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Hosea Ministry International

Newsletter
December 2021

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Hosea Newsletter December 2021

Greetings for the Advent Season

We have been very blessed in our ministry on Mindoro island in spite of coronavirus, as this unusual situation has opened up new ministry opportunities for us. We have continued to collaborate with the military and police forces on the island and have been given special permission to move around freely.

Hosea's reputation in both spreading the gospel and practical good works has increased. This combination of spiritual and material service has brought good results. We feel that God gave us this key in the early days of our ministry and it continues to be very fruitful.

We have received answers to our prayers about better internet connections: an internet company based in Manial recently expanded its operations to Mindoro island and rented a room in our hotel. Covid restrictions have meant that our hotel has not been able to open to individual guests, but the company took out a 10-year lease on a room to house their equipment. Part of our agreement with them included the provision of internet connections for Hosea itself. Previously we have suffered from a very poor network -- itt only worked in one corner of the room allocated for me in the hotel. Our staff would often joke that the only way of getting a connection would be ro climb the highest tree in the courtyard!

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Lady walking                                               The empty wheelchair

In our previous newsletter I mentioned that revival has continued: both Cabacunga and Mamburao churches are full. God has also done remarkable healing miracles, with the latest being the healing of a paralysed woman. She had previously been unable to do anything but lie down. Her neighbour who was providing her with food had the idea to bring her to Mamburao church. The sick lady was not a believer but her friend carried her in a wheelchair to the front of the church for prayer, and Pastor Sonio led the whole church to pray for her healing. Suddenly she got out of her wheelchair and started walking around: with tears in her eyes she gave her life to Christ! The whole congregation wept for joy with her. Such miracles really strengthen our faith that God indeed is the same yesterday, today and forever. The congregation also prayed for a small child who had a tumour in their eye and in front of them all the tumour vanished.

The police department used our school for the graduation ceremony for their new recruits. Many police officers have been involved in our feeding programme for the poor in the area. The graduation ceremony was filmed with a live video link to Manila and mention was made of the local police force’s collaboration with Hosea's outreach and bible studies for officers.

In the Cabacunga church a Thanksgiving celebration was held with the teachers preparing meals for everyone who attended. Many local dignitaries also took part in the celebration. Tribespeople from Turawin were there too having hiked down from their mountain homeland.

A similar Thanksgiving was held in the Mamburao Church, attended by the mayor and other local officials, who made a point of praising Hosea as the foremost organization providing disaster support to the people of the island. This is very significant in a country where there are minimal social services.

By God's grace both our pupils and congregation members have remained healthy through the pandemic, whilst the virus has raged across the whole Philippines archipelago. Restrictions are now beginning to be lifted somewhat. Our ministry among the tribes continues to prosper and we have reached out to new areas. As we have been accompanied by armed guards, we have been able to travel to areas where terrorists are still operating -- an impossible venture without such protection.

Your prayers have been really key in enabling our ministry to move forward and bear fruit. Obstacles and challenges have been transformed into victories. I am convinced that the blessings that you have given to us will result in God's blessings to you all. "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31a.

With Christmas blessings

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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