WHEN THE SITUATION becomes dark and gloomy, it is natural for people to feel frightened and anxious. Much worse, life’s difficulties may cause some people to lose hope and others might even blame God for what they are experiencing.
Although true servants of God also experience troubles in this world, they, however, deal with life’s uncertainties in a way different from that of the people of this world. Sister Annaliza de Venecia, a local secretary at the Local Congregation of Tayuman, Ecclesiastical District of Manila, shared how she coped with being infected with Covid-19.
“The first thing I did was pray to God and entrust everything to Him. I never questioned Him or got angry with Him,” she said.
She continued to devote herself to praying even during her quarantine. With God’s grace, she fully recovered from the disease and was able to continue her services to Him. For this, she vowed: “I will never forsake my duties and our worship services. It is when we receive God’s words conveyed to us by the Church Administration for us to overcome life’s difficulties.”
She and the other Church Of Christ members were reminded, once again, of the importance of the worship service by no less than the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, during the worship service he officiated on October 31, 2020 at the Central Temple in Quezon City, Philippines. The worship service, in which 22 new ministers of the gospel were ordained, was streamed live to the local congregations in the Philippines that commemorated milestone anniversaries (50 years and above) and to the ecclesiastical districts of South Korea, Australia East, and Tarlac City, Tarlac, which celebrated their 6th, 44th, and 95th anniversaries, respectively.
In his Bible-based preaching, Brother Eduardo Manalo taught that Church members ought to worship God and obey His teachings sincerely—with all their heart and soul.
As her resolve was further strengthened by the lesson, Sister Analyn Dacuycuy, a choir member in the Local Congregation of San Nicolas, Ecclesiastical District of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, said, “We will always remain dedicated to attending the worship services and, even during the pandemic, continue to participate in the Church’s endeavors, one of which is to help in the propagation of the true faith. As we dedicate ourselves to serving God, our faith grows stronger and our hope of receiving salvation all the more becomes certain.”
The brethren were also reminded that the Almighty God expects from His servants to always worship Him. That is why, they were exhorted, whatever the situation is, they should not neglect their worship of Him.
Sister Gloria Amolacion and her family, like many households, have also been affected by this pandemic. A senior citizen, she was not allowed to go outside of their house, in compliance with the protocols and restrictions placed in their community due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, she and her family devotedly performed the worship services in their home as the Church Administration prescribed.
Eventually, senior citizens in their area were allowed to attend the worship services in the house of worship. She stated, “I felt really glad when it was announced because I could perform my duties and attend the worship services in the house of worship again. To worship God and perform my duties are my true happiness.” Sister Gloria is a finance officer in the Local Congregation of Casantaan, Ecclesiastical District of Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.
Even during times of challenges, faithful Church members ought not to lose their trust in God. Sister Marieta de Guzman, a deaconess in the Local Congregation of Gapan City, Ecclesiastical District of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, brought her sister to the hospital for treatment. When they learned that her sister tested positive of the virus, Sister Marieta also had to isolate herself from the other members of the family and quarantine herself at home. She said, “I always conducted my devotional prayers. I knelt down in prayer, asking God to protect my family, my children and grandchildren.” Her sister eventually recovered, and she and her loved ones stayed safe.
As taught by the Executive Minister, Church members who firmly trust in God and worship Him continually will not lack in anything they need. As a head of the household, Brother Danilo de Leon, a deacon also in Gapan City Congregation, ensures that his children remain active in serving and worshiping God. He shared, “I always remind them how important our Church membership is. This is what we, as parents, can pass on to them. I always remind them of the importance of our worship services. I strive to do my best to set a good example to them by actively performing my divine duties.”
Coming from a family of pioneer Church members in Tayuman, Sister Eileen de Guzman, a choir member, always keeps the teachings that her parents taught them.
“What the Church Administration continues to teach us is also what our parents tell us—nothing is impossible with God. No matter how difficult life is, no matter how many dangers we go through, when we always pray to God and put all our trust in Him, He will provide everything for us. And if we do not forsake our worship services, we will continue to receive the strength that we need for us to carry on in our divine election and be firm in our hope in receiving His promises,” said Sister Eileen.
Indeed, Church Of Christ members who worship God sincerely and continually are truly blessed. They are certain of receiving not only God’s promises in this life but, above all, the eternal grace that God intends for His true and faithful servants.
The following brethren narrated their experiences on how, despite the trying times they have gone through, they did not stop worshiping God and their trust in Him did not waver:
“The pandemic has greatly affected my means of livelihood. So many companies have closed. In my situation, I am only able to work twice a week. In fact, my salary is not sufficient for my daily sustenance. Add to my worries was when my father, who is in the Philippines, became severely ill and was brought to the intensive care unit in a hospital. But I continued to perform my duties and I did not stop my devotional prayers. With God’s help, I am able to find extra work so I can earn enough for my daily needs. With His goodness, my father is now recovering in our house. The Almighty God is truly good to His people who put their trust in Him.”
Deacon | Ansan, South Korea
“My wife and I would worry that we might be infected with Covid-19 and that we might bring it to our home. We both work as frontliners. I am a medical practitioner and she is a nurse. It truly is saddening to see how it affects people and their families, which might also happen to us. But the Executive Minister always teaches us to wholeheartedly obey and put all our trust in what God can do for us. We face dangers every day, but we firmly believe that God will not abandon us. We do not stop conducting our household devotional prayers, for we believe the guidance and protection we need comes from Him.”
