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Doing Our Part to Fulfill God’s Will

Four men—Obinna from Nigeria, Luis from Ecuador, and Franco and Marco from Brazil—leave their homes to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Pastoral Studies and Evangelism in the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) School For Ministers in the Philippines. See how the words of God gave them the strength to overcome the challenges they faced on their journey. And listen to their resolve as they prepare to graduate and take their oath in a worship service led by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.


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Brother Obinna Ukoma: When I was young, my dream was to be a Pentecostal pastor. But due to the life, you know, in this world, I was living a different way of life. We did different types of things. We smoked, we did bad things.  

Brother Luis Guachon: I believed that once I started working, making my own money, somehow, I became a materialistic person. For me, when it comes to religion, it wasn’t the top priority in life. For me, religion was the last thing in my life. 

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Fulfilling God’s Will

Brother Obinna Ukoma: My name is Obinna Paschal Ukoma. I am from Lagos, Nigeria. My life growing up back then in Nigeria was, let’s say, a bit rough. Because I once lived as a bad gangster. When I was young my dream was to be a Pentecostal pastor. But due to the life in this world, I was living a different way of life. 

As time went by I had an accident, a very terrible accident. That was when I was studying in the University that was around 2006 or 2007. I fell down from upstairs. So, my left hand broke and till now I have the scar of that injury in my hand. So I made a promise. I was like, “God, if ever I survive from this accident, I am going to give my life to You. I will serve You and I will work for You.” That is how I joined the Pentecostal Church. From there, I enrolled to be a pastor, to study. It was four years. So, I got ordained as a pastor, if I’m not mistaken, that was in 2011. 

I arrived here in Manila, Philippines on August 9, 2012. I’ve been to 12 provinces here in the Philippines, preaching as a pastor. Time came when I was residing in Cavite. One of my church members, a Nigerian, had a Filipina friend. This friend of hers was a member of the Church Of Christ. She also invited me to the Iglesia Ni Cristo. I gave her stories. I told her that, “Sister, I’m busy, I’m a pastor. I have many things I’m doing. I’m sorry that I cannot come to your Church for now.” 

She invited me for the second time. So, I told her, “Okay sister, I’m going to attend your Church’s worship service.” So, she brought me to the Local Congregation of De Castro, Metro Manila East. I told her after the worship service that, “Sister, I want to know more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo.” So, she told me that she will introduce me to one of the ministers. 

So, as time went on, Brother Samuel told me that he was going to teach me some Bible lessons. “Okay. I was hoping for that. No problem.” So that’s how I started attending Bible studies. When I heard the doctrine, the teaching about the Church Of Christ, the one true Church, I was really convinced, especially about the prophecy about the Church Of Christ and about a true messenger in these last days. 

When I was about to finish my doctrinal lessons in the Church Of Christ, I told my [Pentecostal] pastor, “Sir, I think I’m going to stop [doing] anything with the Pentecostal Church.” They were like, “What? Are you okay, are you alright? Why? What happened?” I said, “I want to know more about the Church Of Christ. And I already made up my mind,” I told him. They went to the immigration. They tried to deport me back to Nigeria. 

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September 20, 2020

Templo Central, Philippines

Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: What did Apostle Paul do, which is why he was sure of receiving the crown of life on Christ’s Second Advent? Apostle Paul finished his race. Therefore, all of us are also expected to complete our race. We must run the race that lies ahead of us. Apostle Paul says that we must never give up. We are expected to never let go of our faith despite what we encounter. Who is the example of having complete faith? Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we are instructed to always look at our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So, a true Church Of Christ member should also have complete faith and be able to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ. We should be able to victoriously uphold our Church membershipour racewhatever we encounter in life. We should be brave. We need to be strong so that our faith will be complete and we will be certain of salvation come Judgment Day. 

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Iglesia Ni Cristo Tabernacle

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Brother Luis Guachon: My name is Luis Guachon. I was born and raised in Ecuador. The place where I was born is called Paute. It’s in the southern part of Ecuador. I had a happy life there. Because I lived with my parents. I was attending school. And the place where I grew up was a peaceful place. 

It was on February 14, 2001. That’s when I arrived in the United States. I lived there for almost 14 years. Once I started working, making my own money, somehow, I became a materialistic person. That’s one of the reasons I was never satisfied with anything. 

