We wanted to continue from our last prayer letter in sharing more about Bible colleges started by the graduates of IBC. Marlon Ticar has been a faithful pastor in Bacolod City for many years. Here is his testimony:
We named our Bible school “God’s Word Bible Baptist College.” We had no classrooms, no dorms, and no teachers. We had to conduct our classes when students were available because they were staying with their parents and our culture demands that children are obliged to help their parents as much as possible. This routine went on for several months until one day, Pastor Rick Martin told me that someone is buying us a lot and will build a dorm for our students! We were overjoyed! Some of our church members and students helped with the construction. We now have the dorm and two volunteer teachers to the glory of God.
Sometimes it is hard to find and recruit young people to enroll in Bible School. They are too focused in studying in secular schools and finding jobs. I look for students who are saved and have a burden to serve God and a love for lost souls. Also, they must have a desire to serve God and must not be easily discouraged when trials and tests come. Lastly I look for a willing spirit. Are they willing accept tasks given? Are they willing to accept rebuke in order to improve their Christian character? My vision here in Negros and especially in Bacolod City is that the students someday will have their own institutes to start their own soul-winning churches. Souls are precious and our Bible students are good soul winners. Our church members are united because we have a “SWAT” program-Soul Winning Action Team that goes out every Sunday afternoon house-to-house to win the lost to Jesus Christ.
As for our church our ministries are mainly focused on soul winning. We have Bible studies in the homes of new families so they can grow spiritually. I give lectures to the police also so they can get to know God.
I am touched by the sacrifice of our church members who try to help our Bible students. Our members are poor but they give what they can to our students.
Prince Angelia, another IBC graduate, recently started a Bible school. You may remember a story we wrote about him years ago—he was six months old when his father was murdered. Prince’s dad was a good man, sometimes helping people build their houses without even charging them anything. He worked hard and his family was well cared for. Mr. Angelia was suspected of being an informant so the NPA (communist rebels) put him and his family on their hit list. One night the NPA ransacked the Angelia’s home. The family began moving from place to place to keep safe but the pressure caused Prince’s dad to have a nervous breakdown. People in that place are very superstitious. Mr. Angelia’s own brothers decided Prince’s dad’s mental instability was due to demon possession. They took clubs and beat Prince’s dad to death like an animal. After many years Prince’s mom remarried. Prince’s stepdad was a good man and treated Prince like his own son. Prince and his family got saved through one of our graduates who had a church nearby. After years of wanting to get revenge for his dad’s murder, God began to change Prince’s heart and he surrendered for the ministry. Here is his testimony about his Bible College:
I graduated from Iloilo Baptist College and was hired as a staff member. I taught in the Bible College for two years. After that God called me to start a pioneering work in Mindanao. God has blessed and we have grown. We have good young people who want to serve God. God put a burden in my heart to start the Bible College in 2012. We gathered in a small vacant parking garage, which we rented. We started with three full time students and five part time. The next year we had four fulltime and seven part time. We now have 18. Since we don’t have a dorm, four sleep on the platform of our church and the rest stay in homes. They fetch the water from a pump at our neighbor’s house. I am the only teacher for now. It is exciting to see them learning to win souls and bring people to church. My burden and vision is that all the villages of Davao Del Sur will have an independent, Bible-believing, Baptist Church started by the graduates of our school. I also pray we can someday send out foreign missionaries.
Please pray for the Bible Schools started by the graduates of IBC. The past two years these schools have grown much and have great potential in starting churches over the next decades. In a few years the combined graduating classes of these Bible Colleges should be larger than Iloilo Baptist College’s graduating class. Like IBC, the purpose of these schools is to train men to go and start churches. Please pray the Lord will keep His hand on these schools and the pastors who lead them.
HELP THE NEEDY
Matthew 25: 40”…in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
My favorite time of the year is Christmas time. It’s been that way since 1986 when some compassionate members of the church here started the “Help the Needy” program.
Through the years I have noticed that most of those who participate have very little themselves, yet they sacrifice to be a blessing to the least of these. It is amazing that the people most blessed by this program are the Christians who give up much of their time and money to help others. I shouldn’t be amazed and surprised because Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The students of Iloilo Baptist College are especially a blessing as most of them stay here during Christmas time instead of going home. Some of them find widows or the elderly and help them do repair work or add on a room to their house (mostly shacks). They go out in groups weeks before Christmas and survey and find the people in different parts of Iloilo City and then pray and ask God who they should help and how they should help them.
There were two fires in the city in early December. One destroyed 16 houses and the other 5 houses. The members brought food, clothing, eating utensils and other items to most of these families. Many of the families visited our church and got saved.
Many people who are bedridden, or have physical disabilities, and/or live in deep poverty were helped during this Christmas season. On a few days the weather was not good but the workers seemed to enjoy going out and singing Christmas carols and bringing gifts to people even in the rain. One group rounded up some of the poorest children in the city and took them to McDonalds. It was a once in a lifetime treat for the children. Here is a testimony written by a young lady in our Bible College:
It seems we always think of ourselves and never look around and discover that there are so many that are needier than us. I’m a 4th year student at IBC so I’ve participated in the “Help the Needy Program” for four years. I’ve learned so much. The first week of December I was struggling with my finances. I was praying and asking God, “It’s December again Lord, our time of giving. What shall I give? What shall I do? I have nothing.”
The next week God answered my prayer. I was able to give. I was blessed by God when I worked washing clothes for someone in my route.
Thursday, December 18, I had great happiness. Compassion grows in my heart and pity for the people in the hospital. First we sang Christmas songs to the sick, and then we gave a gift.
We entered the first room and started singing and my heart was broken when I see the sick people lying in their beds without joy, with some of their family. They spent their Christmas time there. After singing, I picked up one of the gifts and gave it to a woman whose husband was confined. I gave it with a smile but the woman who received it had tears. I felt mercy not only for the sick husband but also because of the sickness of their souls. I witnessed to them and they gladly received Christ as Savior—a gift that even Satan can’t rob them of.
We went in the pediatric ward and witnessed to the mother of a child. I took down the names and later counted that I led 17 souls to Christ! This is an eternal gift that never fades. I learned that helping the needy is important. I may be nothing but I can give the greatest gift—Jesus!
The street children had a special Christmas event; nine doctors came and gave them medical checkups. They get a lot of food and gifts. Street children can eat more food than any group of people I have ever seen. This event is always held at the church. This year about 70 members of the IBC orchestra played Christmas songs for nearly an hour for the kids. They were such an enthusiastic group.
Each year I ask the church to not only look for those who are very poor or have physical problems but to ask the Lord to help them find those who have their hearts broken by tragedies or circumstances that come into their lives.
Most importantly we look for people who need Christ as their Savior. I’m so glad for many years to have experienced seeing people who were touched by the kindness of the members of IBC and to see people open their hearts to the Gospel.
In closing Becky and I want to thank you for all you have done to help the Lord’s work here in the Philippines. We are very grateful for Christians halfway around the world that are behind this ministry.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rick & Becky Martin