Mon

03

Nov

2014

Rick & Becky Martin's November-December 2014 Prayer Letter

Bro. Lacsao's Bible School Choir at the Pastors & Workers Conference
Bro. Lacsao's Bible School Choir at the Pastors & Workers Conference
Dear Friends,
 
In this prayer letter I want to give you some news about the Bible Colleges started in the Philippines by the graduates of Iloilo Baptist College.  The Lord has blessed the vision and determination of the men who are training men (and ladies who serve the Lord) to start churches.
There are 15 schools started by the graduates of IBC and three more by men trained by IBC graduates.  In the past two years the Lord has provided a way to build dorms for most of the schools and provided work programs for all of the schools.  During this two-year period the enrollment in these schools combined has gone from 147 to 490 students.  While most of these schools are small, combined they are able to start a lot of churches.
One of the pastors I have much respect for is Moimar Lacsao.  After graduating from IBC he went to the town of Candoni in the southern part of Negros Island.  He started nighttime Bible Institute for married men, then he started a full time Bible College 12 years ago.  He set out completely by faith, trusting God and working hard.  He has never asked me for anything for his Bible College.  Here is his testimony:
 
In the last 12 years we have trained men for the ministry who are pastoring churches.  My vision is to reach the southern part of Negros and put up many churches in our neighboring villages around our town of Candoni.  We want to train more people in the ministry.  We are praying to have hundreds of students.
We conduct eight Bible studies a week with 16 families.  We have soul winning, visitation, and a children’s ministry on Sunday afternoon.  We also have a service for youth and a kid’s choir.  We have a ministry to the police every Monday.  Our Bible students and staff conduct 16 Extension Bible classes for 
children on Saturday mornings.  We also have a discipleship program for the adults on Saturdayafternoon.  On Thursday nights we have the youth come to learn more about the Bible, as well as music.  
For the first 11 years we don’t have dorms.  Some students stayed in a nipa hut and some stayed in the church.  We had classes under the trees because we didn’t have a classroom.  We had to struggle to feed our students because their parents don’t support them and there were not jobs for them at that time.
My wife has been a great help in the ministry.  She teaches in our Bible College.  Our oldest son is 14 and wants to be a pastor.  Our younger son is very good in music.  
Although I started training young people in 1998 to preach, we started our school in 2002 with everyday classes.  We had 12 students.  Pastor Barena and Pastor Tibus and my wife helped me to teach.  Our first graduates became our staff.  They sacrificed their time and effort to teach without any promised finances.  I am thankful for their love in imparting knowledge.  Many times we experienced how God miraculously provided our food in unexpected ways.  We’ve experienced heartaches and tears—especially when a student quits.  Some of our church members helped our students and we tried to provide jobs so they can buy basic needs.
We are so thankful now that we have dorms and a work program.  God continues to sustain His ministry.  Here is a testimony of one of our students:
 
I am Eunimae and I am 20 years old.  My parents were unbelievers but one day a pastor had a Bible study in our house.  My two sisters were the first Christians in our house.  Later my mom and dad got saved and I was the last in 2008 at the age of 14.  Now my two brothers are pastors.  When I went to church camp God called me and I surrendered my life.  My parents moved during my 4th year of high school so I stayed with Pastor and Mrs. Lacsao my last year.  They supported me in my schooling.  Then I enrolled in the Bible school.  By God’s grace I am graduating this year.  By God’s grace I overcame trials for four years with the help of Pastor & Mrs. Lacsao and the staff.  My life verse is Matthew 6:33 & Hebrews 10:31.  They motivate me and make me strong.  I want to serve God my whole life.  Sometimes when I’m down and felt discouraged I think about my relatives and others that need me.  They need to be saved and I am the one who is responsible for that.  I’ve learned how to deal with people and be concerned for the lost.  I’ve learned how to bring people to Christ.
Bro. & Mrs. Gelladula with their Bible College students
Bro. & Mrs. Gelladula with their Bible College students
Another graduate for whom I am grateful is Pastor Vincente Gelladula.  Like Pastor Lacsao, he trained several men in his nighttime Bible Institute to start churches in the surrounding villages.  Recently God led him to start a full time Bible College.  Here is his testimony:
 
