We would like to begin this letter by expressing our appreciation for the wonderful response to the needs of the Filipino people as they recover from Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which devastated many cities, towns, and villages back in November. At last count, 119 church buildings were destroyed, 156 pastors lost their homes, and an additional 26 had significant damage to either their homes or church buildings. Thankfully, by God’s grace and through the generous sacrifices of many Christians, a little over 100 of these buildings are being rebuilt. You can read stories and see many pictures of the damage and relief effort on our website at https://martinsibc.jimdo.com/typhoon-yolanda-updates/.
So much progress has been made in recent weeks, and yet there are so many who are still struggling. Everyone who was affected in one way or another by this major storm is very grateful to the Lord for sparing their lives, and they are very humble, as they would rather use the money given to them for their homes or churches to help their church members and others. Not only were their homes and buildings destroyed, many of them lost all their personal belongings and church materials. Livelihoods were lost as well. There are people who are hurting emotionally and physically. Please continue to pray for these dear Christians.
As many of you know, my wife Brandie’s dad, Larry Lee, went to Heaven on December 9. He passed away exactly five months after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. She was able to stay in Florida with her mom and family for about seven weeks. We appreciate the many prayers, words of kindness, and expressions of sympathy shown to our family in this time of loss. Heaven is real, and it’s sounding sweeter all the time!
God has blessed and continues to work in our ministries here at Iloilo Baptist Church. We had our annual Police Appreciation Service, an outstanding Christmas Musical presentation, and various other “special” outreaches during the month of December. There have been souls saved and baptized and lives changed for eternity, and you have had a part in that!
1. The graduates of our Bible college, their people, and our student’s families who are recovering
from the typhoon
2. Our church’s radio station, 106.3 FM “The Anchor”
3. Brandie and her family
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support.
Ricky & Brandie Martin