News World Special: Guided During the Crisis
In part three of the INC News World Special, members of the Church Of Christ reflect on how God’s words received during the worship services prepared them to face the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. See how the INC is extending their help as the world’s economy continues to struggle during the on-going pandemic.
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News World Special: Guided During the Crisis
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: Welcome back to INC News World. I’m Naomi De La Cruz coming to you still from home in Anaheim, California, joined by Richie Ferrera in the Los Angeles area.
RICHIE FERRERA: And on this special episode looking back at what the world has faced and as we find it in July 2020.
NAOMI DE LA CRUZ: We’ve seen the onslaught of tragedy, but now we’ll take a turn and see just how the Church Of Christ members were prepared.
RICHIE FERRERA: And how they’re faring now.[VIDEO START]
RICHIE FERRERA: Around the world in early 2020, in small gatherings, a few households at a time, members of the Church Of Christ came together to receive a very important message.
BROTHER ESTEBAN INOCENCIO (DISTRICT SUPERVISING MINISTER – NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA): When the Executive Minister conducted the ministerial class for ministers all over the world on January 28, immediately thereafter it was implemented already that we conduct the household special gatherings. A special lesson was prepared in which the ministers officiated those household special gatherings mentioned there preparations for the things to come.
RICHIE FERRERA: These gatherings would, unbeknownst to us. prepare the faithful for worship services to continue wherever congregations of the Church and COVID-19 simultaneously existed and where gatherings for worship was now banned.
BROTHER JOEL SAN PEDRO (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL): The Church Administration, under the leadership of the Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, launched both the household worship services in places where the internet connection is relatively weak as well as well as the video conferencing worship services in those parts of the world which had a strong and stable internet. What the Bible describes as one of our fundamental responsibilities to the Lord God our maker which is to worship Him. In fact God’s son the Lord Jesus also taught that the Father is seeking the true worshippers. Now when it comes to the household worship service or the video conferencing worship service we can see that all that’s fulfilled there is what the Bible describes as worship.
NICOLE CONSTANTINO (CHOIR MEMBER – ROME, ITALY): It is the first time that we are in this kind of situation. I’m very thankful because despite the situation, we are still able to attend worship services thanks to the advanced technology of today. It is a way to ensure everyone’s safety and prove that we, members of the Church Of Christ, respect and follow the restrictive measures adopted by the government.
REY MANGUBAT (INC MEMBER – NEW YORK, NEW YORK): We are so grateful that in our worship service we are able to use the modern technology that we have because the worship service that was officiated by Brother Eduardo V. Manalo did really help a lot. It was inspirational and it strengthened our faith, especially when he was saying stand up straight and look up.
JEMMUEL JASMIN (HEAD DEACON/COVID-19 SURVIVOR- NEW YORK): In one of the worship services I was able to perform as a head deacon. I was able to lead the prayer during the worship service. I am very thankful to God for allowing me to be able to continue to perform my duties despite my condition.
RICHIE FERRERA: The worship services were never stopped due to the pandemic. And whatever the situation in each country, in each family, the worship service was there for them.
JANINE ROCELLE APITA (INC MEMBER – NEW ERA HOUSING, CENTRAL, PHILIPPINES): Members of the Church Of Christ continue holding worship services in their homes. This is led by the head of the household, implemented by the Church Administration so that even at home, we are strengthened in our household, that no matter what trials come, we will not forget our Lord God.
BROTHER ESTEBAN INOCENCIO (DISTRICT SUPERVISING MINISTER – NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA): Because, you know, as we have been taught, those special lesson, or that special lesson, during the household special gathering that was conducted in January, we didn’t know that this pandemic is coming. We didn’t know that the social civil unrest that we see all over the world would happen. And now we see it happening. But that helped us. It helped us to brace ourselves for the things to come, so that now that we are in it, now that we are going through these struggles we can always lean upon the teachings and commandments of God that we have been taught by the Church Administration.
OLIVER PINGOL (INCTV PERSONNEL – BULACAN, PHILIPPINES): If there is one lesson that I always carry with me, from the household gathering is to remain calm, to remain still, to remain peaceful for the things that we need. Do not be anxious about tomorrow.
RICHIE FERRERA: The worship to God continued, because due to the guidance of the Church Administration, the technology and the worshippers were ready, while the world’s major religions seemed to stumble.
FOX BUSINESS: Alright we’ve got this breaking news, Rome’s Catholic churches have now been ordered to close, all of them.
CGTN: To Nigeria now, where most churches in the commercial city of Lagos have shut their gates to worshippers.
BROTHER JOEL SAN PEDRO (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL): We could see also governments all over the world having various restrictions, whether they call it lockdown, community quarantine or stay at home orders, where the purpose of the government is for the safety of its citizens, including the members of the Church. And since the Bible also teaches that we submit to governing authorities as they act for the benefit of the people, we are working as one with the government in following the government rules. At the same time we are fulfilling our God given duty, first and foremost, which is we continue worshiping the Lord our God.
DEON VAN STATEN (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA): Africa is a very religious country. And the gatherings, of course as you know, all services in South Africa have been stopped due to the COVID-19.
RICHIE FERRERA: What’s the Church doing out there to make sure that the brethren are still connected even during a lockdown?
