NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2017
Greetings again, my dear friends,
In my previous newsletter I mentioned that Hosea invited a group of young people from Finland and Norway to come and visit our Philippines’ schools and churches. The group was led by Nea Reis from Finland, and they all did such good work on Mindoro Island. They held a youth conference there, and ministered to the local youth and adults in many ways. The local young people in particular were encouraged by their enthusiasm and love, and have told us what joy and God’s touch the group brought to them. Well done, everyone! Here is the story written by our Norwegian guest, Nathan Osnes
|Hosea kids got donated shoes
Greetings from Nathan Osnes, Norway
As I am sitting at home in Norway after preaching in my home church, I am forever grateful for the life I get to live and the amazing things I get to see my God do. I recently returned from a mission trip to Finland and to the Philippines. For me, there is no greater joy than seeing a soul get touched and changed by the power of God. There is nothing bigger than seeing somebody surrender everything to Jesus and falling in love with Him for what He has done.
On my last trip it all started in Helsinki, Finland. I must say I love the Scandinavian people with all of my heart. Several people gave their lives to Jesus, and I was able to pray for these men and women. The day after the service in Helsinki I joined the group of four people from Finland, and we flew together to Asia. That trip has left a mark in me that I know will never leave as long as I live. A part of me fell in love with the Philippines, and I found a home for my heart in the midst of the broken, hurting, poor and fatherless. The next few weeks would turn out to be an epic adventure filled with amazing people getting saved, healed and baptised in water and the Holy Spirit.
|A baptism being held at the sea side
||Gospel being preached to the villagers
I remember one day that we were at the beach during a youth festival, where I was going to share on the water baptism. Before I preached the Word, several people shared their testimonies about what had happened to them during the last few days. A 13 year old boy who had lost his father one year earlier told how he had been touched and physically healed. He started weeping. Many more shared their stories as well. Another person wrote a letter to us, telling how we helped him to understand that God always loves them. Glory to Jesus!
As we travelled to many cities, schools, churches and tribes, we met many amazing people. The Spirit of God was moving, and I am in awe over what He did. This trip was surely my favourite trip so far, but the best is yet to come, and I know that I am going back. There are more people who are waiting for a touch from heaven, and my goal is to find them and give them Jesus. My goal is to leave them with a mark of eternity, never to be the same. Looking into the eyes of the broken as they receive hope is indescribable, and our God is surely at work among these people.
Thank you to all of you who have been a part of this trip. Thank you to all who have donated, prayed and encouraged me and the others. Please remember that all of these people whom we met in the Philippines are precious in the eyes of Jesus. Would you please pray for them.
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,