I’ve been working in the town of Lemery for 22 years.  Two years ago I started a Bible College.  We also have some deaf students.  I’ve watched them struggle; especially with their financial needs, yet they are faithful.  Some of our classes have to meet under the bamboo trees because of lack of space.  
We have a desire for a library.  We have three Scofield Bibles and one Smith Bible dictionary that we all share.  We have no tables and chairs and we only have one guitar so they must take turns practicing with that as well as our one violin.  During the recent Pastors & Workers Conference at Iloilo Baptist Church, our students were able to acquire seven plastic recorders.  They took lessons at the music workshop at IBC and we’re so grateful. 
We have a dorm for the girls but not the boys.  The boys sleep in the church.  I know this is a challenge for them and they endure it because they want to serve God.  We are happy to be with them, eating our meals together.  We cook together and share our food.  
It’s exciting to see them grow in Christ.  Please pray for us to reach our goal of 30 students next year!  
Here is a testimony of one of the students:
 
I’m Jessa, 17 years old.  Before I was saved I was worldly.   My brother, who is a pastor, encouraged me to go to Bible College but I refused.  People who quit studying at Bible College were always complaining that it was hard and they never had enough food or money.  I wanted to go to a secular school but no one will help me with my finances.  My brother said he’d help me if I were willing to go to secular school part time and the Bible College part time.
At first I was very homesick but God comforted me and I enjoyed being with the others in the Bible College.  I found my schedule at the secular school very hectic however so I was thinking about quitting Bible College but I realized this was a bad decision.  Finally I decided to quit the secular school and go full time to Bible College and I felt peace—mostly because at that time I truly got saved.  My desire now is really to serve God.  Sometimes it’s very hot or it’s raining when we teach the children during Saturday extension classes or when we are fetching them for church.  Sometimes we get persecuted but that doesn’t stop us.  We girls are fortunate that we have a dorm because the boys don’t have a dorm. 
 
Most of these Bible schools have very small libraries.  For some time I have prayed for these good men to get more books in their libraries.  Some Christians in the USA have books they no longer need or use that would be treasured by Bible students here in the Philippines.  We would be willing to pay for shipping if your church has books to send.
Iloilo Baptist College student body 2014
Iloilo Baptist College student body 2014
One inexpensive way to ship books to the Philippines is through the “Balikbayan Boxes” (literally “repatriate box”).  If you’ve never heard of this you can Google it—or if you have a Filipino in your church, they would probably know about this.  Companies ship large boxes, unlimited weight, for $100 or less.  We would be willing to pay the shipping.  You have to be near a city that does this though (and there are many), because sending the box to the company would be too expensive.  It takes about three months to get here but well worth it.  Many cities have Filipino stores that sell these boxes and have the information needed.  
Reference books, biographies, Bible doctrine, sermon books, that are recommended by pastors in the USA would be very helpful, and even old encyclopedias.  If a church is interested in this project they can contact us at: martinsibc@yahoo.com and we will make arrangements to send money to pay for the Balikayan Box.  If you want to “adopt” a school we will send you the name of the school and pastor where your box would be going.
 
34TH ANNUAL PASTORS & WORKERS CONFERENCE
 
This past September 24-25, IBC held its 34th annual Pastors & Workers Conference.  Pastor John Wilkerson, a dear friend, was our main speaker and was such a blessing.  Over 750 pastors attended.  Many Bible colleges sent delegates and also their choirs.  We were able to unload the container from BEAMS Bibles the morning after the conference and all but about 100 pastors were able to get the boxes of Bibles before going home.  Most of the remaining pastors have now received their boxes as well.  We are very grateful for God’s perfect timing!
Many of the pastors affected by the typhoon were helped financially during the conference.  By the time you receive this letter it will have been one year since the typhoon hit us—November 8, 2013.  We want to thank you for what you have done to help lift the burdens and spirits of these pastors and churches.
I also want to thank Don Arnold and David Harris of BIMI who came here after the typhoon, surveyed the island, and made a video for BIMI that helped many of the ministries that were affected.  Recently Brother Arnold came back and installed a P.A. system in our church.  I also want to thank Memphis Audio, Don’s consultant, who did so much to make this happen.  Many thanks also to the ones who helped financially.  It has been a huge blessing.

