Wed

23

Sep

2015

Rick & Becky Martin SEPT.-OCT. 2015 Prayer letter

Anniversary service of Pastor Ajito's church
Anniversary service of Pastor Ajito's church
Dear Friends,
 
In previous prayer letters we have written about some of the graduates of Iloilo Baptist College who have started Bible colleges and who have a vision to train young men to start churches.  Each has his own story.  Here is the story of Ernelito Ajito in his own words.  He received Christ as his Savior at Iloilo Baptist Church in July of 1978, not long after IBC was started.
“In my second grade, our mother required us to attend mass on Sunday, perhaps through the influence of my grandmother, a devoted Catholic.  I had to attend the processions (parade) with the images, especially during Holy Week, and especially Good Friday.  From 1974-76, I was an altar boy in the Catholic Church.  I did whatever the priest did.  I had the mass memorized; the order and the words that the priest used is repeated thousands of times.  I knew the brand of cigarette the priest used because as I stood beside him every mass, I could smell his breath!  If he was drunk from the night before, I knew it!
“In my 6th grade, Saint Vincent Ferrer Seminary (school for priests) presented to our class a priesthood vocation.  They distributed brochures and forms.  I told my parents about it.  My grandmother was so excited.  Maybe she was thinking, ‘At last I have a priest for a grandson!’
“I prayed the Rosary every night before I slept.  Every Monday, during school, I was requested by our teacher to lead the class in Rosary.  I had my Crucifix and Rosary.  I kissed my Crucifix every night.  I’d hang it on the window in my room; so evil spirits could not enter.  For two years, every vacation time, I would go to Santa Barbara and stay in the convent and work with the priest.  I assisted the mass ten or more times a week, not including baptisms, weddings, and burials.  I thought being good, praying the Rosary everyday, kissing the priest’s arms, kissing the images, taking communion regularly, making the sign of the cross as often as possible, and other rituals, could take me to Heaven.
“Several years later, when I was in my second year of high school, along came these new Baptists to our neighborhood, inviting children to church.  Many of my friends and cousins, and even my brother and sister went, but I did not.  Then my mom started attending.  Then my dad started attending.  But I insisted on being a Catholic.  Every time those Baptist would come to our house, I would run away.  I didn’t want them to invite me to church.  My mom kept persistently inviting me to church.  Sometimes she got mad at me.  Sometimes she preached to me.  She preached to my uncle who was staying at our house.  He got so mad he moved out!  My mom had a great burden for me.
“On July 9, 1978, I finally attended Iloilo Baptist Church.  I sat by my brother, Rodelo.  I don’t recall what happened in the service, except that it was an American that preached.  My mind was on the basketball game going on in the street next to the church.  When the invitation came, one of the workers in the church came to us and asked if we wanted to receive Christ into our hearts.  We said, ‘yes.’  He led us inside the house (at that time the church met on the large porch outside the house).  I was thinking, ‘What kind of church is this?’  There was a bamboo fence and chalkboard on the ‘platform’ behind the preacher! After the man went through the plan of salvation, we bowed our heads and asked Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and forgive our sins and take us to Heaven when we died.  One week later we were baptized.”
 
