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
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Rick & Becky Martin Nov:Dec 2014 Prayer
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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
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