Sincerely in Christ,

Rick & Becky Martin
Bro. Wilkerson at the pulpit during the invitation as people respond to the altar call
Bro. Wilkerson at the pulpit during the invitation as people respond to the altar call
Printable Prayer Letter
Click to download a printable version of this letter.
Rick & Becky Martin Nov:Dec 2014 Prayer
Adobe Acrobat Document 284.2 KB
0 Comments

Mon

11

Nov

2013

Rick & Becky's Nov./Dec 2013 Prayer Letter

Pastor Ernie Tarde stands in his destroyed church building
Pastor Ernie Tarde stands in his destroyed church building

“10,000 DEAD, MISSING” is the headline on this mornings’ paper, The Philippine Star, dated November 11

 

We are praising the Lord that we didn’t suffer any serious damage or injury here at our church.  We were in the path of the storm and fairly near the center and were expecting the worst.  Iloilo City was expecting sustained winds of 120 miles an hour but it wasn’t that bad.  We are at the southern part of the island.  Iloilo City has built a new waterway that helps to keep it from the massive flooding we used to experience in our part of the city.  There were parts of the city affected but it was like a normal typhoon with some flooding and wind damage to homes.  We asked the government social service agency how we could help and they sent 379 families to our church on Sunday morning and 173 families on Sunday night and we gave each one a small bag of rice and other goods.  We thank the Lord that some of them received the Lord as Savior.  Before the typhoon we bought a large supply of food and other supplies for the students and staff thinking we might not have food, electricity, and even water for weeks.  The Lord was so good as the electricity was only off for one day and the water back to normal after 3 days.  We just gave all the food to these people in our city who needed it.  The people of Iloilo City were so happy that the storm did not do the damage that it could have.  We all thanked God.
 
However, on the northern part of this island of Panay it was really bad.  It was in the very center of the storm with almost 150 miles per hour of sustained winds.  One of the missionaries with BIMI, Rick Fannin and his wife, work in this area and had a lot of damage to their property and need help.  Sam Heidenreich of FBMI is about half way between here and the Fannin’s and was hit pretty hard too.  We received a message that his town of Colinog may not have electricity for two months.
 
It has been very hard to get accurate information on what is going up north because electricity was knocked out and the cell towers have been damaged or down.  One of our church members went up to that part of the island after the storm and showed me some of the pictures and video he took.  The towns he passed through, Balasan, Estancia, and Sara were just devastated.  It looked as though mostly only the strong cement buildings remained in the pictures I saw.  He said in two of the towns the town gymnasiums collapsed. He said in Estancia, which is on the coast, 37 bodies had been recovered so far.  Most of these were people who were washed out to sea when the waves came in.  I have sent workers up to these areas today and hope to get more information.  A lot of the graduates are out on these little islands pastoring churches. One unconfirmed report was that in the village of Tambalisa, every house was destroyed except two cement buildings.  We should know in a day or two because one of our staff members went there today.  We had our church camps on this scenic island for many years.  There are numerous reports by our workers of many villages nearly or completely destroyed in these areas.
 
Information on Saturday and Sunday was slow but today we are getting a better picture of how this affected the pastors from IBC who live in the northern part of the island. There are a lot of pastors there.  As of this evening (Monday) we could only confirm 33 pastors whose homes were totally destroyed and 36 churches totally destroyed.  At least one of the Bible Schools there had a lot of damage.  We should be getting more information each day.
 
Two of our graduates are on the island of Leyte where the typhoon first made landfall.  Both had their church and house totally destroyed.
 
Some of our workers just got back from the Northern lloilo area, primarily in the town of Concepcion where the graduates have many churches in the surrounding villages and islands.  When the typhoon came many of the people were in public buildings, especially the gymnasium.  When parts of the roof began to go off the gym the people began to run to other buildings.  Some of the people would flee the second building when its roof started coming off.   Our staff went to the City Hall and found out the official death count there is 82.  A lot of the people in Concepcion are desperate for food. 
 
