I would like to share a testimony with you, written by one of our long time church members:
"I was born in the town of Banate in 1948. I was the eldest and the only daughter. Life was good and my three little brothers and I had everything we needed. My father had a big fishing boat and other properties. However we knew little about faith in the Lord Jesus. Our house was filled with idols. Our parents taught us long, repetitive prayers. Although they taught us good manners and right conduct, our spiritual understanding was very little.
When I was five years old, tragedy struck. My father went fishing and he used dynamite. He threw it in the sea but it didn’t explode. He pulled it back and it exploded on him and he died. My mother was only 27 and had four children to raise. We lost our business and properties.
My mother went to Iloilo to get a job and she got married again. After high school, I worked with her as a maid.
God had a good plan for my life. He sent me to my uncle who was a pastor to lead me to know Christ and understand salvation. My uncle always asked me to attend the Bible study at their house. At first I was
hesitant because he always asked me to pray. He was so patient in planting spiritual seed in my heart. I developed an understanding of the Word of God. My mother and cousins were also saved."
I began working at a poultry place and met a man who wanted to marry me. He was Catholic but I thought, “I will just bring him to church when we get married.” We prayed for each other, for the “will of God.” But this is the will of God—be not equally yoked to unbelievers. God warns us because he knows and sees
troubles and problems in married life without unity. Nevertheless, I married him, believing someday he will come to church. God blessed us with a lovely daughter. At first life was good. Then I had five more children and life was very hard for us.
My husband was a jeepney driver. His income was not enough for our basic needs. Added to that, he drank. My faith was shaken. Life was hard and hopeless. I can’t eve go to church but I know I still believe in God.
In 1982, missionaries visited us and invited us to church. I was interested so I thought I would send my children to Sunday school. Rick and Becky Martin revived my faith in the Lord. I can still remember how patient Mrs. Becky Martin was in helping me dress my children so they could go to Sunday school.
The church opened a Christian school and my husband and I sent our two little girls there—Hauna and Joy. We paid very little tuition but because of financial hardships we could not go on so we transferred them to a public school.
I attended church services at Iloilo Baptist Church but I wasn’t very active. My husband did not go to church. One of the staff at IBC started having a Bible study in our house.
Then my husband’s attitude became worse. He no longer allowed us to go to church. He wanted us to go to the Catholic church but I refused and he was angry. His drinking got worse. He was always criticizing our faith. Life wasn’t peaceful and my faith was shaken again. Poverty and problems were everywhere. My children and I missed going to church. We would walk by there and hear the singing and preaching and I would cry and wish I could go back and worship God. My freedom of worship was deprived and my children’s faith was affected too.
I’m so thankful for the members and staff of IBC who kept visiting us, praying for us, and encouraging us. Even though my husband doesn’t let us go to church, we still hoped and prayed that someday he would join us and we will be one in the Lord. Sometimes we played hide and seek. We would quietly go to church and if we saw him we would hide and then run. I believe if you really love God no one can stop you in serving Him. Who can separate us from the love of God? Tribulation? Distress? Persecution or famine or nakedness or perils or sword? The Bible says we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
Although my husband was against our belief, I do have to say that he worked hard to support his family. One day he got sick because of too much drinking and one of the pastors of IBC visited him. Still, he would not surrender his life to God.
On March 9, 2009, we heard bad news on the radio—there was a jeepney driver who was stabbed 17 times while fixing his jeep. Then the radio mentioned my husband’s name and I was terrified. We rushed to the hospital and one of the IBC pastors was there waiting for us. The doctors tried their best but my husband died.
Even though it was such a sad time for the children and I, we still believe that God has a purpose and plan. Sometimes we don’t understand things that happen but God can make something beautiful even in our bad situations because His ways are perfect. We hope that in his last breath my husband asked the Lord to be his Savior.
I felt thorns were taken from my heart after the death of my husband because me and my children have freedom to go to church and serve God. We started on our new life in the Lord again. We are now very active in attending services, soul winning, bringing people to Christ, church camps, etc. The light affliction I experienced is nothing compared to the glory God prepared for me. The faithfulness of pastors and members of IBC helped us become productive and fruitful members of the body of Christ. We are growing day by day and learning the Word of God. God has blessed me with six wonderful children. Three are teachers. They not only teach students in school but they lead them to Christ as well. Two of my daughters are in the IBC orchestra.
I may not have the riches of this world but I have a home full of praise and worship. God has given me life and I give my heart to Him. I rejoice in serving my Lord Jesus Christ. He is the best thing that ever happened to me and He is my number one priority. My heart’s desire is to love Him and serve Him and be with Him forever. I want to bring more souls to God also and help them understand that a true and meaningful life is only in Jesus! Praise the Lord! To God be the glory!
