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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
October 2023

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HOSEA NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2023

Greetings from the mission field this October

A new church has been built at Malpalo in the area of Calinta, a region that is targeted by terrorists. We felt it was necessary to construct this building because the previous one was in very poor condition. On my last trip to Malpalo, rebels attacked in the middle of a church meeting, and the area was evacuated but we were left stuck there. The congregation included many children and the building stood on bamboo supports with knee-high walls made from nipa palm leaves. So there was minimal shelter from rain let alone terrorist bullets! Nathan and I were very visible targets but at least the children could hide behind the leaf walls. I really didn't know what to do in this terrifying situation.

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New Church building, Malpalo Calinta

We eventually managed to flee the area but we were horrified to see a vehicle full of terrorists coming towards us, with gunmen hanging off the sides and roof too. There had been a battle to take a road bridge nearby and the rebels had been repulsed, so they were rushing away to help their comrades elsewhere. God's timing is always just right, as in their hurry the gunmen did not recognise who we were and the road and its bridge were clear for our escape at exactly the right time! On reflection I felt that the brave pastor of the Malpalo church really deserved a new building. Of course it needed to be quite nondescript to avoid attracting terrorist attention, and I am delighted to say that it has now been completed.

Reorientation for the ex-terrorists

In the main Hosea School in Mamburao a training event was arranged for ex-terrorists and their families in September. The military arranged the program for the first day while the second day was reserved for preaching the gospel. Thankfully army leaders understand how important it is for these people to hear the good news of Jesus. Many of them have spent all their lives within the terrorist organization, so they have to learn to adjust to normal society and to be given the opportunity for a completely new beginning. If a terrorist surrenders voluntarily to the authorities they are not prosecuted but they and their families are taken care of by the authorities.

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The reformed

In the early days the military would bring groups of surrendered terrorists to our Hosea School, where they were given information of how they could restart their lives going forward and the school also functioned as their initial accommodation. We found that evenings provided the best opportunity for personal evangelism and face-to-face discussions with these people, and many of them came to faith. For such rehabilitation events the school building is closely guarded by the military and the surrounding community are kept completely unaware of what is going on inside the premises. Our school yard has high walls so events inside can be kept secret. Outsiders do not know about the military guard nor who is actually receiving training inside. Such reorientation programs are held outside school terms so that the children are out of school.

Baptisms and a new outreach

Another baptismal service has been held by a Hosea congregation. Frequently outsiders come along just to observe and listen to what is going on, and they may well bring friends and family members along and then more people come to faith leading to more baptisms! Church members enjoy the opportunity to be active in their faith including preaching the gospel in different areas, both near their homes and beyond. This is how effective ministry is carried out by the whole church community.

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Baptism

Nathan and the Hosea team made an outreach trip to Romblo Island where the gospel had never previously been preached.  There the local tribes people had great occasion to wonder as they saw for the first time in their lives a very tall white man! But perhaps they were also shocked and surprised to see how healthy the visitors were, as illness and disease is so common amongst the tribes. The gospel message was readily received with many conversions and our team also provided food. We always aim to bring the gospel and humanitarian aid to areas that are unreached previously and where others have chosen not to go.

Matthew‬ ‭25:40‬ ‭: And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Blessings

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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