Please pray for the son of Missionary Dennis Young.   Brother Young is a missionary in the Philippines and I have heard that his son pastors a church in Tacloban.  From what I understand they have not heard from him yet.  The death toll in Tacloban is in the thousands.
 
Also please pray for one of our Bible College students, Jeffer, who is from Tacloban, the city that was the worst hit.   His parents have not yet been located. 
 
One pastor who is in the central part of Panay Island pastors two churches and had one totally destroyed and the other lost everything but the frame.  You can see the two pictures.  One of the pictures (above) is of Pastor Ernie Tarde who is standing here where his church stood just a few days ago in Concepcion.  The second picture (below) is of the remains of the church of Pastor Ed Java in the town of Sara.
 
Please note we are having problems with our magic jack number.  You may call our son Ricky's phone:  or our Philippine landline: 011-6333-320-4557
 
Sincerely in Christ,
 
Rick & Becky Martin
 
PS:  Please keep the father of our daughter-in-law, Brandie, in your prayers as he battles cancer.  His name is Larry Lee.
Pastor Ed Java's destroyed building
Pastor Ed Java's destroyed building
0 Comments

Wed

06

Nov

2013

Ricky & Brandie's November 2013 letter

Dad and Dad shaking on some kind of deal before our wedding in 2002. Brandie and I are in the back in the white hats.
Dad and Dad shaking on some kind of deal before our wedding in 2002. Brandie and I are in the back in the white hats.

November 6, 2013

 

Dear Praying Friends,

 

A 7.2 earthquake and monsoon rains left us without power, internet, telephone, etc. for a few days; and we are now trying to prepare for a typhoon that is likely to cause a lot of damage in the Philippines in the next few days. After that passes through, I’m sending Brandie and Ava to be with my in-laws (T.J. will be staying here with me). We got some saddening news about my father-in-law, Larry Lee; an MRI showed the brain tumor grew despite chemotherapy and radiation since discovery in July. Aside from the main tumor, there were some new spots on his brain. The doctors and the family decided to stop further treatments and get hospice care. We thank you for your concern and prayers in this matter. It’s hard to believe how quickly he has deteriorated since being told three months ago that he had cancer. His spirit and testimony through all this have been graceful, despite losing all strength.

 

“Dad” has been the music director at Calvary Baptist Church, in Middleburg, Florida, for almost twenty years. The last time I saw him in July, he was excited about getting new people into his Sunday school class and teaching them. Dad would still be a regular at their 6 a.m. men’s prayer meetings if only he had the strength. Larry’s brother, next-door neighbor, and fellow Sunday school teacher, Uncle Tyrone, also has cancer and is going through chemotherapy; and we ask that you pray for him too.

 

In Christ,    

Ricky Martin

0 Comments

Fri

14

Dec

2012

Ricky & Brandie's December 2012 Prayer Letter

Dad speaking to veterans’ widows last Sunday afternoon.
Dad speaking to veterans’ widows last Sunday afternoon.

December 14, 2012

 

Dear Praying Friends,

 

Every year at Christmas time our church and college have a Help the Needy Program. Our people go out and sacrificially give of their time and very little money to make Christmas better for those who are less fortunate. Even our college students, who will not be going home for the holidays, want to stay and be a blessing and help to others. We have special fellowships, parties, and other activities for people in our city who are blind, deaf, lepers, street kids, widows, fire victims, slow-learners, prisoners, and others.  They will get some food, small gifts, maybe some help with some of their needs; but the best gift of all, they will be given the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We were blessed to have Dr. Ray Young and his wife come for a weekend visit. He had the opportunity to minister to some police officers (pictured below), and Mrs. Young went with my mom on her extension Bible-class route in one of the poorest areas in the city.

 

Our church’s choir and orchestra will be performing our annual Christmas musical three times in the next couple of weeks.  We are expecting many visitors, mostly people that wouldn’t go to church but for a special Christmas presentation.

