incmedia.org

Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

2021 INC News World Year-End Special: Part 1

We look back at 2021 as humanity endured another year of the pandemic through relief of the COVID-19 vaccine and how the INC triumphed with God's miracles.

 

2021 INC News World Year-End Special: Part 1

[VIDEO VIDEO]

JASON SALASAR: 2021 was welcomed with hope. It is after all, when we hit a major milestone in the global pandemic, the COVID-19 vaccine was made available to the public. This consequently opened doors literally. As restrictions were lifted, schools and businesses reopened and a sentiment of optimism began to replace the anxious uncertainty of the year prior. It would appear that the new normal would eventually be a thing of the past. Yet here we are at the end of the year. 

Looking back on the civil unrest, the economic disruption, natural disasters and surges rising around the world again, for some, reflecting on 2021 turned hope into disappointment, optimism to skepticism. However, a community of faithful around the world reflect on the past year in a different way. With thankfulness. Thankful for God’s presence in their lives. Thankful for the opportunity to help the lives of others. Thankful for fostering the good in a young generation whose formative years take place in these incredibly uncertain times. This group of faithful and thankful people are the members of the Church Of Christ around the world. These are stories that we’ve shared here,on INC News World throughout 2021.

[VIDEO ENDS]

BROTHER MICHAEL GURERRO: Hello everyone and welcome to this special year-end episode of INC News World. I’m Brother Michael Guerrero coming to you from the INC media studios in the San Francisco Bay area.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: And I’m Shannon Santamaria. Joining us from Anaheim, California is Richie Ferrera and Naomi De La Cruz.

RICHIE FERRERA: Hi everyone. Thank you Shannon. 

NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And thank you Brother Michael.

BROTHER MICHAEL GURERRO: As we head into a new year, we’re taking a look back at how eventful this past one has been.

RICHIE FERRERA: That’s right Brother Michael. A lot has happened when we think about it. One huge advancement that we witnessed was the development of the COVD-19 vaccine that was made available for the public earlier this year.

NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: A great development that has saved many lives against this deadly disease and really helped propel society towards safer in-person gatherings. That, coupled with more countries opening up, really led to a growing sense of normalcy that we all longed for since the start of the pandemic.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: While the world kept dealing with the pandemic, natural calamities in various places continued among the many hardships faced by everyone. In Asia, the Caribbean, and even here in the United States. Just recently parts of Kentucky and Louisiana were struck by a string of tornadoes.

RICHIE FERRERA: And it wasn’t just natural calamities. Armed conflicts, civil unrest and violence rocked different countries. Here in the United States, an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building early this year. 

NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: But as we reach the end of this year, we can only feel a deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness because through it all, the Church Of Christ wasn’t forsaken by God.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: That’s right Naomi. And we, members of the Church Of Christ, will never forget how we found ourselves still firm in our faith and even more thankful for the help of God in our lives. 

BROTHER MICHAEL GURERRO: The economic effects of the pandemic continue to severely impact families all over the world. In obedience to the commandment of God, the Church Of Christ helped our fellowmen through the various Lingap Sa Mamamayan or Aid to Humanity events throughout the year.

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: That’s right, Brother Mike. The biggest Aid to Humanity events were those held in October, all in part of the commemoration of our Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo’s birthday. Let’s take a look at just how impactful these events were for communities, families, and even individuals.

[VIDEO STARTS]

SONNY MOROZ (REPRESENTATIVE OF MINISTER OF PARLIAMENT): So many good, good organizations, nonprofits and charities that shut down their events and their activities during the pandemic, but the INC [Igleisa Ni Cristo] didn’t.

ELISE SHORT (COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER – CALGARY, CANADA):  Again, we cannot do what we do without organizations like you guys, providing us with these amazing donations.

BROTHER MICHAEL GURERRO: Across different continents, for a moment in time, members of the Church Of Christ united in this global effort to extend aid to those who needed it most. And for many, these events were life-changing, for the recipients along with those who volunteer.

