Staten Island, New York, USA

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God’s love for His people
never fails

SEPTEMBER 11, 2021

DESPITE THE PANDEMIC that continues to plague the world, God’s unfailing love is palpably being felt by His people, the Church Of Christ members in these last days.

On September 11, 2021, in the worship service led by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the brethren witnessed the graduation of 669 ministerial students who finished the course Bachelor of Pastoral Studies and Evangelism for the academic year 2020–2021. This brought the total number of new regular ministerial workers who took oath this year to 725. Aside from this, 30 ministers were conferred the degree Master of Evangelical Ministry Major in International Mission.

The worship service was attended, through videoconferencing, by brethren from three Group Worship Services, 28 local congregations, and an ecclesiastical district celebrating their milestone anniversaries. From the Pilar Manalo-Danao Multimedia Center of the Church’s Central Office Complex in Quezon City, the Executive Minister warmly greeted them and led them in the sacred gathering.

Witnessing more ministerial workers being added to the fold and more years added to the existence of many local congregations and districts, members of the Church Of Christ around the world find great inspiration, for such blessings manifest that God’s love for the entirety of His nation and its individual members never fails. Such was what is attested to by the brethren from the following congregations that were included in the said worship service led by the Executive Minister:

By Mernellie Garcia

Being a thriving car mechanic in a humble car shop, Brother Faustino Yuson had already established his family on the island of Pohnpei. His simple yet peaceful life, however, was suddenly shaken by a trial he faced. He shared, “It was in early 2019. My employers informed me that they could no longer sustain paying for my salary and had to terminate my employment.”

“For almost two years, I didn’t have a stable job. We were just trying to get through each day. At that time, my wife left for the Philippines because she had to change her visa status. So, my son was left with me, and we had no definite source of income,” Brother Faustino said. That, however, did not hinder him from performing his duties in the Church.

Just in time, when his wife returned from the Philippines, Brother Faustino had to leave the island to also return to the Philippines because his work permit had expired. He said, “I continuously persevered and rendered fervent prayers to the Almighty God to lead me through those difficult times.” With God’s grace, he was able to obtain a new working permit and was able to return to the island. And while looking forward to regain and recover slowly from the difficulties he endured, Brother Faustino continued being active in serving God and performing his God-given duty as the head deacon of the Local Congregation of Pohnpei, Ecclesiastical District of Micronesia.

Reminiscing those moments, Brother Faustino was moved by the teachings of the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo Manalo, in the worship service. Brother Faustino expressed, “Just like what the Church Administration continues teaching us, God will never leave nor forsake us. We have to be firm and strong in our faith that God will help us through trying times and firmly believe in the great reward that awaits those who will persevere.”

By Jemmuel Jasmin Jr.

In the early 1990s, Brother Marlon Cancio just migrated to the United States. He had only begun to establish himself in the country by studying for his board exam to be an occupational therapist. On a conditional working visa from the Philippines, Brother Marlon’s future in the country hinged on passing this monumental exam.

While studying and working many hours, Brother Marlon felt anxious about his upcoming test and his situation in the country. Knowing that he could not do it by himself, he sought guidance. He remembered, “I was advised by our resident minister and a family member, who also is a minister in the Church, to conduct my personal devotional prayers and to lay out everything to God and make a sincere promise to Him that I will never forget Him.”

Brother Marlon conducted his devotional prayers and continued with his services to God. As was taught by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo Manalo, that if Church members who live according to God’s will pray to Him, He would heed their prayers because His love for His faithful servants never fails. That was what Brother Marlon experienced. Through the help of the Almighty Father, he was able to pass his board exams.

Although Brother Marlon obtained what he aspired for, he has never forgotten Who gave this great blessing to him. He expressed, “I always acknowledge that material blessings and successes that I have achieved all came from God. That is why I always strive to make sure that I am dedicated and fervent in fulfilling the duty He entrusted me with.”

Brother Marlon, who is now a head deacon in the Local Congregation of Staten Island, Ecclesiastical District of New York, has always vowed to live his life according to God’s will. Brother Marlon promised, “We approach every day as a blessing from Him. That is why I promise to do my best in every opportunity to do good. I will always introduce the Church Of Christ to others, so they, too, will have a chance to feel God’s love, be saved, and have true peace.”

