Rick & Becky Martin March-April 2016
Graduation is held in March each year and this year will be the 35th class of Iloilo Baptist College. I love graduation night! The students go through a lot. It’s not easy for them to finish school so I’m proud of those who tough it out and receive their diploma.
Almost all of our students work their way through school and many never receive any help from their parents. Many have parents who do not want them to come to Bible College. At IBC we work hard and play hard. Most of our students do some kind of practical ministry work seven days a week. They wash their clothes by hand and cook their own food over a charcoal fire. On the night they graduate I look at them and all they have overcome to make it to this night and thank God for them.
It is humbling to be around these young people as they prepare to go out and start a church by faith.
Almost every young man who graduates starts a church within 3-4 months of graduating and almost every young lady works in one of these churches started by another graduate. Here is a story about a young man who will graduate next year Lord willing. We left out his name:
“My name is -----. I’m 26 years old and a 3rd year student of IBC. My parents are Muslim but since they had many children, my aunt and uncle adopted me. My uncle is a pastor. At first it was hard for me to adjust to Christian surroundings. Finally I got saved. One day a Christian lady asked if I was interested in going to Bible College. My adoptive parents were very happy when I said I would like to go. I also told my birth mother my plans but she decided to tell my real father that I went to Iloilo to study music—not to go to Bible college because she’s afraid of his reaction. I’m so thankful to God that I got assurance of my salvation here at IBC. I’m proud to say that I’m a Christian now—no longer a Muslim. I’m praying that God will use me to tell my lost relatives about salvation.”
NEWS & PRAYER REQUESTS
1. FAMILY DAY
We are in a predominately Roman Catholic country and we are always thinking of ways to get people who normally would never visit a church like ours to come.
For many years we have had a “Family Day” where we invite families from all over Iloilo City to come. Our church members work very hard inviting people for this special day. As usual many families came and heard the plan of salvation from God’s word. A lot of people received Jesus Christ as their Savior as the workers witnessed to them during the invitation.
We try to work hard getting these families to come back and grow in the Lord! Probably the biggest challenge in working in the ministry here is not winning people to Christ but helping them to become strong disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
After Family Day, we follow up these families for 9 weeks. The most effective way to get them back to church is to show a sincere interest in their lives & their problems and to have a Bible study in their home each week.
Usually after a year there are anywhere from 10-25 families still faithfully attending because of Family Day. Four of the past 5 years a good friend, Pastor Gerald McKelroy, has come to preach for us on Family Day. The McKelroys have been a blessing to our church.
We encouraged our workers to do 10 things:
1. Spend time with the families they bring—get to know them and become a friend to them.
2. Get their cell number and text them. Remind them you are praying for them.
3. Invite them to a night service (especially our Graduation March 16th)
4. Invite them to Baby Day February 14th.
5. Invite them to the Easter Musical
March 20, 27, & April 6
6. Give them a church calendar and talk about the different activities like summer camps, etc.
7. Ask if you can have a Bible study in their home. Show them Bible lessons in the New Testament.
8. Write them a note.
9. Visit them at least once a week for at least a month.
10. Enroll each visitor in a Sunday school class.
2. RADIO MINISTRY
In August last year we had a lightening storm and soon after we started having problems with our radio transmitter. We sent it to the USA for repair and in the meantime we used a smaller transmitter to stay on the air. In late January, Gene Sharp and Eric Damron from Independent Baptist Media returned to the Philippines to visit us after nearly 3 years. Brother Sharp installed a new transmitter along with the repaired one. It is very nice the way he set it up. He has a system where we can easily go from the one transmitter that is on to the other in case there is any problem with the other.
They also set up a surge protector that is better than the one we had before. The surge protectors he put in were very good quality which is helpful in minimizing the risk of damaging the equipment we have.
Eric Damron installed a second antenna so now we have two systems to use. They also worked on a battery back up system, which can be used during power outages and another layer of protection to the equipment especially the transmitter. We are very grateful to Brother Sharp and Brother Damron. We are especially grateful to the ones who made all of this possible financially.
3. BIBLE COLLEGES
Please pray for the Bible Colleges for young people started by the graduates of IBC here in the Philippines. There are 16 graduates with Bible colleges and four others who were trained by our graduates, who have started Bible colleges. The past three years the Lord has provided a work program for the students of these schools and also dorms as they grow. They have grown from 147 students to about 700 students as a result. Please pray the Lord will continue to bless these schools and that many churches will be started by the graduates.
In closing, Becky and I want to thank you for praying for us & supporting the Lord’s work here in the Philippines. May God bless you!
Sincerely in Christ,
Rick & Becky Martin
Grandkids make life better! T.J., Landon, & Ava
Ava & her tarantula—it’s not fake!