 

Our family is doing well. Thank you to those who sent me birthday cards. Brandie and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary on the 21st of this month. T.J.’s first school Christmas party is next week. He has to say poem, and his mom is hoping he will actually go through with it! Ava is a sweetheart, and her personality is really starting to show.  

 

A few weeks ago, we lost many of our e-mail contacts because of a cell phone glitch. It really wasn’t my fault- it was the phone…honest! If you would like to receive our prayer letter via email, please let us know. We appreciate you all so much and don’t take it lightly the sacrifices that are made on our behalf. May God bless you this Christmas and in the coming year.

 

In Christ,

 

Ricky, Brandie, T.J. & Ava Martin

Dr. Ray Young with some police officers
Dr. Ray Young with some police officers
T.J. playing with his new Rubik’s cube
T.J. playing with his new Rubik’s cube
Ava enjoying a snack
Ava enjoying a snack
0 Comments

Thu

01

Nov

2012

Rick & Becky's November- December 2012 Prayer Letter

Lourence leading a soul to Christ
Lourence leading a soul to Christ

November/December, 2012

 

Dear Friends:

 

Lourence Joy Aba was born 21 years ago on the large southern island of Mindanao. She was born into a Christian home. Her dad worked for the Japan International Corporation. When she was in kindergarten, her dad was scheduled to go abroad. One week before he was to depart, he decided to quit his job and go to Bible College to become a pastor. His wife was against this plan at first, because she was worried about finances.

During her elementary years, Lourence Joy said there was a lot of fighting in their place between the Philippine army and the MILF (Muslim rebels). She remembers seeing cannons in the streets and armed soldiers who always looked so tired but she admired them for fighting for freedom. They always heard the sounds of guns and bombs. Sometimes parents would suddenly appear at school and snatch their children away to safety.

Lourence Joy said, “We were told to be prepared at a moment’s notice. My dad came home from the Bible school because he was afraid for us. One night he told us to go to bed fully dressed. He told us to wear shoes that we could run fast in. At 2:00 am someone knocked on our door quietly. My father didn’t answer because he heard that sometimes the MILF used this ploy to fool people. Sometimes people would answer the door and then the Muslims would kill everyone inside the house. My father made us hide and opened the door a crack. Thankfully, it was my uncle, telling us to run.” Lourence Joy’s family ran to their church. Many people were there hiding. Someone whispered “Evacuate” and they quietly ran out of the church. She continues: “My father carried me and my mother carried my sister and we ran to one of our church members’ house. I could feel my father’s heart beating wildly.” After graduating from Bible College, her father started a church in Camiguin Island. They had to learn a new dialect and food and money was always short. There were other trials—persecution and mocking by the devil’s crowd. However, God blessed and the church grew.

Lourence Joy was a very good student and always made top honors. She wanted to be a nurse or possibly a teacher. She loved to study and she also loved music.

Her whole life was centered around church but one day she heard her father preach on “Comforted Yet Tormented at the End.” She talked to her mother after church, who gave her daughter the plan of salvation. Lourence Joy said many times she would raise her hand at the invitation, claiming she was saved but she was truly born again in July, 2000 and was baptized. Her father always encouraged her to bring her Bible to school. One day she heard someone making derogatory remarks about the Bible and her religion. She is not one to keep quiet. She defended the Bible and her beliefs. The religious teachers (Catholic) in her school didn’t appreciate her either! She was known as “that Baptist girl.”

Lourence Joy graduated as valedictorian in high school. She was offered a scholarship to study in the USA but she didn’t think she could stand to be so far away from home. She was also offered full scholarships at some universities here in the Philippines. She kept thinking about Bible college and seemed torn with all the choices. She thought she would get her degree in a secular college first, and then go to Bible college. She finally enrolled in a secular college to be a teacher, thinking, “Bible college can wait.” One weekend she went home and saw her mother crying. She asked what was wrong and her mother hugged her and showed her a text on her cell phone. A pastor was asking if Lourence Joy was interested in enrolling in Iloilo Baptist College. Lourence said, “I didn’t return to my college that whole week because I wanted to think and pray. My classmates kept texting me and asking what was wrong. I kept thinking that my service for the Lord had decreased since I started going to college. I was always too tired. I felt I was failing to give God my best because of my schedule. “

She finally texted her friends and told them she would leave for Iloilo City Sunday after church. That Sunday morning, many of her friends went to her church and many of them received Jesus Christ as their Saviour!

