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Keep the faith until the end

ORDINATION OF NEW MINISTERS
COMMEMORATION OF MILESTONE ANNIVERSARIES
TUNDO, MANILA, PHILIPPINES
MAY 27, 2022

BROTHER FELIX Y. MANALO (1886–1963), God’s Messenger in these last days, spent his life and strength in ensuring that the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), the fruits of the work God entrusted to him, would receive salvation. The biblical teachings he proclaimed remain alive in the hearts and minds of Church members because they are the same teachings being upheld by the Church Administration today in leading them toward salvation.   

With that divine purpose, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the present Executive Minister, has always exhorted members of the Church not to let the Messenger’s efforts for their own welfare be in vain. One such recent occasion was the worship service he officiated on May 27, 2022.

Livestreamed from the house of worship of the Local Congregation of Tundo, the worship service was witnessed by brethren from all local congregations in the Ecclesiastical District of Manila, as well as 30 other local congregations and group worship services in and outside the country that were celebrating their respective milestone anniversaries.

Brother Librado B. Santos said the opening prayer, and Brother Romer D. Galang the prayer after the sermon. The Executive Minister then laid his hands on 30 ministerial workers, conferring them the office of minister of the gospel. This was followed by a prayer said by Brother Arnel R. Canicosa, after which Brother Eduardo Manalo said the benediction.

In his homily, the Executive Minister encouraged the brethren to be constantly on their guard, for the enemy, the devil, has been using all means possible to try to deceive them. They should be well-prepared, he reminded them, to safeguard their faith, especially now that the end is near, by always obeying God’s commandments they received from His Messenger and from the Church Administration.

The following experiences shared by some brethren present during the worship service show their eagerness and zeal in keeping their faith:


Established in the faith
Tundo, Maynila
By Chlo’e Anne Licudo

Brother Joselito Bacolod believes that God gives prosperity to those who are devoted to Him. Hence, Brother Joselito’s resolve is to stay dedicated to his services to God even in the face of life’s many trials.

Brother Joselito was just 15 years of age, five years ago, when he decided to join the Church Of Christ for which he experienced persecution from his family. He recalled, “My family lived with our grandmother, a devout Catholic. When she found out that I showed interest in the Church Of Christ, she threatened to cast me out of our home.”

Nevertheless, Brother Joselito continued joining the true Church. He always found ways to attend worship services and Bible studies. He was eventually baptized on April 29, 2017. Even though it was not easy for him that his family was not supportive of his decision to become a member the Church, he remained dedicated to fulfilling his Church duties.

At present, he is their local congregation’s Children’s Worship Service (CWS) president, a Christian Brotherhood International (CBI) district officer, a KADIWA officer, and currently studying to become a CWS Teacher.

Brother Joselito Bacolod

“For me, fulfilling my Church duties has been my way of overcoming difficulties because my faith is strengthened in doing so,” said Brother Joselito. He recalled, “In senior high, I always set other things aside to prioritize my Church obligations. There were even times I would go to school tired because I came from a Church activity.” Nonetheless, such experiences gave him added motivation. And God did not fail him. “Through God’s mercy and help, I was able to survive those two years in senior high school,” he stated.

Brother Joselito’s devotional prayers were answered and his mother and sister also joined the Church. They were both baptized in 2019. “They saw that I never got tired of inviting them to the Church Of Christ. Every day, I conducted devotional prayers. I always prayed for my family,” he shared. Now, his mother and sister are active members of the Church, holding Church duties.

On the 55th anniversary of their local congregation, Brother Joselito was blessed to attend the worship service and listen to the preaching of the Executive Minister. “I will hold on to what I learned from our Executive Minister: The Lord will answer my cry in times of troubles,” he said.

Looking back on the trials he encountered, Brother Joselito is grateful that he was able to overcome them and uphold his membership in the Church. He is determined to hold fast his Church membership because he firmly believes: “This is God’s gift that I can never compare to anything in this world.”


We must be prayerful to God 
Pozzorubio, Pangasinan
By Rose Camille Pangilinan

The brethren from the Local Congregation of Pozorrubio in Pangasinan were filled with joy that on their 85th anniversary, they were among those connected to the livestreamed worship service officiated by Brother Eduardo Manalo. Among them who yearned for this day was the congregation’s head deacon, Brother Edwin Cabanilla.