By Janice Magpayo

Working overseas and far away from one’s family is never easy for many. There may come instances when they feel helpless whenever they know that their family is going through problems. And there may also be times when they feel lonely when they themselves experience trials, with their family not by their side.

Such was the experience of Sister Melody Mandac. She shared, “My brother passed away while I was here working. I didn’t get a chance to see or speak with him before he was gone. That’s one of the unpleasant things one can’t avoid, while being away from loved ones.” While mourning, she had drawn strength from God for her to be able to carry on, not only in working hard for her family’s future but, above all, to uphold her services to God.

Her faith in God is also what she leaned on when she was afflicted with Covid-19. She shared, “I didn’t stop praying to God to heal me.” With God’s mercy, she eventually recovered and was able to continue performing her duties as a Light of Salvation secretary and a KADIWA officer. “My hope is in prayer and strong confidence in the Lord God, that no matter what challenges we face in life, we will be able to remain steady. No matter what we experience in this world, we have the true God Whom we can call upon for help inasmuch as He is always ready to assist us in times of need,” she expressed.

Sister Melody always bears in mind what the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo Manalo, always reminds the Church members: “When we find it difficult, we need to pray. When we find it more difficult, we should pray even more. When our situation becomes even more difficult, we should rejoice. We may not have realized it, but we are surviving though we are struggling―proving that God is still with us.”

Sinulat ni Jomar Manaloto

Natatandaan pa ni Kapatid na Ivy Pabustan ang pinagdaanan ng kanilang sambahayan nang ang kaniyang asawa na si Kapatid na Louie ay nag-aasikaso ng papeles upang makapagtrabaho bilang isang automotive painter sa ibang bansa. “Umabot din ng ilang buwan bago niya natapos ang lahat ng requirements na kailangan ng employer. Noong nakasama na siya sa line-up ng makakakuha ng visa ay nabago ang Prime Minister ng bansang pupuntahan niya at nabago ang job order description, kaya kinailangang maghintay pa ng anim na buwan upang maisaayos ito.”

Ang paghihintay ng anim na buwan ay umabot sa halos dalawang taon na walang kasiguraduhan kung matutuloy pa siyang makapagtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Halos pinanghinaan na ng loob sina Kapatid na Ivy at Louie dahil sa nagkapatung-patong na ang kanilang mga bayarin at halos maubos na rin ang kanilang naipon dahil sa wala silang matatag na pinagkakakitaan.

Capalangan, Pampanga

Sa kabila nito, namalagi pa rin si Kapatid na Ivy at Kapatid na Louie sa kanilang lubos na pagtitiwala sa Panginoong Diyos. “Sa kabila ng hirap at pagsubok, lalo kaming nagpakasigla sa pagtupad ng aming tungkulin. Hindi kami nawalan ng pag-asa dahil nanghawak kami sa pangako ng Diyos na hindi Niya pababayaan ang Kaniyang mga tapat na lingkod.” Si Kapatid na Louie ay kalihim ng lokal at si Kapatid na Ivy naman ay maytungkulin sa pananalapi sa Lokal ng Capalangan, Distrito Eklesiastiko ng Pampanga East.

Dahil sa lubos na pagtitiwala at patuloy nilang paglilingkod sa Panginoong Diyos, ibinigay Niya ang kasagutan sa kanilang ipinagpapanata. Nakaalis na rin patungo sa ibang bansa si Kapatid na Louie at nabiyayaan ng matatag na trabaho roon at doon din ay ipinagpatuloy ang pagtupad niya ng tungkulin. Dagdag pa ni Kapatid na Ivy, “Nakapagtayo na rin kami ng sariling negosyo at sa kasalukuyan ay may dalawang branch na ito na pinatatakbo ng aming mga anak.”

Ang patuloy na pagsunod sa mga kalooban ng Diyos na itinuturo ng Pamamahala ang pinanindigan nina Kapatid na Ivy at Kapatid na Louie. “Aming ipinangangako na patuloy naming itataguyod ang pamumuhay nang ayon sa mga kalooban ng Diyos. Hindi kami kailanman tatalikod sa aming tungkulin at pagka-Iglesia Ni Cristo,” pahayag ni Kapatid na Ivy.

