Hello all Friends!
Our Hosea team in the Philippines has found a new target in Oriental Mindoro (the eastern side of the island), place called Gamot. My prayer has always been that our ministry could expand to minister to many more native tribes.
Oriental Mindoro is a mountainous region and native Mangyan tribes live there hidden from the modern civilization. If you think like the cultural anthropologists who say that these tribes and their life style and culture should not be disturbed, you are totally wrong and do not know what you are talking about. You do not know the reality where these dear people live and how miserable their life is. They live in very primitive shacks and they suffer of the lack of the barest every day necessities. Common ailments are all kinds of sicknesses and malnutrition, and also they do live in the lack of any health care, so lifespan is very short. Their worldview is animistic which results in many negative beliefs affecting their tribal life. They often live in small isolated communities so hereditary diseases are very common problem among them.
It's heartbreaking to see these people to come down from the mountains to our Mangyan Hosea Church where they beg for help. We started this church with 19 members and after just a few months about hundred more has been added to the congregation which continues to grow all the time. My prayer is that we could reach all these native tribes, one after another. Our Mangyan tribe pastor Celsa has done a tremendous work and won their trust and confidence. When Celsa started this ministry for Mangyans, other pastors turned their backs to her as it was considered to be a worthless effort. The other pastors did not want to have anything to do with it. She was despised and treated in a similar was as these native tribes people are treated by locals even today.
This is the very reason why these people shy away from contact with others and hide themselves in their own small groups. When they come to town marketplaces to sell their handcrafted items, they walk bare feet down from the mountains, without much clothing, very early, around 5am in the morning to avoid public ridicule, insults and mocking. However cruel people might be, to Jesus these people are precious and no-one should be living in such squalor and poverty. When I was beginning my ministry among the slum people, I thought that was the worst way of living on the earth. Soon the Lord opened me a harvest field among the native tribes who live in even more miserable conditions.
A little while ago when Pastor Sonio from Hosea's main church visited the mountain tribes, we organized food distribution and meals for the Mangyans at our church. Main church members from Mamburao city had collected many sacks full of used clothing for Mangyans, even though they own very little themselves. I am really surprised how our Filipino church members have opened their hearts to care for those who are even poorer than they, collecting food and clothing to donate to those in dire need.
|Evangelism to the natives
|Natives listen to the gospel
There are always lots of hungry and curious tribes members gathering to hang around our Mangyan church to see whatʻ´s going on, when our team visits the church. This time Pastor Sonio met there also one Mangyan Pastor who had come from a remote village. He was depressed and disillusioned and didn't want to preach any more. Pastor Sonio went to his village and encouraged him to continue saying "You can't give up your ministry, your calling is from God. You can't imagine that you can escape it, for your calling and selection is eternal". The Mangyan Pastor told him that nobody had ever given him any encouragement. Furthermore no-one had come to see him, everyone had forgotten him and his ministry and didn't want to help. In desperate times he had especially pleaded for help and called some churches but in vain. Other Pastors despised his work, because he is “just” a Mangyan Pastor, they don't care about the native tribes, claiming them to be unclean and poor. This kind of work has no appeal, there is no incentive for it to be worthy of God's calling, except perhaps for someone who doesn't qualify for anything better.
Our Pastor and teachers in Mamburao school called this particular Mangyan pastor to come and share their Christmas celebration with them. He came and was surprised and happy to have such fellowship. Many Hosea church members gave him small gifts, like soap and small coffee packets. Pastora Nena Sonio gave him cans of sardines, toothpaste and rice with some money to take back to his village, using some of the typhoon assistance collection to Oriental Mindoro.
Food is tasty
This Mangyan Pastor had burst into tears when he realized that he was accepted, appreciated and loved by these people. Other Pastors also encouraged him to go back to his ministry in Gamot Mangyan tribe, for his work is precious. They told him that he should not be concerned if others do not appreciate his work among poor and destitute, as God is the one who really values these forsaken people. He left back to his village, being much encouraged and believing God had called him. Pastor and Pastora Sonio are going visit that area as often as they can and will take provisions to them, whatever we can collect for them.
These are truly bush tribes in such desperate need, and yet others do not care to preach Gospel to them. Pastora Nena Sonio had earlier met one woman from this tribe, when she came to beg for lollipops which we usually give to the kids while distributing food. This woman asked for lollipop to take to her child at home and told that her children had been two days without food at home. She explained that all banana trees and other plants had been destroyed by the last typhoon, and because of that the tribe had no food to eat and nothing to sell at the market.
|Pastor Celsa is donating clothing
|I wonder if this clothing will fit.
I believe the Lord has opened the way to this area and to this remote tribe so we can start our work and ministry there, too. I also do believe that with the Lord's help and blessing we can help these native tribes to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to help them to come out of the misery and bondage which has been their part for centuries. When the time for our next Medical Mission comes, we will try and take it to this remote tribe as well. I presume that our seventh Hosea church will soon be established there. God has opened a way to the darkest places so that His Glory would shine there, bringing light and life to those lost people.
I really honour and value high this Bulalacao tribe Pastor Celsa and her tireless efforts in her ministry. Last time I visited our tribal church, I could see that she had really worked hard and accomplished much. Cement work and plastering had been done outside the church building and she had also made and planted some flowerbeds there to make the surroundings look nice. Celsa is working like an ant, unyielding and persevering so much. She is the one to be thanked for the church growth. Celsa is now also in charge of Hosea`s second fishing boat, which has been moved to the eastern side of Mindoro Island to help in the ministry we are doing there.
A big thank you to each one of our friends for your support. Your help, prayers and donations have not been in vain but together we have accomplished much. May God richly reward your goodness of heart and all your generosity.
With my warmest Greetings