Tue

21

Jul

2015

Rick & Becky's JULY-AUGUST 2015 Prayer letter

Some of the pastors who have Bible Colleges; Shem Barena & Leomar Villacampa are 5th & 6th from right
Some of the pastors who have Bible Colleges; Shem Barena & Leomar Villacampa are 5th & 6th from right
Dear Friends,
 
In this report we want to share the stories of two pastors who God is using to train pastors. 
Shem Barena was saved at the age of 12, and surrendered his life to God that same day.  Several years later a student of Iloilo Baptist College named Rex Galfo (now a missionary in Indonesia), visited the Barena home and told Shem about Iloilo Baptist College and the things he could accomplish for God there.  An intense desire to serve God grew in Shem’s heart and he came to Bible school.  He told us he immediately noticed the church carried a burden for the lost—not only in Iloilo City—but also for the world.  He loved the motto, “The church with a heart for everyone,” so he got involved with the different ministries.  He was active in the school ministry, prison ministry, extension Bible classes on Saturdays, held for children in the slums, and he had a jeepney route to bring people to church.  He said he really benefitted from being involved in those ministries because when he started his own church, he also started those same ministries.

Shem went through some tough times financially.  He worked hard and sacrificed much.  He drove a tri-sikad (bike with side card used as a taxi) during times between his classes and ministries.
Brother Shem was well prepared when he graduated in 1994 because of the struggles he endured in Bible College.  He started Grace Baptist Church in Tabu Ilog, Negros, and it grew rapidly.  Like many graduates, Brother Shem started his church under some trees.  
 
About two years after starting his church Brother Barena became very ill.  His doctor thought his kidneys were failing.  It got so bad that everyone thought he would die.  Brother Barena thought so too.  We waited for news of his death but God had other plans.  Some believe Brother Barena’s doctor simply made a wrong diagnoses.  We believe however, that God answered prayer and healed him!  Brother Barena says he has learned that trials make you stronger.  He started a Bible Institute to train several married men for the ministry.  After three years his first graduate, Jerry Filizardo, started a church!  By God’s grace, within a few years, Brother Barena and his men started five churches on Negros Island.  Pastor Jerry also started a Bible Institute.  In 2001 Brother Filizardo was thrilled as he had his first graduation with two graduates going into the ministry.  
 
In 2005 Brother Barena started a full time Bible school for young people.  The Lord has blessed the school.  His goal is to see these young people go out and start churches like the married men in his Bible Institute.  It was a blessing this past March to have Brother Barena as our speaker at the 34th Commencement exercises of Iloilo Baptist College.
Children brought to Pastor Villacampa's church by Bible College students
Children brought to Pastor Villacampa's church by Bible College students
One of the married men Brother Barena trained is Leomar Villacampa.  After he graduated he went to the island of Mindanao to help a pastor for a while.  Here is his testimony:
 “Mindanao is noted as the land of terrorists like the Abu Sayaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  When I went there I met a faithful servant of God, over 60 years old, named Pastor Galfo Tellano.  We worked with him for six years.  Pastor Tellano received many threats but he would just continue on doing God’s work, regardless.  On November 19, 2003, Pastor Tellano preached his last message on I Corinthians chapter 7.  It was the midweek service.  Suddenly, a man ran up to Pastor Tellano and shot him in the head.  My wife and two sons and all the other members sat in stunned disbelief.  Blood was everywhere.  The assassin ran out and two church members ran after him.  He was never found.  Meanwhile we brought our beloved Pastor to the hospital, but he was already dead.  For many days our family didn’t leave our house.  We were experiencing great trauma from this brutal and senseless killing of a wonderful man of God.  The NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) told us the group responsible for the murder was planning to kill others in Brother Tellano’s group, especially his successor—which was me.  They strongly advised me and my family to leave the area as we would not be safe there.”
Elsa Gamuza teaches children at her Extension Bible Class
Elsa Gamuza teaches children at her Extension Bible Class
Through several seemingly miraculous events, the Lord led Pastor Villacampa to start a church in Guimaras Island.  He was greatly burdened for this place he described as “wholly given to pagan worship.”  It is famous for the fact that they actually crucify people during Easter, and people come from around the world to see it.  He began training men to be pastors in his nighttime Bible Institute.  
 
