The channel premiered on the streaming platform on May 16, 2020 and has over 50 MCGI-original praise songs uploaded since then. The channel aims to make songs of hope and trust in God available online to anyone who needs inspiration and spiritual upliftment.
“When I feel fear, when I am in pain, I always make it a point to sing to God. And it is very effective. I am relieved,” said Bro. Eli Soriano on Twitter.
When I feel fear, when I am in pain, I always make it a point to sing to God. And it is very effective. I am relieved.
Bro. Eli emphasizes in his preaching the importance of praying and singing songs of praise to God in combating sickness and anxieties that people may have during trying times.
And since most families are together at home due to quarantine measures, Bro. Eli even encourages families to dedicate at least an hour of their day to gather with their loved ones and offer hymns and prayers to God to ask for His mercy and guidance.
MCGI’s Overall Servants emphasize that God is pleased when God’s people offer songs to Him. In return, He protects them from sorrows, troubles, and evil.
In Colossians 3:16 it says,
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And even during quarantine, church members take every God-given opportunity to thank the Almighty through songs of worship for His never-ending love and care for His people with the aid of modern technology.
“Praise music to the Lord does something for people. It can strengthen our faith. It can give us hope and other people as well.”
Instead of sharing and kindling negativities on social media, Bro. Eli suggested that brethren share words of hope — especially words that are written in the Bible. Sharing Bible verses for people to read, like Lamentations 3:22-23 and Psalms 91:7-8, may help uplift dampened spirits and bring hope in these trying times.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV)
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. (Psalms 91:7-8, KJV)
Humanity is going through a lot — illnesses, pains, sufferings, hunger, and deaths. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are also experiencing social, political, and economic distresses. But through all these, God and His words are more than enough to give us relief.
“Words are powerful, especially the words of God.”
Bro. Eli Soriano
Hope in Togetherness
Members Church of God International (MCGI) advocate reading of the Holy Bible. Daily Bible verses are posted on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
When lockdowns, home quarantines, and curfews were imposed, MCGI immediately complied with government restrictions and conducted Church gatherings through the use of livestreaming and video conferencing platforms.
With the ongoing threat of Covid-19, Bro. Eli Soriano and Assistant to the Overall Servant of MCGI Bro. Daniel Razon constantly made sure to check on the congregation’s well-being through MCGI’s regular online gatherings. Church ministers, workers, and officers were also directed to help in ensuring that each member’s health and wellness are closely monitored.
“May all of you be kept safe, brethren. You are in my thoughts day and night.”
Bro. Eli Soriano
Aside from the aforementioned, more importantly, MCGI’s Overall Servant always reminds the congregation to be hopeful: “In despair, we have hope — there is God.”
MCGI have long been ready for online gatherings. In fact, even before the global pandemic, Church services have been held with the aid of satellite and internet connectivity accessed in MCGI local churches worldwide.
The launch of the global prayer saw more than 58,000 viewers connected to the prayer livestream. Now on its third week, the global prayer continues to gather people from around the globe to ask for God’s help and mercy and to inspire trust and hope in God during these trying times.
A special web page dedicated to the global prayer was also created which is available in a number of languages including English, Portuguese, and Spanish, among others.
The Members Church of God International (MCGI) will hold a daily Global Prayer for Humanity beginning on Monday, May 25, 2020, at 9:30 p.m. (Philippine Time) via streaming and video conferencing platforms.
The initiative is an addition to MCGI’s community prayer service in light of the world’s continuous battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Global Prayer for Humanity aims to gather people from different parts of the world, with different races, ethnicities, and religions, albeit virtually, in praying together and asking for God’s help and mercy during these perilous times.
Stating chapter 3 verse 9 of the book of Jonah which reads, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?”, the Overall Servant of MCGI Bro. Eli Soriano emphasized the importance of communicating with God. He encourages everyone to rest their hope, first and foremost, in God’s mercy and in what He can do.