“Although there were discouragements and ups and downs, I have no regrets. God is able to sustain all my needs, spiritual, financial, emotional, whatever,” says Lourence. “Before I was thinking that Bible college could wait but souls need to be harvested now. They cannot wait. I must redeem the time for the days are evil. Now, I’m a fourth year student. I play in the IBC orchestra and sing in the church choir. I’m involved with school ministry, Bible study, and extension classes for children. To God be the glory!”

Lourence-teaching-one-of-her-four-extension-ministry-classes-for-children
Lourence-teaching-one-of-her-four-extension-ministry-classes-for-children

32ND ANNUAL PASTORS & WORKERS CONFERENCE

 

God gave us a great Pastors & Workers Conference! It was an honor for us to be able to have Pastor Dean Noonan from Faith Baptist Church, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, along with Mrs. Noonan. Our daughter Rachel and her husband Matt, and son Landon attend this church. It was a joy to have them here as well. Also accompanying them was Calvin Allen, who sang and preached (see photo below), and was a real blessing as well.

Missionary Doug Sisson also spoke. The Lord has used him for 16 years to reach people through the church he started in General Santos City, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.

Mrs. Noonan did a great job as she spoke to our ladies, along with Mrs. Gwen Celestial, a pastor’s wife who was in our very first graduating class. Mrs. Celestial recently had her leg amputated due to diabetes, and is slowly losing her sight. Both of these godly ladies were a great help to the many ladies who attended the conference.

BEAMS Bibles once again sent a container of Bibles to distribute to the pastors, as well as Pastor Mark Smith, Faith Baptist Church, Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Rene Freret was supposed to come and preach at the conference this year but had to have open heart surgery. Please pray for him as he continues to recover.

Words cannot properly express how extremely grateful these pastors were for these Bibles (see photo below).   The conference is free and we provide free accommodations and meals. This year over 700 pastors attended (pictured above). Our goal each year is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, and to be a blessing to the hundreds of delegates that come, in hope that they will go back to their respective places and do more for the Lord.

A-visiting-Bible-college-choir-singing-at-the-conference
A-visiting-Bible-college-choir-singing-at-the-conference

CHURCH PLANTING

 

One of the keys in starting churches here are the Bible Schools. There are more than 30 independent Baptist Bible Colleges in our region of the country. There is a great spirit among the various schools. During the Pastors and Workers Conference about 20 Bible Schools were represented and we had several of them have their choirs sing. Most of these schools are small but combined they are having an impact on the islands of Panay, Negros, and Guimaras. The result of the spirit of the pastors who lead the Bible Schools is a revival in church planting! There are now about 2,000 independent Baptist Churches in this region of 8,000,000 people. Most of these churches are small as most people walk to church. There is little transportation available, so it is important that all the villages in these islands have a church. Panay Island has 2,800 villages plus 91 towns and five cities, not including Negros and Guimaras. Please pray for Pastor Vincente Gelladula, a graduate of Iloilo Baptist College, who started a Bible School this year.

 

POLICE APPRECIATION NIGHT

 

This past September 30th, Iloilo Baptist Church had its 10th annual Police Appreciation Night. Missionary Doug Sisson preached and several of the policemen accepted Christ as Saviour. About 300 policemen and policewomen attended. Three police who were killed in the past year in Iloilo City were honored along with the families. The Lord has given us countless opportunities to reach people by working with the police in our city.

 

For the past 35 years that we have been in the Philippines, Becky and I have always been so grateful to those of you who have prayed for us and given to the Lord’s work here. Never has that been more true than now during these hard financial times. Thank you for your sacrifice! May God richly bless you for it!

