Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister: Macau, China
January 20, 2019
Written by Fhoebe Mangabay, Joshua Lander Cabotaje,
and Queen Deanna De Guzman
KNOWN FOR ITS highly developed tourism and entertainment sectors, Macau attracts many people seeking career advancement in these fields. Despite its small land area, it offers tons of job opportunities. Just a few hours away by plane from the Philippines, this is also a destination for many Filipinos to live and work in. An estimated 30,000 Filipinos work in this Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
“Being an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) here in Macau is not easy—from budgeting and providing for our daily needs to comforting ourselves during difficult times and adjusting to a different culture. Since we are distant from our loved ones, we need to live here independently,” shared Sister Karen Faith Simpleo, a nurse in a private hospital. She is a choir member and finance officer in the Local Congregation of Macau.
But such difficulties do not hinder the true Church Of Christ members from their worship and service of God. Brother June Avendaño, a head deacon, said, “Although in my employment, overtime work is required and we are not allowed to leave early, I still prioritize my Church duties. I constantly attend the worship service and perform my duties. I know that God will never abandon me. I pray to Him and ask for His help everyday. God answers my prayers. My employer now understands how much I value my Church membership. With God’s unceasing love and mercy, I am able to perform my divine duties to our Lord God without any hindrance.”
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) work and earn for their families even if they have to suffer the pain of leaving their loved ones behind and the loneliness while living in a different country. Aware of this, the Administration of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), through the leadership of the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, tirelessly ensures that brethren are taught, encouraged, and edified in the faith. The Church has also expanded its outreach program for OFWs—Church members and nonmembers alike—in a number of countries and territories including Macau.
Another OFW, Sister Gretchen Joy Rivera, a secretary and choir member from the Local Congregation of Taipa, stated, “We are being guided in our everyday lives through the worship services during which we receive the strengthening of our faith. By prioritizing the worship service, our spiritual needs are satisfied. We also learn from the Church Administration that through being righteous before God and working hard, we will benefit from the blessings coming from Him.”
On January 20, 2019, the Executive Minister visited the newly established Ecclesiastical District of Macau and led the special worship service at the Grand Hyatt Hotel Macau. The hall was filled to capacity with brethren and their guests whom they invited. In his preaching, the Executive Minister emphasized the biblical truth that to receive salvation on Judgment Day, people must enter the Lord’s flock which is the Church Of Christ. He urged the brethren to constantly gain spiritual knowledge and insight through God’s words, especially during worship services. Hence, he said, true servants of God do not forsake the worship services.
Brother Jay Morales, KADIWA district president and choir member, shared, “Through the Executive Minister’s preaching which is based on the Bible, we receive spiritual advices for our homesickness to be lessened and for us to avoid doing bad things that could eventually destroy our family.” Brother Rey Bactol, a deacon and Buklod officer, said, “We are thankful to our Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, for always reminding us to prioritize and not to forsake our worship service to God because if we obey His commandments, He will fulfill His promises to us.”
Sister Cherry Castillo, an organist and Christian Family Organization (CFO) officer, expressed, “With the leadership of the Executive Minister, the Church helps our fellowmen through livelihood programs, housing projects, and medical assistance. Most importantly, Brother Eduardo Manalo leads us in sharing with others the importance of salvation on Judgment Day. The OFWs realized that even in this part of the world, the Church continues to help people not only in material things, but most of all in their spiritual needs.”
Sister Emily Garcia, an OFW and pioneer Church member in Macau, said, “I’ve encountered trials and personal problems, but in those experiences and through the worship services, I gained knowledge on how to be strong and remain steadfast in my calling. It’s challenging to be an OFW, but I never lose hope and I keep on praying to God so that He will guide me. God provides the solution to every problem.”
A choir leader, Sister Teresita Cambel, declared, “Everytime we are in the worship service, we find peace and contentment. We entrust all our personal problems and trials to our Lord God through our prayers because He is the only One Who can truly help us.” Sister Marietta Olleres, a secretary, added, “By listening to and obeying the teachings of our Lord God preached during worship services, my faith is all the more strengthened and my relationship with Him is intensified.”
Brother Eduardo Manalo also reminded the brethren not to take for granted their divine election and to share the true faith with their fellowmen. To this, Sister Marietta, a convert who has been a Church member for 25 years now, responded, “As a member of the Church Of Christ, I will never neglect my duty to share the true faith with everyone.” She vowed, “I will never turn my back against the Church. Whatever the situation is, I will continue to submit to and follow the Church Administration. Even if problems exist, I will never be flustered. I will not abandon my Church duties. I will continue to lead my family in serving God until the end.”