Despite Typhoon Mario shutting down the National Capital Region on September 19, 2014 with heavy rains and flooded streets, hundreds from Manila and nearby provinces were able to make it to the Members Church of God International (MCGI) Headquarters in Pampanga safely — to get baptized.
Over 900 new members were baptized at the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga, a province north of the capital Manila, during the Mass Baptism of MCGI.
But including those from Southern Philippines to South and Latin America, this Mass Baptism saw a total of 1,595 new members.
This event came two weeks after MCGI Leaders Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon started the Mass Indoctrination sessions on September 8, 2014.
“I really felt that this is the path that I should tread,” remarked 33-year-old Sister Rubilyn Dungca when asked why she went on with the baptism in spite of the storm.
Sister Rubilyn said that from the start of her listening to Bible Expositions, to the indoctrination sessions, she had already wanted to become a member. “There’s no typhoon that can stop what I want, what my heart wants,” she added.
For the more than thousands newly-baptized during the first Mass Baptism of 2013, new broadcasting facilities, and more, Bro. Eli lead the brethren in offering the sacrifices of thanksgiving last January 26 this year.
Newly Baptized Members
Around 1,200 new members were added in the fold, mostly coming from so many different religions and nationalities. This was accounted to by Bro Eli as the primary reason of his thanksgiving offering that day. Hence, loud cheers and appreciation greeted the announcement of thanksgiving by the Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI).
A Mass Baptim in the Church of God is held twice a month, following after more or less two weeks of Mass Indoctrination. The latter is a series of Bible Study sessions of Christ’s complete doctrines that anyone who wishes to be a member of MCGI needs to undergo. Mass Indoctrinations are officiated in all Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) coordinating centers worldwide.
The phenomenal growth of the membership in MCGI is hardly surprising. Every Mass Indoctrinations that are being opened, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel Razon said that they are receiving reports of overwhelming response, especially abroad. Hence, new members in faith are added in more than a thousand every month.
As it is written in the Bible that the heavens rejoice for even a single soul that repents (Luke 15:7), it is but expected for members of the Church of God to be celebratory. In his thanksgiving offering for the baptism of a thousand from the Philippines and other parts of the globe created a grand celebration, Bro.Eli acknowledged God who made this all possible.
New Satellite for English Speaking Countries
Television remains the top reason cited by the newly-baptized for learning of the Truth that Bro. Eli is preaching. Hence, if not for the programs like “Itanong Mo Kay Soriano, Biblia ang Sasagot” (Ask Bro.Eli, the Bible will Answer) and “Ang Dating Daan” or The Old Path in the Philippines and English speaking countries, awareness about the existence of MCGI would not be possible.
With the addition of a new satellite dish that were installed, enabling the broadcast of MCGI programs geared for the English-speaking countries, the Church will be able to reach more people.
God’s Protection to His People
Bro.Eli also mentions another reason for his thanksgiving – protection. Four members of the International Evangelist’s household staff offered thanksgiving after encountering a road accident also in January that had their vehicle spinning and toppling over .
The household members recounted how scary the situation was at the time. Miraculously, the driver and passengers survived the accident left with only few bruises and scratches. Surprised yet thankful that they did not suffer any major injuries, they realized right then and there that God protected and saved them from harm.
In everything, the congregants of the Church are taught to be thankful. And Bro. Eli’s thanksgiving was a soaring example why in every achievement and progress made, there’s a loving God behind.
Pampanga, Philippines — More than 3,500 souls were added to the Members Church of God International today in a Mass Baptism held at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga and in MCGI coordinating centers nationwide.
People hailing from as far as Nueva Ecija (approximately 118 kilometers from Manila) went to the Philippine headquarters of MCGI to be baptized. Moreover, baptisms were held at major coordinating centers in Northern Luzon, Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao.
Included in the thousands of new members are five individuals with hearing and speaking disabilities, adding to the first group of deaf-mute members baptized on August 21, 2009.
This was the result of the seven-session Mass Indoctrination by Church Presiding Minister, Bro. Eliseo Soriano. From about a month of indoctrination time, Bro. Eli was able to reduce it to less than two weeks leading to a Mass Baptism just eleven days after the first session. The results, however, exceed double as previous Mass Baptisms yield more than 1,000 souls on the average.
“Let us start a new life, brethren, a new life in Christ, full of hope,” says Bro. Eli as he spoke before thousands of newly-baptized members via live video streaming at about six in the evening. Bro. Eli then reminds the brethren of what Bro. Daniel Razon, the Church Vice-Presiding Minister, said in his sermon prior to Bro. Eli’s — to first give thanks to God, just as the Samaritan who was healed of his leprosy did in Luke 17:12-19.
They were talking of the Thanksgiving ceremony held every Saturday in the Philippines. Weekly, groups and individuals offer songs of praises on stage before the entire congregation in the Convention Center in Pampanga and in coordinating centers worldwide via the Internet.
The baptism ceremonies started at around 8:30 a.m. with congregational singing. Two hours after, Bro. Eli finishes his sermon and the baptism proper occurs shortly after, ending at about 5:30 in the evening. Before the entire event ended with a prayer at around 7:30 p.m., Bro. Eli mentions that he made arrangements for additional food for them before they leave. He then welcomes the new brethren to the congregation and bids them goodbye, “Happy greetings and may God bless you, brethren.”