“Prayer — our weapon against the evils in this world.”
Praying is one of the basic doctrines of MCGI. In fact, all Church gatherings begin and end with prayers. Brethren are taught to start and finish their day by calling unto the Almighty through prayers and supplication.
Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel encourage all brethren to live a prayerful life (1 Thessalonians 5:17). With this, the Community Prayer, a worldwide synchronized prayer, came to existence. It was first held in March of 2011 through links that the MCGI Broadcast Department provided.
With an increased demand for the Community Prayer, MCGI launched its 24/7 Community Prayer service site on June 27 of the same year. It enabled people all over the globe to easily access the hourly prayer. This regular community prayer is still ongoing. The livestreaming page and schedules can be found here.
Aside from the regular community prayer, the Community Prayer service site also regularly broadcasts a variety of praise hymns and songs. This is in support of the non-stop singing of praise songs to God by MCGI choristers which began in 2008.
Connected in Spirit
On May 20, 2020, during the MCGI’s live Prayer Meeting service, Bro. Eli Soriano announced his intent to hold the Global Prayer. This was strongly agreed with by Bro. Daniel Razon, Assistant to the Overall Servant of MCGI, who began to plan for the regular online event immediately. Together with the Church’s ministers, Bro. Daniel promptly identified a time that will be ideal for most, if not all, time zones.
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are in or what denomination you belong to, this is an invitation to all the people around the world who care for the future of their families, friends, loved ones, and humanity as a whole.”
— Bro. Eli Soriano
Bro. Eli Soriano personally invites everyone to the MCGI Global Prayer for Humanity.
With the help of God, MCGI continuously propagate God’s words and teachings worldwide. Through live streaming and video conferencing platforms, MCGI bring people closer to God through online programs such as the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) Bible Study and Bible Exposition.
Aside from these, MCGI will also hold their Mass Indoctrination sessions wherein the undefiled doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ are discussed thoroughly. It is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2020, at 7 p.m. (Philippine Time).
At least 51,000 online viewers from different parts of the world streamed the pilot episode of the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) Daily Bible Study Online on April 12 via the religious program’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts in various languages. This figure is more than twice the number of its viewers on March 2, the last time the show was aired on a weekly basis.
On the first day of its daily airing, the Philippines’ longest-running religious program posted a peak of about 25,400 people who streamed the live Bible Study’s Tagalog broadcast on Facebook and 22,157 on YouTube. These numbers were visibly higher compared with the 10,900 Facebook and 8,678 YouTube viewers on March 2.
Within its first week of daily broadcast, viewership reached a peak of over 50,000 on April 15 — 27,900 on Facebook and 22,754 on YouTube on April 15. On that day, the hosts opened the program for questions from viewers.
Live Bible Study and Q&A
The program’s hosts, Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon decided to conduct daily Bible study sessions on major social media platforms weeks after the coronavirus pandemic forced governments of the Philippines and many other countries to enforce lockdown.
After airing the debut episode on April 12, the multi-awarded show started reaching households from 7:00 to 9:30 pm (Philippine time) on weekdays. To add variety, the program adopted a modified format. From Monday to Thursday, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel discuss controversial religious topics in the Ang Dating Daan Live Bible Study.
Meanwhile, the hosts answer questions in real-time about the Bible and spirituality every Friday on the ADD Worldwide Bible Exposition live.
Global Evangelization During Covid-19 Pandemic
For Bro. Eli, Overall Servant of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), the lockdowns provide people an opportunity to take time in reflecting on the spiritual aspects of life. Since the initial episode, he and Bro. Daniel, Assistant Overall Servant of MCGI, thoroughly and meticulously discussed the importance of believing in God. The hosts also exposed the dangers of rejecting the existence of the Almighty, which includes the occurrence of pestilences like the current coronavirus pandemic.
To cater to a global audience, the program is also being aired simultaneously in English thru The Old Path; in Portuguese thru O Caminho Antigo; and in Spanish thru El Camino Antiguo social media channels. Other people can also access real-time translations in Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea), and many other languages on YouTube.