 

Rick Martin

0 Comments

Thu

19

Jan

2012

Rick & Becky's Nov.-Dec. 2011 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends;

 

In this prayer letter, we would like to share the testimony of Jean Calibayan, one of our Bible college students:

 

I am the 7th child among 10 children. I was born in San Remejo, Antique, and I am now 21 years old. My dad is a carpenter but his work was not stable so our family was very poor. He would work whenever and wherever he could but when he didn’t work, we didn’t eat.

After my mother delivered me she became very sick and lost her sight. Even though she was blind she worked very hard—she did all the household chores and even planted vegetables. She was always trying to find ways to feed us.

I remember one day when I was little we had nothing to eat but corn and bananas and I remember crying about it. When I was 10 years old my mother taught me how to harvest in the field. She allowed me to go with my brothers to help in the harvest. Later I found out after we left the house she cried and cried because we were always hungry. That’s why I am so thankful for my parents. I learned how to work hard. It was hard for them to raise all of us but they always did their responsibility. They always did everything they could just to provide food for us.

I remember one time when I was in elementary school, my parents and all my brothers and sisters were working in the field. I was so hungry I ate the salt and the seasoning my mother used for cooking (monosodium glutamate).

Later my mother asked where the salt and seasoning was. I joined the others in saying, “I don’t know.” A few days later I became very swollen. My classmates and teacher asked what happened. Finally I couldn’t even walk or stand and I thought I was going to die. I finally confessed to my parents what I ate. My brothers carried me to the health center. It was very far away. They doctor treated me and by God’s grace I was healed. I was absent from school for a long time.

When I went to school, I never had anything to take for lunch or snacks. I would just sit and watch the others eat. Sometimes a classmate or my teacher would give me some food. When I was in grade 6, I lost my eyesight, just like my mother. Even though I couldn’t see, I still worked in the field. My mother treated my eyes with some herbal medicines. I am so thankful God used that to heal me. I was blind for about six weeks.

After graduating from grade six I worked as a maid for someone. Every time I received my salary I went home and gave it all to my mother, except for my fare. I was always getting sick.  

In 2000, I attended the Iloilo Baptist Church Camp in Tambaliza, Concepcion, along with my brother, who was a pastor by that time. I got saved and baptized that week. In 2008, I was contacted by one of the staff of Iloilo Baptist Church, asking me if I wanted to go to Bible college. I replied, “Yes, but not now.” I felt a deep obligation to help my family because they were so poor.

One day my mother had an eye appointment. My brother, who is a pastor, was sitting in the hospital waiting for her. While he was waiting, he was reading his Bible.   The doctor walked up and asked him if he was a pastor, and he said, “Yes.” The doctor said that his father was also a pastor and that he knew what the pastor’s life was like—living by faith. He told my brother that he would do an operation on my mother’s eyes for free! My mother and brother were so happy when he said that! My family was so thankful. We tried to think of a gift we could give that doctor. When my mother went back for her surgery, she took the doctor two chickens and some bananas. God answered prayer—my mother’s eyesight was restored! When she opened her eyes she was so happy when she saw all of us. She hugged all of us and said to my brother that was a pastor, that he never grew up—he was still the same—very short! We were so happy. It was such a great blessing that my mother’s eyesight was restored!

I was asked again, if I would like to attend Iloilo Baptist College. I felt God wanted me to serve Him in full time Christian work. A staff lady from IBC came to talk to my parents. I left with that staff lady to attend IBC because I knew that God called me and wanted to use me.

Now, by God’s grace, I’m in my 3rd year at Iloilo Baptist College. I believe the promises of God that He will supply all our needs. I know God will always provide. I am so happy when I experience God’s provision. When I give to missions I learn that God is not slack concerning His promises. He knows our needs and will surely provide it. All things work together for good.

Jean’s brother, Eduard Calibayan, is a foreign missionary in Zambia.

 

NEWS AND PRAYER REQUESTS

 

Recently someone hacked our email account and deleted all our emails and contact list. They also sent emails to many people on our contact list saying we were stranded in Madrid and to send money. I’m sure some of you have had a similar experience. We have changed our email address and taken other measures to make it more difficult to have this happen again. Our new address is:martinsibc@yahoo.com.

