Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister: Bubucal, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Philippines
December 13, 2019
By Catherine Joan Urtula
EVERY PERSON experiences trials in life. Sadly, there are those who, when faced with life’s difficult challenges or going through tough times, forget the One Who can truly provide the solution to all problems—the Almighty God.
Members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) also go through difficulties in life. However, although they struggle along the way, their spiritual strength put to the test, they have the courage to face their problems because they firmly believe that God is with them to help and guide them.
Brother Jonas Arvin Estrada, deacon and Buklod president of the Local Congregation of Bubucal, Ecclesiastical District of Sta. Cruz, Laguna, shared his experience in facing a challenge as a servant of God. “The time came when I had to give up my job even though I was well compensated because it demanded a lot of time and it would greatly affect my duties in the Church,” he said. Despite Brother Jonas’ difficult situation, he did not neglect his Church duties: “My faith and hope in God was not shaken because I trusted that He will provide what I truly needed. I just kept on asking guidance from Him through prayers.”
Through the Holy Scriptures, members of the Church Of Christ are taught God’s teachings that whatever happens to them, they should be thankful and accept it as God’s will. This was emphasized in the lesson taught by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, as he led the Thanksgiving Worship Service to God of the Local Congregation of Bubucal on December 13, 2019. On that sacred occasion before the year ended, the congregation’s new house of worship was dedicated to God.
Brother Jonas learned well the importance of upholding the true service to God and of expressing gratefulness to Him even in times of trials. “Giving thanks to God is done not only when we are given good things, but even in times when we are in situations that are unfavorable to us. We should still be thankful to God when we are being tested because through it we are strengthened,” he said.
Brother Carl Jherimy Noble, organist and KADIWA congregation president, explained why he give thanks to the Almighty God and why he values this deed: “We should be thankful despite life’s circumstances because as members of the true Church, we are assured of God’s promises, especially the salvation on Judgment Day.”
He disclosed that he experienced persecutions from his peers who are nonmembers. “My friends wants me to put the blame on my membership in the Church for every difficulty and hardship I experience. No matter what they say, I still firmly hold on to my membership in the Church because to belong to God’s nation is a great manifestation of how He truly loves me,” he said.
Brother Eduardo Manalo also emphasized the rightful way of giving thanks to God, as taught from the Bible by God’s Messenger in these last days, Brother Felix Y. Manalo. Faithful members, he said, should manifest their heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to God by obeying all of His commands and by giving thank offerings despite the many hardships they encounter, for these glorify Him.
Sister Laurice Capila, choir member, explained why she does not neglect her Church duty and the giving of thanks to God: “We should not forget our duty of giving thanks to God even when we go through challenges and worries in life, are afflicted by severe illness, and preoccupied with problems in our homes. Our God is always there to help us become stronger and be steadfast in our faith because He will never forget us, for we are His chosen ones.”
For Church Of Christ members, worship services to God are very important. In holy gatherings, God all the more embraces His children and lets them feel His compassion and love. “It is comforting to feel that in every worship service, God draws us closer to Him and gives us the strength and guidance we need to face the challenges in our lives,” Sister Laurice added.
Brother Felix Eraño Gascon, choir member and Children’s Worship Service (CWS) teacher, expressed his appreciation of and undying hope in God’s promises: “I have a lot of things to be thankful for to our Lord God. He has guided me to be safe in this world and has kept me away from any wickedness. Even with the many difficulties and sorrows that I have gone through, I am extremely grateful, for He is still there to help me remain active in my services to Him and in the performance of my Church duties.”
As members of the true Church are always taught the words of God by the Church Administration, they remain steadfast in their faith and guided in the path that leads to their salvation. Thus, despite experiencing life’s challenges, they always find reason to be thankful to the Lord God.