Incomparable Spiritual Learnings
The live Bible study on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram has served as a medium of spiritual enlightenment during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the outbreak, many viewers are able to find time to tune in to daily online evangelization using their mobile devices or PCs.
“Hello po. Hindi po ako kaanib dito (I’m not a member of this church), but I have been listening here several times. I always get a bunch of learnings. Thanks be to God.” – Lovely Visco
“This is a program that other sects can’t imitate. It has been proven as it is airing for a long time. While false preachers cannot answer a live question about faith, Bro Eli answers those questions of guests. He has no idea about what people will ask, but he can still answer them with the Bible as his basis. I believe this man is guided by the Holy Spirit.” — Dale Francis Abad.
Others expressed their amazement to the preaching of the program hosts. They admitted that they have never heard any other pastor or religious leader teach the words of God the way Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel do it.
“Matagal na akong naghahanap ng tamang aral kay Brother Eli ko lang po pala matatagpuan. Kung loloobin po pag balik ko sa Pinas, maging kaanib na ako. Salamat po sa Dios. (I’ve been long searching for the right doctrines, which I’ve only found in Brother Eli. God willing, when I return to the Philippines, I’d like to join the Church of God.)” – Christian Valleno Nesola
Now on its third week of daily streaming, the ADD and The Old Path Bible Study sessions continue global evangelization amid the pandemic, at a time when the world badly needs spiritual nourishment.
According to Bro. Eli, everything that God made was made out of love. “Great is God’s love and compassion for us,” he expressed.
The preacher explained that because of God’s faithfulness and great compassion, He awaits those who have sinned to turn back to Him and ask for forgiveness. This he supported with a verse from 1 Timothy 2:3-4 which tells that God wants all men to be saved.
Bro. Eli also pointed out that God’s love transcends from eternity to eternity. In an act of pure benevolence, He gave His only begotten Son to carry our burdens and cover our shortcomings.
For this, MCGI was encouraged to give thanks to God in every opportunity given. “We should exist to give our Creator His pleasure,” Bro. Eli said. “Let us allow God’s will, and follow what He wants us to do,” he added.
Bro. Eli emphasized that “hope is in God who can turn these [unpleasant] events to our favor.” These, he noted, had been foreseen by the prophets in the Bible. But despite these happenings, God’s words offer solace and assurance that all things work together for the good of those who love God, as written in Romans 8:28.
“When God makes a promise, He keeps it. Although we are insignificant and worthless, our greatest treasure in life is if we need something, there is a God who listens to us,” Bro. Eli said.
God Prepared A Way
The spread of Covid-19 across the globe had not only affected the regular affairs or the ‘norm’ of the majority of the world’s population. It also made a substantial change in mobility across continents, forcing people to stay at home to avoid further transmission of the disease. This meant the closure of establishments, like factories, firms, schools, and even churches.
MCGI was not exempt. But prior to the containment measures imposed in many countries, Bro. Eli had already directed a massive clean-up and disinfection of all locales used for gatherings and other services. Members were taken their temperature before being admitted inside the locales and major coordinating centers. Those who were feverish and sick were sent home and were supplied with medical needs.
Before the quarantine began, members were asked to wear face masks while inside the locales. Rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers were also provided, and seats were arranged one meter apart each so that members will be prevented from having close contact with each other.
The challenge came when, as the cases of Covid-19 infections sharply rose and the lockdown began, Bro. Eli had to order the temporary closure of all locales to keep the congregation safe from the possibility of getting sick. “It will grieve me if a brother or a sister will acquire the disease,” he said as he wiped tears while he spoke to the congregation via an exclusive broadcast.
But with God’s help, MCGI continues to congregate and engage in Bible lessons while observing home quarantine. How was it done?
