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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
1st Feb 2016

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NEWSLETTER LATE JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2016

Dear Friends & Supporters

Once again I feel so excited as I have received fresh news from our ministry headquarters in the Philippines. God is doing some amazing things there! Our newest church in the mountainous area of Manila Montalba has just celebrated their first anniversary.  The celebration was held in the open city square because the church was not big enough for the huge amount of attendees. The entire square was packed with people celebrating.

Both Christians and non-Christians from Montalba and its surrounding areas and even from far away wanted to travel to join in the celebrations. The news of our last visit (in November-December) had spread far and wide as those for whom we had prayed had told their neighbours and friends that they had been healed in the church. Could there be any better news than this! The result was that those suffering from various kinds of illnesses wanted to come to our celebration. They told our pastors that they wanted to be healed too, and to experience other miracles which had taken place in the previous meetings.

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Montalban annual celebration day

What other miracles did they mean? We were told that people had been so moved by the fact that God had touched them and answered their prayers. They had also received words of prophecy which had come true. Prophetic words were a totally new concept to them. Many people also felt how God removed burdens from them while they were being ministered to.

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Hosea Montalban church anniversary celebration


What other miracles did they mean? We were told that people had been so moved by the fact that God had touched them and answered their prayers. They had also received words of prophecy which had come true. Prophetic words were a totally new concept to them. Many people also felt how God removed burdens from them while they were being ministered to.

I was very happy to hear that even several pastors from other churches had decided to join us. Some of them lived quite far away but still wanted to make the journey to the celebration. People in the area are very excited about the fact that they now have a church where the power and presence of God is so strong. Pastor Rick who is pastoring our Montalba /Ritzal church has always been a man of revival and a tireless worker who is filled with the power of God. He is always enthusiastic about evangelism in the slum areas, wanting to reach out to the rejected ones and going to areas where many others would not go.

Pastor Rick told me that next time they would host an even bigger revival event in the Montalban area. I encouraged them to just continue with the same passion, as all the recent events are still fresh in everyone’s memories. When we visited Montalba in November, we were just evangelists carrying the torch which we handed over to the locals. The purpose of our visit was to light up the fire of God in the area and that is what happened. Subsequently the local believers have continued praying for the sick. The Lord uses those whose hearts are open to Him and to what the Holy Spirit wants to do. Jesus was our example in how to minister to people – if it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for us.

Our Hosea Pastors were so very excited about everything God was doing among the people. A notable miracle took place when they prayed for a child whose legs were paralysed. Pastor Sonio had kept encouraging the parents to bring their child to the church in God’s presence and to ask for prayer. He encouraged them not to give up even if nothing happened straight away, and that is what they had faithfully kept doing. And indeed the miracle did happen: when they prayed the child rose up, his legs got stronger and stronger and he began to walk! What a great example of the power of prayer and the importance of not giving up, but instead to keep knocking persistently and determinedly. That is how to walk into your victory.

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New Christians going to a water baptism Pastor Jonathan

About another new church
We are also very happy about another new church of ours in Cabagunca which has kept growing. Our youngest Pastor Jonathan is in charge of this church. On Saturday 2nd January we held a baptism service at the edge of the sea. We were delighted to see so many new people wanting to be baptised. The church meeting place isn't particularly beautiful, as the congregation comes together under an old tarpaulin which protects the members from being sunburnt but of course doesn’t withstand heavy rains or typhoons. The floor is just clay. Still these humble settings have not prevented the church from growing. New people are arriving at every single meeting. If the Holy Spirit would not move in this church, no doubt people would not gather together there.  Of course we are dreaming of the day when the church would get some walls around it, or at least a couple of walls and a concrete floor so people’s feet would not sink into the mud when it rains heavily.

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Cabacugan Hosea church water baptism

Sablayan school
Our school in Sablayan city has also been blessed, with several parents coming to faith. Pastor Jonathan has travelled every week from Cabagunca to Sablayan to hold bible lessons for the pupils’ parents. I find it quite amazing that several members of the Cabacunga church want to travel with Pastor Jonathan to these bible lessons, as they want to participate in everything that happens in the church. This of course is a great help to Pastor Jonathan too, as they share some of the teaching responsibilities. There is not much public transport available in the area but it does not bother them. They simply go and hire a motorcycle or three-wheeler; any type of transportation will do as long as it gets the people to their intended location. They give their testimonies too, telling the parents how God has changed their lives after they came to Christ or what God has done for them during the past week. They are often so moved by how much God cares for them that they cry when they talk about how God has answered their prayers.

