INC Baptizes Thousands Around the World
INC Grand Baptism 2019 changes lives around the world, and Guinness World Record is broken at the Philippine Arena.Show/Hide Transcript
RICHIE FERRERA: This week on a special episode of INC News World. The Church Of Christ holds a Grand Baptism at the Philippine Arena and we’ll be meeting a few of the thousands who received their holy baptism. Your INC News World starts now.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Welcome to this very special episode of INC News World. I’m Naomi De La Cruz.
RICHIE FERRERA: And I’m Richie Ferrera coming to you from the INC Media Studios in Los Angeles, California. Today we’re taking a look at the historic event that was just completed at the Philippine Arena.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: There was a Grand Baptism for the glory of God, and in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of our beloved Brother Eduardo V. Manalo’s stewardship of the Church Of Christ as its Executive Minister.
RICHIE FERRERA: The exact number of those baptized at the Philippine Arena was officially amazing —we’ll share that number with you soon, but first we’d like to share a big congratulations to all those who were baptized today!
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Yes, congratulations brothers and sisters! To become a member of the Church Of Christ one has to be baptized first, after learning, understanding and believing all of the fundamental teachings taught in the Bible.
RICHIE FERRERA: While today may have marked their baptism into the Church Of Christ, the start of a new chapter in their lives — but for some it’s the end of a long and trying search for the truth.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Let’s catch up with some of these individuals who were baptized today, some from the hometown of Toronto, Canada.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: In a crowd of people this large, it would be hard to pick out any one person. Each of these people have a story to tell— a journey that led them to this day—like Richard and Bosco, from Toronto.
RICHARD HARTWICK (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): Before I became a member to this Church I was a United Church, a Protestant to begin with.
BOSCO GUTIERREZ (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): I was born as a Catholic. I’ve been to Pentecostal churches, Baptist churches. I’ve been to the sermon of Catholic churches. I also was able to serve in the Evangelical faith, the Spanish congregation. I served there for 2 years, 9 months. For a period of time I help out in the area of becoming an usher.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: But in the last year, both of their lives changed once the Church Of Christ was introduced to them.
RICHARD HARTWICK (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): After I come I learned a little bit and then I went home and I said, “Ok, this is different from what I’ve been taught.” I had questions, I got them answered and I was satisfied with the answers. That there was the best feeling I ever had.
BOSCO GUTIERREZ (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): When I saw where the ladies sit, where the men sit, and I said “God is discipline here”—confirming that is what it says. God is discipline, God is order and we must respect the word of God.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: After learning the words of truth taught inside the Church Of Christ, and their day of baptism quickly approaching—Richard and Bosco had high hopes.
RICHARD HARTWICK (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): And I’m hoping that with the baptism it will really, it’s gonna really keep me going. This is an experience that I’ll never, ever, experience again.
BOSCO GUTIERREZ (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): It’s something we take with us even until the last day we have our breath and we say goodbye to this world.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And by God’s grace, they are among the many who are receiving a very special blessing today.
BOSCO GUTIERREZ (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): To be plunged in the water, it’s an experience that we all carry within ourselves. We take it to our hearts, and we leave it in our minds.
BOSCO GUTIERREZ (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): He’s fulfilling God’s promise that we must reach the world out there, the world that is thirsty and hungry for the word of God. They need a spiritual nurturing.
BOSCO GUTIERREZ (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): As soon as I became a Church Of Christ disciple, the brothers and sisters are calling me: “Are you getting a ride? How you gonna get today to the service?”
RICHARD HARTWICK (INC MEMBER – TORONTO, CANADA): I got to know a lot of brothers and sisters and as if they adopt me as one of their own.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And as of today, these thousands have joined the millions of brothers and sisters inside the one true Church.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: So, our biggest congratulations to the newest members from Canada! I think I might have seen them in the crowd!
RICHIE FERRERA: Well, it’s kind of hard to see, there’s so many thousands actually! But among those thousands baptized today are former ministers, pastors and lay preachers of other religions who have found the true teachings of the Bible taught inside the Church Of Christ.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And in the last few years, more than 1,600 former preachers have joined the Church Of Christ.
RICHIE FERRERA: And among those former teachers is a man, tired of questioning the doctrines he found around him, he had even decided that religion just wasn’t for him. Let’s see where he is today.
BRYANT WORKMAN (FORMER MINISTER – NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH): Well prior to coming to the Church Of Christ, I didn’t subscribe to religion—I was a minister, and I didn’t have a church home perse.
BRYANT WORKMAN (FORMER MINISTER – NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH): We kind of learn based on culture and based on community, and sometimes culture and community is not always our best teacher. It’s always been a question of “Who is God, as per His word?” I’ve been in so many places, worked with so many people and everybody has their existential version of who God is—“this is who I believe God is.” And 12 years plus of journey, haven’t met anybody who said “What does the Bible say?”
RICHIE FERRERA: And then a chance encounter at a hair salon, led to an invitation to the Church Of Christ.
BRYANT WORKMAN (FORMER MINISTER – NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH): I came out and from that point I had been in attendance in the worship service and the Bible studies.
RICHIE FERRERA: Where, once again, things were different — but this time, in a good way.
BRYANT WORKMAN (FORMER MINISTER – NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH): I just saw a different type of camaraderie, a different type of brotherhood and sisterhood. And my main focus was always just “What does the Bible say?” The Bible study was a little different, and it was different in a manner where you had a brother just kind of teach just Bible. It’s not conjecture, it’s not what I think, it’s not what I feel, it’s not based on anything existential. It’s just based on the Bible says. And I was moved by that.