God began to use Ernelito and while he was in his 3rd year of college (taking an engineering course), he believed the Lord wanted him to go to Bible College and train for the ministry.  He enrolled at IBC and graduated in 1985.  By 1990, he was the Youth Director of Iloilo Baptist Church!
The staff of Iloilo Baptist Church has responsibilities in the Bible College.  Brother Ajito was very productive and responsible in the different facets of the Bible College.  He served in that capacity for 15 years and then started a church in 2005.  Over two years ago he started a Bible College and the Lord is blessing it.  His church recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and had a special day.  The Lord blessed the efforts of his workers and many souls came to the Lord.  His Bible College is now in its third year.  Please pray for Brother Ajito that the graduates of his school will start many churches in the coming years.
One of Pastor Ajito's Bible college students teaching a Bible lesson in a public school
One of Pastor Ajito's Bible college students teaching a Bible lesson in a public school
Missionary Mario and Dianah Genada were back in the Philippines for a few months from Zambia, Africa.  They have served there for 17 years.  Two of their children, Precious and Paul, have enrolled in Iloilo Baptist College.  Becky and I know firsthand how hard it will be for Brother Mario and Dianah to leave their children behind as they go back to the mission field.  Brother Genada has a vision to send graduates of his Bible College into other African countries.  
One of his graduates, Levi Siachetima, started a church in Zambia.  I visited that church in 2010.  Brother Levi is going out as the first foreign missionary from Brother Genada’s church.  Brother Levi is on deputation for the country of Botswana.  Brother Mario says in a few years he expects Brother Levi to start a Bible school in Botswana and train men to start churches.  Below you can see a picture Bro. Levi and me in front of his parsonage.  Like the church, the walls were made of mud.  When it rained the walls would wash away and they’d have to replace the mud.  He later built a larger, more permanent structure.  He and his church members made their own cement blocks and baked them in the hot African sun.  While I was speaking in his church, Precious and her mom and the two twins were outside with the children.  Brother Levi’s church was located near the Zambezi River.
Another graduate of Brother Genada’s is planning to go to Namibia.  His name is Canul Mukubesa.  He will be starting his deputation later this year Lord willing.  He is also planning on starting a Bible college someday.  Most churches in Africa don’t have a vision to send out missionaries to other countries so much but there are big advantages as they can go to nearby countries in Africa where the cost of travel is not such a big factor.  Also they don’t have to deal with security problems like Americans (and even Asians such as the Genadas).  Africans can save a lot in several areas.
Brother Genada is also targeting the country of Zimbabwe where there are no American missionaries.  The dictator Mugabe rules it but they do have some religious freedom.  They will allow Zambians to go there.  Brother Genada is praying some of his men will go there.
Another of Brother Genada’s graduates is Pastor Richard Wena.  He is starting a Bible College.  Please pray for him and please pray that more laborers might be trained to reach the towns and villages.  
Missionary Josue Satunero and his wife Renelyn, who have served 14 years in Uganda, Africa, are also back in the Philippines with their two children, Elgin and Lemuel, for a few months.  Brother Satunero also has a vision to send some of his graduates to other African countries as missionaries.  Presently he is trying to help three of his graduates who are trying to get into South Sudan.  Please pray for them.
Pastor Levi Siachetima and me in 2010
Pastor Levi Siachetima and me in 2010
Both of these missionary families were at our Missions Conference this past July.  The theme was about Africa and we had 10 choirs with each choir singing a song in an African language.  The songs were in two languages spoken in Zambian and two languages spoken in Ugandan.  It was a lot of fun.
There were also 10 “African Markets” representing different African countries.  Each had an “African Family” (our Bible students and children of our staff) in costume.  During the services a couple of these “families” would come to the front and sing the “Welcome Song.”  Everyone enjoyed that.
We had a “Standing Offering” during our mission conference.  Everyone in the church comes forward and gives their offering personally to the missionary family.  We had Brother Mario Genada’s family and Brother Josue Satunero’s family standing at the front.  I asked our church if I could also stand in front of the church and get an offering since I was a missionary.  They thought that was funny.  The people gave a lot.  One picture shows one of our widow ladies, who everyone calls “Nanay Sita,” giving her offering.  She is 78 years old and is constantly bringing visitors to church and has seen a lot of people saved as a result.  She is physically very poor but spiritually very rich.  She sells charcoal in plastic bags to support herself and a couple of others in her family.  Like the story of the “Widow’s Mite” in the Bible, she is one of our biggest givers (if not THE biggest giver!)  She is greatly loved and respected in our church.
The 35th annual Pastors & Workers Conference will be held the second week of October.  Please pray for this meeting.
My mother turned 98 years old in July!  I’m so grateful for such a godly mother!
In closing Becky and I would like to thank you for your prayers and sacrificial giving for the Lord’s ministry here in the Philippines!

Sincerely in Christ,

Rick & Becky Martin
                                                                                                                                                                
PS: My sweet mother went home to be with the Lord September 12th.  I hope to write a little about what a godly Christian pastor’s wife & mom she was in our next prayer letter.
Nanay Sita shaking hands with Missionary Dianah Genada during the standing offering
Nanay Sita shaking hands with Missionary Dianah Genada during the standing offering
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Sun

07

Sep

2014

Rick & Becky's September-October 2014 letter

Remia
Remia

September 7, 2014

 

Dear Friends,

 

I’ve asked my wife Becky to write something for this prayer letter:

 

My husband asked me to write about the routes I work on for our church.  The one close to the church, back by the river, is walking distance.  It’s the one I’ve worked on ever since we arrived here in 1977.  Now I’m bringing kids and in some cases, grandkids, of those kids I brought so long ago.  Several of those parents are faithful to church also.  Below is a picture of Remia with some of her kids, nieces and nephews, and grandkids.  37 years ago she started coming to church with me.  One day her stepdad accidentally poured boiling water on her back (she was playing under the window and he didn’t know it).  They were too poor to take her to the hospital.  Several days later when I found out about it I took her to the hospital.  She’s still faithful and brings lots of children to our Junior Church.    

