Tue

27

May

2014

Ricky & Brandie's May- June 2014 Prayer Letter

 

May 27, 2014

 

Dear Praying Friends,

We always start our letter that way. It’s a blessing to know that we really do have “praying friends”. Two months have passed since we wrote our last update, and being that it’s summertime here, we have been busy with many activities and events. Here’s a breakdown of what has been going on in our family and at Iloilo Baptist Church & College:


In April, T.J. finished his second-grade school year and received a trophy for his effort and excellent grades. Our church choir and orchestra performed a wonderful Easter musical and drama, where many people were saved as a result. We also had our 26th Annual Youth Conference and had the privilege to host Pastor Joel Byram and some of the members of Open Door Baptist Church in Washington. We also had several youth camps throughout our region, and many surrendered their lives to full-time Christian service. Our staff and students have been working hard to recruit more students for our Bible college.

During the month of May, Brandie overheard T.J. witnessing to Ava. It was a sweet moment, and we are thankful that TJ is starting to understand the importance of sharing the Gospel. We explained to him that Ava doesn’t quite understand everything yet, but he insisted that she needs to go up to Heaven with Jesus and Papa (Brandie’s dad)!

We received word that one of our missionaries in Uganda, Bro. Josue Satnuero, needed to have emergency surgery on his appendix. He is doing well now, and we thank God for those who knew about it and prayed for him. That same week, one of our young Bible students suddenly passed away. Neil Sabando (pictured above) was just 19 years old but went to Heaven with an outstanding Christian testimony. He was a great soul winner and brought people to church every service. Please keep his family and friends in your prayers. 

T.J.  participated in Vacation Bible School and had a great time. He won a ribbon for “Most Neat & Clean.” Ironically, he had fallen in some mud, not once, but twice that week! Ava joined in the fun on the last day and even got up on stage to sing with the other two- and three- year-olds. 

Ava & friends singing at VBS
Ava & friends singing at VBS

On May 18, Brandie spoke at her monthly Ladies’ Fellowship. We also had a Filipino Missionary to Cambodia in our morning services, Pastor Tom Lemmons was here for the weekend, along with his son, Dylan, from Lighthouse Baptist Church in Montana.

 

Last Sunday, May 25, we held our annual WWII Veterans/ Armed Forces of the Philippines Appreciation Day. We honored the life of a young soldier who died last year. His parents attended, and we presented them with a plaque. His father has also been in the military for 27 years. It was a special day, as the number of WWII veterans who are able to attend gets smaller with each passing year.

 

Well, I told you we’ve had a busy summer! Our school year will begin in just a few short days. We appreciate your sacrificial support and prayers for the ministry here in Iloilo. God has been and continues to be so good to us! Many pictures of the events I mentioned in this letter can be found on my wife’s Facebook page, but we’ve included some here as well.

PRAISE: We are excited that after almost 10 years on the mission field, Brandie’s mom, Lisa Lee, will be visiting us here in Iloilo in mid-June for 2 weeks. This really is a dream come true for my wife. Pray for her safe trip, as she has never travelled overseas.

 

In Christ,

 

Ricky & Brandie Martin with T.J. & Ava

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Fri

02

May

2014

Rick & Becky's May-June 2014 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,
 
Recently we had our annual “Family Day” at Iloilo Baptist Church.  One of the families that attended was the Cayanan family.  During the invitation one of the workers witnessed to Jose, the father.  After receiving Christ as Savior he walked to the front of the church to let people know what he had done.  After the service the church prepared food for all the first-time visiting families.  Jose said he didn’t want to eat but would rather help our workers serve the others.  He stayed until almost everyone had gone home.  Four days later someone came up from behind him and shot him.  The killer was a drug dealer who suspected Jose of reporting some of his illegal activities to the police.  Today Jose is in Heaven because someone brought him to Family Day.  His wife came to church the following Sunday and showed me the picture (above) of their family.  We had taken family pictures on Family Day and she said it was the last picture she had of him. Please pray for this family.
Soul-winning during Family Day
Soul-winning during Family Day
In early March we had Firefighter Appreciation Night.  More than 120 firefighters attended along with our City Fire Marshal.  A firefighter who died recently was honored and remembered.  His wife attended the service.  She is the one (see photo) holding the plaque with the Philippine flag.
Recently a fire destroyed nine houses in our city.  Our church gave food, clothing and other items including metal roofing for them.  A 9-year-old boy tragically died in the fire.  The church helped the family with part of the funeral arrangements.  The mom and dad both received Christ as their Savior and have visited the church several times along with most of the other families.

