NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2017
Greetings, with news from our trip to the Philippines!
I want to start this newsletter by saying how grateful I am to the Finnish-French team who accompanied me on this two weeks long trip, Markus and Hannele Reis from Finland and Pastor Francoise Foisil from France. You did such great job, working seamlessly together. Thank you!
The weather was unusually hot and damp. It indicated a coming typhoon and indeed one was already approaching the area, but before it hit the island, it turned away to a different direction and all we received was torrential rain one night. My team members were so tired that they slept through it all and didn’t hear even the noise of the windows banging. But the storm left baking temperatures that glued your clothes to your skin. Our Finnish team member told me that on one occasion he was convinced that a large and many-legged insect was crawling down his back. He gave it a very good hit to kill it, only to find it was just sweat running down inside his shirt!
In the Philippines it is quite common that the electricity cuts out and stays off for many hours. Amazingly we had one week without any electricity blackouts but ironically enough, when the electricity was there, the internet was off. I guess otherwise life would have been too easy!
||A Finnish Flag on the right
Our programme included the Foundation Day celebrations in our Hosea schools, with the wonderful programmes performed by our little pupils. The main school celebrations in Mamburao were attended by more than one thousand people, including once again the leading officials of the city. This year our Hosea schools have a total of 700 pupils which meant that the celebrations had to be split into two places, Manila and Mindoro Island. The little ones were so wonderful and did ever so well performing their programmes in front of such huge crowd. Obviously, they had trained for their routines over a long time. It was such a pleasure to watch them!
|Reisit doing mission work
||A tribal village
Pastor Foisil took care of preaching in the many churches where we visited, and we others then gave our testimonies and ministered to the people at the end of the services. I also taught one seminar. As Pastor Foisil and Mr Reis are both keen musicians, they did their best in leading worship too.
The planned topic for my seminar suddenly changed, as I happened to ask my audience at the start who was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. I thought they would all say yes, as there were so many pastors from different congregations. The original purpose of the seminar was to be the third part of the discipleship school which our Australian Pastor Trevor had started. There were also all our Hosea Pastors and teachers in the audience. I was so surprised when only a few hands went up in answer to my question! I quickly changed my topic and taught about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how they manifest in the ministry of every single Christian. I went on giving many practical examples because faith is not just theory but showing God’s power in the world. The Lord emphasised the spoken Word by signs and wonders.
Because the seminar lasted from 8am until late evening, I was sure that the participants would fall asleep sooner or later in such heat. When the evening came, I decided to move us all to my room which had air-conditioning. When the room was built I remember how I thought that it was far too big but now I recognised it really wasn’t a coincidence. It is so great that the Filipinos are so small that almost four of them fit in a place of just one Western person, as the amount of people in my room kept increasing as news of the seminar spread. The Holy Spirit came upon us, causing the people to cry at first. Suddenly one of our teachers, who is Catholic and not a believer, fell down to the floor. She had never seen or felt these types of manifestations of the Holy Spirit before. Someone said at one point that it was like the upper room at Pentecost! On the last evening after the seminar was already finished, the young people continued the Holy Spirit party in the school hall – they didn’t want to leave as this new touch from God was burning in their hearts.
I could go on telling you about this outpouring of the Spirit but the words would not be enough to describe it in a newsletter. God is just amazing. When we speak about miracles and anointing, things start to happen! It may be that this topic would be fitting for other countries as well. I believe that we all need fire from heaven to shake us.
News about the outpouring quickly spread, even to the next town, and a local Pastor from that town decided to bring a couple of women to my meetings. These women were practising witches who wanted to get free. They had heard that God was at work and that there was a possibility for them to be freed from the powers that were keeping them bound.
||Blessing the children
Some amusing things happened on our trip too. During the previous year I had prayed for one young lady to be able to conceive and now she came to tell me that she had given birth to a baby girl whom she had named Anne. That isn’t actually anything special as there are already children who have been named Hosea or Trevor (our Australian Pastor) and so on. Many children have also been named after our team members. Francois seemed to be a bit difficult name for the local people to pronounce, so he was called by the Spanish name Franco, but that didn’t seem to bother him a bit.
Our churches are growing in healthy ways and the same seems to happen to our Mangyan tribes churches. We visited some of them and on one of our visits I saw something that made me so happy: there were three laundry lines outside the huts, full of laundry swinging happily in the wind. Finally they have understood that clothes can be washed and that hygiene is essential to good health! Even a chalkboard had been purchased for the tribe’s community hut where the children and adults are taking preschool studies and where we preach the Word of God to them.
Hosea Pastor couple Jonathan and Sharon who work amongst this tribe told how they came to adopt one baby who is now seven months old. The baby was brought to them at the age of two months. A Mangyan tribeswoman carried the baby to them and asked: “Do you want him?” If they had said no, the lady would have had no other options than to do what the tribe usually does with unwanted babies - to leave them without food and care until they die.
Unfortunately this same often happens with twins, as one is kept and the other one rejected. This is why it is so important that the Mangyans learn to know Jesus who brings blessings to our lives and breaks these unhealthy tribal beliefs. In this case the baby was saved and was welcomed by loving new parents.
The Motel building work is slowly proceeding in Mamburao city. The local engineer told me that if we had funds to continue, the building could be finished in three months. So little to be done any more! But what do you do when you don’t have funds? Of course, the Bible says: “Do not worry about anything but…” Yes, yes but how does that operate when workmen walk in front of you carrying a plank of wood, telling you that they would need a big pile of them…?
It is an amazing fact that the rooms of our motel have already been reserved for future conferences in the city. Dear friends can you pray with me that we are able to rapidly get all the funds we need, So that we can open the Motel in good time. With this Motel we can then use it to further support Hosea schools. However, it is a big miracle already that we have managed to get this far! The work was started because the Lord told us to and we have been living in faith with it since then.
Hosea Ministry has received much needed help also from Norway. Nathan the youth pastor will continue the work among the young people where there has been revival. This is Nathan’s fifth mission trip already. He has been accompanied by two ladies from Finland, Nea and Nita, helping in this ever-growing work.
I pray that the Lord will bless you all greatly. He is the God of big miracles!
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,