Sinulat ni Rho-Anne Shan Cinense

Isa sa mga binigyang-diin ng Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan sa pagsambang kanilang pinangasiwaan ay ang kahalagahan ng pagiging maytungkulin sa Iglesia. Ang mga maytungkulin ang katuwang ng Pamamahala sa pagmamalasakit sa kapakanang espirituwal ng mga hinirang ng Diyos.

Ang pagpapahalaga sa pagtupad ng tungkulin ang ipinaunawa rin ng mga magulang ni Kapatid na Irene Loraine Vallejos sa kanilang magkakapatid. Pahayag ni Kapatid na Irene, “Mga bata pa kami ay itinuro na sa amin ng aming mga magulang na ang tungkulin ay bigay ng Diyos at ang pagtupad dito ay nakalulugod sa Kaniya. Lagi kaming isinasama ng aming mga magulang sa kapilya at sa iba’t ibang aktibidad. Nakita rin namin ang pagpapahalaga ng aming mga magulang sa pagtupad ng tungkulin kahit na sila abala rin sa pagha-hanapbuhay.” Ang ama ni Kapatid na Irene ay isang pangulong diakono at ang kaniyang ina naman ay mang-aawit.

Dahil tumatak sa isipan ni Kapatid na Irene ang kahalagahan ng tungkulin, ipinagpapauna niya ito nang higit sa ano pa mang bagay. Pagsasalaysay niya, “Noong ako ay nasa kolehiyo na at maraming aktibidad sa paaralan, sa tuwing magkakaroon ito ng conflict sa panahon ng pagtupad ng tungkulin, ang aking ipinagpapauna ay ang makatupad. Ginagawan ko ng paraan na ang mga subject na kailangan ko bawat semester ay makuha ko sa schedule na hindi sasabay sa pagtupad ng tungkulin.”

Ngayong malayo sa piling ni Kapatid na Irene ang kaniyang mga magulang sapagkat sila ay nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa, tinitiyak pa rin ng kaniyang mga magulang na silang magkakapaid ay nananatiling masisiglang kaanib ng Iglesia. “Kahit nasa ibang bansa sila ay palagi pa rin nila kaming pinaaalalahanan. Araw-araw kaming nag-uusap sa pamamagitan ng makabagong teknolohiya. Nais din naming huwag silang mag-alala sa amin kaya lagi naming tinitiyak na namamalagi kaming masigla sa pagsamba at pagtupad ng tungkulin,” pahayag ni Kapatid na Irene, na ngayon ay pangulong mang-aawit at maytungkulin sa Pagsamba ng Kabataan sa Lokal ng Carosucan, Distrito Eklesiastiko ng Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

Sinulat ni Rea Carl Pascual

“Naranasan ko ang usigin at hadlangan ng aking mga magulang noong ako’y nagisismula pa lamang umanib sa Iglesia,” pahayag ni Kapatid na Marzon Calderon.

Tulad ng mga bagong umaanib sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, si Kapatid na Marzon ay dumaan sa mga pagsubok at pag-uusig. Ngunit dahil sa naunawaan niya ang aral tungkol sa kahalagahan ng pag-anib sa Iglesia ay hindi siya napahadlang, bagkus ay nagpatuloy sa pag-anib. Pagsasalaysay niya, “Noong pinalayas ako, wala akong alam na maaaring mapuntahan. Dahil sa awa at pagmamahal ng Diyos sa akin ay gumamit Siya ng kasangkapan upang ako ay magkaroon ng pansamantalang matitirhan. Ang pangulong diakono na nag-anyaya sa akin na umanib sa Iglesia ang kinasangkapan ng Ama.”

Aliaga, Nueva Ecija

Nanindigan si Kapatid na Marzon sa kaniyang pagka-Iglesia Ni Cristo. Kalaunan ay natanggap din ng kaniyang mga magulang ang kaniyang pagiging kaanib ng Iglesia. Sabi niya, “Hindi nagtagal ay sinundo na ako nang kusa ng aking mga magulang at pinabalik sa amin.”