When it comes to religion, I was never content. I was always searching for something that was different. Because there was always something in those religions that I joined that I didn’t like at all. In my dreams, I was always trying to find something new for me. Something that would make me happy. 

In 2008, that’s the time when I met someone from the Philippines. And then somehow we became interested in talking about religion. That’s the time when I was introduced to the Church Of Christ there in the Local Congregation of Forest Hills,  New York. 

Once I got there, I was kind of shocked because I saw a huge and nice chapel. They were asking me to get inside and then the worship service started. The minister stood and he started preaching. And then, I was shocked and I was like, “Wow, this is something unique.” I was like, “I haven’t seen anything like this. This is how the preacher should preach.” That’s what I was saying in my mind. 

After the worship service, I approached the brother who invited me, Brother Fernando Aguinaldo. I approached him and I said, “Thank you brother for inviting me, you made my day.” That’s what I said to him. And then, on the same day, I decided to become a doctrinal instructee. Every time I attended the Bible studies on doctrines, I was always satisfied at the end. 

That was October 31, 2010. That’s the time when I was baptized in the Local Congregation of Forest Hills. For me, when it comes to religion, it wasn’t the top priority in life. But when I became a member of the Church Of Christ, I had to spend our time in serving God. My life changed and I was no longer a materialistic person. I was spending  my time doing something for God

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: That’s why, we, Church Of Christ members who are running toward the end to receive the promised salvation, should undergo training. So, for a Church Of Christ member, the training that is needed to reach the end is training in holy living. 

How can we identify a Church Of Christ member who trains in holy living? A true Church member not only renews his life but also holds firmly to his faith. He never stops obeying God’s teachings and commands that he needs to follow. He obeys God’s teaching that he needs to do such as attending the worship service, helping in the works of propagation, giving of offerings, accepting Church duties and performing them. He gives importance to them. 

We should also be doing those things. Why? For us to train in holiness, and we can use them as we run to reach the end or to receive the promised salvation on Judgment Day. God really wants everyone who joined the Church Of Christ to reach salvation. But what is required of us? Each of us should be spiritually fit. 

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Church Of Christ members connected via video streaming

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Brother Franco Gascon

From Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Brother Franco Gascon: My parents arrived in Brazil in 1991 or 1992. 

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Brother Marco Gascon

From Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Brother Marco Gascon: My parents are the first members of the Church Of Christ in Brazil. They are faithful, they are diligent when it comes to any activity of the Church. Especially in the works of propagation. They would always accompany the ministers there in Brazil. 

Brother Obinna Ukoma: My senior pentecostal pastor was not able to get me deported. I never cared about the money in Pentecostal. Here, in the Church Of Christ, every doctrine that is being taught is from the Bible. So, I decided that no matter what happens, the truth is in the Bible, I will follow the truth. 

December 6, 2014, I got baptized in the Church Of Christ in Templo Central. After my baptism, I talked with Brother Samuel. I was like, “Brother Samuel, I want to continue to be a pastor, I want to continue to preach.” Brother Samuel then brought me to the district minister then, Brother Eliseo D. Valle Jr. Brother Eliseo D. Valle Jr. told Brother Samuel to escort me to the Central Office to meet Brother Eduardo Manalo. 

So, when I met Brother Eduardo, I spoke to him, “Sir, I’m a pastor,” this and that. I brought my ordination certificate with me, being a pastor. I even showed pictures and everything. After 2 or 3 days, I received a call from the [Iglesia Ni Cristo] School For Ministers. They said that, “Brother Eduardo V. Manalo already approved your request to study in the ministry.” I was very happy because I couldn’t believe it. My dream, my prayers were answered. 

Brother Luis Guachon: It was 2014, I asked the minister if there was a way for me to join the ministry. He said, “If you want, start your devotional prayer and ask God what you want to do.” After one month of devotional prayer, what I asked in my prayer was fulfilled. August 22 or 23, 2015, that was the date I arrived here in the Philippines. 

Brother Obinna Ukoma: Now I’m very happy because I am now able to fulfill my heart’s desire in the true ministry, in the true Church Of Christ. 

Brother Franco Gascon: When the number of brethren grew, ministers were assigned in Brazil. Every minister that has come to Brazil would often tell me and my brother to join the ministry. 

