It is this time of the year when anticipation gets really high among members, waiting for the quarter’s most important event – the International Thanksgiving to God. For weeks, congregants of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) are already gearing up in commemorating the second quarter festivity come July 5 to 7 this year.
Festive and celebratory in nature, International Thanksgiving to God is a quarterly Church service where tens of thousands offer their sacrifices of thanksgiving to God through meaningful songs and dances of praise for three straight days.
Bulk of participants in the Metro Manila and nearby provinces in Luzon Region are expected to travel to Apalit, Pampanga, a province north of the National Capital Region, where the ADD Convention Center is located. Other coordinating centers in the Philippines and abroad, meanwhile, will also be opened to accommodate brethren during this three-day event.
Attending members and visitors look forward to the main dish of the ceremonies – the biblical lessons to be served by the MCGI leaders Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon. Usually, one or more topics are discussed by the preachers around interesting biblical topics each day, throughout the three-day spiritual feast.
Bro. Eli and Bro Daniel are also expected to open up a live consultation with members to address spiritual problems, matters of life, spirituality and many more. Aside from this, they also award livelihood grants to Church members who need it most.
Those members who cannot afford for their own food for the three-day long even are served with generous servings of free meals.
Getting Ready for Thanksgiving
In few weeks leading to the commemoration of the festive three-day, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel make it a point to serve biblical topics related to the preparation that Christians should make so that their offerings will be worthy to God.
Members – from provinces and abroad – flock into the Convention Center a week earlier the holding of the event in order to stay at the ADD Coordinating Center. Even those from nearby locations prefer to travel a week earlier so that they can already set up at the tent area.
“We are amazed at each topic discussed by Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel; they offer a bounty of wisdoms that we have not heard in other religions. For sure, we will all be marveled by the wonderful topics that will come around [on the upcoming International Thanksgiving],” Sis. Tamy Oliveira, a South American native remarked.
Timezone Difference: No Big Deal
Timezone is no big deal among brethren from other countries. Like in Ghana, where brethren in that West African country feel no hesitation in adjusting their body clocks in order to attend the celebration. Ghana’s timezone is eight hours behind of Philippine time. While the event’s congregational singing is early in the morning in the Philippines, it is late at night in Africa. But brethren from Africa are not complaining but willing to take part in the offering of the sacrifices of thanksgiving, together with the rest of the world.
“I believe that it is through their faith that our brothers and sisters here [Ghana] are able to adjust. It is indeed a big challenge for them because the culture here is very different,” said Bro. Fred Cabanilla, the assigned Tagapangasiwang Pampook in Africa.
“Before they were baptized, they were used to this conventional routine: Mondays and Fridays are devoted to work, Saturdays are farm days, and the only Church Day is Sunday.”
Members are faithful that all their efforts, such as adjusting to the timezone of the Philippines, where bulk of the members are located, in order to make it to the International Thanksgiving will be rewarded.
To share the exceeding joy felt by the Church members, guests are welcome to attend and observe these days of festivity in all coordinating centers in various parts of the world.
(Written by Emmy Borromeo)
(Photo by Rovic Balunsay, PVI)