In 1994, Brother Edwin took oath as the congregation’s head deacon. “I truly feel how the Lord God guides me to lead the brethren,” he said. He testified that when he was entrusted with the duty, things in his life fell into their place. “God blessed my family, and even my livelihood,” he shared. “So, what I do in return is to lead my family in intensive obedience to the Lord God and, as a head deacon, to lead the brethren with the same fervor in our services to God.” Twenty-eight years later, he remains in his sacred duty and considers it a great blessing that on the anniversary of their local congregation, he would hear the preaching of the Executive Minister.

Brother Edwin Cabanilla and his wife

“Our prayers and devotional prayers are our greatest weapons when trials come in our life,” Brother Edwin shared. He makes it a point to share his conviction with the brethren. “I tell them, ‘If there are things we need, we ask God through devotional prayers’,” he said. He does his best to lead them by example, being the first to be prayerful.

“There are many trials for us, members of the Church Of Christ, but it isn’t because God doesn’t love us,” he said, as an advice to the brethren under his care. He intends to share with others that trials are there, so that God’s power would be manifest in our lives. He said, “God wants us to realize that He is with us, He is our companion in this journey.”

During the pandemic, many were affected by the illness and other problems that the situation brought. But Brother Edwin remained steadfast in fulfilling his tasks. “I feel that the Lord God is with me always and that He never abandons me,” he said. “So, I tell the brethren, ‘We are God’s people, He has a promise to us that He will not forsake us,’ so that they would also know that whatever they are going through will soon pass and God will help all of us.”


Nakikinig ang Ama sa lahat ng pagkakataon
Tiaong, Bulacan
Sinulat ni Arien Geronimo

“Mula nang ikasal kami noong 2006, palagi na siyang pumupunta sa ibang lugar dahil sa trabaho. Mas marami ang pagkakataon na siya ay nasa ibang bansa,” sabi ni Kapatid na Jocelyn Ocampo tungkol sa kaniyang asawa. Nagtrabaho bilang isang overseas Filipino worker si Kapatid na Marvin upang may maitustos sa kanilang mga pangangailangan.

Bagaman may dulot na mga benepisyo, batid ni Kapatid na Jocelyn na ang pangingibang-bansa ay may kaakibat ding mga problema. Pahayag niya, “Alam ko na sa ganoong sitwasyon ay mas maraming pagsubok ang dumarating sa amin.” Pero hindi siya pinanghihinaan ng loob. “Ang laging sandata namin ay panalangin. Nakikinig ang Ama sa mga tapat na lingkod Niya sa lahat ng pagkakataon,” pagpapatuloy niya.

Naging alalahanin din para sa kaniya ang kalusugan ng kaniyang asawa. Nang minsang umuwi sa bansa si Kapatid na Marvin, inatake siya sa puso at nangailangan ng operasyon. “Nag-undergo siya ng angioplasty,” sabi ni Kapatid na Jocelyn. Ginamit niya ang pagkakataong iyon upang suriin ang kaniyang sarili, kaysa tanungin ang Diyos kung bakit may ganitong problemang dumarating sa kanilang buhay. At lalo ring naging maliwanag sa kaniya ang palaging itinuturo ng Pamamahala na huwag iiwan ang pagsamba. Sabi niya, “Hindi solusyon na kapag may problema ay pabayaan ang pagsamba.”

Kapatid na Jocelyn Ocampo

Ang paninindigan niya, kaya hindi niya iniiwan ang pagsamba: “Guided ka palagi ng aral. Kung lagi kang sumasamba, hindi ka maliligaw.” Dama niya sa kaniyang buhay ang pakikisama ng Diyos anuman ang kanilang mapagdaanan. “Kapag may pinagdaraanan ako, pakiramdam ko, sumasakto ang leksiyon sa kung ano ang sitwasyon ko at kung ano ang dapat kong gawin,” sabi ni Kapatid na Jocelyn.

Kalaunan ay namangha siya nang bigyan ng manggagamot ng medical clearance ang kaniyang asawa, at muli rin itong nakahanap ng trabaho sa ibang bansa. “Kahit nalagyan na ng stent ang puso niya, nakabalik pa rin siya roon,” kuwento ni Kapatid na Jocelyn. Sa kasalukuyan, nakalampas na sila sa mga pagsubok sa kanilang buhay. Patuloy na pagsasalaysay ni Kapatid na Jocelyn, “Ang aking asawa ay diakono sa ibang bansa. Nakapagbubunga rin siya roon, gaya ko.”