Sa malinis na hangaring maunawaan ng kaniyang pamilya kung gaano kahalaga ang Iglesia at maging kaanib din nito, lagi itong laman ng kaniyang mga panalangin. Pahayag niya, “Hiniling ko sa Diyos na ang aking pamilya ay matawag din upang maging kaanib ng Iglesia.” Hindi naman siya nabigo. Naakay niya ang kaniyang mga kapatid upang makapakinig ng mga aral na sinasampalatayanan sa Iglesia at ngayon ay kaanib na rin sila ng Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Sa kasalukuyan, si Kapatid na Marzon ay isang pangulong diakono sa Lokal ng Aliaga, Distrito Eklesiastiko ng Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. Subok na sa kaniyang buhay ang di-nagmamaliw na pag-ibig ng Diyos. Kaya, bunga ng natutuhan niya mula sa pagtuturo ng Pamamahala, sinambitla niya nang buong paninindigan: “Sa lahat ng pagsubok at pag-uusig ay sa Panginoong Diyos dapat laging magtiwala. Tiyak na hindi Niya tayo pababayaan.”

Sinulat ni Angelika Andres

Taong 2020 nang pumanaw ang kabiyak ni Kapatid na Artemio Pavico, na lagi rin niyang kasa-kasama sa pagtupad ng tungkulin. Sariwa pa sa kaniyang alaala na kahit noong mga panahong may sakit na ang kaniyang maybahay ay nananaig pa rin ang paninindigan nitong makatupad ng tungkulin bilang isang mang-aawit. Ani Kapatid na Artemio, “Kahit nahihirapan siya sa pagsusuot ng kaniyang sapatos dahil namamaga ang kaniyang paa bunga ng sakit na diabetes ay pinipilit pa rin niyang makatupad ng tungkulin.”

Nang pumanaw ang kaniyang maybahay ay nakaramdam ng matinding kalungkutan si Kapatid na Artemio. “Tunay na ako ay nangulila at halos hindi ko nakayanan ang bigat ng damdamin,” wika niya. Bilang tao ay nagdalamhati si Kapatid na Artemio. Subalit bilang kaanib at maytungkulin sa loob ng Iglesia Ni Cristo, nauunawaan niya na ang kaniyang maybahay ay nakatapos na ng takbuhin. Hindi tumigil si Kapatid na Artemio sa pagtupad ng kaniyang tungkulin. “Ang aming tungkulin ay itinuturing namin bilang isang tunay na yaman. Kaya naman, hindi ko ito kailanman pababayaan,” pahayag niya.

Cardona, Tarlac

Sa susunod na taon ay sasapit na si Kapatid na Artemio sa kaniyang ikalimang dekada bilang isang maytungkulin. Sa kasalukuyan, siya ang pangulong mang-aawit sa Lokal ng Cardona, Distrito Eklesiastiko ng Paniqui, Tarlac.

Ang pinaghuhugutan niya ng lakas ng loob ay ang kaniyang matibay na pananalig sa magagawa ng Diyos. Pahayag ni Kapatid na Artemio, “Tulad ng itinuro ng Kapatid na Eduardo V. Manalo sa pagsambang kanilang pinangasiwaan, sa mga panahong tayo ay nakasasagupa ng kalungkutan at suliranin ay lalo tayong dapat na manalangin sa Diyos. Sa Kaniya natin dapat ilagak ang ating pagtitiwala at sa Kaniyang mga pangako dapat nating ituon ang ating pag-asa.”

Taglay ang matibay na pananalig na hindi lilimutin ng Diyos ang pagpapagal ng Kaniyang mga tapat na hinirang, nangangako si Kapatid na Artemio na: “Aking isasadsad ang pagtupad ng aking tungkulin hanggang sa wakas ng aking buhay o wakas ng mundong ito, alinman ang mauna, upang kamtin ang mga pangako ng Diyos.”

