In Historic Thanksgiving, Celebration Marks Bro. Eli’s 50th Year of Service to God and Humanity

April 7, 2014 – Bro. Eliseo Soriano had a historic 50th year in service celebration with Members Church of God International (MCGI) delegates from all over the world during the International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) of the first quarter this year.

“I am thanking God that in spite of all the difficulties (that) I met along the way, all the problems and preoccupations everyday, every hour, until now I am with you standing,” said the Presiding Minister in a poignant welcoming remarks.

Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eli Soriano walks along the aisle of the makeshift convention center and reveals biblical wisdom amid Latin American and Filipino delegates.
Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eli Soriano walks along the aisle of the makeshift convention center and reveals biblical wisdom amid Latin American and Filipino delegates (Photo by Richard Viray, Photoville International).

The international evangelist prayed that the brethren who attended with him may “find the grace and the favour of the Lord,” and wished for them to “remain in faith until the end.”

Thousands of Church members from various countries, wishing to meet Bro. Eli in person and celebrate his 50th year of baptism, pilgrimed to South America to offer the sacrifices of Thanksgiving to God.

For the bulk of Filipino brethren in the South American-set ITG, the gathering was a big opportunity to meet Portuguese and Spanish-speaking brethren for the first time.

Now five decades, Bro. Soriano has been preaching God’s words via different means. Starting out with a pulpit and bullhorn, the international preacher has now reached souls in six of the seven continents through 24-hour-a-day preaching over radio, television, print, satellite and the Web.

Fulfillment of A Prophecy

ITG is a quarterly event commemorated for three days with the Philippines as its long-established venue. Thus, moving the quarterly thanksgiving event to South America was the first in the history of the Church of God.

According to Bro. Eli, the historic and festive South American-hosted thanksgiving is a realization of the prophecy written in Zechariah 8:21 (And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.)

Never before has there been in the history of MCGI that pilgrims of different nationalities would come to one nation to celebrate the International Thanksgiving to God.

Previous years’ celebration in the Philippines of the ITG would only have representatives coming from the provinces and countries in Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and North America but not from Latin American countries.

The April 5-7 in South America had allowed brethren from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru, and Venezuela, among other Central and South American nations to join the offering of the sacrifices of Thanksgiving.

The presence of contingent from North America and Canada also made their presence felt.

Brazilian brothers and sister, who offer their sacrifices of thanksgiving and greet Bro. Eli Soriano on his 50th year in service, fill the stage of the makeshift Convention Center setup in South America.
Brazilian brothers and sister, who offer their sacrifices of thanksgiving and greet Bro. Eli Soriano on his 50th year in service, fill the stage of the makeshift Convention Center setup in South America. (Photo by Richard Viray, Photoville International).

Rejoicing from East to West

Unsurprisingly, church members of different nationalities were overwhelmed with the experience.

“My heart was really glad!,” remarked Brazilian native, Josiane Mariano. “I felt a love so warm, and a feeling which even words cannot write,” she added. “For everything that happened— since our arrival at the venue to meeting our brethren from different parts of the world,” Mariano said that the event was very memorable.

Anna Licu, one of the Filipino delegates from Canada, shared how grateful for she is for this opportunity. “I am extremely thankful to God because I was given the chance to be with our preachers, brothers and sisters from around the world in this thanksgiving celebration,” she exclaimed.

“I am very, very happy. I just cannot really explain [what I felt for the last three days],” shared Aileen Ravalo, a Filipino representative from Australia. “It was overwhelming that despite the difference in languages, I can still see the faith the brethren has,” she added.

Meanwhile, congregants from the east of the globe also travelled to join in the celebration. The ADD Convention Center in the Philippines was also fully packed with congregants numbering about a hundred thousand attendees.

This is aside from the more than 700 MCGI chapters that were opened to accommodate more members and guests in farther provinces. Brethren from other parts of the globe also joined the revelry via Internet and satellite facilities.

Highlights of the celebration include the offering of sacrifices of thanksgiving, songs and dances of praises, and the revealing of another biblical wisdom about God’s intent of creating man through a topic prepared by Bro. Eli and MCGI’s Vice-Presiding Minister, Bro. Daniel Razon. #

(Written by Sis. Emmy Borromeo)

ASOP Finals Set On Historic South America-Hosted International Thanksgiving

Come April 5-7, 2014, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) will not only see in South America host its International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) for the first time, but hear new songs of praise as well.

The bi-annual A Song of Praise (ASOP) Finals is usually done a day after MCGI’s quarterly thanksgiving. This time around, the songwriting festival will coincide with the three-day ITG event as members worldwide gather in ADD Convention Centers connected via Internet and satellite.