Sa ika-106 anibersaryo ng Lokal ng Tiaong, ang lokal na kinatatalaan ni Kapatid na Jocelyn, nakasaksi siya sa pagsambang pinangasiwaan ng Namamahala na ini-livestream sa kanilang lokal. Sa kasalukuyan, bukod sa pagiging mang-aawit, si Kapatid na Jocelyn ay pangulong kalihim sa Ilaw ng Kaligtasan at kabilang sa mga masiglang lumalahok sa gawaing pagpapalaganap sa lokal. Pagbabahagi niya ng kaniyang natutuhan sa Namamahala, “Kapag ang puso mo ay laging nasa pagsunod, walang masamang mangyayari sa iyo.”


Manghawak sa magagawa ng Diyos
Sta. Cruz – San Simon, Pampanga
Sinulat ni Jonathan Cruz

“Mahigit limang buwan kaming walang komunikasyon ng aking asawa, wala kaming balita at hindi rin namin alam kung ano ang nangyari sa kaniya sa ibang bansa,” ayon kay Kapatid na Ghirlie Manganaan. Noong Nobyembre nang nakaraang taon, huli na nang kaniyang mabalitaan na inoperahan pala sa puso ang kaniyang asawa na naghahanap-buhay noon sa ibang bansa.

Sa loob ng 17 taon, pabalik-balik sa ibang bansa ang kaniyang asawa na si Kapatid na Lito Manganaan bilang isang electrician. Subalit noong Nobyembre 2021, nagkaroon ng atherosclerosis o bara sa puso ang kaniyang asawa kaya nangailangan itong sumailalim sa agarang operasyon. Dahil dito, hindi nito naabisuhan sina Kapatid na Ghirlie at ang kanilang pamilya sa Pilipinas ukol sa gagawing pagpapa-opera. “Labis-labis ang pag-aalala namin noon. Siya ay isinasama naming mag-iina sa gabi-gabi naming pagpapanata sa Ama,” dagdag niya.

Kapatid na Ghirlie Manganaan (pangalawa mula sa kaliwa) at ang kaniyang pamilya

Hindi naman binigo ng Panginoong Diyos ang pagpapanata niya at ng kanilang sambahayan sapagkat nitong Marso ng taong ito ay nakauwi sa Pilipinas ang kaniyang asawa na malakas at masigla. Sa pagbalik ng kaniyang asawa ay doon lamang nito naisalaysay nang buo ang mga nangyari sa kaniya sa ibang bansa. Dahil dito, nagpasiya si Kapatid na Lito na huwag nang bumalik sa ibang bansa at dito na lamang mamalagi upang ituloy ang pagpapagaling. Bagama’t hindi alam kung paano mairaraos ang kanilang buhay sa araw-araw, nananalig naman sila na hindi sila pababayaan ng Panginoong Diyos.

Kinilala nilang kapalaran at biyaya na sila ay nakadalo sa pagsambang pinangasiwaan ng Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan na ini-livestream sa kanilang lokal nang sumapit ito sa ika-102 anibersaryo. Gaya ng maraming kapatid doon, hindi nanghihinawa sina Kapatid na Ghirlie sa kanilang masiglang panglilingkod sa Diyos. Nanghahawak sila sa mga aral na tinanggap nila. Aniya, “anuman ang dumating sa ating buhay ay patuloy tayong manalig sa magagawa ng ating Panginoong Diyos.” Kaya, palagi niyang sinasabi sa kaniyang mga anak, “Anuman ang dumating na mga pagsubok at suliranin sa ating buhay, patuloy lamang tayong manalangin, magtiwala, at palaging sumunod sa Kaniyang mga utos sapagkat hindi Niya pababayaan ang kaniyang tunay na mga hinirang.”

Gumaling na ang kaniyang asawa at sa kasalukuyan, mayroon silang maliit na sari-sari store na naitayo nila mula sa kaunting naipon. Kasama ng kanilang buong sambahayan, sila ay masaya at sama-samang tumutupad ng kani-kanilang tungkulin sa Panginoong Diyos.

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