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