During the last ASOP Finals in 2013, the dates of the Year-End Finals this April is shown on a big led screen at the ADD Convention Center.
During the last ASOP Finals in 2013, the dates of the Year-End Finals this April is shown on a big led screen at the ADD Convention Center.

ASOP song entries from different countries are to be presented during breaks of the ITG or “Pasalamat ng Katawan” (Thanksgiving of the Body), which will start at 5 p.m. in the Philippines and 6 a.m. in South America.

The ASOP Year-End Finals and the ITG are a few days shy of MCGI’s celebration of the Christian New Year.

MCGI follows the Hebrew calendar observed by the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The religious group welcomed the first of Nisan Year 5774 at sunset of March 31, 2014.

The big LED screen at the ADD Convention Center cast a silhouette of MCGI's Teatro Kristiano dancers during the ASOP Finals in 2013.
The big LED screen at the ADD Convention Center cast a silhouette of MCGI’s Teatro Kristiano dancers during the ASOP Finals in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Frederick Alvior, PVI)

The ASOP Music Festival is MCGI’s songwriting festival that started in 2004 that encourages members to write original, perfect songs of praise to God. It branched out on television as a weekly program being aired by UNTV television channel.

Apart from the ITG and ASOP Finals, it is also Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s 50th Year celebration of service to God and humanity. The MCGI Presiding Minister will reach his 50th spiritual birthday on April 7.

Bro. Eli is the host of the Philippines’ longest-running religious program, Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). Both the program and Bro. Eli have won multiple accolades throughout the years. Recently, the Dangal ng Bayan Awards gave Bro. Eli Soriano the Best Bible-Based Television Evangelist title.

Metal frames of MCGI's Convention Center in South America stand tall as the venue awaits completion to accommodate delegates from various countries around the globe.
Metal frames of MCGI’s Convention Center in South America stand tall as the venue awaits completion to accommodate delegates from various countries around the globe. (Photo courtesy of Joshua De Leon, PVI)

For the special event, delegates from the Philippines to London to the USA and Canada are flocking to the newly-built convention center in South America.

As MCGI Leaders Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel Razon remarked in a recent Thanksgiving service, it is the fulfillment of the prophecy written in Zech. 8:20-21 where servants of God from different countries go to one place to seek the Lord of Hosts.

(Written by Rigor Arellano)

History in the Making: South America Hosts MCGI’s First ITG for 2014

For the first time in its history, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) will celebrate the International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) with South America as its host venue from April 5 to 7 this year.

The momentous occasion will also mark the 50th year in service of Presiding Minister to MCGI, Bro. Eliseo Soriano on April 7 this year.

MCGI holds quarterly International Thanksgiving to God celebrations each year. The three-day event is participated in by members worldwide who offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for His safekeeping, mercy and love.

In an unprecedented fashion, Church members hailing from different continents will travel to South America for the first Church-wide thanksgiving offering of the year.

MCGI members at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga -- the usual host venue for Thanksgivings where over 1,280 satellite centers connect to.
MCGI members at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga — the usual host venue for Church services like Thanksgivings with over 1,280 monitoring centers worldwide participating via satellite and Internet. (Photo courtesy of Prince Maverick Marquez, PVI)

In previous years, the Central Headquarters in Apalit, Pampanga, a province north of Manila, is the permanent host of big gatherings like ITG or “Pasalamat ng Katawan” (PNK) in the vernacular.

This time around, the event will serve as a venue for Filipino and other foreign national brethren to celebrate the ITG with native South American brethren in person.

Preparations for the grand event were already being undertaken by Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel Razon, the Vice-Presiding Minister, months prior to the three-day festivities of thanksgiving and offering praises to God.

Aside from shouldering the majority of broadcast fees worldwide, the Church leaders also spearheaded the preparations for the event both financially and physically, including the construction of a counterpart Convention Center for the attending brethren.

A home away from home: A local Filipino favorite, the tinapang isda, or dried fish, are prepared for both Filipino and foreign attendees of the International Thanksgiving in South America. Photo courtesy of Aaron Romero, PVI NY
A home away from home: A local Filipino favorite, the tinapang isda, or dried fish, are prepared for both Filipino and foreign attendees of the International Thanksgiving in South America. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Romero, PVI NY)

For his part, Bro. Eli personally oversaw the planting of various crops and vegetables, as well as raising chickens and farming fish, like tilapia, to feed the multitude of brethren arriving from different countries.

