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.
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?
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.
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.
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)