Online Social Distancing: The New Norm
To give some background, MCGI had been doing Gospel propagation globally through its 24/7 streaming services since 1999. Bro. Daniel Razon, Bro. Eli’s assistant to the congregation, laid out the system using all accessible technologies and platforms that were available at that time.
With his vast knowledge and experience in mass communication coupled with a strong leaning for the latest in technology, Bro. Daniel was able to tap measures that widened the scope of MCGI’s broadcast reach. Since then, strings of Bible Expositions and Bible Studies were streamed via television and the internet throughout the continents, and more audiences from different countries were seeing Bro. Eli’s preaching for the first time.
After breaking into the global broadcast scene, Bro. Eli received numerous invitations to speak before crowds interested to learn more about the Bible, particularly in South America. But accommodating an outpour of people became a slight problem. There were simply not enough closed-door facilities that can house people flocking in. In most venues where Bible Expositions were held, people were literally jamming doorways, all seats were taken, and halls were filled to the brim.
Given the bulk of invitations Bro. Eli receives on a daily basis, most falling on the same dates and times but in different places, and venues getting overcrowded during Bible Expositions, a solution was set to ease the problem: video teleconferencing.
As soon as the online platforms were established, Bro. Eli and his technical team began an almost non-stop work of live streaming Bible Studies, Bible Expositions, and Mass Indoctrinations. Within a few months after video teleconferencing was used, the number of online participants increased. Thousands were attending without choking a single venue. They were either viewing in MCGI locales or watching in their homes.
This system was replicated in other countries where transport and location were a bit of a problem. Soon, there were more audiences coming in from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific, all connected in real-time via satellite and wired networks. From then on, more platforms had to be introduced, particularly for non-English speakers who would like to hear the preaching in their native language.
Bro. Daniel’s efforts of establishing online streaming modalities for preaching the Gospel found an extended use today, now that Covid-19 has brought along a host of problems, aside from claiming the lives of thousands and restricting the movement of people.
MCGI’s religious gatherings are done online. Members do not have to leave their houses to congregate. Through teleconferencing modes, members can access exclusive and secure connections to be able to participate in all the gatherings that used to be attended on a personal basis.
Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel, who themselves are following strict quarantine protocols in their respective places, are able to reach homes and interact with more members. This system also invited more audiences outside MCGI to interact with Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel during Bible Studies, Bible Expositions, and nightly broadcasts on KDR TV.
All these measures, as Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel would often say, became possible because of God’s help and mercy.
The Members Church of God International (MCGI) celebrates its first quarter International Thanksgiving on April 3 to 5 this year. Brethren from all parts of the world will take part in this special event through the aid of satellite and internet technology.
It is during this special occasion that brethren in the Church offer songs of praises, and thanksgiving to the Almighty God and prayers expressive of gratefulness for His graciousness and loving kindness.
Thankful for a Million Reasons
Members of the Church of God International from all over the world have more than a million reasons for being thankful to God.
Katleya Melejah Palmejar, from Torino, Italy, is very thankful to God for keeping the brethren safe from the health crisis that the whole world is suffering from.
Forcia Mendoza, from Milan, said she is giving thanks to God for keeping her whole family, as well as our Church Leaders, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel, safe.
Ann Carreon, from Paris, France, said she is grateful to God for the immeasurable love and protection that He has given the whole congregation amid the Covid-19 pandemic. She is also thankful to God because she will be celebrating her first sabbath anniversary in the Church of God International.
“I am most thankful to God because, despite my shortcomings, He has never forsaken me, He has kept me safe especially now when the world is troubled by this fatal coronavirus,” said Sean De Ocampo from Dublin, Ireland.
Gionna Privado, from London, England, said she is thankful to God for the wonderful topics being taught to the congregation during the weekly thanksgiving celebrations. “Those topics serve as reminders to all to be steadfast in our faith, to be prayerful, to be hopeful, to let love reign in our hearts always, and to always ask for God’s help and mercy,” she added.
