NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2018
I wish you all a very blessed new year 2018. When I look back on the last year, I recognise that it was a busy but in many ways very blessed one. I have been so very happy about the revival which started in our churches amongst young people. Soon after it broke out, also older adults started coming to faith through these young new converts. Hosea has already held many discipleship courses for these new Christians.
A big thank you to the young people from Finland and Norway who made the long journey from their own countries to the other side of the globe to evangelise these precious people in Mindoro Island. They were not afraid to step into a totally different culture, to tropical heat and to places where things are constantly changing with both bigger and smaller surprises. That´s what it is like to preach the Gospel in developing countries!
Hosea Ministry has finally, after years and years of diligent hard work, after sowing and sowing, entered into a beautiful harvest time. Hundreds of young people have found Christ as their Saviour. Catholic schools have opened their doors for us to come and preach the Gospel, and many government officials have come to faith too. This has brought clearly noticeable changes in the cities. A big thank you to all of you, who have prayed for us and supported our ministry in different ways. Your faithful support has opened the doors to many blessings.
|Giving food to the native youth
||Nita in a prayer service
Nea´s report from the trip to the Philippines
Last December I once again had an opportunity to go to the Philippines with Nita. When I heard that Nathan would not be able to come with us, my first reaction was “Help!”. Immediately I started worrying, who would handle the preaching and how on earth it was all going to come together… We Finns seem to have a familiar habit of pulling ourselves down and thinking that we can’t do this, thinking that others can always do things better than us. However, this kind of thinking is one type of pride, as it shows that we often rely more on human abilities and power than on God.
|Evangelism to the youth
||Nea holding a prayer service
God started to talk about this to me and showed that my thoughts were not in line with His Word. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” God’s wants to use us all! God’s power is within all Christians through the Holy Spirit. What is important is that we understand what God has placed in us, that we know who we are in Him and that we stay obedient to His voice. With our own power we cannot achieve anything but with God everything is possible! I decided to go on this journey knowing that I would have to rely on the Lord in everything.
During the trip God really showed us His greatness! When we arrived to Mindoro, we immediately went to join the last meeting of the youth camp. The young people were thirsty for God and many were touched by the Holy Spirit. Later we also held a three-day discipleship school for these dear young ones in Mamburao. The topics we taught them were basic principles of what it means to be a Christian and how to live a holy life in love. We also held some outreaches where the local youth joined by dancing and using their gifts. It is so important that the young people understand that God wants to use each one of them. It was great to see how they have grown both in the knowledge of God and also in number in the Hosea churches since our previous trip. Many new people gave their lives to Jesus for the first time during our outreaches and on one Sunday there were ten new young people attending the church meeting. It was absolutely amazing to see how the Gospel presented to the city is producing fruit, as people become hungry and thirsty for God! We also heard many testimonies of people being healed of various illnesses and also how many people were encouraged by the teaching. We give God all the honour and glory for everything that took place.
||Blessing the youth
||Mamburao Hosea church
The whole journey taught me to be obedient to the voice of God. He talks to us and we just need to listen to what He is saying. Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in God with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding.” Let us not limit Gods greatness with our own limited thinking! God can do so much more than even what we can imagine. I want to encourage you all to trust God in all areas of your life and to walk boldly forward with Him!
I would like to take the opportunity here to thank Anne and the whole Hosea team for allowing me to take part in Hosea´s mission work. During these last few years I have been able to grow an enormous amount spiritually! The Philippines are open to Jesus. People are hungry for God and miracles take place. Thanks to you all, who have been supporting the Hosea mission work. Your part is invaluable!
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,