NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2022
Hello dear friends,
Miraculous healings have again been taking place on Mindoro island. Hosea Pastor Billy Balsamo eagerly spends time praying for the sick, even when it seems to be humanly impossible: recently two paralysed people have been healed! One lady had been confined to her bed for five months in a paralysed condition. In addition her kidneys had failed and she was in great pain. Her neighbour felt pity for her and asked Pastor Balsamo to come and pray. After prayer the lady managed to sit up, then the pain disappeared and she got up and walked! She has now regained full health and her body is functioning normally. A real modern day miracle!
Our new church In Cabacungan is so full of people that many don't fit in anymore. Brother Boy from Hosea borrowed chairs from the neighbouring houses so that people wouldn't have to sit on the ground. The youth and children's meetings are also full to capacity and the revival there keeps going. Also Mamburao church is full and people are longing for God, as they have witnessed His powerful working.
|The lady was healed
||Partly paralysed man healed and now walking
Our ministry of food distribution continues into its third year, with Hosea being the only church taking care of hungry people on the island. We are particularly directing our efforts to help those out of work because of the virus pandemic, and news of this outreach is spreading fast. Our efforts have also attracted more prosperous members to our church who want to be involved in a congregation that is really trying to provide for the needy. My thanks once again to all our donors and also to Nathan from Norway who has played a big part in collecting funds for this work.
Representatives from both the police and the military continue to help us as we spread the gospel in new remote areas. Soldiers go ahead of us to ensure our safety in these areas where terrorists are operating.
Pupils from our school for the tribespeople on Hope Mountain have been moved to Cabacungan church because the torrential rains have made the mountain paths impassable. In faith we have made a start on a new school building there, as at present the school operates in just a small straw hut, giving minimal protection from the elements. Thankfully there is plenty of room for a new building on the church land. When the tribal children arrived in Cabacungan, many local children took notice and wanted to join the new school too, and that is why the new building project is now urgent. I am sure we will manage but it seems like every time I think we can sit back and relax, then a new project appears!
Cabacungan,people are seeking the Lord
Most of you will have read the news about the recent volcanic eruption near Tonga and the resulting tsunami and earthquake. The main island suffered severe destruction along with three other islands. We didn't know how our school on Vavau’u Island had been affected as the main internet cable was broken in the volcanic eruption and repairs will take many weeks, as the line was cut by the coral in several places. Finally some news has come through indicating that Vavau’u Island was saved from the tsunami, and that the school buildings and pupils are safe. I don't know about the ash damage, but I'll let you know more when the connections are restored. Many thanks for interceding for our ministry in Tonga - your prayers brought good outcomes!
HOSEA TONGA Island of vava'u students
Mindoro island is now reported to be free from coronavirus and quarantine restrictions have been lifted. So Nathan can travel to the Philippines again. Life seems to be slowly returning to normal. Presidential elections are coming up this May and we are praying for a believer to be elected as the nation has suffered a great deal.
Blessings to all of you who remember our ministry in your prayers and have supported our gospel work. You are wonderful!
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,