 

This past October 2 the church had its 9th annual Police Appreciation Night with over 200 police attending. It rained so hard that night! We were surprised so many of them came! We honored some police that were killed in the line of duty. Our soul winners led several policemen and policewomen to the Lord. One of the widows of the policeman killed in the line of duty was saved, and her daughter also accepted Christ as her Saviour.

 

Our 31st Pastors and Workers Conference was October 5-6. All the speakers were from our region of the Philippines. We chose men that have overcome very difficult circumstances in their lives and ministry. I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing their messages were. The main speaker was Pastor Eddie Gerodias who is battling cancer. He is a long time friend and has been the pastor of a church on Negros Island for 35 years. Pastor Arnel Arquisola in Roxas City, Pastor Ely Perez, here in Iloilo City, and Pastor Florencio Muleta, (we wrote about in our July/August prayer letter) all started great churches with very limited finances and facilities. The same can be said for IBC graduate Moimar Lacsao in the Island of Negros.   Another IBC graduate, Hermando Abelitado, lost a child. At least 784 pastors came (that’s how many registered) for the conference. There were also hundreds of laymen, Bible college students, lady workers and pastors wives. Iloilo Baptist Church members, staff, and students worked hard to provide free meals for all our guests. Many of our people gave very sacrificially. Students doubled up in dorms to provide bedspace for visitors. Countless hours went into preparation.   Mrs. Eddie Gerodias, Mrs. Billy Caalem, and Miss Gina Pabelico spoke at the ladies conference and were a great blessing. BEAMS Bibles sent 800 boxes filled with Bibles, New Testaments, and tracts. Bearing Precious Seed sent a very large quantity of John and Romans in the Ilonggo language. The pastors were so excited. I wish you could have seen the expressions on their faces when they received all of this. BEAMS Bibles and Bearing Precious Seed have had a huge impact on the Philippines through their great efforts. The pastors here are so thankful for what they are doing.

 

Pastor Muleta, who we wrote about a few months ago, is starting to build his building. Enough money came into help him. His people are sacrificing also, and giving to the project. We are so appreciative (and Brother Muleta is especially grateful) to those who helped him with this project.  

 

0 Comments

Thu

15

Dec

2011

Ricky & Brandie's December 2011 Prayer letter

December 15, 2011 

 

Dear Praying Friends,

 

We were excited to have my sister Rachel and our nephew Landon visit us recently for a few weeks. Pictured above is T.J., Landon, & Ava.

 

I’ve been busy meeting with our graduate pastors and helping them develop programs that will better help them as they follow up on their new converts and young Christians and teach them to grow in Christ in their churches.

 

Pastor Charlie Augustino was my barber when I was in seventh and eighth grades here. He was a Bible college student who gave students haircuts when his job didn’t make ends meet. I recall his saying some of his hair-cutting earnings were going toward his missions-giving commitments. Charlie loved basketball, and we played together often; but he also took his ministry work seriously in Bible school. I can remember his bringing kids to Junior Church very early on Sunday mornings and adults to the later services. He graduated from Iloilo Baptist College in 1994 and started a church near his hometown of Tapaz, Capiz, a two-hour trip from Iloilo City. He later started another church in Tapaz and worked at a barbershop on the side in a nearby town to take care of his family, as his church was yet unable to support him as a full-time pastor.

 

This past November 30 he gave his last haircut to Benjie, a man who was believed to be mentally disturbed. Benjie went home, where some neighborhood underachievers teased him about his haircut. He then returned to the barbershop with a machete to murder Charlie. Benjie surrendered to police immediately, but he himself was killed a week later in the jail with a shotgun by Charlie’s brother (another story). A wife, two boys, and a church are without a husband, father, and pastor this Christmas.

 

Our ministry staff are doing anything we can to help the Augustino Family and Fundamental Baptist Church of Tapaz, as well as other needy families throughout Iloilo, in the annual Help the Needy Program. We ask you to pray with us that people who are feeling hopeless in Iloilo’s hospitals, who live in extreme poverty, or who are missing loved ones have a merry Christmas and experience God’s presence and grace.

 

In Christ,

 

Ricky Martin with Brandie, T.J. & Ava

 

0 Comments