Rick & Becky Martin SEPT.-OCT. 2015 Prayer letter

Anniversary service of Pastor Ajito's church
Anniversary service of Pastor Ajito's church
Dear Friends,
 
In previous prayer letters we have written about some of the graduates of Iloilo Baptist College who have started Bible colleges and who have a vision to train young men to start churches.  Each has his own story.  Here is the story of Ernelito Ajito in his own words.  He received Christ as his Savior at Iloilo Baptist Church in July of 1978, not long after IBC was started.
“In my second grade, our mother required us to attend mass on Sunday, perhaps through the influence of my grandmother, a devoted Catholic.  I had to attend the processions (parade) with the images, especially during Holy Week, and especially Good Friday.  From 1974-76, I was an altar boy in the Catholic Church.  I did whatever the priest did.  I had the mass memorized; the order and the words that the priest used is repeated thousands of times.  I knew the brand of cigarette the priest used because as I stood beside him every mass, I could smell his breath!  If he was drunk from the night before, I knew it!
“In my 6th grade, Saint Vincent Ferrer Seminary (school for priests) presented to our class a priesthood vocation.  They distributed brochures and forms.  I told my parents about it.  My grandmother was so excited.  Maybe she was thinking, ‘At last I have a priest for a grandson!’
“I prayed the Rosary every night before I slept.  Every Monday, during school, I was requested by our teacher to lead the class in Rosary.  I had my Crucifix and Rosary.  I kissed my Crucifix every night.  I’d hang it on the window in my room; so evil spirits could not enter.  For two years, every vacation time, I would go to Santa Barbara and stay in the convent and work with the priest.  I assisted the mass ten or more times a week, not including baptisms, weddings, and burials.  I thought being good, praying the Rosary everyday, kissing the priest’s arms, kissing the images, taking communion regularly, making the sign of the cross as often as possible, and other rituals, could take me to Heaven.
“Several years later, when I was in my second year of high school, along came these new Baptists to our neighborhood, inviting children to church.  Many of my friends and cousins, and even my brother and sister went, but I did not.  Then my mom started attending.  Then my dad started attending.  But I insisted on being a Catholic.  Every time those Baptist would come to our house, I would run away.  I didn’t want them to invite me to church.  My mom kept persistently inviting me to church.  Sometimes she got mad at me.  Sometimes she preached to me.  She preached to my uncle who was staying at our house.  He got so mad he moved out!  My mom had a great burden for me.
“On July 9, 1978, I finally attended Iloilo Baptist Church.  I sat by my brother, Rodelo.  I don’t recall what happened in the service, except that it was an American that preached.  My mind was on the basketball game going on in the street next to the church.  When the invitation came, one of the workers in the church came to us and asked if we wanted to receive Christ into our hearts.  We said, ‘yes.’  He led us inside the house (at that time the church met on the large porch outside the house).  I was thinking, ‘What kind of church is this?’  There was a bamboo fence and chalkboard on the ‘platform’ behind the preacher! After the man went through the plan of salvation, we bowed our heads and asked Jesus Christ to come into our hearts and forgive our sins and take us to Heaven when we died.  One week later we were baptized.”
 
