Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister: Hong Kong, China
January 27, 2019
ACCORDING TO ITS Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong consists of approximately 370,000 migrant workers who are employed as domestic helpers. Around 200,000 of them come from the Philippines.
Many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) made the selfless decision to work in a foreign land to be able to provide the needs of their loved ones. Sister Melinda Monsalud described her life as an OFW as “painful and difficult” because of the many ordeals she had to go through, one of which was leaving her loved ones behind.
Aside from homesickness, another difficulty many OFWs face is the lack of time off from work for other vital concerns. The Hong Kong government policy requires migrant workers who help in housekeeping to stay in their employers’ home and be given at most one day off per week. Indeed, their work life in Hong Kong demands endurance. This is more so with the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) who have to make sacrifices to attend the worship services. Despite this challenge, they prove their solid faith as they carry on with their duties to God.
Sister Melinda is a convert and currently a secretary in the Local Congregation of Hong Kong West. Her story is an example of placing complete faith in God. “A big challenge happened to me back in October 2016 when I was about to start working for a new employer. The location and the salary were very favorable for me. However, the job demanded me to start working on that specific weekend. That would have meant missing the worship service. And on that weekend, it was Brother Eduardo Manalo who officiated at the worship service,” Sister Melinda explained.
Sister Melinda made the choice of letting go of this job opportunity. “No amount of money can compare to the value of attending the worship service,” she declared. It was because of her complete faith in God that she was then blessed to find a new employer. “My work schedule now allows me to attend worship service,” she added.
During the recent pastoral visit to Hong Kong of the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, on January 27, 2019, Sister Melinda was able to bring four guests to listen to the words of God. The worship service the Executive Minister officiated was held at the AsiaWorld-Expo. It was followed by a program in appreciation of the dedication and hard work of OFWs in Hong Kong. Brethren and guests also received goodwill packages.
Yet, the most important thing they received was the truth written in the Holy Scriptures through the preaching of Brother Eduardo Manalo. In his Bible-based sermon, he taught that God’s true servants who patiently wait for the Lord and unceasingly trust in Him against all odds can always rely on His great help.
Sister Miriam Manansala, a deaconess, Light Of Salvation officer, and Buklod officer from the Local Congregation of Prince Edward, prioritized attending the worship services and fulfilling her Church duties even if it meant losing her job. But God blessed her with a better one. She recalled, “One of the brethren, who is a friend of mine, then recommended me to my current employer, and I thank the Lord God because He gave me a very kind employer. I’m able to fulfill my Church duties and I’m no longer hindered from taking part in the activities of the Church here in Hong Kong.”
A convert from Catholicism, Sister Miriam also mentioned a part of the lesson taught by Brother Eduardo Manalo that in order to serve and worship God in the right manner, a person should carefully examine the religion he or she belongs to and determine whether it is authorized by God to serve Him based on the Holy Scriptures. She said, “It is taught in the Bible that one must be in the Church Of Christ to be saved. That is why I am constantly praying for my employer’s family to also become members of the Church.” She shares her faith to them by giving them copies of Pasugo: God’s Message magazines and inviting them to evangelical missions.
Sister Lily Ho, an 81-year-old Chinese from Sister Miriam’s local congregation, gracefully expressed: “After my baptism, I feel more contented in my life. I was formerly an Anglican, but now I am in the true religion, the Church Of Christ.” As to what caught her interest to know more about the Church Of Christ, this is what she said: “I observed the worship services in the Church. They are very solemn. I feel stronger, healthier, and happier every time I attend the worship services.”
Although at first, Sister Lily faced disapproval from her daughter and relatives concerning her faith, nevertheless, she regularly attends the worship services and participates in many Aid For Humanity projects of the Church. Her caregiver, Sister Miriam, said, “I was not hesitant to invite Sister Lily then to the Church because I know that God will guide me to make the truth be known to her. And just as God helped me to understand the need to enter the Church, He also helped Sister Lily. Her daughter now understands why she wanted to be baptized in the Church Of Christ. She also realized that her mother is in good hands. The trust and bond between all of us grew strong and firm.”
Without a doubt, Church Of Christ members need the Almighty God the most in their daily living. In times of sufferings, grief, and pain which are inevitable, they always seek His help. They have firm faith that the Father is their refuge in every situation. Although life has its uncertainties and woes, members of the Church Of Christ fervently trust that they will receive what God has promised to them on the most awaited day of their salvation. (Arlynn Bartolome and Ka Yi Margaret Ip)