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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
June 2021

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NEWSLETTER JUNE 2021

Dear friends of Hosea

We have been very blessed in Mindoro Island since the island has been virtually free of coronavirus, despite many other parts of the Philippines struggling with a fresh outbreak. Of course the virus has caused many difficulties in everyday life there, such as the reduction in traffic to the island because of lockdown restrictions. But life goes on.

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Last year the Mindoro authorities contacted us about our Hosea school in Mamburao: they wanted the school to specialise in some way. Although we were specifically named as a Christian school, this did not differentiate us from other schools since the Philippines as a Catholic country, considers all of its schools to be Christian. Neither was it enough to be considered a specialist school that we offer free education for preschool children from poor families who would not otherwise have any schooling opportunities. So what could we do to meet the authorities’ demands?

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Tutoring

When we face such challenging problems, our own capacities are insufficient and we must go to our heavenly Father for his best counsel. In this case the answers to our prayers seemed to be delayed.

Earlier I had recognised that many of our pupils are very talented musically.  But we didn't have the finances to purchase the needed musical instruments nor were we able to afford to employ a specialist music teacher.                      

The answer came as a big surprise. A well-known music academy wanted to move to Mamburao but could not find suitable premises. They contacted our school with the question "As you have a hotel with good conference facilities, could we open a music academy in the hotel? We will pay rent for using your premises and the place could also be known as 'The Hosea Music Academy'". I almost fainted at the question! Because of the coronavirus restrictions our hotel has not been allowed to operate and hence has had no income.

Now the music school has opened and we have a qualified music teacher who is a believer. Many activities are being held at the school including something called ‘keyboard ballet’ which is an ideal form of exercise for our preschool children. And that is how our school was able to meet the demands of the authorities to have a specialism to distinguish us.

Sablayan CC BY-SA 3.0 Mike Gonzalez

Municipality of Sablayan

We have also been blessed in the Sablayan town area, where we run a Hosea school and nearby is Hope Mountain with the school and church we started for the tribes people. Pastor Sonio went to meet the town mayor In order to try and arrange birth documentation for the tribes people. They need this in order to be able to claim benefits as citizens. The mayor promised to arrange the necessary certificates, but also as a result of the meeting he became aware of the work that Hosea has been doing in the area.

A few days later the mayor of Sablayan got in touch with Pastor Sonio again and was excited to bring this request to him: "Could Hosea start schools and churches for the tribes people in the whole county?" This mountainous region is the largest county in the whole of the Philippines so there is a massive challenge for evangelism! In this way we received official permission and requests to expand our outreach as far as we possibly can. Of course that requires funding.

The region is certainly not the easiest place for mission work: it is very mountainous and hence difficult to travel through, compounded by the fact that criminals and terrorists are established in the area. Hosea's Norwegian evangelist Nathan Osnes and Pastor Billy Balsamo have already travelled around these crime-infested parts. Pastor Billy is very familiar with the territory as he used to work as a policeman there. Our work with the tribes people is widely acclaimed and so we are receiving a lot of local cooperation.

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Philippines island

I was reminded of the vision given to a missionary back in the 1980s about the Philippines. The Lord gave him a picture of the country in the shape of a soldier, where Mindoro island was the soldier’s fist. In the soldier’s hand was a sword swinging out. The sword was Palawan island -- narrow and long. In the vision the soldier’s hand caught fire and the sword started burning with flames spreading from it, until finally the whole Philippines was on fire with the gospel. And the flames spread to other Asian countries as the fire of revival!

What a privilege to witness the start of revival in Asia! It doesn't surprise me that the NPA terrorist organisation tried to move their headquarters to Mindoro island at the beginning of this year and also sought to recruit tribes people to their cause. This action resulted in a short war on the island with the terrorists opposed by the Philippines military. Thankfully the military won the conflict.

I want to send a big thank you to all our supporters and intercessors and everyone who has been encouraging us along the way. Sadly we are unable to arrange a summer tour in Europe again this year, because of the coronavirus restrictions. But our mission work continues, as nothing is impossible for God (Mark 11:22,23)


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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