Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister: Manama, Bahrain
June 14, 2019
By Mary Rose Candare
ACCORDING TO the Bahrain Labour Market Indicators, there are more than 600,000 foreign workers in the Kingdom of Bahrain by the end of the second quarter of 2018 (blmi.lmra.bh). These workers seek for greater opportunities for their future and for their families’. They do not mind facing great struggles just to attain the good life they aspire for. They courageously bear the agony of being away from their loved ones. Among these workers are members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ).
Although work takes up a great part of their daily life, still, there is something that they consider far more valuable than any wealth in this world―their Church membership. They treasure their divine election over anything else because they firmly believe that it will lead them to the promised salvation and eternal life. Their conviction has been made stronger by the homily of the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, at the worship service they attended on June 14, 2019. It was held at the Gulf Hotel in Manama, Bahrain.
Reflecting on the homily, Brother Grant Abriel Amandy, a Binhi local congregation president, Children’s Worship Service officer, and Light Of Salvation secretary, said, “It is my utmost belief that our membership in the Church reigns above material wealth in this world. This faith moves me to put more devotion to my Church duties as they matter much more than anything else in this world.”
Giving utmost importance to their divine election, members of the Church Of Christ never forsake the worship service because it is their primary duty to God. Brother Cecilio Mangmang, a newly baptized member, described how important it is for him to always attend the worship service. He said, “I feel so blessed to be called into the true Church. The teachings I receive whenever I attend worship services remind me of what is truly important.”
In anything they do in life, Church members are guided by God’s teachings that they receive during worship services. One of these is not to tie their happiness to worldly things. Instead, they should seek their joy in the Lord by devoting themselves to acts of holiness.
Although at times saddened and hurt by life’s troubles, they keep their spirit from being dampened by unpleasant and even tragic experiences. In sickness and in health, their faith remains strong.
This is the conviction of deaconess Sister Lilia Sarmiento, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. She wasted no time in holding devotional prayers to seek God’s help. Unfazed by her medical condition, she entrusted everything to the Almighty God, as she always does. Believing that troubles are temporary while God’s promises last through eternity, Sister Lilia said, “I always bear in mind that my problems will end one day. This inspires me to continue to abide by God’s teachings I received. I may live a humble life, but I have the wealth of God’s love.”
The Executive Minister tirelessly exhorts the Church members not to rely on material possessions, as these are not the real answer to all of life’s miseries. In truth, these can not provide everlasting life―the greatest wealth that should be everyone’s primary pursuit and utmost priority. This is the firm conviction of Church Of Christ members as they share the true faith, which is more important than the material assistance they could extend to those in need.
Motivated by love, Church members share with their fellowmen the pristine words of God. Such an expression of care and compassion left a profound impression on Brother Adel Ali Husain Rahma, a Bahraini who converted to the Church Of Christ. “The worship service,” he said, “is where we learn great values and the teachings of God. The preaching enlightens us on how to follow God’s teachings sincerely. I understand the value of obedience by heart. My membership in the Church is a great honor. I will continue to remain active in my services to God.”
Truly, the salvation that Church Of Christ members eagerly wait for is a blessed end to all their pains and sufferings. They strive to draw ever nearer to God and cling to Him by obedience to His words for them to grow in His love until they receive His grace of salvation, thus, ending their struggles in this world.