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.
Ricky Martin with Brandie, T.J. & Ava