        The pastors and churches that were affected by the typhoon last November are doing much better due to God’s grace and the generosity of many churches and individuals.  As I’ve stated numerous times before, we are so grateful to so many who have sacrificed so much.  At the alumni meeting in April (which coincides with our youth conference) at least 133 of the 163 pastors who lost their parsonages attended.  In the pictures below you can see the three groups of pastors from the northern part of our island that were helped at the conference.

        Members of the four families who lost loved one after the typhoon attended the alumni meeting.  In the picture below you can see three of them holding up some of the letters of encouragement they received from a church in Pennsylvania.  The photo shows: 1) Sonico Ayo, brother of Leodivico Ayo; 2) Mrs. Balajadia, wife of Pastor Marcello Balajadia; and 3) Artiem Herida, who lost his wife soon after the typhoon.  Ruel Abellano who lost his 15-year-old son recently, was also there.

        Churches are being rebuilt.  Pastor Marlon Cahigas’s church (see photo above) is located by the seashore on an island that was devastated by the storm. 

        123 churches are being rebuilt and the members of these churches are very grateful—as you can see by this sign being held up by the children of this church in the picture.

It is summertime here in Iloilo and we are in the middle of the summer camps.  There are six weeks of youth camps and they are spread out over the islands of Panay and Negros.  These camps are organized by Iloilo Baptist Church.  There are several graduates that also organize camps.  Camps are great for young people as they can get away from their regular environment and they are able to make decisions about their spiritual lives away from the pressures of the world.  There are also several camps for children, a camp for married couples, singles, widows, the elderly, deaf, blind, educable slow, and street children.  There are also youth camps for the children of pastors.  These are held in five different locations.  Please pray for these camps.
We have had the three nights of our Easter Musical.  On two of the nights we work hard to get unbelievers here.  A lot of people who normally wouldn’t ever visit a church like IBC will come to something like this.  We always have preaching about salvation and the Lord blessed again this year as many people accepted Christ as Savior. 
The last week of April is a time when the church celebrates its anniversary.  This year is IBC’s 36thbirthday.  On Sunday night during Anniversary Day we had “Old Fashioned Night,” and it is a very unique service.
At the end of May we will honor the veterans of World War II and also active and retired military from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  This is the 9th year we have done this.  We had a neighbor who was a veteran of WW II and retired as a colonel.  For about 25 years we invited him to church and tried to witness to him.  He was a good neighbor, and he was good to our church but he didn’t respond to the Gospel.  Finally when we started having Veteran’s Day he decided to come.  He liked the fact that our church showed its appreciation for veterans.  It opened up his heart and he received Christ as his Savior.  We were so excited.  The Lord knew it was his last chance to get saved as he died a few months later.
In May we’re celebrating the first anniversary of the radio station, The Anchor.  The Lord has blessed this ministry and we believe it will continue to be used to reach people for Christ and help in the growth of Christians who listen.  In our next prayer letter I plan to write more about the radio ministry.
The Lord also blessed the annual youth conference.  We asked several pastors who lost their parsonages and/or churches in the typhoon last November to come and preach to the teenagers.  Brother Ruel Abellano, whose 14-year-old son died not long after the typhoon, was one of the speakers.  These speakers were especially effective as they challenged the young people to put things that are eternal, not temporal, first in their lives.  It was my favorite of all the youth conferences we have had.   At each service an invitation was held for young people.  On the last night a large group of young people surrendered their lives to become future pastors and Christian workers.
In the picture above you can see the many young people making public commitments.  It was so encouraging for me to see so many teenagers surrender their lives to God.
 
Sincerely in Christ,
 
Rick Martin
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