Sinulat ni Renzo Maca

“Sa ospital ako namalagi nang mahigit sa dalawang linggo. Nakaranas ako ng labis na kalungkutan at pangungulila sa aking pamilya,” pahayag ni Kapatid na Madel Gado na nagkaroon ng severe symptoms ng Covid-19. “Sa ospital ay nasaksihan ko ang paghihinagpis at matinding kalungkutan ng mga kasama kong pasyente. Bakas naman sa iba ang kawalan ng pag-asa. Halos gabi-gabi ay maririnig ang panaghoy at hikbi ng pagtangis,” pagsasalaysay ni Kapatid na Madel.

Kasabay ng kaniyang naramdamang hirap sa paghinga ay ang pag-aalala sa kalagayan ng kaniyang ama at mga kapatid na namamalagi sa quarantine facility ng barangay sapagkat nahawa rin sila ng lumalaganap na sakit.

Sa kabila ng kaniyang sitwasyon, hindi nawalan ng pag-asa si Kapatid na Madel. Ang tapat na pangako ng Diyos ang kaniyang pinanghawakan. Tulad ng ipinahayag ng Namamahala sa pagsambang kanilang pinangasiwaan, ang pagmamahal ng Diyos sa Kaniyang tapat na mga hinirang ay hindi nagkukulang. Pahayag ni Kapatid na Madel, “Naranasan at nasaksihan ko man ang mabigat na kalagayan ay hindi ako pinanghinaan ng loob sapagkat may pangako ang Diyos sa Kaniyang mga hinirang na hindi Niya sila pababayaan kailanman.”

Kahit mag-isa at nahihirapan sa kaniyang sakit ay patuloy niyang isinagawa ang kaniyang mga pananalangin sa Diyos. Ipinagpatuloy rin ng kaniyang pamilya ang kanilang pagsambang pansambahayan at itiniwala sa Diyos ang kanilang kalagayan. “Sa bawat pananalangin ko sa Ama ay nararamdaman ko ang Kaniyang pagmamahal at kalinga,” pahayag ni Kapatid na Madel.

Tunay na hindi binibigo ng Diyos ang mga tapat Niyang lingkod na naglalagak ng tiwala at pag-asa sa Kaniya. Sa awa ng Diyos, gumaling sa karamdaman ang pamilya ni Kapatid na Madel. Nakabalik na rin sila sa pagsamba sa loob ng kapilya at sa pagtupad ng kanilang tungkulin. Si Kapatid na Madel ay maytungkulin sa pananalapi at sa kapisanang KADIWA sa Lokal ng Cantagda, Distrito Eklesiastiko ng Romblon.

Pangako ni Kapatid na Madel, “Sa kabila man ng pandemya, ako ay patuloy na nangangako sa Ama na hindi ko iiwan ang aking tungkulin at lalo kong iingatan ang aking kahalalan.”

By Rodel Manueli

Brother James Tom Deocadez graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Pastoral Studies and Evangelism from the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) School For Ministers for the Academic Year 2020–2021.

Before heeding God’s call to enter the holy ministry, Brother Tom, as he is fondly called, graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Filipinology minor in Mass Communication. “I first worked as an English language instructor. Then I was hired and worked for a business process outsourcing company. With that, I earned more than enough for myself and my family. Add to that the benefits I get as an employee, including allowances for food, clothing, and transportation,” he shared.

Although a person needs material things to live, but as a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Brother Tom knows what is more important—to devote himself to serving the Lord to all the more be certain of salvation. That is why, he said, “I held my devotional prayers to God to guide me on what to do and how I could all the more serve Him. Then, our resident minister visited my family. He encouraged me to study in the holy ministry. I firmly believe that it was God’s answer to my prayers.”

Pondering on God’s words that were taught by Brother Eduardo V. Manalo in the worship service, Brother Tom said, “As taught by the Executive Minister, a servant of God who wants to dedicate his life to Him must be willing to all the more devote himself to serving Him and the Church. That is why we should not refuse to accept and hold a Church duty. This is the very reason I decided to study in the ministry, for I believe that this is God’s calling.”

Having understood the value of being a helper to the Church Administration in caring for the brethren’s spiritual welfare, Brother Tom promised, “To be of service in the holy ministry is more valuable than what I had before. I promise the Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Church Administration that I will continue fully devoting myself to performing my duties as a ministerial worker in the Church.”

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The official website of Pasugo: God’s Message magazine of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), contains religious articles, Church news, and photos