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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