Julia de la Rosa, from Geneva, Switzerland, said she will always be grateful to God for becoming a member of the Church of God. She is also thankful because, with God’s help and guidance, Brother Eli and Brother Daniel are able to teach the congregation regularly of God’s holy words. “And because of what they teach us, despite the many dangers in our time, peace and hope continue to dwell in our hearts,” Julia said.
Lorraine King, from San francisco, California, is giving thanks to God for the life He has given her, for His continuing guidance, and for her children who give her solace during difficult times.
“I am thankful to God for protecting us from Covid-19,” said Klarenz Shaughnessy of New York. “Although we are situated in different locations, we are one in spirit in giving thanks to the Almighty God for keeping us safe.”
Jeana Zacarias, from Saskatoon, and Elgin Pollarco, from Toronto, both in Canada, said they are thankful to God for keeping the congregation safe and for keeping hope alive in our hearts despite the tribulations brought about by calamities and plagues.
Mar Oliver Lazaga, from Metro Manila, Philippines, expresses his thankfulness to God for the six years that he has been in the Church, for His protection, and for helping him keep His commandments.
Sarah Jane Narido, from Masbate City, Bicol region and John Ray Pangilinan, from Mandani Bay, Cebu, are both thankful to God for keeping them and their respective families safe from the current deadly disease. They are also thankful that they are able to carry out their duties.
[More reasons for thanksgiving can be read in the official social media accounts of the Members Church of God International. Those can be accessed via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.]
Hope in Hopelessness
MCGI is giving thanks to God for the continuous opportunity that He is giving the congregation to do good works, whatever the circumstances are.
On January 12, 2020, a few weeks after the Church celebrated its fourth quarter Special Thanksgiving, several municipalities in southern Luzon were put under a state of calamity due to the eruption of Taal Volcano. This incident devastated homes, properties, and livelihood of many people. To alleviate the sufferings of the residents, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel spearheaded relief distribution and medical missions to badly affected communities. Some of the Church’s Coordinating Centers in the area also served as evacuation centers for those, whose houses were either situated in the danger zone, or were completely covered with volcanic ashes.
Shortly after, a new strain of coronavirus, currently known as Covid-19, which originated in China, started spreading across the globe, including the Philippines. To prevent the spread of the virus, many governments enforced certain measures like lockdowns and community quarantines, leaving the citizens without a choice but to stay home.
Aware of the impact of the crisis, Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon have taken the necessary measures to see to it that the brethren in the congregation are prepared and properly oriented of the consequences that the pandemic will bring.
The Overall Servants have also mobilized relief efforts to help indigent members and non-members of MCGI.
Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel have also reached out to people through their nightly discussion on social media. Each time, they discuss topics that offer not only useful information but also inspiration and hope as they cite biblical verses which could uplift the spirits of their audience. Also they never fail to encourage people to be compassionate especially in these trying times.
After the three-day International Thanksgiving, MCGI will observe the Lord’s Supper, a yearly solemn event that takes place 13 days after Nisan 1 in the Hebrew calendar. This year, the equivalent of Nisan 13, 5780 in the present calendar is April 7. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is in consonance with the day the Lord Jesus Christ observed the feast of the Passover, as recorded Matthew 26:1-57.
Amidst these trying times, it is only God’s love and mercy that we can count on. As what Bro. Eli told the congregation during a weekly thanksgiving, “In times of hopelessness, we have hope because we have God.” God is our only hope.
The Members Church of God International (MCGI) recently welcomed the new year based on the Hebrew calendar. The 1st of Nisan 5780, which falls on the sunset of March 25, signals the beginning of another ecclesiastical year for the Church.
As MCGI starts off with 5780, here are some of the events that had transpired in 5779.
Iyar 5779 (April to May, 2019)
MCGI held the three-day International Thanksgiving in Brazil. The yearly pilgrimage to the South American country invites Church members to personally meet Bro. Eli Soriano who is preaching throughout the continent. The International Evangelist also celebrated his 55th Sabbath anniversary on the third day of the International Thanksgiving.
