Apalit, Pampanga – Congregants from the Philippines and abroad of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) begin pouring as early as Monday (Dec. 17) at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga to attend the International Thanksgiving that will start on December 22.
The three-day quarterly event ends on December 24 and marks the last International Thanksgiving of the year 2012.
“I am really happy and excited that the Thanksgiving is only just a week from now,” said Western Visayas-resident Elma Guzman, a member of the Church for 14 years, adding that indeed, “time flies by so fast.”
She has already travelled from Visayas to spend the remaining week before the thanksgiving in her relatives’ home in Laguna, before travelling to attend the thanksgiving live in Apalit, Pampanga.
Like Sis Elma, members are already crossing lands and seas to attend the quarterly thanksgiving at the MCGI headquarter. The thanksgiving is also now referred to as Pasalamat ng Katawan in the vernacular or ‘Thanksgiving of the Body.’
A satellite broadcast feed of the event will be provided to provincial and foreign-based coordinating centers to allow members to attend the gathering. Senior members, physically-disabled and poor members with budgetary constraints are accommodated in locales during such big gathering of the Church.
Just a week before the thanksgiving, Bro. Eli Soriano had prepared a topic timely to the upcoming celebration on December 15 to equip the brethren on how their offering of thanksgiving will be acceptable to God.
The Presiding Minister to the MCGI discussed about the mystery of iniquity and that of satan’s deep devices, which can then pose distractions among members. Bro. Eli added that these hindrances are satan’s way to prevent the brethren from offering the sacrifices of thanksgiving.
The solution, according to Bro. Eli is through forgiveness. “Ang pagpapatawad ay pagkalamang kay satanas (through forgiving, you can outsmart satan ),” said Bro. Eli in the vernacular. He called on the brethren to remain vigilant and aware of the deep devices of evil.
Among other reasons to be thankful for this year, the MCGI considers paramount its recent celebration of the 32nd year of broadcasting its radio-television program, the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path), which now can be heard to as far as South America.
In addition to the group’s bigger than ever public service outreaches, mass blood donation drives, the congregation is thankful for the numerous numbers of souls being added to the congregation every month.
The schedule for this International Thanksgiving returns to the regular 6 a.m. (Philippine time) schedule. Then after closing of the third day of Thanksgiving on December 24 (Monday) a special family concert follows at 8 P.M.
With the title, “Ngayon, Bukas at Kailanman,” (Now, Tomorrow, and Forever) the concert’s aim is to raise funds for the construction of a new convention center in the Metro Manila area where majority of members in the Philippines are residents.
This new center is also being prepared for the 1,000-year reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is based in the Bible.
As expected, the anticipation among brethren for the three-day thanksgiving celebration, not to mention the announcement of the family concert, is already fever high.
(Written by: Faye Ferrera)