RICHIE FERRERA: Welcome to the special episode of INC News World, marking the 107th Anniversary of the establishment of the Church Of Christ in the Philippines, I’m Richie Ferrera.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And I am Naomi De La Cruz, we are here in the INC Media Studios in Anaheim, California and happy anniversary to all of our fellow members of the Church Of Christ. We are going to be taking a look back at the progress the Church has made in her 107th year.
RICHIE FERRERA: Now we saw that for other churches and religions, they were hit hard by the pandemic. Churches closed and members left, nothing was the same. But one thing that did remain the same, the growth of the Church Of Christ, which inspired the need for additional houses of worship to be purchased or to be renovated and dedicated to God for service in His name.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: As the efforts of the Church were put into God’s hands, as always, the progress over the last year has been awe-inspiring.
BROTHER SIDNEY SANTOS (SUPERVISING MINISTER, ECCLESIASTICAL DISTRICT OF MANITOBA): The Church will continue to grow, that the hand of God does not stop even during a pandemic.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Despite the pandemic putting most of the world at a standstill, the Church Of Christ kept moving forward.
BROTHER SIDNEY SANTOS (SUPERVISING MINISTER, ECCIESIASTICAL DISTRICT OF MANITOBA): We have always felt the love of the Administration in these past years, and we were able to purchase three new chapels now. There was one in Swift Current, another one in Silver Heights, and now in Neepawa.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Adhering to the government restrictions and health protocols, renovations of properties to create proper houses of worship continued around the world.
GENESIS MANALILI (INC MEMBER – BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA): It’s really a miracle that this kind of renovation happened.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: With restrictions slowly lifting around the world, members eagerly returned to the houses of worship.
EDUARDO CALAGUAS JR. (INC MEMBER – BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA): This house of worship is our refuge where we can communicate to our Lord God heart to heart and we believe that our Lord God always listens to the prayers of His children inside the house of worship.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: From August 2020 to July 2021, the time since the last anniversary of the Church Of Christ, it has continued to expand and solidify its presence in the world, while other religious organizations struggle to remain open or altogether closed their doors. Houses of worship continue to be dedicated to the Almighty God in worship services led by the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ.
THABISO LEBITSA (INC MEMBER – MAFETENG, LESOTHO): I saw that a lot of the congregations that were connected there were from, if I’m not mistaken, Australia and somewhere in America. and my local here in Mafeteng was part of that. It was so amazing. I cannot be able to describe that in many ways, that a far flung place in the mountains of Lesotho was part of that history.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: From the day the World Health Organization declared COVID 19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020 until July 10, 2021,
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A total of 133 concrete houses of worship have been constructed and dedicated to God by the glistening crystal Church Of Christ. On this 107th year of the INC.
FELIX SANTOS (DISTRICT SUPERVISING MINISTER – AUSTRALIA EAST): The form was the reason why the Church Of Christ built many magnificent houses of worship is to worship our Almighty God. It is being used to cater the needs of the brethren.
IAN HENDERSON (INC MEMBER – BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA): It always makes you feel good to come here to be with God and to ask Him for His help and His guidance in the things that we do every day of our lives.
CHENAUR VALLE (INC MEMBER – CARLINGFORD, AUSTRALIA): We hope to see that with this dedication that it also feels like it’s the right time. Now, during this pandemic, it’s like a refresher of our faith to seeing that there is something that’s always waiting for us.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And as the needs of the Church continue to grow. More properties are purchased for future renovations, such as those in Pacifica, California and Dordrecht, Netherlands. In addition, two new eco-farming projects are set to begin in Canada. With 152 acres of land purchased in Beausejour, Manitoba and 153 acres in New Brunswick.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Keeping focus on their faith even through the pandemic, Church Of Christ members see the value of having God’s constant guidance.
LEANDRO VALDEZ (INC MEMBER – EL CAJON, CALIFORNIA): It’s really hard, especially during these times now, where things are like the Executive Minister said, it’s in its terminal stages. It’s really hard to manage on your own. But even then, we’re still here. We’re still living in this world, so we have to endure. We have to hold on to our faith.
IAN HENDERSON (INC MEMBER – BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA): Because people now see the Church Of Christ as something of beauty and are more likely to want to come in and hear the words of God. But the Church has continued to keep its stature, even in the times of crisis that we’re all experiencing and today really inspired me and made me realize how close to God we are.
THABISO LEBITSA (INC MEMBER – MAFETENG, LESOTHO): The Church Of Christ, we are able to dedicate these beautiful houses of worship, despite this pandemic. So, this is the proof that we are inside the true church.
RICHIE FERRERA: Coming up next on INC News World, the establishment of additional local congregations and group worship services around the world in new and beautiful places. More on INC News World, when we return.
RICHIE FERRERA: Welcome back to this special episode of INC News World, marking the 107th anniversary of the Church Of Christ. We’re just looking at how, due to the growth in membership in the Church, new houses of worship were needed to accommodate everyone.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: A good question to ask is where in the world, even during a pandemic and as most of us experienced, government restrictions against worshiping in person, “Did the Church, in fact, expand?”
RICHIE FERRERA: There are some places in the world where a pandemic or not, the establishment of local congregations and group worship services became a necessity and a blessed eventuality.
RICHIE FERRERA: The Church Of Christ, established in 158 countries and territories, continues to grow and increase in membership even during the COVID 19 brother pandemic. Even in places stricken by civil unrest like Haiti. Many are still able to receive the words of God.
BHENRAD NOFUENTE (MINISTERIAL WORKER – HAITI): We can honestly say that that God truly desires that even the people in this part of the world desire to be saved, and that He wants it for Himself as well.