NEWS & PRAYER REQUESTS
1. BIBLE COLLEGES—One of the graduates of IBC, Pastor Rey Omallou, is starting a Bible School in Antique province. He is a hard worker and has started six churches in the province by training men in his Bible institute for married men. Now he is starting a daytime Bible school for young people. The church he started a few years ago is in the town of San Remio. One member of his church donated a large lot and the church bought an additional lot. They are looking for another lot as well. The church and school has space to grow. He expects that most of the students enrolling in the school will come from his six churches he has started. I recently met a young man from his church who just graduated from college with a course in criminology. He plans to go to Brother Omallou’s Bible school and become a pastor. Please pray for this pastor and the other men who have Bible schools. Many of the Bible schools are small and we are praying that over the next few years they will grow quite a bit.
2. SUMMERTIME—We are more than halfway through the summer. Nine of the youth camps as well as youth conference has been held. These activities where young people get away from their regular routine and friends often helps them spend more time with God alone and allows them to hear challenging messages from God’s word. This helps some of them to make life-changing decisions that have an impact on others for eternity. We have more camps and we will be finished by the end of May.
3. EASTER MUSICAL—The Easter musical was blessed with many people coming to the Lord. There are three nights where we have a presentation of the life of Jesus, especially His last week. After this we have a message giving the visitors the plan of salvation. The first night the police and social service workers brought 354 mothers and the second night they brought 98 mothers. The members of IBC also brought many visitors. It is an event where people who normally would not go to a church like ours come and hear the Gospel.
4. RADIO MINISTRY—The Lord has enabled us to get our frequency for the FM station and by the middle of April we began test broadcasting a few hours. By the end of April we were broadcasting 18 hours a day. Gene Sharp is planning to come and bring the station manger of the station in Clyde, Ohio, and two others who will spend about two weeks providing additional training for our workers. Please pray the Lord will use this
ministry. I can’t emphasize enough the potential radio has here because of its importance in the daily life of a large percent of the population here. We are asking the churches here to help with the expenses of operating this non-commercial, non-profit station. I hope they can help with well over the half the monthly expenses of running the station. I am praying others might get involved in this ministry. The biggest cost of running the station each month is the electricity. The US dollar still goes a long way here but electricity is one item that is very costly in Iloilo, which has the highest electricity rate in the Philippines. I read some time ago that if Iloilo City were a country it would have the second highest electricity rate in the world next to Denmark. Please pray that many people will be reached through this ministry.
5. MY MOTHER—Please pray for my mother who recently had a stroke. She is 95 and was very active, living alone and even driving, until the stroke. She is doing better and we are grateful for those who have prayed. I am so grateful for her influence on my life. Also, please pray for one of my brothers-in-law, who has cancer. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for both.
6. PASTOR FRANCISCO ALLEGROS AND PASTOR GLEN PALER—Brother Allegros, who graduated from Iloilo Baptist College 25 years ago, went home to be with the Lord on May 6. He was rushed to a hospital with severe stomach pain and died that night. Pastor Allegros had polio when he was young. He started three churches and trained some men to become pastors. He overcame a physical disability and let God use him. He was a testimony of God’s grace. Brother Paler was killed in a vehicle accident May 9. He has a wife and three month old baby. He graduated from Iloilo Baptist College in 2008 and pastored in Antique, the same area as Pastor Allegros. Mrs. Paler graduated from IBC in 2010. Please pray for the families.
7. T.J.—One of our grandsons just graduated from kindergarten (See photo above). Not long ago I started a game I thought up called, “The King and the Servant.” One day I asked him if he would like to be the king and me the servant. He really, really liked that idea. He sat on the bed while I started working at my desk. Before long, he said in a commanding voice, “Servant, go get me a banana.” I said, “Yes your majesty.” I brought the banana and respectfully presented it to him and went back to work at my desk. A few seconds later he clapped his hands and commanded, “Servant, come over here and peel my banana!” By now I wasn’t too excited to be his servant but said, “Yes your royal highness,” and peeled the banana. I went back to work but a short time later he said in a loud voice, “Servant, come here and peel the banana again. I want another bite.” I said, “OK that’s enough T.J.!” He clapped his hands and shouted, “Guards, guards! Come and feed him to the crocodiles.” His mom and dad have now outlawed that game.
8. BECKY AND I WILL BE CELEBRATING—our 40th wedding anniversary this coming June 3, which is her birthday as well. One of our biggest blessings is friends like you who pray for us and who help this ministry.
Rick & Becky Martin
June 7, 2012
Dear Praying Friends,
On May 15, our son T.J. trusted Christ as his Saviour. Brandie was talking to him before he went to sleep that night and was going through the plan of salvation with him, when he suddenly said, “I don’t want to go to Hell. I need to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart!” It was a sweet moment, and after he prayed he wanted to run next door to tell his grandparents what had happened. We thank the Lord for T.J.’s child-like faith and for answering our prayers that he would be saved at a young age.