Come the three-day spiritual feast, Bro. Eli will also be leading the event’s group of cooks and sous-chefs.

Bro. Eli is known Church-wide not just for his spiritual leadership, but also for his penchant in cooking and feeding the brethren.

The international preacher is having sleeping cots, pillows, sleeping quarters and restrooms prepared for the attendees of the three-day event.

Delegates from America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and other countries have arrived at the Thanksgiving venue early to help in the preparation of the biggest Church event of the year.

To ensure that the attendees are well-rested and are comfortable during their stay in the convention center in South America, Bro. Eli has ordered the production of cots and pillows for the brethren, as well as sleeping quarters and restrooms. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Romero, PVI NY)
To ensure that the attendees are well-rested and are comfortable during their stay in the convention center in South America, Bro. Eli has ordered the production of cots and pillows for the brethren, as well as sleeping quarters and restrooms. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Romero, PVI NY)

Meanwhile, Bro. Daniel has organized a series of orientations for brethren who are traveling to South America, to ensure everyone’s safety.

Bro. Aaron Romero, one of the early delegates, stressed on the importance of attending the pre-departure orientation sessions.

“All the delegates [coming from different countries] should coordinate with their respective divisions and attend the orientation, per Bro. Daniel’s directive,” said Bro. Aaron.

(Written by Pauline Arellano)

Evangelization in the West Intensifies

Manila, Philippines — With some former pastors or ministers of other religious groups, hundreds of which comprised foreign nationals, 3,977 souls received baptism in the last three months in the Members Church of God International (MCGI).

MCGI or Ang Dating Daan as better known by the public through its popular program is led by Bro. Eli Soriano as its Presiding Minister.

Evangelization in the West was quickened after the 24-hour The Old Path (TOP) channel was launched on September 15, covering North and South America, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and several islands. In less than a month following the first broadcast, Bro Eli received hundreds of emails, mostly about requests for BIble studies and inquiries about membership in the Church

Bro. Eli Soriano congratulated newly-baptized members that totalled to an estimated 3,977 during the whole quarter ending September 2011.
Bro. Eli Soriano congratulated newly-baptized members that totalled to an estimated 3,977 during the whole quarter ending September 2011.

In South America alone, Bro. Eli reported that the interest for Bible studies and indoctrination grew sharply. DVD’s are distributed for free to those who cannot attend Bible Expositions due to constraints in distance. Bible Expositions are an MCGI service where people can ask Bro. Eli about matters of faith and spirituality live. These expositions are filled with Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking natives, and usually take more than eight hours to finish.

Recently, the program The Old Path started to air over Fox Channel. With this latest broadcast development for the Church, MCGI will eventually saturate most of the South American countries, especially in 20 countries where Fox is seen.

Bro Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister to MCGI, reported during the first day of the three-day International Thanksgiving significant broadcast milestones during the same quarter.
Bro Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister to MCGI, reported during the first day of the three-day International Thanksgiving significant broadcast milestones during the same quarter.

Bro. Eli said this is one big reason to thank God because the small efforts of the Church to spread the Gospel yielded fruit.

Several topics were delivered and new biblical knowledge were taught to the congregation. The topics ranged from discussions about time, significance of the Lord’s feast, and prophecy about God’s people in the last days.

Representatives from different provinces and countries abroad attend the Congregation's International Thanksgiving at the ADD Convention Center, Apalit, Pampanga, north of the capital Manila.
Representatives from different provinces and countries abroad attend the Congregation’s International Thanksgiving at the ADD Convention Center, Apalit, Pampanga, north of the capital Manila.

Bro. Armi Policarpio, a Church pioneer and Bro. Eli’s contemporary, attested to the many differences of the teachings of MCGI from those with the Iglesia ng Dios Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God Pillar and Support of the Truth) where he was formerly affiliated. He described MCGI’s teachings as “better, more profound, and far advanced.”

Bro. Eli also opened consultations for all Church members who have questions and needed clarifications about the topics and those with problems concerning faith; there were even non-members who lined up to ask Bro. Eli and learn new things about the Bible.

MCGI anticipates a bigger and grander attendance in the next quarter thanksgiving on December 23 to 25 as the number of new members will continue to rise within the next three months.

Meanwhile, Bro. Daniel Razon, the Vice Presiding Minister, is grateful for the continuous support of the Congregation to the charity projects they have begun in the past. The latest is the new mobile clinic which has more advanced features. It is ready to serve the rural areas in the Philippines where medical assistance is inadequate. The other public service programs they have set off are still up and running.

(Written by: Cecile Vizcaya)


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