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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
  May 2016

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NEWSLETTER MAY 2016

Dear friends,

Here is some fresh news from Tonga and the Philippines.

GREETINGS FROM TONGA

Our Hosea School in Tonga is doing well. As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, the owner of our school building suddenly decided to allow us to continue to rent the building, and even gave us a 10 year rental agreement. On top of that we also got permission to use the land next to the school. The purpose was to plant a small vegetable patch and to use the proceeds of vegetable sales to help raise funds for the school. The plot needed substantial work to be made suitable for this purpose, but we had to wait until we could find people to clean it up and make it ready for planting.

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Tonga making the garden School meeting

Dorothy and the other teachers were so pleased about this generous surprise! After finishing the work these brothers went on and prayed for the teachers and the school. I myself am surprised how people from different churches and religious backgrounds are so eager to work together for the good of the school. We have many Mormon children attending our school and their parents have donated a beautiful sign for the school . Because we are such a small school, we simply have not had finances for everything. The biggest concerns during the past years have been the renovations demanded by the Department of Education. Our problem has been the fact that we have not been able to purchase the school building  but have had to rent very run down premises year by year. Renovations were needed but how could we carry them out when we were constantly facing the threat of eviction and when we actually didn't have needed the funds either?! Now we are very happy to inform you all that the renovations have been finished. We received the required funds from Finland. A big thank you to all of you who have donated for this purpose and who have kept interceding for our ministry in Tonga and especially for Dorothy, the head teacher, who has kept fighting for the school for more than 10 years.

I can honestly say that Dorothy is a woman of God. She left her beautiful home country Fiji because she felt God was calling her to Tonga. She didn't plan to stay permanently in Tonga, but sometimes God has surprising plans. The Tongan government lost Dorothy’s passport and all her important documents, so she simply got stuck in Tonga. It was only last year when a new passport was given to her and at the same time she was given the freedom to travel where she wanted, but by then she no longer wanted to move away as Tonga had become her new homeland. The Tonga mission has been like a roller coaster ride as the enemy has done everything he can to drive us away. However, the foundations have been laid and they are sturdy. We are going forward and not giving up.

THE PHILIPPINES

 

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Church meeting with people from tribes
Missionary Trever is praying for people

Cabacunga church on Mindoro Island has been very active in evangelism and has started ministering to the local tribespeople too – they have received the gospel with great joy. Hosea has also done charity work, collecting clothes and food for these people because we try to help the tribes as much as possible. The mission work has progressed at great speed and is all the time spreading to new areas.

This type of outreach has engaged the enthusiasm of local Christians and swelled the number of members in our church. Many people have said that they want to belong to a church which preaches the gospel to the poor and also ministers practically to their needs. Everyone is welcome to take an active part in the ministry work. Paul says to the Galatians “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9)

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Praying at a mission Missionaries

It is again that time of the year when new students are enrolling in our schools in the Philippines.  The new school year begins in June. Despite the summer holidays, our teachers have been running summer courses for the students. There has been great demand for these courses by enthusiastic students. Most of our teachers are members in Hosea churches and they have also organized summer camps for the young people of the church.

The Hosea churches are actively involved in ministering to the tribes people. One of them is Cabacunga church, led by a young pastor called Jonathan, who started ministry work amongst the Mangyan tribe. The Cabacunga church congregation is increasing in size very quickly. Up to now this church has come together under a tarpaulin, kept up by bamboo sticks -- rather unreliable in heavy winds and rains. During the rainy season when we visited this church, the ground was covered by water and the wind kept moving the tarpaulin wherever it wanted. That did not bother the listeners or even the visiting Finnish missionaries. Thank you to those young ladies who just kept smiling even when the weather was not at its best. We have now got good news about this church: they received a piece of land as a gift and the construction work of a proper church building is proceeding fast.

The Australian missionaries from Hosea, Trevor and Peter, are in the Philippines just now. They went to continue the ministry work on Mindoro and Calyan Islands. I myself am preparing for my European tour again.

I have also been so happy about our other pastors who are working amongst the tribes. In particular I would like to mention Pastor Jeffery. When he began his mission work, his wife did not accept it at all and in fact decided to divorce him. Pastor Jeffery was very upset and depressed as family was so important to him. Even though his heart was broken, he felt God’s call so strong in his heart that he persevered in his mission work in spite of everything that happened. One has to be very dedicated to be able to work amongst the Mangyan people. Of course I do understand his wife, too.  Life in extremely primitive circumstances is not a very charming option, especially as his wife was well educated and had a good job in the city. However, I have now heard good news: God has blessed Pastor Jeffery’s ministry work and answered  his prayers. His wife has come back to him and their marriage has been restored. She has got excited about the ministry and is enthusiastically working alongside her husband.

We have also noted that many local pastors who were in a dry place spiritually have experienced a revival for outreach because of the mission work that Hosea does. God has filled them with the Holy Spirit and placed fresh passion in their hearts.

We do not limit our work only to build up Hosea churches but our aim is to encourage other congregations too. We are all one family and we want to bless others as well. We do not want to see other churches as competitors but rather want to be a blessing to others and to help them grow and prosper too. This has been noticed and we get invitations from many churches as they want to receive God’s goodness and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Recently the Philippines held a presidential election, in which the people chose a hard line politician Rodrigo Duterte to rule the country. He has made many promises, for example to stop corruption and karaoke after 9pm, to close the bars after 10pm and to remove or annihilate criminals from Manila. Prior to this he worked as the mayor of a city called Davao and he managed to clear that city of criminals. Davao was one of the most violent places in Mindanao which is a muslim island. After his election as a mayor, one of the first things he did was to remove 2000 criminals from the city. Before the presidential election he made an agreement with the terrorists and promised that they would be allowed to enter parliament if he was elected as president.Some terrorists are waging war against the army, so this situation raises a number of worries and concerning questions. Will this possibly trigger another army takeover in the Philippines? There has already been a few of those while my mission work has been going on in that nation. Time will tell what will happen…

When it comes to the Island of Mindoro I am happy how things are going there. I know the governor of the island, Ramirez Sato, and I even have had the opportunity to pray for him on one of my mission trips. He knows what our ministry work is all about. Ramirez has now been elected to the  congress. I also am acquainted with several other leading figures in the Mindoro area.

In Mamburao there was a mayoral  election and I had an opportunity to pray for the person who was elected. He participated in our annual school Foundation Day festival together with deputy mayor Joel Panaligan, who has attended Hosea celebrations every year since we started our first school. He is also a member of the board in our main school in Mamburao. We have always been allowed to use the city hall for the school celebrations as typically around 1000 people attend the festival, which is far too big a group to fit in our own school building. There is also another official, councillor Jenny Villar who has worked hard for the good of our school and who also volunteers as a teacher at Hosea. In a country like the Philippines, where all kinds of surprises often take place, friends in the government or city council can be very valuable. I am also very thankful for the fact that these people are Christians.

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Contruction continues

The Hosea motel is being built at a good pace in Mamburao city. The foundations have been completed and the walls are under construction. Supporting structures are made of steel because there are often typhoons in the Philippines. The piece of land where we are building has been under the sea, so it needs very strong foundations. The purpose of the building is to help the local area in many ways. How quickly we get our motel building ready for use depends on how our funding situation develops.

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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