Brother Marco Gascon: I saw that there are many people in Brazil who need salvation. And because there were few ministers assigned in Brazil at that time, I decided to join the ministry to help in the works of propagation. 

Brother Franco Gascon: That’s when my brother and I decided to join the ministry. 

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: Church Of Christ members should be obedient. They should never compromise their obedience. Obedience to God’s teachings and commands is always the priority of Church Of Christ members. We should uphold our obedience and services to God and never allow ourselves to be separated no matter what we encounter because the Bible said earlier that we should never give up. We should uphold our duty no matter what we experience. We should not allow ourselves to let go of obedience. 

When there are trials in our life, when there are severe problems, we should always remind ourselves: “I will never let go of my obedience to God’s teachings and commands.” We should be even more fervent when we approach God in our devotional prayers and supplications to Him. Our fervent prayers will give us strength and hope because God’s promises will surely come to our lives. 

What we need to do is to learn to endure. What we should do is to hold on tightly to our divine election or our membership in the Church Of Christ. We should not let go of it. In that way, God will reveal Himself to us even more. He will help us no matter how heavy the things we encounter in life. 

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Church Of Christ members connected via video streaming

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Brother Franco Gascon: My parents were so happy when they found out that we would be joining the ministry. They always wanted us to join the ministry. 

Brother Marco Gascon: I continue to have my devotional prayers until we left and flew to the Philippines. 

Brother Franco Gascon: We arrived on September 17, 2015. It’s sad to be separated from our parents because we have been with them for so long. We got used to being with them. I always have my devotional prayer. I always ask God to make me happy as I serve Him since I decided to join the ministry. Prayer truly gave me the strength. 

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: God will not fail us when we cast our burdens on Him. Did you notice our campaign in the Church? “Put All Your Hope In The Grace That Will Be Yours.” When the Lord God promises His help, He will do it. He will fulfill it. But we should show to God that we are righteous, steadfast in our faith, and we fulfill all His will. 

When we do that, whatever our burdens are and no matter how heavy they may be, when we cast them on the Lord God, the Bible said, He will not allow us to be moved. Brethren, God will not allow you to slip or fall. He won’t allow you to fail to receive His promise that you are hoping for. 

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On September 20, 2020, Brothers Obinna, Luis, Franco, and Marco were among the 1,195 graduates of the Bachelor of Pastoral Studies and Evangelism degree program of the Iglesia Ni Cristo School For Ministers.

On that day, they took their oath of office as Ministerial Workers inside the Church Of Christ. 

Brother Franco Gascon: I am truly happy. I’m thankful to God for His mercy that I was able to finish my studies. 

Brother Marco Gascon: I thank God for His help and mercy I was able to finish my studies in the ministry. Wherever the Church Administration would assign me, I will never forsake my responsibilities to God. 

Brother Obinna Ukoma: No matter what trials come to my life, I will never exchange anything from the true calling inside the Church Of Christ. I will never abandon this true calling in the ministry. 

Brother Luis Guachon: It’s been five years already. With the help of God I was able to survive. And I’m willing to share [to the people] what I have learned, to share what I have experienced, and if it’s the will of God, they can also attain salvation

Brother Franco Gascon: The Church officers, even though they are sick, they never forsake performing their Church duties. The brethren strive to bring the doctrinal instructees and candidates for baptism to the worship services. They strive to participate in Church activities. Despite the bad weather they would still attend worship services. 

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Brother Eduardo V. Manalo: Brethren, do your best in performing your duties. Even if you’re a Church officer in your local congregationperhaps a head deacon, an overseer, a choir member, an officer in the finance, secretariat, or an officer in the Children’s Worship Serviceas long as you perform your duty, then you are indeed my helpers in the administration of the Church. 

Brethren, do not let go of your duties whatever may happen. When you experience difficulties or feel burdened especially if the problems that came to you are so severe, do not forget, we have our God Who is always there. He will never leave our side. He is always ready to help us. 

Brethren, when we pray, draw near and cry out to God, I assure you, He will listen to us and provide our needs. Always fulfill all of His will and follow everything that He wants. For when God sees that we are doing our part when it comes to our membership in the Church Of Christ, God will never forsake us. 

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© Executive News 2020 

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Doing Our Part to Fulfill God’s Will