NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2018
Greetings, dear readers!
A great deal has been happening in the areas where Hosea ministers, but I will try and give you a brief summary of the main events.
Many of you will have followed the news about the recent storms in the Philippines, and we’ve already had our fourth typhoon to deal with. This one was much bigger than the previous storms - the super typhoon named Mangkhut pushed forward at 285km per hour towards the island, and it was 900km wide. Anything directly in its path would be destroyed, whatever had survived the previous typhoons, so local people were traumatised and fearful. They had been gathered into evacuation centres, one of which was our main Mamburao school.
What else can you do when a typhoon is on its way but pray? Pray that God would divert the path of the typhoon and spare the population from the worst of it. Think about the situation if you were in it … you had already suffered from three typhoons and you just cannot cope with the fourth, either mentally or physically.
That which to human eyes looks impossible is possible for God. The evacuees wait in silence for when the typhoon is expected to hit. The sky is heavy with ominous darkness. Then the rain comes, just like happened before, preceding the onset of the typhoon. The waiting is the hardest part. And then suddenly everything is over! The light in the sky changes back to normal and all is calm! How did this happen? Where was the typhoon!? Thank you dear friends for your prayers, they proved more powerful than this latest super typhoon.
Something happened to the typhoon at the last minute and the area was saved from further destruction. Even doubters began to wonder about the power of prayer. God’s hand was clearly at work protecting the location. The weather chart was showing a different picture, with the wings of the typhoon covering the area. How was all of this possible?! There was some flooding in the central part of the island and Sablayan city suffered from floods once again, but our Hosea school escaped and remained dry, as the typhoon turned towards the northern end of the Philippines.
The outreach programme by teachers and students from our schools has proven succesful. It is so encouraging to see the enthusiasm of children from poor backgrounds to get bible lessons, even though their journey to reach the lesson location may be long and difficult. They travel over long winding paths through the bush and jungle, often very muddy during the rains, they climb walls and skirt obstacles …. and yet they are always early for the lessons!
Teaching the Bible at home to kids Teachers outreach work
In the Manila Montalban area the Hosea church continues to grow. The main church started another church specifically aimed at children, but now adults are also participating. It is a home-based church, and already there is insufficient space because so many want to come to the house. What a testimony to the value and power of childrens’ work! And what a clear demonstration of how such work can powerfully advance the spread of the gospel so that more people can find Christ.
The Hosea Hotel is nearing completion but we still need air conditioning equipment, an electrical transformer and furniture. We need a miracle for these, but we have come this far without bank loans. God has shown us in very practical ways that once He gives you work to do then He will bring it to completion.
Tongan children go on a school excursion Evangelism at the local prison
The Tongan schools continue their excellent performance too. The students have made several external trips including one to the radio station and another to the prison, where the children sang and prayed for the prisoners. So God’s word is spreading further even in the darkest places in Tonga by the efforts of our wonderful pupils and teachers.
In all our schools the word of God is taught thoroughly, since the Bible is the foundation for all that we do and teach. We believe that the high academic grades achieved by our students clearly indicate how God answers and blesses us when we do our best to honour Him.
I don’t want to forget to mention the Papua New Guinea mission work since that too has gone forward wonderfully, So I’ll close this brief summary by inviting your continued prayers for them and all our schools and churches.
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,