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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by: Sis. Lovely She Cortezano