DEON VAN STATEN (DOCTRINAL INSTRUCTEE – JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA): Last week, Brother Tyrone in Johannesburg, he’s constantly trying on WebEx streaming services on Thursdays, on Sundays. He’s permanently in contact with everybody. They’re really going out of their way to try and keep us all together. It’s inspiring. It’s much more than a lot of people are doing. And I think what they’re doing, what the Church and the Ministers, they’re trying. Well they’re getting it right. To be honest, it’s great, it’s really good.
BROTHER JOEL SAN PEDRO (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL): We can see the deep and broad Bible based knowledge and wisdom of the Church Administration, to make sure that all of the Church Of Christ members are still able to live following our holy God’s will, at the same time, we can also see the sincere concern of the Church Administration for the safety and well being, the health of the members, as well as the spiritual being of the members is all the more in such difficult times. God’s people need to pray to God and also to hear God’s words to give them comfort and inspiration.
CONSTANCE-JOI CALOGNE (INC MEMBER/REGISTERED NURSE – SOUTH ATLANTA GEORGIA): But everything that happens happens for the benefit of God’s people, so now we have the chance for our Almighty God to come visit our homes and be with us and our family. And even though I’m not there I know that our Almighty God is watching over them, and God is taking care of my family. That’s all I ever pray about and that’s all I really want during this time is for all of us to be safe. And I feel that way when we are worshipping in our household worship service.
RICHIE FERRERA: The world at large, isn’t as peaceful.
CBS EVENING NEWS: This is what hunger looks like when it spills over into the streets.
RICHIE FERRERA: But consider this, just a few months before this scene, was this one in 2019: Gulayan sa Bakuran, a program promoting backyard and container vegetable gardening for self-sustainable living.
JANINE ROCELLE APITA (INC MEMBER – NEW ERA HOUSING, PHILIPPINES): During this lockdown or this pandemic we are experiencing, many have lost their jobs and many have been affected by this pandemic. But because of the backyard gardening [activity], they will no longer think about what they need every day, to supply food, because they have resources in their backyard.
KATHLEEN GREGORIO (HOME GARDNER – CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS): It was an effort to have like a positive activity for the brethren in their part of the Philippines, as well as providing other alternative food sources for the members.
RICHIE FERRERA: The gardening project which started in the Philippines, spread around the world.
KATHLEEN GREGORIO (HOME GARDNER – CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS): Some of the things that we’re growing right now so we have kale, of course, we also have eggplant. We have tomatoes, bell peppers. We have a lot of green onion. So it became a recreation, a pastime, a stress relief for my parents-in-law, and also like a way to have an additional food source that came at a really great time who knew that this crisis, this lockdown, this pandemic was going to happen. And how convenient it was to have a garden.
ARTO HEISKANEN (HEAD DEACON – ARLOV, SWEDEN): To grow vegetables on one’s own backyard is highly useful nowadays. First of all, one can save quite a lot when comparing to the prices one has to pay in a grocery store.
RICHIE FERRERA: But unfortunately, and oftentimes, our countrymen didn’t fare as well, even in the world’s richest nations.
GLORIA HICKEY (RESIDENT – DUPAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS): I went down to the food pantry. I waited in line for almost an hour and a half and when I finally got up there they said that they only had snacks.
RICHIE FERRERA: And to help catch up, the long-established Aid to Humanity project stepped in.
JANESSA DURDEN (VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, NORTHWEST HARVEST – SEATTLE WASHINGTON): To see the Church Of Christ bring in this large truckload of donations and to give it during this time of COVID is extremely important.
GLORIA HICKEY (RESIDENT – DUPAGE COUNTY, ILLINOIS): I think it’s fantastic, you know, that the Church is able to, they’re blessing the community.
MICHAEL HOLMES (CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE WARD 6 – VIRGINIA): You guys are actually filling the need in terms of helping out with food insecurity. But on a deeper note, you guys are showing us the power of faith.
LANCE CHALONER (CLUB MANAGER – P.C.Y.C. – MT. DRUITT, AUSTRALIA): It doesn’t stop the Aid To Humanity’s passion or their energy. They still wanted to give the food out.
RICHIE FERRERA: And that passion to push through, to find a way and help whenever we possibly can.
WAY TV 10: A local Church is giving thanks today for frontliners battling coronavirus. Iglesia Ni Cristo, Church Of Christ offered free lunch and baskets to help health care workers. It’s a unified effort with congregations across Hampton Roads and Richmond participating. The goodies we distributed to several hospitals.
RICHIE FERRERA: Even during a pandemic, stretched into much needed blood donations as well.
CANDY BALINGIT (INC GIVING VOLUNTEER – MISSISSAUGA ONTARIO): The Canadian Blood Services they gave us all the assurances that we needed to kind of relay to the brethren amidst this pandemic, amidstamidts COVID-19, that it is still safe to donate the blood.
CHARLES NATIVIDAD (BLOOD DONOR AND COMMUNITY MEMBER – LOS ANGELES): By the blessing of God, you know, they have this facility to help people out and to help people in a time of need, and I really appreciate it, you know, God’s doing great work through them.
RICHIE FERRERA: The Aid to Humanity and outreach projects of the Church Of Christ in response to Covid-19 were truly global.
JOY BELMONTE (MAYOR OF QUEZON CITY): Thank you so much. [We are] very grateful.
RICHIE: More on INC News World when we return.