NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2021
Mission greetings at the start of 2021.
So much has happened in the past year! In spite of all the troubles and chaos in our world, we have experienced many blessings at Hosea Ministry International.
I am very thankful to God for His favour towards us. Mindoro island in the Philippines, which has been our primary mission field over the past twenty years, has been free of covid-19, even though Manila and several other areas have suffered badly from the virus and its variants.
Our mission work has really prospered amongst the Hope mountain tribe. A simple school building with a hay roof has been constructed there and teaching of the children has already commenced. The instruction has to start from absolute basics since none of the children have names and their language does not have words for such things as colours. A church building is also planned to be constructed from locally available materials. We have brought food and clothes for these tribes people, as well as preaching the gospel to them.
Several tribal huts were destroyed by the recent typhoon but these have now been built up again. It has been really encouraging to see how the tribe has responded to our help and taken new initiatives. For example, until recently there was only a narrow path up the mountain to their area, requiring a four hour trek through the jungle to reach them. But they have now started to develop a wider and more negotiable route. This is a tribe who had never heard of Jesus before we came.
Young ones praying Jabat Elementary School
I can also report another success from the other end of the island. The Jabat tribe live in the mountains a 10km hike from San Jose town. A group of our Hosea teachers made their first ever trip to this tribe and were met en route by some of the tribes people to help them carry the provisions of rice and noodles brought as aid. In the surrounding area there are five state schools consisting of very simple buildings, two of which were destroyed by the typhoon. There is very limited government support to the tribe so Hosea decided to provide enough school books and materials for one year. Each of the schools has around 500 pupils and previously they had no pens, paper and so on -- things that normal school children take for granted.
Another example of generosity comes from one of the school teachers who travels on horseback from San Jose to teach at the school. The teacher has a young child who she breastfed and when the child was weaned she gave her breast milk to mothers in the tribe who could not feed their own babies. She saw the malnourished little ones and generously gave her own milk … what an amazing act of kindness!
Again the tribe had not heard the gospel before our visit, and we are so grateful that God has led us into such areas and given us the opportunity to bring the good news of Jesus to places where His name has never been heard before. Subsequently the tribe sent their thanks to us for bringing the gospel message, and asked if they could hear more.
Jabat school Teacher travelling to Jabat by horse
We have also run a feeding programme for the poor children in Aroma slum village. In fact we have fed not just the children but also adults too in the whole area. As a charity we are permitted to move around the island quite freely, even though there are significant restrictions because of the pandemic.
Our churches continue to grow rapidly especially amongst young people. In particular our Bible study groups for children who have come to faith have seen exponential growth, to the point that we are now lacking room. Both Sunday meetings and midweek Bible group meetings are full.
We have recently carried out several building renovations following typhoon and flood damage. The front wall of Mamburao school has been rebuilt and a wall has been constructed around the Aroma slum school to prevent floodwaters from ensuring the school rooms.
A big thank you to everyone who has financially supported us -- with your help our work has continued and grown amongst the slum children. We really appreciate your participation with us.
Cooking food to tribe
Papua New Guinea & Tonga
Recently in Papua New Guinea things have really opened up and God is doing great miracles in the country. Several dead were brought back to life by the mighty power of God through our pastors. Many physically and mentally ill people were healed in Jesus name in our PNG Hosea ministry. I am so impressed by the Hosea pastors in the Enga area - they have such strong belief in miracles, having no doubt at all in God's supernatural power to heal. All glory be to God!
The school children in Tonga are now on holiday, with new students arriving at the start of the school year in late January. All our Hosea school children have done very well academically in the past year.
I want to conclude by offering heartfelt thanks to the Lord for blessing our mission work so much. Thank you also to our donors who have continued to support the work. That is how we have been able to continue bringing the good news of Jesus to those who do not yet know Him. It is He who has brought revival in our areas of outreach - the seed that has been sown has brought a plentiful harvest.
I send my prayers for blessings upon your lives and for revival to come to the Western world also.
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,