Loren and Nico
Loren and Nico

A couple of years ago a lady knocked on my door early Sunday morning, while I was getting ready to go out on the route to bring the children to church.  She was holding her little boy, not quite two years old and she was crying.  Her son was sick and she asked me for medicine.  It was sprinkling so I gave her my umbrella and some money so she could take him to the doctor.  She said, “Ma’am, do you remember me?  I am Loren.  I used to come to church here when I was little.”  I told her she needed to come back and bring her little boy as well.  From then on, every Sunday, she and her little boy, Nico, were here.  (See picture above)

A year passed and we were having our Family Day that we have each year.  I urged her to bring her husband and she did.  We were thrilled that he got saved that morning, especially since he left the next day for a job on the island of Mindanao.  I gave him a Bible and told him to try to find a Baptist Church in the place where he was staying.

One day some landowners demolished this lady’s house, along with others on my route who were squatters.   The government moved these people to a relocation site.  As the crow flies, it’s not far, but the transportation is somewhat of a problem getting there.  It’s across the river, so you have to walk a footbridge, then down a long road, then take a jeepney to our church.  I told Loren to keep coming and I’d pay her fare every week.  She has been faithful.

This past February we had our Family Day again.  I urged Loren to bring as many people as she could from her new neighborhood.  I was already working on two other routes so I didn’t have time to go there myself.  I gave her money to rent a jeepney.  That Sunday morning she showed up with 13 families!  She was so excited and so was I!  Her husband, Ruben, had returned from Mindanao.  Our son Ricky took the five men Loren brought into his house, led them to Christ, and gave them each a New Testament.  I led the 11 mothers to Christ and gave them a New Testament as well and invited them back the following week.

We have been going there to pick these precious families up now for several months.  I turned one of my other routes (in Tanza near the ocean) over to Mary Ann, a newly graduated Bible student (now staff) who’s been working on the route with me for the past five years.  I go out at 7:30 a.m. and bring the children off my other route near the river, to Junior Church.  Then after Junior Church is over we take a jeep to the relocation site to get the new families (this is during our Sunday School hour) and arrive about halfway through Sunday school, then they stay for the morning service afterwards. 

Loren’s dad became very ill and was sent to the government hospital.  Only the poorest people go there.  It breaks my heart every time I go there.  I went to visit him with some of our workers and Loren’s dad got saved.  He needed a respirator but Loren and Ruben couldn’t afford it—it cost P4,000 (pesos) per day, which is almost $100 (U.S. dollars) daily.  So you know what they did?  Loren and Ruben, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sat by his bed and hand-pumped air into his lungs.  Loren sometimes does odd jobs like washing people’s clothes for a living, and Ruben drives a tri-sikad.  They barely make enough to exist so of course, since they were in the hospital taking care of Loren’s dad, they could not work.  Nico was left with relatives.  They were pretty desperate.  I helped them a little with groceries and medicines.  My heart ached for them.  Finally her dad was well enough to bring home.  Rick and I visited him that Saturday but late Sunday night, he passed away.  I am so glad he had gotten saved and he is now in Heaven!

I don’t know how to describe the “relocation site” in San Isidro, where Loren and Ruben live, along with the other families we pick up.  The people on the other route I have been working on for the past five years in Tanza, are extremely poor.  They work for fishermen or the men who buy and sell fish.  However the people in the relocation site are just as poor, if not poorer, than those in Tanza.  The police told Rick that they have a huge drug/crime problem in relocation sites.  The families live in tiny shacks.  There is no running water.     



