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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter

July 2018

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NEWSLETTER JULY 2018

TYPHOONS BATTER MINDORO ISLAND

Sometimes life brings unexpected surprises and this July there have been several of them on Mindoro Island in the Philippines, where we have a number of schools for slum children.

The biggest surprise was the series of typhoons which hit Mamburao city, the capital city of the island, one after another. But thinking spiritually this was not a surprise as there has been such a powerful revival in Mamburao.

Of course, the typhoons caused havoc all over the island as heavy rains brought massive floods too. Aroma village which is part of Mamburao city was covered in water. Sadly, Aroma Hosea school was not saved either. The flood was so severe that even though our school stands on higher ground than most of the village, it was deluged half full of floodwater. That caused huge damage to the school as all the furnishings and materials inside the building were destroyed.

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The floods also damaged Sablayan and St. Cruz Hosea schools. Our main school in Mamburao managed to escape damage and it now functions as an evacuation centre for the students. Many parents thought it would be better for their traumatised children to stay in familiar surroundings rather than at the official government evacuation centre. We also took in some people with illnesses. For example, one young lad carried his father along to the school. His dad is blind and needs help all the time so this lad feeds him and takes care of him in various ways. The boy had had to stop going to school because his father had no one else to take care of him. Now they have also lost their home as the typhoons and floods have utterly destroyed it. They are just one sad example of many other families who have faced the same situation.

Daisy, who is our school teacher in Aroma, also had her home flooded. In the middle of the evacuation one of Daisy’s own children went missing. She was carrying the younger one in her arms and somehow the older one got separated from her in the crowd and she could not find him. One of our other teachers, Daniel quickly decided to go and try and find the child and he was eventually located at the government evacuation centre. What a relief it was for us all! What seems to have happened is that there was a huge amount of people rushing towards the evacuation trucks while the flood waters were rapidly rising, and Daisy’s son had been lifted up into one of the trucks with other children and brought to the evacuation centre.

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There have also been many people who have come to the school out of spiritual hunger, to renew their faith in God. So the typhoon has also brought some people back to God.

The storms destroyed about forty fishing boats, with many people losing their means of financial survival, including several parents of our students. These families do not have funds to build new boats, so now there are many families with no homes and absolutely no way to get any income at all as the typhoons have destroyed everything they had. The biggest Hosea boat was on the other side of the island being used by the Mangyan tribes pastor, so it was spared from any of the storm damage.

Hosea church members gathered clothes for the evacuees and we had enough time to bring some food over to the tribal areas where the typhoon hit first. A second and third typhoon came after the first one, and soon the only main road was flooded with water and mudslides. The storm was so strong that a bridge in Mamburao with concrete supports sunk into the sea.

The torrential downpours continue on the island and now the town of Sablayan is under flooding. The school where Nathan evangelised and where 2400 students came to Christ was also flooded. People on the island are scared and have requested prayer. The local government officials gave the order that all those evacuated to the Hosea school should stay there because the heavy rains are still raising the water level in flooded areas.

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The weather forecasts are predicting more problems for the island as a new typhoon seems to be heading straight towards Mindoro island on 4-8 August. Let’s all pray that this typhoon changes its route away from the Philippines.

Hosea has given food to those who have been evacuated to our school and that is a lot of people: the whole school is now packed full of evacuees who have no other place to go to. Our teachers and members of Hosea churches have packed sardines and rice for those school families whose homes are still standing but muddy.

What happens after the floods? Well, life goes on. The schools will have to be renovated and cleaned and the school children fed. Giving rice to those who need it is only a first aid in this huge natural catastrophe. Unfortunately the need is so great that our food bags are soon totally empty. Up until now we have received enough donations to get food to those evacuees located at our main school.

In the middle of all this chaos some good things have taken place: God did a miracle on a rice field which belongs to one of our Christian brothers. This faithful man evangelises and feeds the Mangyan tribespeople. As he did not have much funds to buy food he prayed and asked God for a piece of land to grow food for these precious tribespeople. He received this field as a gift some time ago as an answer to his prayers.

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Now when the news said that the typhoon was on its way directly to Mindoro Island, he knew that his field would be severely flooded since it was on very low ground, lower than the surrounding rice fields. Our brother decided to go to his field and pray for protection for the crop. The rice was almost ready to be harvested. If the rice stalks fall under the flood water, the fully developed crop is very quickly destroyed. So there this man stood and prayed. The typhoons came and blew the rice down everywhere else except on this man’s field. The stalks were standing heads up declaring God’s miracle, but all the surrounding rice fields were totally destroyed. There is power in the prayer of faith.

This miracle was noticed by the media and even the local TV stations came to make a video of this field and showed it on their news programmes, so the message of God was effectively spread around the country. This was a total miracle and everyone admits it.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated towards this emergency need. Please would you keep praying for us and especially for those little ones who have been traumatised by the floods. I don’t know how many of you have experienced the powerful force of a typhoon but it is impossible to explain how horrendous it is.

With my love and blessings,


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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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