What We Are Thankful For 2022 Year-End Special – Part 2
Brother Michael Guerrero: Welcome back to this special episode of INC News World as we take a look back on the year 2022, and how God guided the Church Of Christ in its entirety. We saw that despite what the world faced in this past year, the Church Of Christ was triumphant in all its endeavors with the help of the Almighty God. But it wasn’t just the Church that God guided to victory. He helped individuals and their families, especially during their darkest moments. On this special episode, we meet five individuals, some of [whom] we’ve featured in the past for their testimonies of faith, and how God extended His guidance to them. Let’s go to the Mountain States where we meet a woman who experienced the pain of loss this year. But despite this great trial, she was able to find comfort in God’s warm embrace.
Richie Ferrera: Back in 2020, we featured here on INC News World a heartwarming story of a family reunited with one another after battling Covid-19.
Augustin “Jon Jon” Figer: I just got off the phone with my wife because she can’t be here.
Richie Ferrera: Augustin Figer, affectionately known as “Jon Jon,” was ecstatic to see his son again, after suffering a severe case of covid, which nearly took his life.
Jon Jon Figer (Covid-19 Survivor, Blue Diamond, Nevada): One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my whole life. We never thought that anytime that we would have to sacrifice, giving up our son for two weeks.
Kim Figer (Jon Jon’s Wife): After Covid, a lot of things changed. We learned what to prioritize in life, not to sweat the small things. And we really put a lot of focus in our health, spending time together as a family. But most of all, putting God first in everything we do.
Richie Ferrera: Little did Kim know that these happy and precious moments with her husband would suddenly come to an end this year.
Kim Figer (Jon Jon’s Wife): Jon Jon’s passing came unexpectedly a shock not only to me but to everyone.
Richie Ferrera: On September 28, Jon Jon passed away due to a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was survived by his wife Kim, and his son Troy. A painful and heartbreaking loss for a young wife like Kim, especially considering their son’s condition.
Kim Figer (INC Member, Local Congregation of Blue Diamond, District of Mountain States): My son Troy has been diagnosed with autism. Sometimes when I look up at my son, I feel sorry for him. Cause Jon Jon loved Troy with every fiber of his being. So knowing that he won’t have that love growing up, will I be able to provide that kind of love to him? That’s what I’m most worried about.
Richie Ferrera: But to find strength, in the midst of sorrow, Kim looks towards her faith.
Kim Figer (INC Member, Local Congregation of Blue Diamond, District of Mountain States): Even though I’m going through this, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love me. It means that he wants me to realize to rely on Him. I really crave listening to the words of God during the worship service, during the Bible study. Only the words of God can heal a broken heart that’s grieving. I will never forget the live streaming from Brother Eduardo. He said, “You are given trials but despite the trials be happy still, The Lord [Jesus Christ] went through those and He already removed the hardships for you.”
Richie Ferrera: Despite the grief and the worries ahead, Kim looks back at the short amount of time she had left to spend with Jon Jon after he survived Covid.
Kim Figer (INC Member, Local Congregation of Blue Diamond, District of Mountain States): Even though he was taken unexpectedly, I never questioned it. Why? Because after Covid, we asked God, “If You extended his life, we would do everything we can to serve You.” And He gave us that time. So I’m grateful for that time that God gave us.
Richie Ferrera: From her story, we can learn that, no matter how short, life is a great miracle to be thankful for. And while this year brought much sorrow, it’s important to Kim to further reflect on what she’s grateful for.
Kim Figer (INC Member, Local Congregation of Blue Diamond, District of Mountain States): I want to thank the friends and family who is supporting me through this time, even brethren from all over the world. It gets sad sometimes. Yes, it gets lonely sometimes. But, the fact that I can call on to God and everything I ask for is being granted right away. I want to thank God for that.
Richie Ferrera: While the pain of loss is unavoidable, Kim seeks to honor the memory of her husband by courageously moving forward.
Kim Figer (INC Member, Local Congregation of Blue Diamond, District of Mountain States): I will do my best to uphold my duties in the Church. That no matter what happens, I will always serve Him with my family, with Troy. My husband finished his race strong. So, my goal for myself: To do things the right way so that me and Troy can meet him there again in the Holy City.