Another milestone we’ve reached with T.J. is that he just started kindergarten this week. Our church has a small ACE school for the children of our church staff. He’s been so excited about going to school.
Ava will be 11 months old on August 1. She is a sweetheart who loves to play with her brother, sing songs with her mom, eat, and go outside. Sometimes I take her to staff meeting (pictured below).
At our annual Veterans’ Appreciation Day on May 27, there were 25 World War II veterans in attendance. Many of them brought their relatives and friends. There were also many widows who came. This year we honored six wounded soldiers who are currently serving in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (pictured below). They were hurt while fighting rebel groups. Several of them got saved. There were also military doctors, about 20 police officers, and our regular Sunday morning crowd’s first-time visitors. God blessed this special service in a great way.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support for the Lord’s work here in Iloilo.
Ricky Martin & Family
March 21,2012 was a day I will never forget. It was on a Wednesday; the date scheduled for the graduation of the 31st class of Iloilo Baptist College. I enjoy graduation each year but the Lord gave us an especially good group of fourth year students this year. Before the service we all met and each of them gave a testimony about what God had done in their lives. Their words brought tears to most of those listening including me.
Missionary Mario Genada who is here from Zambia for a short time was our speaker. Before he preached we honored him and his wife Dianah (photo above). Dianah grew up at IBC. When she was a child she rode on one of the jeepneys provided for children whose parents did not attend the church. She received Christ as her Savior and as a teenager became a faithful worker. She surrendered to go to Bible College and by faith made it through with a very good record. After graduation she went out to the mountains to work in the Bible College of Pastor Billy Caalem. It was very different from what she was used to here in the city and she probably wondered why God put her in such a place. Little did she know she would end up in Africa. She married Mario Genada and after a few years on staff at IBC they went to Zambia.
During the next 14 years Dianah only came back to the Philippines once, for 3 months. She could have come more but she sacrificed so her husband could make a few trips back to the Philippines to present his ministry in some of the churches here, as the churches in the Philippines were supporting him. Brother Genada preached a great message on graduation night. He had come to IBC for the first time when his brother graduated in 1988. A priest raised him because his family was so poor. He was saved the night he saw his brother graduate. Four years later, he also graduated from IBC. After the service the graduates divide into small groups around the property to eat and fellowship with their families, classmates, and friends. I make it a point to go to each of these places. The graduates will normally give testimonies to those gathered and then eat. These testimonies are such a blessing to me personally. I was just leaving one of these groups when someone came running up to me and told me that one of our students had blood all over his face and shirt. I immediately thought that a gang had attacked him but within a few moments I found out he had been throwing up a large amount of blood. He was sitting in the back seat of a taxi unconscious. He was rushed to a hospital about ten minutes away.
It happened so fast. The feeling of joy I had been experiencing the whole evening was suddenly changed to grief and crying out to God to help this young man. His name was Joebert and he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He had just finished his third year in Bible College.
Like many Christians their true greatness is often kept secret by their humility until they are gone and their life story unfolds. Joebert fits in this category. He was already known as a good soul winner and for having a good spirit but the days following his death revealed more about his dedication.
Joebert’s father lives on an island about three hours away by bus plus a 45-minute boat ride. We were able to contact Joebert’s pastor and he was able to locate Joebert’s father very late that night. Joebert’s father is a strong Christian. His wife left him 9 years ago and Joebert hadn’t seen his mom since then. Joebert was influenced by his pastor and had a desire for God to use him.
A couple of years before he came to Bible College he got very sick and almost died. The doctor told his father he didn’t know how long he would live. Joebert told his dad not to worry because he was going to go to Bible College and become a pastor. He did get better and came to IBC. He had a good sense humor and was loved by all who knew him.
While he was at school no one had any idea he was sick. One day he told a classmate about his sickness. He said he didn’t want anyone to know because we would ask him to go home if we knew about his condition. He probably had thrown up blood on several occasions without anyone knowing. He was so determined to finish. Two days after his home going we held a memorial service. Before the service we had the entire orchestra play some songs about Jesus and Heaven. Before the service even started the Lord moved our hearts. During the service students and staff members gave testimonies about him.
Here are some things that were said:
I met Joebert in March of 2009; we were recruiting students for Bible College. I talked to his dad about
Joebert going to IBC and he said, “Yes.” He said Joebert had gotten sick before but he said, “God is good. He has a plan for my son. That is why he got well.” From his first year until his death, Joebert never came to me and murmured or complained about anything. Every time I talked to him and asked how he was doing he said, “I want to stay here. I can sacrifice so I can finish my studies. Don’t worry about me. I’m always ok.” He had a burden & passion in his heart to graduate and be a pastor.