Two years ago Brother Villacampa started a Bible College for young people.  The Lord has blessed this school.  One thing I like about these Bible schools is their emphasis on practical ministries for the students.  Here is a testimony of one of Pastor Villacampa’s students:
 
“I am Elsa Gamuza of Alaguisoc, Jordan, Guimaras.  My family were devoted Roman Catholics.  We performed every ritual but God didn’t like for my family to stay that way.  He used someone from a Baptist Church that taught us the plan of salvation.  I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I know I am saved and I am saved to serve.  God has an assignment for me that cannot be done by anyone else.  I don’t want to just be saved—I want to be HIS servant.  I enrolled at Faith Community Baptist Institute of Jordan, Guimaras under the leadership of Pastor Leomar Villacampa.  When my family and friends knew I enrolled they started to deride me.  I heard insulting words and they scorned me.  But God said in HIS Word “My grace is sufficient for me.”  He is our refuge, a very present help in trouble.  Now I am still in Bible school.  I teach the extension Bible Classes.  I teach the children every Saturday and bring them to church on Sunday.  I am happy seeing people getting saved and growing in Christ!”
 
Please continue to pray for the pastors here in the Philippines who are sacrificially serving the Lord to reach people with the Gospel.
NEWS & PRAYER REQUESTS

This past summer was full of camps and other activities.  One of the encouraging developments is that quite a few graduates are organizing their own camps.  This includes many of the pastors who have Bible colleges.  In the past year three more graduates have started Bible colleges including Dennis Dialing in Mindanao, Leo Gardosa in Negros, and Lamberto Delgado in Capiz Province. 
This past May 24th our church had its annual day for honoring veterans and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  Three soldiers who have been killed in action in recent years were honored and remembered.  Their families were here and were honored and thanked as well.  About 50 members of the Philippine Army attended, and 13 soldiers who had been wounded were recognized and honored.  About 30 veterans were honored including six who were 90 years old or older—they had served in World War II.  During that war, 1,421 men died fighting the Japanese on our island.  Several soldiers received Christ as Savior along with the wife of one of the soldiers who died.  13 police officers also attended.  The person who helped us start this day was a W.W. II veteran and now an American citizen, Ricardo Hechanova.

Ricardo Hechanova was taken as a prisoner of war while he was fighting and taken to the camp where the survivors of the Bataan death march stayed.  He became the officer in charge of burial duty and planned the burials and kept the records of all who were buried.  He says he buried about 6,000 Americans and 20,000 Filipinos.  He said the most he ever buried in one day was 496 soldiers.  He felt so sorry for the young American soldiers he buried who died so far away from home, defending the freedom of another country.  He claimed it was very hard on the soldiers who helped with the burials.  They could hardly keep up with the work of digging the graves so they would dig very long trenches and then bury the soldiers, covering them up with a very thin layer of dirt.  The next day they would continue to put bodies on top of them.  At first the dogs would come out at night and try to dig up bodies.  The Japanese allowed them to post guards to keep the dogs away.  
 
Mr. Hechanova would stay up at night in his little hut with a candle.  He would try to accurately write down the details of the men he buried.  One night he said it was raining and he heard someone banging on the door.  He thought it must have been the Japanese but when he held the candle up he saw it was a solider covered in mud.  The soldier acted like he was crazy.  He had been buried alive.  When it rained he woke up.  There were no doctors who would pronounce the soldiers dead and they just assumed a soldier was dead and buried them.  It’s sad to hear these stories and what these men had to go through.  They deserve to be honored.  
 
