Apalit, Philippines – Visibly joyful and thankful, thousands upon thousands members of the Church of God International (MCGI) congregated to join the International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) for the fourth quarter on December 21-23, this year.
ITG is the most anticipated Church event every quarter and the culmination of all the big reasons that MCGI is thankful for among others, like the 17,850 newly baptized members from January to December 21, 2013.
This figure, accounting baptisms held across the country and in other parts of the globe, was revealed by Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano on the ITG’s first day.
The ITG theme, “Joyous Thanksgiving to God,” (Masayang Pagpapasalamat sa Dios), was announced by Bro. Eli Soriano himself during the Thanksgiving service to God before the much-awaited three-day event.
For a full three days, Bro. Eli and Vice-Presiding Minister Bro. Daniel Razon delivered before the congregation a total of three different biblical topics.
On the first day, MCGI Leaders discussed the mishaps brought about by the mistranslation of the Holy Scriptures and the rightful way of using the Bible.
The ways as to how Christians should eat and live by faith and the reasons was discussed on the second day. Why Christians should believe that there is knowledge and wisdom in every word of God meanwhile, was on the third day.
ITG is an opportune time for Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel to serve a more comprehensive and detailed discussion of biblical topics. The longer congregational time hence allows for deeper understanding and revelation of new layers of biblical truths.
It is the delight of God and Jesus Christ for the Church to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving with gladness and cheerfulness, according to Bro. Soriano. The international evangelist added that it is God’s will for His people to serve Him happily, citing Psalms 100:2; 37:4, and Philippians 4:4.
Throughout the three-day International Thanksgiving, other activities included sharing of testimonies of faith, singing and dancing to songs of praises by different regions, performances invited guests, feeding the indigents, and listening to spiritual topics.
“I am really glad … I cannot fathom the joy I feel in my heart each time I sing songs of praises to God,” shared Jastin Villanueva of Quezon City, Metro Manila, one of the attendees of this quarter’s ITG.
“The topics are also very wonderful. It is the first time I heard them (and) the mysteries within the topics were amazing,” she further remarked.
In the Philippines, members see to it that they personally come to the ADD Convention Center in Pampanga, where majority of brethren from all over the Philippines, and even from other countries flock to in order to experience the festive celebration.
Isabel Dugaduga travelled all the way from Davao City, a metropolitan area in Southern Mindanao, to Apalit to celebrate the International Thanksgiving. “It is different when you are here in Apalit!,” she remarked.
“The atmosphere of thanksgiving is more felt here… It is joyful to see brethren from various places giving thanks altogether,” shared the group of brothers and sisters from San Pablo, Laguna.
The use of satellite and Internet facilities – which in effect break geographic barriers – had allowed members from the rest of the Philippines and the globe to join the proceedings.
Non-native Tagalog and English speakers were able to listen to the topics through interpreters. The live translations included Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.