Brother Michael Guerrero: It is no easy feat to leave family behind and move thousands of miles away in hopes of building a new life. However, when Anna, a woman from the Philippines relocated to Northern Europe for work, she wouldn’t anticipate just how great the blessings were in store despite having to leave her family behind. Let’s take a look.
Anna Dulin: From Bruno Czech Republic, I’m Sister Anna Dulin. Reporting from Oslo, Norway… Reporting from Narvik, Norway, I am Sister Anna Dulin for Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network.
Anna Dulin (Copenhagen, Denmark): Being a multimedia officer, this is a life-changing duty for me. We are consisted of 15 countries. So we are very diverse and complex. It sounds very challenging but this is our strength actually.
Janina Rufino: Anna Dulin and her duty as a Multimedia Officer in the Church Of Christ in the Ecclesiastical District of Northern Europe is what gives her daily inspiration, living in a country far away from her loved ones. And as an OFW, or Overseas Filipino Worker, there are struggles adjusting to living in a new country.
Anna Dulin (Overseas Filipino Worker, Copenhagen, Denmark): It’s super cold here, especially during winter. It is one of the challenges that we are facing, living in Denmark. It’s not easy to live far away from our family. We are miles, miles away. I miss them or sometimes we feel homesickness, they call it homesickness.
Janina Rufino: But despite feelings of sadness from missing her loved ones far away, she’s able to carry on by diligently fulfilling her duty. One of her duties is being the Multimedia Director in their district. Tasked with documenting the various events and activities of the Church and managing other team members coming from different cultures and speaking different languages, her duty has taken her many places—literally.
Anna Dulin (District Multimedia Director, District of Northern Europe): I traveled a lot of times. I’ve been to Poland for Unity Games. I’ve been to Narvik, Norway, two weeks ago to cover the inaugural worship service. I was in Prague, Czech Republic and Olomouc to cover the inaugural worship service as well. Greenland to cover the inaugural worship service. I was also in Sweden for another inaugural worship. We are countries apart. Traveling is part of it, in performing our duties. In Greenland, the weather is very unpredictable. There is a high chance for the flight to be canceled. The snow is up to our knees. We were so emotional because all of us have our own challenges. But we made it to that day.
Janina Rufino: Someone always with her covering these events is her husband Arnold. And he also recollects the blessings that have come along with their duties, including in Greenland, where he was also able to perform as a Head Deacon.
Arnold Dulin (Copenhagen, Denmark): When we heard that the Group Worship Service was approved to be established, each one of us was so happy because it is added to the number of territories reached by the Church Of Christ. This is important to me because we had a part in the establishment of the Group Worship Service there that the Church has not yet reached.
Anna Dulin (Copenhagen, Denmark): That was one of the most memorable baptism I ever attended.
Janina Rufino: In performing this duty, she has played a vital role in documenting the growth of the Church Of Christ in Northern Europe.
Anna Dulin (Copenhagen, Denmark): The Church has reached 162 countries. I feel blessed that I have witnessed some of the inaugural worship services and that is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His nation.
Janina Rufino: As much as it has been a blessing for them to witness such historical events, it hasn’t always been easy. For each coverage event, she leaves her job and makes sacrifices to prioritize producing quality news for every activity.
Anna Dulin (District Multimedia Director, District of Northern Europe): Sometimes I feel like giving up because I get tired, or sometimes, I get sick. So I pray to God that He will give me strength. There are times that I would cry, because I would get sick. So then I would get sad because I don’t want to forsake my duty.
Janina Rufino: Looking back at the year that passed, her heart overflows with abundant gratitude.
Anna Dulin (Copenhagen, Denmark): In this past year, we have so much to thank God for, because we remained strong and our lives despite the things happening in this world, there’s so much chaos and pain but we remained strong. We will always thank God no matter what happens in our lives because He is so good to us. He has given us so many blessings, even ones we didn’t ask for. He outpours His blessings abundantly to us. No matter what happens in this world, no matter what we face in the new year, we will continue to stand firm in our duty, our faith, and we will always trust in God and all that He can do.
Brother Michael Guerrero: Coming up on INC News World: 16-year-old table tennis champion AJ Viviana from the Philippines reveals his true source of inspiration and success. In southeast Africa, a man against all odds is able to bring his family to the true faith, reaping blessings along the way. Stay tuned to INC News World.
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