In closing let us say “Thank you!” for helping this ministry and praying for us.  We are very grateful!
Ricardo Hechanova--who buried 26,000 men in W.W. 2
Ricardo Hechanova--who buried 26,000 men in W.W. 2
Sincerely in Christ,
 
Rick & Becky Martin
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Thu

21

Aug

2014

Ricky & Brandie's August 2014 Prayer letter

Dad meeting new student arrivals that found out about our Bible college on the college Facebook page
Dad meeting new student arrivals that found out about our Bible college on the college Facebook page

August 4, 2014

 

Dear Praying Friends,

 

Our 2014-2015 school year has begun! We are excited about the many new students who have enrolled in our Bible college this year. Please pray for them as they seek God’s will for their lives and future ministries.


We enjoyed having my mother-in-law visit for a couple of weeks in June. This month marks 10 years that Brandie and I have been serving here with my parents in Iloilo. God has been so good to us. Our daughter, Ava just turned 3 last week. What a joy she is to us! TJ is doing well in school and has started helping out more with jobs around the house.

TJ & Ava at her Birthday Party
TJ & Ava at her Birthday Party

Thank you for all the birthday cards and wishes sent for my wife and daughter in recent days.

We appreciate you all so much!

 

Our church also recently held it’s annual missions- conference, where countries from each continent/region were represented in the International Market. Our staff and students worked hard at making displays and costumes from around the world to bring missions to life for our church members. What a great week we had! To see pictures from our conference, you can look on my wife’s Facebook page.

A Bible college student witnessing to teen visitors
A Bible college student witnessing to teen visitors
 An assistant pastor baptizing a new convert at IBC.
An assistant pastor baptizing a new convert at IBC.

A Testimony From Pastor Roger Falco

I’m Pastor Roger Falco. Because my parents were farmers, we were poor, but we (my three brothers and I) survived. Someone from Iloilo Baptist College visited us, told us about the school, and asked if I want to study there. But before that, they told me about the Word of God, and I was saved. After one week I decided to go with them to the college. My place is very far from Iloilo; it takes three days by boat to reach Iloilo. When we arrived in Iloilo, there was a youth conference in the church. I was blessed by the message of the speaker and was encouraged to serve the Lord.

          

Life in Bible school was very exciting, and I felt more privileged, because I understood the life of surrender to the Lord. During my first two years, I accompanied the older students to conduct outreach ministries. Later I had my own ministry to handle, and I was very excited even though my stomach was empty. I experienced some hardships because my parents were trying to stop me from finishing Bible school, but still I continued. I graduated in 1998 from Iloilo Baptist College under the ministry of Pastor Rick Martin. I’m so thankful to the Martins.

I was married to Ailen Francisco in 1999—a little adjustment, but thank God I survived. After that God gave us a little boy we named His Roly John, and after this God gave us another child. We have a happy home. And after the birth of my two kids, God put us into His ministry at Brgy. Agdahon, Cuatero, Capiz. God blessed His work in spite of many circumstances. We had trials, such as health problems, financial problems, and other hardships. God allowed us to extend His ministry at Barangay Kalapasan, Dumarao, Capiz. We are enjoying the ministry of the Lord, because we know that God still provides our needs.

A Testimony From a Member of Pastor Falco’s Church

I’m Merlina Hallegado, a resident of Dumarao, Capiz. We are farmers. We are not rich and we are not so poor we can eat three times a day. I was a person of many vices and I hated persond who tried to make me stop my vices. One time unexpectedly, there was someone who introduced a Bible lesson to me but the requirement was is to attend a home Bible study not so far from my house. I was disgusted at first and ignored because l'm not interested about the lesson and the Bible whom they introduce but some other time they invited me again. They were a group of Baptists led by their pastor, Roger Falco. Not to discourage them again, I decided to attend the home Bible study. From the moment that Pastor Roger Falco delivered a message of salvation, I was guilty of my wrong doing and I realized that I was a sinner that needs to repent, and the penalty of sin is Hell, and the way to escape is Jesus Christ. But before I make a real decision there was so many obstacles in my mind- my vices and the ways of my life. If I receive Christ my vices will be gone. But things to ponder in my mind, Hell is my punishment because of sin. Heaven is my eternal home if I receive Jesus Christ, so I made a real decision to receive Jesus Christ as my personal savior.”

For details how to support a pastor like Roger Falco, visit www.globalbaptist.net

 

In Christ,

 

Ricky Martin & Family

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