Planting Churches in the Philippines

Throughout the history of Christianity, various churches and individuals have been presented with opportunities to impact the generation in which they lived. Many have taken advantage of those open doors and have been used of God to bring millions into the Kingdom. Others, through lack of faith or leadership, have missed great opportunities. Some have started well, but have failed to continue. Some have fallen into false doctrines, and God has removed those opportunities and chosen some other source for His blessings. Others have failed because they failed to be good stewards of what God had given them. Often people are blessed of God with materialistic blessings and mistake God’s purpose for giving the materialistic blessings.

Dr. Rick Martin is a man who has been presented with a great need, and he has chosen to be used of God to meet that need.

In 1976, Dr. Martin was called to be a missionary. He relates the story in his own words: “It was March of 1976. Bob Hughes, a missionary from the Philippines, came to the college I was attending. He was dying of cancer, and he had just been released from the hospital in Dallas, Texas. He spoke for about ten minutes that night, but when he had finished, I turned to my wife and said, ‘Becky, we’re going to the Philippines.’ And in 1977, we went.”

Dr. Rick Martin has served on the mission field now for thirty-two years. He is the founder of Iloilo Baptist Church in Iloilo City, located on the Island of Panai in the Philippines. The church was started in the downstairs garage of an apartment building but quickly began to grow under God’s hand of blessing. Today, the church is still reaching souls with the Gospel through soulwinning and discipleship and it ministers to over 5,000 people on a weekly basis. In accordance with the Great Commission, Iloilo Baptist Church has sent out fifty missionaries, and Iloilo Baptist College has become a training station for pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and Christian school teachers. Over 600 churches and sixteen Bible colleges have been started by graduates of Iloilo Baptist College and members of Iloilo Baptist Church.

In June of 2008, the Philippines encountered a tragedy. Typhoon Frank hit the Philippine Island of Panai where Brother Rick Martin ministers. The massive waves and strong winds wreaked havoc across the island. As the death toll and reports of damage continued to rise, the provinces of Iloilo, Iloilo City, Aklan, Capiz, and Antique were declared under a state of emergency. Seventy-five percent of Iloilo City was under water from a flash flood. Over 229 were confirmed dead with 122 missing. At least 30,000 Filipinos were stranded on their rooftops waiting for rescue. Many church members lost everything they had. Through tragedies like these, the Martins have remained faithful, and God has blessed.

It is evident that Rick Martin and his wife Becky serve the Lord with great joy. His amiable spirit is contagious to all who meet him.