the beginning of our mission work in the Philippines we felt God saying that He would bring salvation to people from the darkest parts of the islands. Last year we were also able to proclaim the gospel to terrorists who had surrendered, with the cooperation of the army;  I am not able to go into more detail as this work is ongoing. God is demonstrating His power to break into areas that were previously barred.

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Hosea Youth festival

Children's meetings on Sundays at our Mamburao church have become very popular, with the meating room being filled with up to a hundred youngsters of different ages, as church children bring their friends along as well. There is Bible teaching and a clear presentation of the gospel. Our main church meeting hall is already too small for everyone that wants to attend to fit inside. Hosea churches everywhere are full, new folk are coming to faith and getting baptised.

The construction of Cabacunga church has now been completed, together with a school building next door. The original church meeting place was under a plastic tarpaulin attached to bamboo poles. In monsoon rains the floor was a sea of mud and the main pathway of the village went through the middle of the place, under the tarpaulin! Congregation members had to bring their own seating. The church building in Talabaan is also ready now; the church started years ago in a tiny straw hut by the main road and on its open window sat several noisy turkeys providing a musical accompaniment!

The current school year draws to an end in the month of June and our pupils have come through the challenging coronavirus period very well. A point for special thanksgiving is that none of them have contracted the virus, and that our teachers and congregation members have been spared too. This is particularly important as there is no effective treatment available for the virus on the island. I am still in awe over the Lord's gracious protection of His people on this island of over two million people. An official estimate of the population is not available as tribes people and slum dwellers have not been counted.

In this newsletter I have only been able to give you a brief summary of all that God has been doing and how we have experienced His revival power in the midst of these troubled times. Thank you all for your prayers and monetary support that have enabled us to provide for our school children. This year we aim to carry out medical missions in remote areas too.

Thank you again


Anne

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Mangyans had bravely formed a choir and even composed a song. We have now more than 40 adult students in the school, their ages varying from young to old. They told us that they were now able to vote for the first time in the elections. Earlier they had had to give their voting slip to others to fill in, without knowing what they wrote in them, because they could not read or write.

When the Mangyan students were singing their song, I was standing in the back of the church. Suddenly I noticed four small children hiding between benches. Our teacher said that they were our students, and she then went and asked why they were not among the other children. One of them explained with tears, that they were so hungry that they could not go to sing. I was so surprised to learn that they were already 6 year olds, even though they looked more like 2 year olds, skinny and bony small children. Nheng commented that this is due to malnutrition, which is the reason why all these tribespeople are so small: their continuous lack of food stunts their growth. We brought a 40 kg bag rice with us and also other foodstuff and fed them all after the meeting, thanks again to the donors! We made so much food that there was enough for evening meal as well.

Last spring Hosea organized a medical mission for the Mangyan tribe. We also left some medicines with the local Pastor, so the tribespeople could be given help later as well. The Pastor said that some Mangyans come even at night begging for help in their desperation. Also some people from other tribes turned up for medicine and were given some, for it is hard to turn desperate people away without help. Now we are in the process again of collecting funds for another medical mission, which should happen sometime next year.

While we were in the Mangyan village, I recognised that most of them were walking bare foot again. I wondered what had happened to all those sandals which had been donated for them a year earlier. The Pastor laughed and explained that the Mangyans have a peculiar walking style, they step heavily on their heels and that wears out the heels of the shoes very quickly. That means that they will need a new pair of sandals every year. One man had a good pair of sandals slung over his shoulders, so I went and asked him why he didn't use them. The man replied: “I don't want to use them as they would wear out. When they hang on my shoulders everyone can see that I have shoes.” So this man had still good shoes, while others had worn theirs out”¦ Now, who is the wise and where is the wisdom here?

We also distributed a bag full of clothes. Birgit and Ulla went to buy some more and as always the Mangyans put the new clothes on top of their old rags. They can't see any reason why the old clothes should be taken off, so they carry their whole wardrobe with them all the time. The same clothes are worn day and night and the extra clothing keeps them warm at night on the mountains. The price tags are also left on, so everyone can see they are new clothes.

Hosea's second fishing boat is now operating on the eastern side of Mindoro Island (Oriental Mindoro) where it is manned by our Mangyan pastor, thus serving the Mangyans also. There are more fish now on the Oriental side of the island because big Indonesian fishing trawlers have appeared close to the Occidental Mindoro shores (the western side of the island). Occidental Mindoro is facing the open ocean, so Indonesian factory ships come close to the shore and take in all fish, big and small, diminishing the fish population. Locals usually fish with spears, sparing spawning fish for reproduction. They understand the laws of the nature and know that spawn fish are needed to keep fish stocks -- you cannot empty the ocean of fish. Local small fishing boats can't drive away large foreign fishing vessels, so locals are deprived of their fishing livelihood.

The Hosea Filipino team want to send their heartfelt thanks to all the supporters and prayer warriors. They and also our students keep praying for you. They understand that it is because of you, your prayers and your donations, that they have this wonderful opportunity to get an education and thus a good start to their lives. It was really great to meet some of our very first students, the ones with whom we started this ministry in the Philippines. It was so wonderful to see the fruit of this work. Many parents are also saved as they attend our weekly Bible studies.

Great blessings from the islands,

ANNE

 

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