Sivan 5779 (May to June, 2019)
In May 2019, Bro. Daniel Razon spearheaded an event dubbed “Yesterday, Once More” which aims to reminisce the early days of the different Church committees that he helped to establish. Bro. Daniel called upon the committee pioneers and participants to cherish their God-given duties, and to remember the reason why they are serving the Lord.
Tammuz 5779 (June to July, 2019)
MCGI chapters throughout the world partnered with various non-profit organizations in various charitable events. For the Church’s youth members in North America, June is the Youth Ministry Volunteering Service Month. For this, they organized and participated in charity concerts, food service, clean-up drives, and blood donation drives, to uphold the Bible’s counsel: spend the strength of their youth in service to God through their duties and good works.
Av 5779 (July to August 2019)
The month of July 2019 saw the celebration of MCGI’s 2nd Quarter Thanksgiving of God’s People. Regularly held every quarter, the three-day event gathers brethren and guests to learn biblical wisdom, sing songs of praise to the Lord, and see each other in person.
Photos from events in May, June, and July 2019 are on MCGI’s official Facebook page.
Elul 5779 (August to September, 2019)
The tablet version of the Omega DigiBible, a free downloadable Bible application, was released in August 2019. Aside from various translations of the Bible, blogs written by Bro. Eli Soriano can also be accessed and read. Another unique feature of the Omega DigiBible is the Top of The Hour Prayer that allows users to participate in a community prayer any time of the day.
Also during the same month, a convention was held in Melbourne, Australia that gathered members who are based in Oceania and the Pacific. The convention included activities such as the weekly Thanksgiving, Couples’ Night, and Sports Day.
Tishrei 5779 (September to October, 2019)
Every year, Assistant Overall Servant Bro. Daniel Razon personally visits the brethren abroad to check on their situation, hear their concerns, and give counsel. Conventions were held in Vigevano, Italy for the brethren of Europe-Israel-Africa Division from September 14 to 16, and in Calgary, Alberta in Canada for the members in North America and Canada from September 21 to 22. Aside from the weekly Thanksgiving event, other activities such as the Couples’ Night and team building games were held.
Cheshvan 5779 (October to November, 2019)
Aside from the quarterly Thanksgiving of God’s People celebration, charitable and socialization events were held during the month of October, such as the visitation of the elderly in Singapore and New Zealand; the Asia-Oceania Convention in Singapore; Community Service in Saskatoon, Canada; the Locale Fun Day at Christchurch, New Zealand; and the Sportsfest at North Island, New Zealand, among others. Photos of the events can be viewed at MCGI’s official Facebook page.
Kislev 5779 (November to December, 2019)
MCGI held its second Feast Dedicated to God (Fiesta ng Dios) on November 24, 2019 to culminate the celebration of Ang Dating Daan’s 39th year. Church members and guests were treated once again to sumptuous meals, entertainment, and fun activities. The celebration aims to share God’s love and compassion especially to the less fortunate members of the society.
Also in November, MCGI was recognized as the Outstanding Religious Christian Organization Worldwide by the Gawad Amerika Awards, during its 18th Annual Awards Night held at the Celebrity Centre Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Tevet 5779 (December 2019 to January, 2020)
MCGI concluded 2019 with its 4th Quarter Thanksgiving of God’s People celebration held on December 28 to 30. The three-day event featured studies of special biblical topics, the offering of the sacrifice of thanksgiving through songs of praise, and a review of the Church’s works especially in Gospel propagation and charitable missions.
Before the year ended, MCGI was awarded a Plaque of Appreciation from the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Kuala Lumpur, citing the organization’s initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting the welfare of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Malaysia. It was later received during the Gabi ng Parangal at Pasalamat event hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines and Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Malaysia on January 12, 2020.