STENDLEY PIERRE (INC MEMBER – HAITI): Inside that Church Of Christ, we learned that there is only one true church that can give us the eternal life, and that is true church – the church that was built by our Lord Jesus Christ.
RICHIE FERRERA: Stendley Pierre, a translator in Haiti, has been God’s instrument in helping the people here understand God’s words.
STENDLEY PIERRE (INC MEMBER – HAITI): For the rules of the Church, you need a translator because the ministers [who are] here, they don’t speak Creole.
RICHIE FERRERA: Stendley has hopes to offer himself into the Holy Ministry, continuing the mission of reaching his fellowmen.
STENDLEY PIERRE (INC MEMBER – HAITI): So, we see the need and we prayed to God [for Him] to join the ministry so that we can help in the propagation like, to call more people to listen, and [for them] to receive their true baptism so they can be saved.
RICHIE FERRERA: The continued success of missionary work in this country is evident, as many people have already received the holy baptism in Haiti and as a result, has marked the establishment of the group worship services of Découvert and Losier.
BROTHER EDUARDO JAVIER (DISTRICT SUPERVISING MINISTER – CARIBBEAN): The baptism here in Losier, is the first baptism that is being conducted in this place. There are no members yet here, but the administration approved that the establishment of the worship services that should be held in this place. So those who are being baptized here were the first converts in this place.
RICHIE FERRERA: And the group worship service of Bo Letan, which later on became a local congregation. And from the Caribbean to Kissimmee, Florida.
CAROLINE DEGUZMAN (INC MEMBER – KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA): It’s really different when you’re actually in a chapel, in a place of worship dedicated to worship God. It feels like you’re closer to God.
MARLONE BALASON (DISTRICT SUPERVISING MINISTER – FLORIDA): The establishment of local congregations, not only in our district, but throughout the whole world. During the time of a worldwide pandemic is solid evidence that God’s promises are true and that nothing, not even a worldwide pandemic, can hinder these promises from happening.
RICHIE FERRERA: To Shoshoni, Wyoming, established at the beginning of 2020, The Maligaya Eco-Farm is the first eco-farm project of the Church Of Christ in North America. And as more workers found work on the Eco-Farm Project in Wyoming, the newest establishment of the group worship service was also here in Shoshoni, bringing more people closer to the true church.
LARRY FULLMER (ECO FARM WORKER – SHOSHONI, WYOMING): A lot of people are now looking more toward God for help. So, and you guys being here kind of gives more of an answer for that.
RICHIE FERRERA: To more places in Canada.
WAYNE GARRAWAY (INC MEMBER – BLUE MOUNTAIN, GREATER TORONTO): It’s a blessing for me. This brings the worship services closer to my home, closer to the brethren.
DIANA TAYPEN (INC MEMBER – BLUE MOUNTAIN, GREATER TORONTO): Even though there’s a pandemic, we were able to establish a group worship service. Even though we faced great trials and many hindrances, we still triumphed with the help of God.
RICHIE FERRERA: And in Italy, a place once known to be the center of the deadliest outbreak of COVID-19, the Church carries on.
DEXTER DE CASTRO (INC MEMBER – PISA, ITALY): We are so thankful to the Church Administration for approving our request ot have a group worship service in this part of the world even in the midst of a pandemic.
RICHIE FERRERA: While religious communities in Italy were closing down, the Church Of Christ proved otherwise, continuing its growth despite overwhelming hardships of a pandemic
AXL MESINA (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL – ITALY SOUTH): But this is just the beginning of the establishment of other congregations or GWS in our district.
RICHIE FERRERA: And despite what Church Of Christ members face, their faith in the Almighty God never wavers.
MAURIZIO BORGHETTI (INC MEMBER – LUCCA, ITALY): This is one of the most concrete proofs that, God willing, the Church will go forward and will keep on growing as He has determined with His word.
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HOST CONTINUES: Even in the most isolated places, like Iceland, with a population of just over 356,000 residents…
RICHIE FERRERA: …where members traveling great distances and severe weather conditions, there came a growing need for an inaugural group worship service in Reykjavik.
RICHIE FERRERA: In Australia, group worship services were added to keep up with the growth of the Church here.
IAN HENDERSON (INC MEMBER – BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA): We started off doing Bible studies together in the area trying to find people who would like to join the Church Of Christ and now it’s all coming to fruition and hopefully soon there will be a big chapel here.
RICHIE FERRERA: And off the coast of Australia and New Zealand, signs of steady growth continued for the Church amidst uncertainty
MARK FRYER (INC MEMBER – HUTT VALLEY, NEW ZEALAND): Reading the news, there are a lot of different churches around the world who are losing their members. Some of them are having to sell churches, but here in the Church Of Christ, we are growing.
HOST CONTINUES: In Hutt Valley…
MARK FRYER (INC MEMBER – HUTT VALLEY, NEW ZEALAND): It’s really, really a blessing, very spiritually uplifting. It just reinforces that how we just, we can keep going and we can do it, we can beat this pandemic, perform our services.
ARTHURO LICTAO JR. (HEAD DEACON – TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND): When we found out that our beloved Executive Minister approved our request for our GWS to be a local congregation, we were filled with joy and happiness. And we couldn’t wait for our inaugural worship service.
RICHIE FERRERA: In the Philippines, the three ecclesiastical districts of Caloocan North, San Carlos City, Pangasinan and Bulacan North were all established. And as we march onward to further victories, the growth of the Church Of Christ shows no signs of slowing down.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Coming up, when INC News World returns, as missionary efforts of the Church Of Christ remained mostly virtual. Some could ask, “Did any more people come to know God under such conditions?” Find out when INC News World continues.
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