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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