God began to use Ernelito and while he was in his 3rd year of college (taking an engineering course), he believed the Lord wanted him to go to Bible College and train for the ministry.  He enrolled at IBC and graduated in 1985.  By 1990, he was the Youth Director of Iloilo Baptist Church!
The staff of Iloilo Baptist Church has responsibilities in the Bible College.  Brother Ajito was very productive and responsible in the different facets of the Bible College.  He served in that capacity for 15 years and then started a church in 2005.  Over two years ago he started a Bible College and the Lord is blessing it.  His church recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and had a special day.  The Lord blessed the efforts of his workers and many souls came to the Lord.  His Bible College is now in its third year.  Please pray for Brother Ajito that the graduates of his school will start many churches in the coming years.
One of Pastor Ajito's Bible college students teaching a Bible lesson in a public school
One of Pastor Ajito's Bible college students teaching a Bible lesson in a public school
Missionary Mario and Dianah Genada were back in the Philippines for a few months from Zambia, Africa.  They have served there for 17 years.  Two of their children, Precious and Paul, have enrolled in Iloilo Baptist College.  Becky and I know firsthand how hard it will be for Brother Mario and Dianah to leave their children behind as they go back to the mission field.  Brother Genada has a vision to send graduates of his Bible College into other African countries.  
One of his graduates, Levi Siachetima, started a church in Zambia.  I visited that church in 2010.  Brother Levi is going out as the first foreign missionary from Brother Genada’s church.  Brother Levi is on deputation for the country of Botswana.  Brother Mario says in a few years he expects Brother Levi to start a Bible school in Botswana and train men to start churches.  Below you can see a picture Bro. Levi and me in front of his parsonage.  Like the church, the walls were made of mud.  When it rained the walls would wash away and they’d have to replace the mud.  He later built a larger, more permanent structure.  He and his church members made their own cement blocks and baked them in the hot African sun.  While I was speaking in his church, Precious and her mom and the two twins were outside with the children.  Brother Levi’s church was located near the Zambezi River.
Another graduate of Brother Genada’s is planning to go to Namibia.  His name is Canul Mukubesa.  He will be starting his deputation later this year Lord willing.  He is also planning on starting a Bible college someday.  Most churches in Africa don’t have a vision to send out missionaries to other countries so much but there are big advantages as they can go to nearby countries in Africa where the cost of travel is not such a big factor.  Also they don’t have to deal with security problems like Americans (and even Asians such as the Genadas).  Africans can save a lot in several areas.
Brother Genada is also targeting the country of Zimbabwe where there are no American missionaries.  The dictator Mugabe rules it but they do have some religious freedom.  They will allow Zambians to go there.  Brother Genada is praying some of his men will go there.
Another of Brother Genada’s graduates is Pastor Richard Wena.  He is starting a Bible College.  Please pray for him and please pray that more laborers might be trained to reach the towns and villages.  
Missionary Josue Satunero and his wife Renelyn, who have served 14 years in Uganda, Africa, are also back in the Philippines with their two children, Elgin and Lemuel, for a few months.  Brother Satunero also has a vision to send some of his graduates to other African countries as missionaries.  Presently he is trying to help three of his graduates who are trying to get into South Sudan.  Please pray for them.
Pastor Levi Siachetima and me in 2010
Pastor Levi Siachetima and me in 2010
Both of these missionary families were at our Missions Conference this past July.  The theme was about Africa and we had 10 choirs with each choir singing a song in an African language.  The songs were in two languages spoken in Zambian and two languages spoken in Ugandan.  It was a lot of fun.
There were also 10 “African Markets” representing different African countries.  Each had an “African Family” (our Bible students and children of our staff) in costume.  During the services a couple of these “families” would come to the front and sing the “Welcome Song.”  Everyone enjoyed that.
We had a “Standing Offering” during our mission conference.  Everyone in the church comes forward and gives their offering personally to the missionary family.  We had Brother Mario Genada’s family and Brother Josue Satunero’s family standing at the front.  I asked our church if I could also stand in front of the church and get an offering since I was a missionary.  They thought that was funny.  The people gave a lot.  One picture shows one of our widow ladies, who everyone calls “Nanay Sita,” giving her offering.  She is 78 years old and is constantly bringing visitors to church and has seen a lot of people saved as a result.  She is physically very poor but spiritually very rich.  She sells charcoal in plastic bags to support herself and a couple of others in her family.  Like the story of the “Widow’s Mite” in the Bible, she is one of our biggest givers (if not THE biggest giver!)  She is greatly loved and respected in our church.
The 35th annual Pastors & Workers Conference will be held the second week of October.  Please pray for this meeting.
My mother turned 98 years old in July!  I’m so grateful for such a godly mother!
In closing Becky and I would like to thank you for your prayers and sacrificial giving for the Lord’s ministry here in the Philippines!

Sincerely in Christ,

Rick & Becky Martin
                                                                                                                                                                
PS: My sweet mother went home to be with the Lord September 12th.  I hope to write a little about what a godly Christian pastor’s wife & mom she was in our next prayer letter.
Nanay Sita shaking hands with Missionary Dianah Genada during the standing offering
Nanay Sita shaking hands with Missionary Dianah Genada during the standing offering
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