THE YEAR 2020 has been a horrible year for many because of the various problems they faced, such as ongoing armed conflicts, economic difficulties, violence, and social evils that have made living especially difficult. Aggravating the already bad situation are the Covid-19 pandemic that up to now is still plaguing the entire world and the onslaught of destructive calamities.
For members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), despite all that has happened this year, they still consider it a matter of great blessing that they are able to hurdle life’s challenges while remaining in the true service of the Lord God. They count the Almighty God’s blessings—both material and spiritual—and marvel at His continued guidance to His chosen people in these last days. Hence, as the year finally draws to a close, they take a moment to pause and reflect on the goodness of God as manifest in the victories He granted in their holy endeavors.
Successfully spreading the gospel
Despite community quarantines or lockdowns that governments implemented to keep the populace safe from the pandemic, the Church Of Christ has consistently pursued its mission of spreading the gospel of salvation (Mark 16:15-16) while following health safety protocols. Through mass media and social media, the Church continues to air its radio and television programs and the brethren were able to share the links of online evangelical missions to their loved ones and friends.
The tireless efforts of the brethren in sharing the faith have not been in vain as new converts were added to the Church. Baptisms were held in various parts of the world, while observing health protocols.
More workers for the Lord’s harvest field
With the growth of the Church comes the need for more ministers to care for the growing need of the Lord’s flock. In answer to the Church’s prayer, which the Lord Jesus instructed His servants to say, that the Lord God send out more workers into His vast harvest field (Matt. 9:38), a total of 100 new ministers were ordained from January 2020.
Also, 1195 new graduates from the Iglesia Ni Cristo School For Ministers took their oath as regular ministerial workers.
Edifying the faith of the Lord’s chosen ones
Part of the quarantine measures implemented by national governments to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 is the temporary prohibition of large gatherings that included religious services. However, this did not hinder the brethren from worshiping God (Heb. 10:27) as they conducted Household Worship Services. On several occasions, they attended worship services that were officiated by the Executive Minister himself via live streaming, while in the confines of their respective homes.
The Christian Family Organizations (CFO) launched various activities such as webinars discussing tips to cope with stress and additional livelihood opportunities to help the brethren whose jobs were affected by lockdown measures.
Following government-imposed work and health protocols, the Church was not deterred by the pandemic from constructing houses of worship and dedicating them to God.
Concern for others
Through the stewardship of its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Church Of Christ unceasingly pursues its socio-civic projects in different parts of the world. With a helping hand, it reaches out to various sectors in society, especially to the needy, in compliance with the biblical command to “not grow weary while doing good … to all” (Gal. 6:9–10 New King James Version). It further intensifies this humanitarian work as tragedies and disasters strike one after another.
The following day right after Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted on January 12, the Church Of Christ, through the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, promptly responded by conducting the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid to Humanity) to supply the immediate needs of calamity victims in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.
To help create livelihood opportunities for Church members and nonmembers, the Church established its first eco-farm in the USA in Soshoni, Wyoming on January 21, 2020.
INC Giving and Aid to Humanity were conducted in various parts of the globe to help ease the burden brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. On such events, goods, food, care packages, including personal protective equipment, were distributed to frontliners and individuals. Health care donations were also given to public schools, nursing homes, and elderly facilities.
In the Philippines, the Ciudad de Victoria Complex was used as a mega-quarantine facility housing Covid-19 patients, frontliners, and health care workers.
And on Brother Eduardo Manalo’s birthday on October 31, the Church conducted the Worldwide Aid to Humanity to help alleviate the troubles of people brought about by the pandemic. This humanitarian effort was again carried out after a few days in the Philippines when several super typhoons ravaged the country, submerging many towns under water, leaving thousands of families homeless, and destroying millions of pesos worth of crops and properties.
The world today may be gripped by uncertainty and a pervading sense of instability yet God’s people in these last days—the members of the Church Of Christ—have all the reasons to be thankful to Him for His blessings. And while in these trying times, the rest of mankind is apprehensive of what the future may bring, they remain hopeful and optimistic that He will do again all the good that He has done for them, and more.