NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2023
Wishing you all a blessed New Year 2023!
We have experienced a great variety of issues in our mission work last year, both positive and negative -- even feeling that we have been up against a brick wall at times…
Nathan spent his December on Mindoro island. He received a medal of honourable distinction from the Philippines army, awarded to him by one of the military generals. This resulted from his cooperation with the military forces in the eastern and western parts of the island, where soldiers have provided protection and support for Hosea's mission team outreach, in terms of securing areas and travel routes. Without this special military operation it would not have been possible to conduct our mission work in such areas ruled by terrorists. Nathan was also given the privilege of awarding medals to the soldiers who had accompanied our outreach team. On their previous evangelistic trip our team had to make a sudden escape because of a terrorist attack, but I am pleased to say that their next gospel outreach during December was successful.
Nathan Received a military distinction
In this way new areas of the island have been won over for the gospel, as well as food and medical help delivered to those in great need. A key outcome has been the planting of a new Hosea church in an area previously held by terrorists, known as Malpalo, which came about as we started providing food aid and holding children's meetings. Gradually the children were joined by adults and youth and a new church came into being. The bamboo hut being used for church meetings soon became too small, but to our surprise and delight the commander of the island gave us a plot of land on which to build a new church. All we need are the resources for its construction. To our further great joy we arranged a baptismal meeting for the new converts in Malpalo.
Malpalo Hosea church members
Baptism in Malpalo
At the end of last year we organised a youth festival in our main centre of Mamburao where young people were encouraged to bring their friends. The Holy Spirit came in a powerful way causing many youth to turn to the Lord and seek baptism. Young people from Malpalo also attended the festival. The light of the gospel is shining into areas of darkness and terrorism. At the beginning of our mission work in the Philippines we felt God saying that He would bring salvation to people from the darkest parts of the islands. Last year we were also able to proclaim the gospel to terrorists who had surrendered, with the cooperation of the army; I am not able to go into more detail as this work is ongoing. God is demonstrating His power to break into areas that were previously barred.
Hosea Youth festival
Children's meetings on Sundays at our Mamburao church have become very popular, with the meating room being filled with up to a hundred youngsters of different ages, as church children bring their friends along as well. There is Bible teaching and a clear presentation of the gospel. Our main church meeting hall is already too small for everyone that wants to attend to fit inside. Hosea churches everywhere are full, new folk are coming to faith and getting baptised.
The construction of Cabacunga church has now been completed, together with a school building next door. The original church meeting place was under a plastic tarpaulin attached to bamboo poles. In monsoon rains the floor was a sea of mud and the main pathway of the village went through the middle of the place, under the tarpaulin! Congregation members had to bring their own seating. The church building in Talabaan is also ready now; the church started years ago in a tiny straw hut by the main road and on its open window sat several noisy turkeys providing a musical accompaniment!
The current school year draws to an end in the month of June and our pupils have come through the challenging coronavirus period very well. A point for special thanksgiving is that none of them have contracted the virus, and that our teachers and congregation members have been spared too. This is particularly important as there is no effective treatment available for the virus on the island. I am still in awe over the Lord's gracious protection of His people on this island of over two million people. An official estimate of the population is not available as tribes people and slum dwellers have not been counted.
In this newsletter I have only been able to give you a brief summary of all that God has been doing and how we have experienced His revival power in the midst of these troubled times. Thank you all for your prayers and monetary support that have enabled us to provide for our school children. This year we aim to carry out medical missions in remote areas too.
Thank you again