In this prayer letter I want to give you some news about the Bible Colleges started in the Philippines by the graduates of Iloilo Baptist College. The Lord has blessed the vision and determination of the men who are training men (and ladies who serve the Lord) to start churches.
There are 15 schools started by the graduates of IBC and three more by men trained by IBC graduates. In the past two years the Lord has provided a way to build dorms for most of the schools and provided work programs for all of the schools. During this two-year period the enrollment in these schools combined has gone from 147 to 490 students. While most of these schools are small, combined they are able to start a lot of churches.
One of the pastors I have much respect for is Moimar Lacsao. After graduating from IBC he went to the town of Candoni in the southern part of Negros Island. He started nighttime Bible Institute for married men, then he started a full time Bible College 12 years ago. He set out completely by faith, trusting God and working hard. He has never asked me for anything for his Bible College. Here is his testimony:
In the last 12 years we have trained men for the ministry who are pastoring churches. My vision is to reach the southern part of Negros and put up many churches in our neighboring villages around our town of Candoni. We want to train more people in the ministry. We are praying to have hundreds of students.
We conduct eight Bible studies a week with 16 families. We have soul winning, visitation, and a children’s ministry afternoon. We also have a service for youth and a kid’s choir. We have a ministry to the police every . Our Bible students and staff conduct 16 Extension Bible classes for
children mornings. We also have a discipleship program for the adults afternoon. nights we have the youth come to learn more about the Bible, as well as music.
For the first 11 years we don’t have dorms. Some students stayed in a nipa hut and some stayed in the church. We had classes under the trees because we didn’t have a classroom. We had to struggle to feed our students because their parents don’t support them and there were not jobs for them at that time.
My wife has been a great help in the ministry. She teaches in our Bible College. Our oldest son is 14 and wants to be a pastor. Our younger son is very good in music.
Although I started training young people in 1998 to preach, we started our school in 2002 with everyday classes. We had 12 students. Pastor Barena and Pastor Tibus and my wife helped me to teach. Our first graduates became our staff. They sacrificed their time and effort to teach without any promised finances. I am thankful for their love in imparting knowledge. Many times we experienced how God miraculously provided our food in unexpected ways. We’ve experienced heartaches and tears—especially when a student quits. Some of our church members helped our students and we tried to provide jobs so they can buy basic needs.
We are so thankful now that we have dorms and a work program. God continues to sustain His ministry. Here is a testimony of one of our students:
I am Eunimae and I am 20 years old. My parents were unbelievers but one day a pastor had a Bible study in our house. My two sisters were the first Christians in our house. Later my mom and dad got saved and I was the last in 2008 at the age of 14. Now my two brothers are pastors. When I went to church camp God called me and I surrendered my life. My parents moved during my 4th year of high school so I stayed with Pastor and Mrs. Lacsao my last year. They supported me in my schooling. Then I enrolled in the Bible school. By God’s grace I am graduating this year. By God’s grace I overcame trials for four years with the help of Pastor & Mrs. Lacsao and the staff. My life verse is Matthew & Hebrews . They motivate me and make me strong. I want to serve God my whole life. Sometimes when I’m down and felt discouraged I think about my relatives and others that need me. They need to be saved and I am the one who is responsible for that. I’ve learned how to deal with people and be concerned for the lost. I’ve learned how to bring people to Christ.
Another graduate for whom I am grateful is Pastor Vincente Gelladula. Like Pastor Lacsao, he trained several men in his nighttime Bible Institute to start churches in the surrounding villages. Recently God led him to start a full time Bible College. Here is his testimony:
I’ve been working in the town of Lemery for 22 years. Two years ago I started a Bible College. We also have some deaf students. I’ve watched them struggle; especially with their financial needs, yet they are faithful. Some of our classes have to meet under the bamboo trees because of lack of space.
We have a desire for a library. We have three Scofield Bibles and one Smith Bible dictionary that we all share. We have no tables and chairs and we only have one guitar so they must take turns practicing with that as well as our one violin. During the recent Pastors & Workers Conference at Iloilo Baptist Church, our students were able to acquire seven plastic recorders. They took lessons at the music workshop at IBC and we’re so grateful.
We have a dorm for the girls but not the boys. The boys sleep in the church. I know this is a challenge for them and they endure it because they want to serve God. We are happy to be with them, eating our meals together. We cook together and share our food.
It’s exciting to see them grow in Christ. Please pray for us to reach our goal of 30 students next year!
Here is a testimony of one of the students:
I’m Jessa, 17 years old. Before I was saved I was worldly. My brother, who is a pastor, encouraged me to go to Bible College but I refused. People who quit studying at Bible College were always complaining that it was hard and they never had enough food or money. I wanted to go to a secular school but no one will help me with my finances. My brother said he’d help me if I were willing to go to secular school part time and the Bible College part time.
At first I was very homesick but God comforted me and I enjoyed being with the others in the Bible College. I found my schedule at the secular school very hectic however so I was thinking about quitting Bible College but I realized this was a bad decision. Finally I decided to quit the secular school and go full time to Bible College and I felt peace—mostly because at that time I truly got saved. My desire now is really to serve God. Sometimes it’s very hot or it’s raining when we teach the children during extension classes or when we are fetching them for church. Sometimes we get persecuted but that doesn’t stop us. We girls are fortunate that we have a dorm because the boys don’t have a dorm.
Most of these Bible schools have very small libraries. For some time I have prayed for these good men to get more books in their libraries. Some Christians in the USA have books they no longer need or use that would be treasured by Bible students here in the Philippines. We would be willing to pay for shipping if your church has books to send.
One inexpensive way to ship books to the Philippines is through the “Balikbayan Boxes” (literally “repatriate box”). If you’ve never heard of this you can Google it—or if you have a Filipino in your church, they would probably know about this. Companies ship large boxes, unlimited weight, for $100 or less. We would be willing to pay the shipping. You have to be near a city that does this though (and there are many), because sending the box to the company would be too expensive. It takes about three months to get here but well worth it. Many cities have Filipino stores that sell these boxes and have the information needed.
Reference books, biographies, Bible doctrine, sermon books, that are recommended by pastors in the USA would be very helpful, and even old encyclopedias. If a church is interested in this project they can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make arrangements to send money to pay for the Balikayan Box. If you want to “adopt” a school we will send you the name of the school and pastor where your box would be going.
34TH ANNUAL PASTORS & WORKERS CONFERENCE
This past- , IBC held its 34th annual Pastors & Workers Conference. Pastor John Wilkerson, a dear friend, was our main speaker and was such a blessing. Over 750 pastors attended. Many Bible colleges sent delegates and also their choirs. We were able to unload the container from BEAMS Bibles the morning after the conference and all but about 100 pastors were able to get the boxes of Bibles before going home. Most of the remaining pastors have now received their boxes as well. We are very grateful for God’s perfect timing!
Many of the pastors affected by the typhoon were helped financially during the conference. By the time you receive this letter it will have been one year since the typhoon hit us—November 8, 2013. We want to thank you for what you have done to help lift the burdens and spirits of these pastors and churches.
I also want to thank Don Arnold and David Harris of BIMI who came here after the typhoon, surveyed the island, and made a video for BIMI that helped many of the ministries that were affected. Recently Brother Arnold came back and installed a P.A. system in our church. I also want to thank Memphis Audio, Don’s consultant, who did so much to make this happen. Many thanks also to the ones who helped financially. It has been a huge blessing.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rick & Becky Martin