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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
April 2023

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NEWSLETTER APRIL 2023

Dear praying friends

Hosea has again reached out with the gospel to new areas in the Philippines. I had the great joy of being able to travel to Mamburao after the pandemic and Nathan was there at the same time as me.

This time we went to some of the most dangerous terrorist-infested areas, known as "red zones". Military snipers were on the mountains around the valley that we were in, elite troops were encircling the Hosea team and we had an armoured military escort with a helicopter overhead looking for terrorists. Nathan commented that incredibly it felt like just an ordinary day on the mission field there!

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The Police are protecting us

Almost 500 people got to hear the gospel and received food aid in a single day, and for many it was the first time they had seen a white man. Nathan was accompanied by a young fellow Norwegian named Ole Eirik who came to Hosea to learn about mission work. I was concerned about  how this young man would manage as he had no previous experience of such dangerous places. But my worries were groundless because he courageously joined us in all our outreach activities. Thankfully he joined the team just after we had an interesting episode when the team were in the middle of a terrorist versus military confrontation in another NPA-dominated locality! None of us could have guessed that the NPA would plan an attack over Easter which is an important time of celebration in the Philippines. Psalm 34:7 was a key promise for us "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them."

Hosea has now established three more churches for the tribespeople and altogether there are five tribes' congregations. Our mission work amongst them has been really fruitful.

We have been delighted over progress with our hotel. Its original purpose was to be a training place for young people to learn about the hospitality business. A local college asked us whether their student chefs might do their training at our hotel because we constantly host conferences and seminars there which of course require catering to be provided. What divine provision! We got a free workforce and the students got relevant work experience to develop their catering skills.

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Dental Mission

Medical missions have been completed in several localities. We provided services from doctors, dentists and dental technicians at no cost. More than 800 patients received treatments including even free dentures. From the mainland came two doctors and two dental technicians, together with their assistants and equipment, and altogether we had three dentists on the team. Military protection was provided for the mission too.

The plan was to give treatment only to those who had notified us of their conditions beforehand. But the word spread to many localities and we were inundated with patients until late in the evening in one location. Even more people came the next day even though we had moved to a different area. Daisy Santos from our Hosea school led the pharmacy provision for the team. We also had a counselling and prayer service arranged by Pastor Billy Balsamo. We gave gospel teaching prior to the medical treatments and also prayer ministry from Pastor Billy, resulting in several healings!

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Gospel for the children

We were really surprised by the number of people seeking help from our medical mission but this is probably a result of the coronavirus epidemic in which many people lost their jobs and were so poor that they had to choose between either buying food or paying for medical help -- of course they chose the former. Dental treatments are particularly expensive and out of the reach of most local people. Even many middle-class people lost their jobs and income during the epidemic.

I am sending my heartfelt thanks once again to all of you who financially support the work of Hosea: it is you who made this all possible! And big thanks too to our intercessors who have carried us through many dangerous situations - you are so important to us! Through your support we are able to spread the gospel to areas where many are afraid to go, with very fruitful results.


Anne

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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,

ANNE

 

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