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Solid faith and firm trust in God

PASTORAL VISIT
CAPITOL, QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES
APRIL 1, 2022

By MA. CLAIRE JOY MARTINEZ

TO REMAIN IN GOD’S GRACE and continually receive His blessings, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) should examine themselves carefully and make sure that they are solid in the faith. This is one of the biblical instructions Brother Eduardo V. Manalo emphasized in his preaching during the worship service of the Local Congregation of Capitol, Ecclesiastical District of Quezon City, on April 1, 2022. He led more than a thousand brethren eager not only to offer praises to the Lord but also to see the Church’s Executive Minister in person and hear directly through him God’s teachings once again. This was the first local congregation he visited in person outside of the Central Temple since the pandemic began.

The words of God taught by the Executive Minister during the worship service all the more strengthened the faith of the congregants. He reminded them to always place their trust in God and to be prayerful, especially in times like these when so much sorrow and tribulations could weaken their resolve. He reassured them that the strength they receive every time they pray to God, especially in the house of worship, prepares them to face and surmount any hindrance in their spiritual journey toward salvation.

One of the attendees, Sister Abby Gail Araracap, a deaconess and Buklod officer, said, “My family faced problems and difficulties, even before the pandemic. But I firmly believe that when we make sure that our faith is solid by always attending the worship services and placing our hope in the Almighty God, we become equipped to overcome trials.”

In 2017, Sister Abby’s firstborn child faced a life-or-death situation. “My daughter suffered from acute glomerulonephritis (an illness wherein the tiny blood vessels that filter fluids in the kidneys become inflamed). There was a risk of kidney failure and she always felt tired and weak,” she narrated.

Like what every faithful Church Of Christ member would do, the first thing that came to Sister Abby’s mind when faced with such a situation was to ask for help from the Almighty God. She said, “We never felt alone in handling the problem. We dedicated ourselves to praying for our daughter’s health because we firmly trust in God. We also fulfilled what the Church Administration taught from the Bible: to call for the elders of the Church to anoint the sick. And we reminded our daughter to never cease praying to God because He will surely listen to her pleadings.” Together with her husband, Sister Abby strove to keep her faith in the Lord solid and intact despite her daughter’s condition.

The couple consulted several doctors and brought their daughter to different hospitals for checkups and lab tests. However, they knew in their hearts that God is the greatest healer and that nothing is impossible for Him. Sister Abby said with conviction, “It was proven once again that God does listen to the prayers of His people. The medications worked on my daughter. She eventually regained her strength. I know for a fact that God healed her.”

Sister Abby Gail Araracap (second from right) and her family

Throughout her daughter’s illness, Sister Abby and her family made sure that nothing hindered them from attending the worship services and fulfilling their Church duties. They are thankful to God for teaching them how to handle every hardship positively. “All these trials made us stronger. Because of what happened, our children all the more learned the value of prayers at a young age,” she added.

How members of the Church Of Christ say their prayer is one of the things that Brother Jovito Goyala, a deacon, found to be different from what he learned to do when he was still a Catholic. Upon listening to the teachings in the Church Of Christ, he learned that people should pray for help and for the forgiveness of sins to the Almighty Father Himself, not to the so-called saints of the Catholic Church. He said, “I tried to listen to other religions, but I wasn’t satisfied and never felt contented because of the discrepancies of their teachings from what is written in the Bible.” For a long time, he searched for the right way to serve and worship God.

Aside from prayers, another biblical teaching that made Brother Jovito decide to leave his former religion is about the Holy Supper and the forgiveness of sins. He said, “In the Catholic Church, we were taught to take communion during mass. The priests taught us that by doing so, we remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But I noticed that we would receive the bread but never drink from the cup.” Such queries about his former religion prompted him to look for answers.

When he came to know about the Church Of Christ, Brother Jovito listened intently to what the minister preached. He remembered asking many questions. He said, “I learned about the Iglesia Ni Cristo through a former classmate. I listened to the doctrinal lessons and compared them with what I know and the truth written in the Bible.” He said he also continually attended the worship services in his yearning to learn more about the Church.

“I found the true faith and felt peace in my life when I became a Church Of Christ member. All the questions in my mind were answered from the Bible,” said Brother Jovito, who, together with his family, was baptized in the Church in 1988. He strives to continue strengthening his faith and that of his entire household. He continued, “I am very thankful that I was called into the Church Of Christ. I am also grateful that I was able to listen to the preaching of our beloved Executive Minister. I feel that he cares so much for us because he never ceases to teach us God’s words written in the Bible. He reminds us to always make sure that we all have solid faith to remain in the Church until the end to receive the promised salvation.”

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