RICHIE FERRERA: Moved to continue his studies, Bryant became eligible for baptism, inside the Bible based Church that he was finally called into. And faced with the opportunity to receive his baptism alongside tens of thousands of others— just the thought of it already heightened his faith.
BRYANT WORKMAN (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA): So the expectation for me is growth, leaps and bounds, a new spiritual height.
BRYANT WORKMAN (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA): One of the things that I did take notice to, which was probably particularly moving to me, was that in the Church Of Christ there was a certain protocol, a certain way of doing things, everything had its scriptural basis. And it was universal. So I think that if I can learn a thing or do a thing here, it should be that same thing elsewhere. It has to be a universal understanding, and I think the Church Of Christ brings that.
RICHIE FERRERA: And as these thousands, all with a common faith, gather for the Iglesia Ni Cristo Grand Baptism 2019, the reactions are staggering, emotional, and awe inspiring.
BRYANT WORKMAN (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA): Being baptized in the same place which is the true representation is that there are thousand likeminds, that understand who Christ is, what Christ’s mission was, and where He’s operating and that’s from this Church. I think people being gathered anywhere is monumental, but for the sake of Christ is really that thing that makes this so grand, for me.
RICHIE FERRERA: I love seeing these behind the scenes stories of who these brethren were before they found the Church Of Christ. We’ve been watching the coverage of the baptisms around the world across social media and television, but I really appreciate hearing from them, their own journeys, their stories of faith.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Before we check in on the baptisms also held around the world for the glory of God and in commemoration of Brother Eduardo’s 10 year anniversary, let’s see one more inspiring story from the grand baptism held at the Philippine Arena which also included a couple originally from Colombia. But their story is coming to us from Stacy in Washington, D.C. — Stacy?
STACY LARKIN: Yes, Naomi, Richie —they’re now here in Temple Hills, Maryland. Choosing to pursue an answered prayer, let’s see how these Maryland residents placed their trust in plans they could not have imagined.
JORGE MEDINA (CANDIDATE FOR BAPTISM – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): This occasion you… it’s unique, it’s like a once in a lifetime.
STACY LARKIN: What started the journey that led Jorge to this once in a lifetime experience?
NELIA IGNACIO (INC MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): When I saw them moving in, I look at the window and I said, “Oh, we’re going to have a new neighbor.” So what I did is I brought them noodles and I brought them banana cake and I told them, “Welcome to the neighborhood.”
STACY LARKIN: Through that warm welcome into their neighborhood a close friendship developed leading Nelia to share more than food.
NELIA IGNACIO (INC MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): We became friends, more than “Hello” and “Hi”, and the first time that we had a Bible study or Bible exposition after I met them, I invited them and they came.
NELIA IGNACIO (INC MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): But I never gave up on inviting them.
ED IGNACIO (INC MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): We stayed friendly with them since they live right across the street from where we are. We just became so close and he sees us everyday when we come to Church.
NELIA IGNACIO (INC MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): He just saw everyday our moments. A year later I finally was able to convince them to hear the Bible studies.
STACY LARKIN: But Jorge along with his wife Yolanda encountered some challenges along their journey towards their baptism inside the Church Of Christ.
YOLANDA MEDINA (CANDIDATE FOR BAPTISM – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): Well, I had a job that initially for me, was an interesting opportunity.
JORGE MEDINA (CANDIDATE FOR BAPTISM – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): She [started] working in a job, but [they] didn’t allow her to come. She decided, “Well, I’ll go first.” Now she pretty much—she quit.
STACY LARKIN: Where were Yolanda and Jorge going? They took a trip of a lifetime to be baptized in the Church Of Christ during a grand baptism led by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, coinciding with the anniversary of his 10th year of dynamic leadership.
JORGE MEDINA (NEWLY BAPTIZED MEMBER – TEMPLE HILLS, MARYLAND): And now she got an offer in a different area. These are the miracles that God does, you know? Something there is lost, but here He replaces it with something else. Yeah, much better.
STACY LARKIN: Naomi, Richie—that was a really inspiring story. Jorge and Yolanda are just some of the many newly baptized brethren from Washington, D.C.
RICHIE FERRERA: Thank you Stacy, I agree that was truly inspiring, and a reminder of how global the Church Of Christ is today. We promised at the beginning of the show that we’d have that final number for you, and this was the final result as it was announced, the Guinness World Records.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: The official count: 18,272 individuals were baptized today at the Philippine Arena alone —officially amazing.
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS REPRESENTATIVE: This is a very impressive and powerful day to bear witness two of them. I think you’re ready for the final result. The minimum requirement for this record is 200. But, I can now confirm, for “The Most People Baptized”, you have set a new Guiness World Record title with 18,272. Congratulations, you are officially amazing!
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: It is definitely a humbling honor to know that the efforts of the Church Of Christ to spread the words of God are noticed and acknowledged in a public way, but more importantly is the impact and effect on those 18,272 lives. All glory and honor to God because without His help the Church would not be able to reach its current stature. It is also evident in the last 10 years that through the leadership of our Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, we see God’s love for His people continue to grow.
RICHIE FERRERA: Well, that’s all the time we have today on INC News World, I’m Richie Ferrera,
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: And I’m Naomi De La Cruz. Before we sign off we’d like to leave you with the sites and images from today’s event —the start of a new chapter in the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world.
RICHIE FERRERA: On behalf of the entire INC News World team, thank you for joining us. Have a good weekend and God bless!