Melquiadez de Castro
Finance officer | Gold Coast, Australia
“My mother had always taught me how important our Church membership is. She taught me to always prioritize the worship service and to always trust in God. And even if she had already passed away, I always bear in mind what she had taught me. Whatever happens, I will not let myself be hindered from serving God and my faith in Him will remain firm. Despite losing my job because of the pandemic, I am thankful to the Almighty God as He blessed me with another means to provide for my needs and, above all, I am able to continue performing my Church obligations. That is why I promise not to stop worshiping Him because, as what the Executive Minister taught us from the Bible, worship of God opens doors to His blessings.”
Choir member | Bagbaguin, Valenzuela City
“When the enhanced community quarantine in our area was enforced, we lost our source of income because the deliveries of coconuts were disallowed. It was very difficult for me as a mother, especially since all my children are still studying. We would not have endured what we had gone through if it wasn’t for God’s help. Although my earnings at present may be smaller than before, I strictly budget it. With God’s mercy and help, we are able to live peacefully and, more importantly, we are able to continue our services to Him. We firmly believe in His promise that He will protect, keep safe, and bless His people who continually worship Him.”
Deaconess and local secretary | Bagong Silang, Camarines Norte
“We, Church Of Christ members, are God’s true servants. Not only will we receive God’s promises in the life to come, but also even in this life. He truly answers the pleadings of His people who fervently pray to Him. Although the pandemic and a super typhoon have greatly affected Southern Luzon, God has kept us safe and our rice plantation yielded much more than what we expected to harvest. And even if I was not able to sell the copra (dried coconut kernels) I was farming, God gave us additional source of income. I firmly believe that this is a proof of what is written in the Bible—that God can turn things around for the benefit of His children.”
Head deacon, Children’s Worship Service teacher | Summit, Quezon
“We never stop praying to God to help us. And with His help, we are still able to carry on in our daily life and, most especially, in performing our divine duties. I recall the moment when my son became severely sick with dengue. His condition was already beyond hope. But we were not discouraged, so we continued our devotional prayers and the [Bible-prescribed] anointing of oil for the sick. God healed my son. Now, he actively performs his duties as a choir member and a member of the Technical Support for Video streaming. My family and I promise God that we will worship Him and perform our duties as long as we live.”
Choir leader, finance officer, Buklod congregation officer | Crossing Libona, Bukidnon
“When the community quarantine due to the pandemic was not yet eased, age restrictions did not allow senior citizens to go out of their homes. However, the situation did not hinder me to worship God. As the head of our household, I lead my family in our household worship services. As a group overseer, I strive my best to know the situation of the brethren under my care and to make sure that they conduct household worship services. The worship service is very important for us, as it is where we all the more feel the comfort coming from God, especially when we have afflictions. I promise God that my family and I will always worship Him and we will remain firm in our divine election.”
Deacon | Maco, Davao del Norte
“I was a private school teacher in elementary. Like many other private schools, the one where I worked at had to close down, since only a few students enrolled due to the pandemic. It was a great challenge for me to find a new job. But I always remember what the Executive Minister teaches that come what may in our life, whatever trials we may encounter, we should not forsake our duties to God and not lose our hope, for God is always ready to help us. Because of God’s mercy, I was able to start another means of earning a living. Not only am I able to provide for my needs but, most of all, I am able to continue performing my Church obligations.”
Choir member, local secretary | Matala, Batangas
“For us in the health sector, we have truly felt the effects of the pandemic. Many who have been working as frontliners have contracted the disease and, much worse, there were those who passed away. Work routines also became more difficult. Our 8-hour shift as nurses became 12 hours a day. Precautionary measures also became stricter. There is also a risk of infecting our loved ones. Such pressures and worries may drive someone almost over the edge. But for us Church Of Christ members, we receive inspiration as we are always taught by the Church Administration to put our hopes in the grace that will be ours. What we are experiencing are but challenges to test our faith. That is why we continually obey God’s will, actively worship Him, participate in the Church’s activities, and never stop praying to Him.”
Moana Sherry Vicente
Choir leader, finance officer | Maddiangat, Nueva Vizcaya
“I was rushed to the hospital and I was diagnosed to have cysts in the liver. The doctor told my wife that I was in a terminal condition. However, I continued my devotional prayers to God. I was also anointed with oil every after I perform my duties. My body might have felt weaker and weaker, but I did not stop in performing my Church obligations. That was 17 years ago, and God continues to give me life and strength. Time passed by and I somehow felt that my physical health was getting better. Eventually, I recovered. It was God who cured me. I promise Him that whatever happens in my life, I will never forsake my divine duties.”
Head deacon | Parang, Maguindanao
“Because of the lockdown due to the pandemic, we were not able to continue our business for almost three months. It was a struggle for us because our workers also rely on us and what we had saved before the pandemic is also running out. And even now that we are able to go back to business, what we are earning at present is only a portion of what we used to earn before the pandemic. However, this did not hinder us from performing our duties and attending the worship services. We firmly believe that as we dedicate ourselves to serving God, we will all the more feel that He strengthens us and helps us until we reach the promised salvation.”
Rogelio Junio Jr.
Deacon | Tarlac City, Tarlac