 “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in HIS sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
“Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in HIS sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
Iloilo Baptist Church sponsored a feeding at the school where our orchestra played
Iloilo Baptist Church sponsored a feeding at the school where our orchestra played

In fact, over 60 families in Loren’s section stand in line each day with buckets to have their turn at the hand pump at the well.  They also share a community bathroom.  Now that we’re in our rainy season, we’ve had typhoons and floods, and the sewer water seeps into the well water.  Needless to say people there are sick all the time. It’ssad to see pitiful babies covered in boils and vomiting worms.  Although their living conditions are heartbreaking, our main goal of course, is to tell them about Jesus Christ.  I love seeing their faces light up when we pull up in the jeepney to take them to church!  You can tell it is the highlight of their week.  I wish we had a thousand jeepneys and a thousand workers to bring these people to church—not practical, I know.  We do have many Bible students and church members who go out each Saturday morning and have neighborhood Bible classes for the children.  Many go throughout the week and have Bible studies in the homes, and many go out to the public schools and teach the Word of God. I thank God for my husband, our church, and our workers who have such a burden to reach the lost.

 

My husband took our orchestra to an elementary school (another school nearby also came) on my route several weeks ago but the weather got so bad they had to reschedule.  They did have a chance to have a “feeding” for the children though, and the new police precinct commander was there to help (see picture above).  A few weeks ago Rick and the orchestra went back to play at the school and God blessed with good weather.  The Gospel was presented and many children were saved (see pictures below).  These kind of events help soften the hearts of people when our workers go into these areas. 

“The Anchor” staff
“The Anchor” staff

RADIO STATION UPDATE

 

It has been 15 months since the radio station, “The Anchor,” began.  It seems like the listening audience has increased although at this point we haven’t done any research except for the feedback we are getting from in and around Iloilo City.  The Lord is using “The Anchor” to reach people who need Christ.  I asked our workers at the station to write some testimonies. 

 

Here are a few of them:

Jaclin Tupaz wrote: “Rose, who lives in Lapaz, is 41 years old.  She and her husband have four sons.  Her husband has been ill for many years.  She told me she has been listening to The Anchor since December 2013, which her neighbor had told her about.  She said she ignored the preaching but she liked to listen to the music.  One day in April, she was listening to the radio.  That day her husband had really been suffering with his illness when the announcer said he was going to speak on the subject, “The Sudden Death.”  She started to listen and tears began to roll down her face.  She didn’t want to lose her husband.  After the message she received Jesus Christ as her Savior.  She sent us a text, thanking us for our program.” 

Alma Talaman wrote: “On Monday afternoon, January 26, one of our high school church members brought her classmates from Iloilo City National High School.  She asked if they could have a tour of the radio station.  Afterwards, I was privileged to share the Gospel with them.  Seven of them accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior!” 

Richard Lontoc shared the following:  “Jean and her husband both drive a motorized tricycle (used like a taxi) to support their family.  They are very poor.  One day she heard about our radio station and later that night she listened to The Anchor for the first time.  She was listening to the “Favorite Requests” program.  In the middle of the program, I gave a short message about salvation and gave an invitation.  I announced that if anyone made a decision to accept Jesus as their Savior, they could text us and tell us they got saved.  A few minutes later, Jean sent a text, saying she got saved and she thanked us for sharing the salvation message.”


One day in late July we had a six-hour power outage.  When the power came back the transmitter did not operate properly.  We called Gene Sharp of Independent Baptist Media who helped us start the station, and he was very helpful in trouble-shooting the problem.  It looked like we were going to need him to come over and bring an expensive part to fix the transmitter.  Brother Sharp called the manufacturer and Ricky was able to download some software and after many hours of working on it, our prayers were answered.  We all thanked God for this.  The station was off the air for 33 hours.  

We are praying about getting a back-up transmitter and a very good battery that would help us keep on the air during a power outage for about 24 hours.  It would also help during a power surge when the electricity comes back on.

There are 10 staff (see photo below) of Iloilo Baptist Church who operate the station and all have worked hard and have been responsible.  Over 100 Ilonggo (our dialect) songs have been recorded and this has been helpful.  We need some additional training for our broadcasters.

There are four live programs every week totaling 36½ hours.  The license is still being processed and we keep praying it will be approved soon.  We have had only positive feedback from the government officials involved in this.  Please pray for this.

Finally, we wanted to thank so many of you who have prayed or given for this ministry.  The members of Iloilo Baptist Church and other churches here are taking care of about 75% of the regular operation expenses and we are thankful the Christians here are helping. 

At our mission conference in July we had "markets" representing different countries & our students dressed in costumes.  Notice the little "Zambian" is our grandson, T.J.
At our mission conference in July we had "markets" representing different countries & our students dressed in costumes. Notice the little "Zambian" is our grandson, T.J.

Sincerely in Christ,

 

Rick & Becky Martin

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