Hosea Newsletter November 2019
Hi dear friends
Once again many blessings from our mission work and first some news from our school in Tonga.
The school had a visit from a very important representative of the King of Tonga. The visitor came to inform us that His Majesty the King is planning to give us a plot of land for the Hosea school. This came as a total surprise to us! We were able to pay a visit to see this piece of land and it's about five minutes drive from the town. We are really over the moon about this amazing blessing. Please pray that this transaction would all go through smoothly because there are many people who are jealous of us and are questioning why the Hosea school in particular should be favoured in this way when others aren't getting anything. As I've previously explained in earlier newsletters, it is not possible to buy land in Tonga -- instead it can only be rented for a period of time. Plots of land there are shared according to tribal divisions following ancient laws that aim to prevent land falling into the hands of foreigners. The island is quite small and therefore not much land is available.
A teaching lesson at Hosea Tonga school in progress
Tonga school student
So we would be very grateful if you would pray for wisdom for us in this whole handover process. The next few weeks will be very challenging for us but we are really grateful to God for this blessing which has opened up a new door of favour for our ministry there in Tonga.
Our ministry in the Philippines continues to be blessed. We were surprised to receive a letter from a governor telling us that our Hosea students have been chosen to give a performance in the children's conference taking place in Mamburao, the capital city of Mindoro Island. Our school pupils were the only ones that were invited. Their reputation had obviously spread far and wide, with their performances receiving enthusiastic praise. They have certainly put in plenty of preparatory work for all their performances. But it was probably our last celebration in the city hall of Mamburao that made such a significant impression on the high-ranking officials of the island who attended the celebration, including the city mayor and the minister for social and children's work. We arranged the annual Tagalog festival at which our children performed. Afterwards we received very warm congratulations from the city officials, who described the performances as brilliant. This was very gratifying because we had worked hard, not only in coaching the children but in preparing their costumes for the performance. The mothers of our pupils had been very busy sewing the costumes and the children themselves had trained every morning and every afternoon.
Our teacher Danillo and Hosea kids
It was a real surprise to me to see Nathan joining the performance with a group of four year old boys, just when I was wondering where on earth he was, as he didn't seem to be at the celebration at all!
Nathan at a school performance
We've been so pleased to see how the Christian message has been receiving so much favor within the Philippines. Police officers throughout the Philippines have participated in weekly bible studies. We understand that a law will soon be established making bible study compulsory in schools throughout the country. I believe that this law will be passed by the Senate because the president is backing it and he holds the majority there.
The Philippines’ top police official recently gave a speech on national TV where he recommended that all police officers should take to heart the Bible verse Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
The highest leaders of the Philippines have admitted that only faith in God and obedience to biblical principles will solve the problems of the Philippines because other approaches have been tried and found wanting. I believe that this admission is the result of faithful intercession by churches throughout the island who have joined together to pray for the government -- senators, officials and regional governors. This is why such significant changes have started to take place and we are starting to see revival in the country.
Rich blessings to each and everyone of you from Hosea's workers, our pastors, our teachers and of course our pupils, who regularly pray for you. I am particularly blessed when I hear the prayers of our young school children!
With my love
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,