KATHLEEN GREGORIO (INC MEMBER – CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS): The place we had to travel to was in north Texas. So you’re looking at about, probably six or seven hours drive. We had to leave at two in the morning, to be there on time. As a journalist, as an editor in my profession, when a story is timely, historical, it is something that you only have one chance to cover it. You only have one chance to be able to tell the best story you can. And this was a once in a lifetime experience. We’re actually the first ones to arrive and Sister Barbara Guthrie.

BARBARA GUTHRIE: I’m really excited and praise God we had a good turnout this afternoon. 

KATHLEEN GREGORIO (INC MEMBER – CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS): She is a native of Cleburne, Texas. Sister Barbara said, “Hey guys, let’s go. Let’s go, let’s go around the neighborhood and let them know what’s happening.

BARBARA GUTHRIE (INC AID TO HUMANITY VOLUNTEER): If you have some grandchildren or children that would love to have. If you got a few of them here, we would love for you all to let them know that the program will be right here. Can I give you one of these sir? Yes, can I open your door? Here you go. Here you go ma’am.

INC AID TO HUMANITY VOLUNTEER: So right now we’re beginning the start of our Aid to Humanity and we are going to knock on doors. We’re going to invite our neighbors all around the area that we’re going to just saturate and talk to everybody.

KATHLEEN GREGORIO (INC MEMBER – CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS): The owner of the house and at the time, they’re having a garage sale right in front of their yard. We invited him and he surprisingly told us, “You know, I remember your Church because four years ago you did an Aid to Humanity at a different location at a school. I went to that event and I’ll never forget my experience there. So I remember what your Church did.” And so he brought his whole family. The poverty rate in Cleburne was between 13% to16%. There are a lot of families that are in need. The attendees were able to enjoy a great hot meal, groceries, household goods, also kids school supplies, and free health screenings. And the families that we were interviewing, some of them had explained to us that they had just lost their job. And finding out about this event had been such a blessing for them.

AID TO HUMANITY RECIPIENT: Thank you all so much. God bless you and I will see you all next time. 

KATHLEEN GREGORIO (INC MEMBER – CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS): It’s gonna be the start. These are just seeds that are being planted. It will be the start of the growth of the Church in Cleburne, Texas. It’s like suddenly we’re building something together between the Church and the community of Cleburne.

BROTHER RONNIE DAVID (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL – NEW YORK): There are times where people don’t take the deaf people seriously. Partially it’s kind of sad to see that, for their culture to be a bit neglected. Growing up with deaf parents, out in the world, we grew up as translators, automatic interpreters for our parents. Speaking for them, giving them a voice wherever we went. The deaf community, live interaction is just so important. The impact that the Aid to Humanity that we had for the deaf community, that was huge for them. 

DAVID LOCHAN (PRESIDENT – METROPOLITAN SOCIETY FOR THE DEAF): It was perfect! It was a good day. Everybody was excited and we had this again, and we would like to have this again in the future. It is fun. We need it! 

BROTHER RONNIE DAVID (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL – NEW YORK): We had those from the Deaf associations who were already known to attend our worship services, known to attend our Bible studies even, even join our activities inside the Church Of Christ–they were willing to help out. A lot of them were actually telling us stories of how they went through a whole year of not seeing people, not being able to enjoy the company of others, especially with communicating. For some of them, they didn’t feel love throughout 2020 and even going into 2021, they may have felt neglected. They didn’t feel like they were being listened to and for them to get together like this, it gave them a hope, it gave them a light. 

You know for this Aid to Humanity, it wasn’t much the material things that were given to them. It was more the memories. It was more the fellowship. It was more the love that they felt that I’m positive, they’re going to want to come back. This is the first time they had an activity, where it felt like the Church was literally just there to show them love and to help out. 

So for a good number of years now, the Church has been doing many things in regards to the deaf community inside the Church Of Christ. They’ve been developing apps to help teach sign language. They have the Embrace Cafe there in the Philippines, supporting and helping the deaf to be able to have a means of living. It just shows that the Church is growing at such a fast pace and more and more people have this opportunity to hear God’s Words. And for them what’s beautiful is it’s not just us inviting them, it’s them inviting other deaf people to join them too. 

So looking forward, we can expect that we’re going to be having even more huge, great, special and blessed activities with the deaf community.

