Wed

23

Sep

2015

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
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Tue

21

Jul

2015

Rick & Becky's JULY-AUGUST 2015 Prayer letter

Some of the pastors who have Bible Colleges; Shem Barena & Leomar Villacampa are 5th & 6th from right
Some of the pastors who have Bible Colleges; Shem Barena & Leomar Villacampa are 5th & 6th from right
Dear Friends,
 
In this report we want to share the stories of two pastors who God is using to train pastors. 
Shem Barena was saved at the age of 12, and surrendered his life to God that same day.  Several years later a student of Iloilo Baptist College named Rex Galfo (now a missionary in Indonesia), visited the Barena home and told Shem about Iloilo Baptist College and the things he could accomplish for God there.  An intense desire to serve God grew in Shem’s heart and he came to Bible school.  He told us he immediately noticed the church carried a burden for the lost—not only in Iloilo City—but also for the world.  He loved the motto, “The church with a heart for everyone,” so he got involved with the different ministries.  He was active in the school ministry, prison ministry, extension Bible classes on Saturdays, held for children in the slums, and he had a jeepney route to bring people to church.  He said he really benefitted from being involved in those ministries because when he started his own church, he also started those same ministries.

Shem went through some tough times financially.  He worked hard and sacrificed much.  He drove a tri-sikad (bike with side card used as a taxi) during times between his classes and ministries.
Brother Shem was well prepared when he graduated in 1994 because of the struggles he endured in Bible College.  He started Grace Baptist Church in Tabu Ilog, Negros, and it grew rapidly.  Like many graduates, Brother Shem started his church under some trees.  
 
About two years after starting his church Brother Barena became very ill.  His doctor thought his kidneys were failing.  It got so bad that everyone thought he would die.  Brother Barena thought so too.  We waited for news of his death but God had other plans.  Some believe Brother Barena’s doctor simply made a wrong diagnoses.  We believe however, that God answered prayer and healed him!  Brother Barena says he has learned that trials make you stronger.  He started a Bible Institute to train several married men for the ministry.  After three years his first graduate, Jerry Filizardo, started a church!  By God’s grace, within a few years, Brother Barena and his men started five churches on Negros Island.  Pastor Jerry also started a Bible Institute.  In 2001 Brother Filizardo was thrilled as he had his first graduation with two graduates going into the ministry.  
 
In 2005 Brother Barena started a full time Bible school for young people.  The Lord has blessed the school.  His goal is to see these young people go out and start churches like the married men in his Bible Institute.  It was a blessing this past March to have Brother Barena as our speaker at the 34th Commencement exercises of Iloilo Baptist College.
Children brought to Pastor Villacampa's church by Bible College students
Children brought to Pastor Villacampa's church by Bible College students
One of the married men Brother Barena trained is Leomar Villacampa.  After he graduated he went to the island of Mindanao to help a pastor for a while.  Here is his testimony:
 “Mindanao is noted as the land of terrorists like the Abu Sayaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  When I went there I met a faithful servant of God, over 60 years old, named Pastor Galfo Tellano.  We worked with him for six years.  Pastor Tellano received many threats but he would just continue on doing God’s work, regardless.  On November 19, 2003, Pastor Tellano preached his last message on I Corinthians chapter 7.  It was the midweek service.  Suddenly, a man ran up to Pastor Tellano and shot him in the head.  My wife and two sons and all the other members sat in stunned disbelief.  Blood was everywhere.  The assassin ran out and two church members ran after him.  He was never found.  Meanwhile we brought our beloved Pastor to the hospital, but he was already dead.  For many days our family didn’t leave our house.  We were experiencing great trauma from this brutal and senseless killing of a wonderful man of God.  The NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) told us the group responsible for the murder was planning to kill others in Brother Tellano’s group, especially his successor—which was me.  They strongly advised me and my family to leave the area as we would not be safe there.”
Elsa Gamuza teaches children at her Extension Bible Class
Elsa Gamuza teaches children at her Extension Bible Class
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