Matthew 1:23 says, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” My family and I would like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018. My prayer is that together we can accomplish greater works for Christ during 2018.
During the month of September, we had two (2) Category 5 hurricanes come through Puerto Rico. The first one, Hurricane Irma, traveled a few miles north of us, causing a lot of damage to the island and our church property. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria came through Puerto Rico. This hurricane was a direct hit, causing a lot of devastation to the island. We have been through several hurricanes in the past, but nothing could compare to Hurricane Maria. All basic services—electricity, water, and communications—collapsed. There was also a shortage of food, batteries, gasoline, and diesel.
Immediately after Hurricane Irma, I called my missions director, Dr. Mark Bosje, who immediately assembled a team together and came to Puerto Rico with the much-needed equipment and help. I want to THANK my home church, the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and Pastors John Wilkerson and Andy Gomez for all the help provided to us during this emergency. The team brought us three (3) generators that were lifesavers. We were able to energize our church, our school, and our home. A special THANK YOU to the Women’s Missionary Society for all the food that was sent to us, which was used to help relieve our church families.
I THANK the Lord that immediately after Hurricane Maria, we were able to get the church cleaned and repaired in order to conduct services. A month later, electricity was restored, and we are thankful that we never lost running water. Many people were in the streets trying to get food and gasoline, so instead of soul winning house to house, we were getting out the Gospel from gas station to gas station and from supermarket to supermarket. Many people were saved during this time, and many Gospel tracts were passed out.
While out on the streets, we invited a man named Rolando to our church. When I invited him to church he said, “I need to go to church.” The next day he showed up at church with his wife and children. During the invitation the entire family walked forward for salvation.
Please continue to PRAY for us. We are now in a rebuilding stage. Much of our property was severely damaged. Our damages have been estimated at over $100,000.00. Our fellowship hall suffered the most damage. We serve a BIG God Who is able to PROVIDE all our needs according to His riches in glory. A special THANK YOU to all the CHURCHES and FRIENDS who have already helped in some way during this time of need. I greatly appreciate all the help that has been given to us. As I write this letter, Puerto Rico is about 70-75% back to normal. Many folks in our church are still without electricity. Many of our church families have left the island. Some have lost their homes and their jobs.
We thank God for all the souls who have been saved and baptized throughout this year. We also thank the Lord for all the first-time visitors who have attended our church and the families that have been added to our church.
• Please pray for souls to be saved and baptized.
• Please pray for the repairs of our church buildings.
• Please pray for our church growth and its ministries.
• Please pray for more laborers.
May God continue to bless you as you serve Him faithfully. Thank you very much for your love, prayers, and faithful support. WE HOPE YOU HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018. We believe the Lord has so many great things for us in 2018. Thank you for having a part in Puerto Rico. God bless you.
Luis M. Martinez