CHARLES LOUINEL (INC MEMBER – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC): It’s like our Executive Minister always reminding us, we need to be active in all activities in the Church. Especially in those kinds of activities to help the humanity, so that they can know more about the Church Of Christ. We are here in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for our Lingap sa Mamamayan or Aid to Humanity. We’re on our way to the venue where we will be holding our  Lingap sa Mamamayan. Let’s go. Vamanos. And when we got there, they were so happy to receive us. Well, I experienced an unforgettable moment there because it was really inspired, especially to see those kids, especially nowadays. Due to this pandemic, they don’t have enough resources so that they can move on with their with their kids, because they have a lot of kids. We were able to provide them with school supplies, the care packages, and also the Church also helped them to buy some stuff for the place and they also were inspired by what the Church is doing. 

AID TO HUMANITY RECIPIENT: Thank you Iglesia Ni Cristo.

CHARLES LOUINEL (INC MEMBER – DOMINICAN REPUBLIC): Like I said, I was not born in the Church. I am a, I’m converted in the Church. It is always my dream and whenever I am about to be part of those activities, helping the humanity, helping people to know more about the Church, I feel so inspired and I feel like I want to do more. I want to help people more, to know about the Church.

BROTHER MICHAEL GURERRO: The orphanage in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was just one of the many orphanages that received aid as part of this worldwide event. Whereas in the Philippines, something very special that had been in the works for three years, finally launched for the youth.

BROTHER GLICERIO SANTOS IV (GENERAL AUDITOR – IGLESIA NI CRISTO): In recent years, we have always cared for the orphanages of various organizations, especially in other countries. That is why Brother Eduardo V. Manalo has long planned that we have our own orphanage. Anyone who is in need, whether a member [of the Church Of Christ] or not, is welcome here. [The Church Administration] doesn’t want any child to be oppressed or to go hungry. We can put a school for them, a housing for them. So, we are ready to grow and grow so that we can help many more children. From the very beginning of the pandemic, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo truly thought of nothing more than helping those in need. He never tires of helping, from the beginning until now. He has never stopped. All of these things—aiding and helping our fellowmen—have no other agenda but to follow the command of the Lord God, that you love your fellowmen. So, the Church Of Christ will not stop caring and helping, whether you are a member or not, we will continue to help them. 

JAMES DAVIS (MAYOR – BAYONNE, NEW JERSEY): The Church Of Christ has worked tirelessly throughout this whole pandemic to help our community. And not just for the pandemic, for anything that happens. I received a phone call to my office. What can we do to help? We have a fire. Is there anything we can do to help? What do you need? And that’s what shows a community spirit. 

AID TO HUMANITY RECIPIENT: Thank you all for all the work that you’ve done in our community and with organizations like yours and the Church like yours to always give back to those who are in need. 

AID TO HUMANITY RECIPIENT: This is great!

GIAN-CARLO CARRA (CALGARY WARD COUNCILOR):  Can’t run an amazing civilization without people giving back. And so this is what Calgarians do. This is what Christians do. This is what Iglesia De Cristo does and I celebrate it. 

DOMINIQUE ROBINSON (LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES): To go out and do what you are doing so well and that is support humanity and help people be the best versions of themselves by just simply letting them know that they do matter. 

AID TO HUMANITY RECIPIENT: I am almost in tears. I have never seen anything like this before. 

[VIDEO ENDS]

RICHIE FERRERA: Wow! It’s just so awesome to see the depth and breadth of all the outreach events, and the labors of love that really went into making each of the communities feel really special.

NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And to see just how much it meant to receive that kind of assistance that made families and individuals really feel seen and cared for. Each volunteer really made a difference and a tremendous contribution.

BROTHER MICHAEL GURERRO: It just goes to show the impact of this work, God’s work that continues to be done in many places.

[VIDEO STARTS]

ANNOUNCER: Telling stories of the Olympics, this young man right here. 

SHANNON SANTAMARIA: Coming up next on INC News World. We revisit some inspiring stories of individuals that prioritize their faith in the midst of achieving their own life’s goals. Stay tuned.

 

Available downloads

2021 INC News World Year-End Special: Part 1