Joebert was a humble person and he loved soul winning. We were to make a sermon outline for class and Joebert showed me his and asked, “Do you think it will be a blessing?” The title was, “The Rest of My Life.” Little did we know his life would end so soon. I’m so proud of Joebert because in spite of his illness he continued to serve God.
Not only was Joebert a soul winner, but also he had courage. He would preach the Gospel anytime—anywhere! Joebert would pass out tracts when he rode on a jeepney. He would courageously share the Gospel with drunkards. He always had a smile on his face. Anytime I felt discouraged he would say, “Never turn back in serving God. Just press on no matter what happens.
That night I spoke on Romans 8:28. I said when God took Bob Hughes to Heaven at the height of his ministry at the age of only 43, many surrendered to the mission field, including me. I told the story of how God had a purpose in the lives of John and Betty Stam who were executed by the communists only about one year after they had started their ministry in China. When a memorial service was held at Moody Bible Institute, 700 young people stood indicating that they were willing to take the Stam’s place. Finally I spent awhile telling about the life of a missionary I respect so much, Bill Borden. Bill Borden gave up his fortune as a young man, and died only a short time after leaving for the mission field. He was the missionary who wrote in his Bible the words “No Regrets” shortly before dying in Cairo, Egypt, at the age of 25. His testimony caused many students to surrender their lives to whatever God wanted for them.
Joebert’s funeral was held 11 days later on the island where he lived. His mother came to the funeral and felt much remorse for all she had done. She told the people present she wanted to come back home to her husband and children if they would forgive her. Joebert’s father asked me the day after Joebert died to pray for his wife to return, as he still loved her. At the funeral Joebert’s teenaged sister said she would go to Bible College and take her brother’s place. While it is hard to see a dedicated Christian such as Joebert die at the age of only 22, Romans 8:28 is still true. God has already changed and challenged the hearts of many. Our staff and students were so inspired to learn about his dedication. His family has been reunited. That would probably have never happened if his mother’s heart had not been broken by her sin because of her son’s death.
March 21, 2012 is a day I will never forget. And many of us here will never forget the testimony of Brother Joebert.
News and Prayer Requests
A lot has happened since our last newsletter when I shared some of the opportunities here. We had three services with our Easter Musical. There were about 800 first time visitors in the first service. On that night a police officer received Christ as Savior and made a public profession of faith. In our last prayer letter I mentioned that our local precinct commander was saved. On the first night of our musical he was baptized. The same night a member who is an officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who had taken a short leave from his duty in a very strong communist rebel area, led a soul to Christ. He brought his convert forward and introduced him to the church. It was exciting to see what God did that night. That young man in the army is a strong Christian. He preaches and has led several of the men under his command to the Lord.
Four weeks later on Iloilo Baptist Church’s 34th anniversary the police commander brought about 125 members of the auxiliary police, known as Barangay (Neighborhood) Police Action Team. These are volunteers who help the police in the different neighborhoods in our section of the city. On two occasions the past month the police commander went with a group of our workers into neighborhoods and showed a film on illegal drugs followed by an evangelistic film. It has been an effective way to reach people.
On April 9-11 we had Youth Conference. The preaching was very challenging and about 100 young people surrendered to go to Bible College. The two days following the Youth Conference we had the teenage children of pastors stay so we could have a short camp for them. Brother Mario Genada, our missionary to Zambia, spoke and about 50 of the teens surrendered to go to Bible College. The next week we had a music workshop for workers from different churches in Panay and Negros Islands. The same week we held a Youth Camp in the province of Antique. The next week there were four youth camps held in Northern and Southern Negros Island, Capiz Province, and the Central area of Iloilo Province. Please pray that the decisions made at the different camps will last a lifetime and will have an impact that will affect many people for eternity.
BEAMS BIBLES, along with the help of the Faith Baptist Church of Tacoma, Washington, is shipping a container of 800 boxes for pastors with each box containing Bibles, New Testaments and other items for pastors here in the Philippines. Most of these are distributed to the pastors attending the annual Pastors and Workers Conference held in early October. Others are given to pastors in Manila and also at two conferences held for pastors here in Panay Island. If you would be interested to help with the shipping costs I know it would be a great help to those who have sacrificed to help these dedicated pastors. Beams Bibles has shipped Bibles to over 130 countries and helped thousands of pastors and missionaries around the world. You can send gifts to any of the following:
Beams Bibles Faith Baptist Church Baptist International Missions Inc.
PO Box 10200 5714 NE 29th St PO Box 9215
Gulfport, MS 39505 Tacoma, WA 98422 Chattanooga, TN 37412
Lastly I want to thank you for standing behind this ministry in your prayers. We know you have burdens yourselves, and we are so grateful for you who are praying for the Lord to bless His work here.
Sincerely in Christ,