Shevat 5779 (January to February, 2020)
In January 2020, MCGI together with the UNTV News and Rescue volunteer group, conducted a week-long medical mission and relief operations in the different areas of Batangas, in response to calls for aid after the Taal Volcano eruption. The public service effort includes free medical, dental, and legal services to families and individuals affected by the calamity.
Relief goods, as well as first aid, were also brought to the different evacuation centers in the province. The region’s least accessible areas were provided a range of free medical services, such as general medicine consultations, optometry, dental, and pediatrics.
Adar 5779 (February to March, 2020)
Thousands of MCGI youth members flocked to the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga for the annual International Youth Convention Bible Festival Edition on February 2. Other members of the Youth Ministry joined in the event via satellite and video conferencing while in their respective coordinating centers.
The youths participated in several activities, including solo-singing competition, spoken poetry competition, mural and poster making, Bible-preaching (English and Filipino), among others.
Nisan 5779 (March to April 2020)
In the early weeks before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon have already placed mitigation systems to prepare the Congregation should the disease escalate into a global crisis. After the WHO confirmed that the virus had spread to many countries, and quarantines and lockdowns were imposed by many governments, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel started nightly online discussions via YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to provide correct information and give comfort to people in the midst of what they called “trying times.”
In time, the simple discussion included consultations with doctors and other health experts who gave real-time advice to people with various medical concerns. It was during this point that Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel launched the Digital Clinic Hotline, a platform for doctors and other medical specialists to answer health queries. The 24/7 service allows healthcare providers to render free consultation services without the benefit of a personal appearance, similar to a call-center set up.
Bro. Eli Soriano also took the time to discuss biblical insight into the rise of the viral pandemic, citing verses in the Scriptures that point to the fulfillment of the prophecies related to the current worldwide crisis. More importantly, Bro. Eli gave timely counsel to people experiencing restlessness, stress, anxieties, and fears, encouraging people to reflect on God’s words and pray to Him night and day.
The regular charitable efforts mounted by MCGI has taken a new direction in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Church has already doled out relief items to help poor communities in the Philippines still awaiting assistance, as quarantines have disabled many to go to work or go out and buy basic necessities. In addition, food packs and personal protective equipment (PPE) were distributed to frontliners working round the clock. As of this writing, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel are working on additional services that will be of help to individuals, families, and communities affected by the onslaught of Covid-19.
As MCGI faces a new year riddled with challenges, the Church puts faith in God’s grace and mercy, remaining in hope that a new year will also bring more opportunities to do good to fellowmen, and help in the propagation of the Gospel by all means, for the honor and glory of God.
The Members Church of God International (MCGI) will be welcoming the year 5780 of the Hebrew calendar as the sun sets on March 25. Congregants throughout the world will participate in the celebration with the aid of satellite and internet technology.
MCGI observes the new year that is based on the Hebrew calendar. This occasion has a biblical reference written in the book of Exodus chapter 12:1-2 which says, And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
The celebration of the biblical new year of the Hebrew calendar is celebrated on the first of Nisan, which in today’s calendar is equivalent to March 25. Instead of loud celebrations and fireworks, MCGI will welcome 5780 with songs and prayers dedicated to God, for another fruitful year spent in charitable works and Gospel propagation, including not a few achievements and milestones for the Church.
Songs of praise, thanksgiving, and prayers will be offered a few hours before the sun sets. As the year 5780 enters, a biblical topic about the event will be delivered by Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon.
Meanwhile, Bro. Eli Soriano, Overall Servant of MCGI, is inviting people to participate in the International Prayer for the World on the same date. He made the invitation on March 23 via KDR TV on YouTube, during the nightly discussions hosted by Bro. Daniel Razon, and is focused on topics and concerns relating to the CoVID-19 health crisis.
“We are inviting you all to our International Prayer for the World this March 25, as we welcome the first day of the first month of the new year in the Hebrew calendar. Whatever your religious belief or affiliation is, we bid you to pray with us. Let us pray for the good of the world. Thank you very much.”