It is remarkable how many people have come to know Jesus as a result of participating in the bible lessons at school, and usually they go on to join the Hosea church. Just recently one couple from the Iglesia ni Cristo cult joined our church. Their children enrolled in our school so the parents joined the bible studies and they soon wanted to personally get to know this Jesus about whom they had never heard before. The cult is an offshoot of Catholic religion that does not believe in Jesus as God. Unfortunately it is a large church in the Philippines because people want to belong somewhere and these kind of cults do not teach about repentance or require people to change their life, so it is an easy place to go. However, this couple got to know Jesus as their Saviour just by hearing the Word of God preached at the school bible lessons.  We have seen this happening to so many of the parents during these years.

Mamburao church news
Our main church is situated in Mamburao which is in Mindoro Island.  Last December we held there a festival for the youth. Young people have been really excited about these festivals and the result has been that many other local young people have wanted to join the church. We have heard that they would want us to arrange something for the youth again soon, as they have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit during these festivals.

What brings me great joy is the fact that many of our first pupils who are now teenagers are actively participating in these local church events. That is a strong sign to me, telling that our work and efforts among these children have not been in vain. The fruit has been very good and we have even seen new churches starting in the localities where our schools are situated.

I am very grateful for this and also for the excellent local people that the Lord has brought along with the same vision as we have, to reach out to the poorest of the poor, those rejected by society.  This has brought God’s blessing to this ministry. I have been so full of joy for all those who have donated or interceded for this ministry, and for all our helpers and supporters, many of whom have been faithful through all the storms, standing resolutely at their tasks.

Blessings to you all, Attached below you will find the story of Seija-Riitta Rissanen's visit to the Philippines. Thanks Seija-Riitta for all your wonderful work with Hosea. You have done an excellent job.

Blessings

Anne

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Seija-Riitta

I would like to share with you my thoughts about my recent trip to Mindoro in the Philippines. My travel companions have already told you about the wonderful school and church events that we were involved in, but the whole trip is still vividly in my thoughts so here are some highlights.

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Seija-Riitta

First and foremost God really cares and He has a plan. He already has a firm plan to save everyone’s souls. He asks his servants whether they will participate in His master plan, and He is looking for a response of “Here I am, Lord, send me”. I think this is how it was for Anne.

The ministry is really bearing good fruit in the Philippines. In many villages where we travelled I saw children with anxious and fearful faces, but in contrast the children that were attending our Hosea schools were happy, trusting and full of joy. Many of the schoolchildren happily participated in performances, dancing and singing songs, proudly wearing their uniforms. Tears of joy came to my eyes when I saw how God had blessed their families and neighbours. This was so evident in every school and church that we visited. We met genuine people who had received new direction through God’s saving work in their lives and who now felt that they had real hope in the world, in spite of their lack of material possessions. The opportunities created through the Hosea schools had transformed their lives.

The schoolteachers are very caring and enthusiastic in their work, and what is best they know Jesus and convey this in words and deeds. It was so thrilling to see the happiness of pupils and their families who had found Jesus. It was a particular joy for me to meet Pastor Sonio and his family – such a great father figure with a lovely personality. I am very grateful to them all for looking after us so well.

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Seija-Riitta Pastorin Goron prayer mountain

Soon it will be well over a month since I returned home and despite some challenges here my mind often returns to memories of Mindoro Island, marvelling at the wonderful plan that God has for its people.  The following verses from Romans 10 came to my mind: “How can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” Let us join together behind Anne with effective support through both prayer and finances. I saw with my own eyes how our financial support all goes directly to the right places in providing for these dear children. Let us be thankful and joyful for what God has done through Hosea Ministry in Mindoro Island and in our own lives as a result.

Blessings,

Seija-Riitta Rissanen

 



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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