The enhanced community quarantine and stay-at-home policies being implemented in many places did not hinder the Members Church of God International (MCGI) from uniting in spirit and giving thanks to God for His mercy and loving kindness.
While the whole world is troubled by so many problems brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, with God’s help, MCGI was able to hold its second quarter Special Thanksgiving of God’s People celebration last July 3 to 5 via internet and satellite communications.
The first quarter International Thanksgiving was also held digitally as part of the Church’s efforts in helping minimize the rate of infection of the deadly Covid-19 — but still keeping with commandment of the Lord written in Hebrews 10:25:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
—The Apostle Paul, Hebrews 10:25, KJV
On the first day of the celebration, MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano talked about God’s faith in humanity and the peace of Christ in his opening discussion.
The said very inspiring discussion served as an appetizer to the spiritual food that the congregation will be fed with throughout the three-day celebration.
Sis. Ellyse San Andres from New Jersey, USA, explains her gratitude to God for the lessons she learned during the Thanksgiving celebration:
“I feel very grateful for all the lessons I have learned. I can take those with me for the rest of my life. Despite being young [in the church], they all made my faith firmer and I am willing to let God and Jesus guide me.”
Sis. Bernadette Moreno, also from New Jersey, shared her takeaway from one of the biblical discussions:
“Leaving your parents when you marry is not an obligation and not a law. Because what if your parents are very old they have no one else to look after them? Leaving them in that condition is a sign of disrespect and ungratefulness.”
Though the event was not the same as when the members were physically gathered in MCGI’s convention and coordinating centers, the excitement among the event’s participants was apparent in both their faces and in the preparations they made in their respective homes.
Some members of the Church choir and Teatro Kristiano even decorated their walls to serve as backdrops for the presentation of their song and dance numbers.
Sis. Bianca Quijano from Toronto, Canada shares how she is thankful for being able to attend gatherings despite being on lockdown.
“I am able to connect with the brethren through various chat groups that are tied to our committees and duties. Regular meetings, events (e.g. baptism, Bible Studies) and
tutorials (e.g. songwriting workshops, Zoom workout sessions) also mean that I am able to not only connect with the brethren but also continue to learn new skills and wisdom from God, delivered through our preachers. In many ways, we are even more connected now than before because of the new online initiatives that we can take part in.”
More than 6,000 additional reasons to give thanks to God
The baptism of thousands of souls, who were able to attend the first-ever online Live Mass Indoctrination while the community quarantine is still in effect, is one of the many reasons why MCGI gives thanks to God.
The first live online Mass Indoctrination, which also had attendees from different countries, yielded more than 6,000 newly-baptized brethren. Nearly all of them were baptized during the Mass Baptism held on June 27, 2020 while the other attendees were baptized the following week in the Philippines and abroad.
Just before concluding the three-day event with a prayer, Bro. Eli expressed a sentiment shared by the congregants on social media — that if only the Special International Thanksgiving would not end.
“Let us cherish these moments in our lives… these precious moments when the truths of God are unraveled before our eyes.”