A few days after the new year celebration, MCGI is set for two special gatherings, the first quarter International Thanksgiving of God’s People and the observance of the Lord’s Supper, both coming in April.
“The best time in life to serve your Creator is at times when you are strong and young,” said Bro. Eli Soriano, when addressing thousands of young Christians gathered to celebrate the International Youth Convention Bible Festival Edition in ADD Convention Center, Apalit, Pampanga.
Through live streaming and satellite broadcast, the Overall Servant to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) reminded the youths that serving God entails hardships.
It was the instruction and advice written to Timothy in his first book, Chapter 4, verse 12, continued Bro. Eli, as he recalled his youthful years when he served the Ministry just days following his baptism in the Church of God. At the young age of 23, the International Televangelist has already been assigned to oversee a whole district.
“Ang pinaka-malaking pagasa sa atin ay ang pangako ng Dios sa buhay na walang hanggan (Our greatest hope is the promise of God in life everlasting),” said Bro. Eli in the vernacular, quoting Titus 1:2.
Bro. Eli recalled that while, at times, he faced loneliness, he knew that this was nothing compared to the peace in Christ and the salvation promised.
Do Not Be Conformed to This World
For his part, the Assistant to the Overall Servant of MCGI, Bro. Daniel Razon urged the young MCGI brethren to be always guided by the words of God, reminding them not to conform to the ways of the world. He then read Romans 12:2 (KJV).
“The words of God should always guide us,” Bro. Daniel stressed. He then elaborated on the biblical standards that the youth must follow when faced with the temptations of the world.
“In every opportunity that we can listen to the words of God, let us listen and keep it in our hearts. Rest assured, there will be a Holy Spirit who will remind us of God’s words during times of hardships,” he said.
“As you go on with your life, as we face hindrances, makipagbaka tayo ng mabuting pakikipagbaka ng pananampalataya, tapusin natin ang ating takbo, ingatan natin ang ating pananampalataya (let us fight the good fight of faith, let us finish our course, let us keep our faith),” Kuya Daniel concluded his opening remarks.
Fun-filled Youth Celebration
Organized by the Youth Ministry, the theme of IYC Bible Festival Edition this year was ‘Kabataang Kabalikat sa Pagpasan’. Thousands of MCGI youth members from the Luzon region flocked at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit Pampanga. Other members of the Youth Ministry were able to participate even if they were in their respective coordinating centers via satellite and video conferencing hookup.
The youths enjoyed a range of activities, including Solo-singing competition, Verbal Poetry competition, Mural and Poster-making, Bible-preaching (in English and Tagalog), among others. It was a fun-filled event for participants and audience alike.
Sister Erica Borges, a contestant in the Solo-singing Competition who sang live from Dublin, Ireland, said that that experience was something that she ‘will remember for a very long time.’ “Even though I am not much of a singer, I was given the opportunity by God to praise Him. Even though I did not win, I enjoyed myself, and God-willing will try again in the next IYC. Thanks be to God!” she added. It was her first time to participate as a contestant in the IYC Bible Fest Edition 2020.
Brother Billy John Gutierrez of Quiapo, Manila said: “One of the many great things that I will remember is realizing the fact that, as the youths inside the Church of God, we have all the reasons to serve Him through our strength, talents, and intelligence. Just like what Bro. Eli said, ‘The best time for a person to serve God is during his youth.’”
For Sister Dorothy Bula of Montréal QC Canada, it was the advice of Bro. Eli Soriano, that struck her. “We should bear the yoke while we are young. We should persevere in doing our duties. God promised that those who do His commandments will attain eternal life,” she further explained.
The National Capital Region Division won as overall Division Champion, while the Cavite Division came in a close second, followed by the LBMR Division.
After giving his opening remarks, Bro. Eli also addressed the concerns of the youth congregants during the consultation segment of the event.
The official hashtag #IYCBibleFest2020 made it to the top 7 Philippine Twitter trends, trending for a few hours during the mid-day, Philippine time.