Where Are They Now? The Lasting Impact of the Executive Minister
The Lasting Impact of the Executive Minister
For the last five years here at INC Media Services, the producers and writers set aside time from the months of June and July, to gather heartwarming and uplifting stories we hear in relation to the interaction of our brothers and sisters in the faith, and our Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
The producers and teams get together to discuss the best of the best stories. As we hear the stories of how God has worked miracles through the Church Administration we get goosebumps, some of us wipe away tears, and there’s a lot of “imagine that!” or “wow!” whispered.
This year we started with a simple question—which is your favorite Blessed Moment? I’m on #TeamBecerril! Long story short: an elderly Mexican couple met Brother Eduardo in California, happy tears ensued. Brother Eduardo’s next stop was Mexico City, Mexico—their home! Will he see them there? At first, no. But then, the love and concern of the Church Administration overflowed (so do my tears. Each. Time.), and the Becerrils made it home, for the first time in over 10 years to see their Church in their homeland. My heart.
What’s your favorite Blessed Moment feature? If you’ve watched the series, you probably have a favorite one. And this year, on top of bringing you more of these Blessed Moments, we’re looking back at some of our favorite stories and moments with Brother Eduardo V. Manalo and asking—“Where are they now?”
Myla was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and has always been open and honest about the struggles in her health, and the strengths of her faith—because, for her, they come hand in hand.
Her mother, Leyna, once prayed during the depths of Myla’s sickness, “Please God, is it okay if you still give her to us?” As a mother, when you hear those words come from Leyna herself, it’s like the oxygen gets sucked out of your lungs. But that low point didn’t last long.
During the 50th Anniversary in the West Celebration, Myla was discharged from the hospital with barely enough time to make it to the Golden1 Arena in Sacramento. But she made it. She got to celebrate God’s victories in His Church in the West, hug Brother Eduardo, and he even prayed with her family. From going into cardiac arrest multiple times to stabilizing and just being on dialysis—her family knows that Myla’s struggles aren’t over, but that because of prayer her health will never be a hindrance to her faith.
Some updates on Myla, from her mom Leyna:
Myla has been singing in the Children’s Worship Service Choir and performing as a secretary in her local congregation of Alameda in Northern California. She was able to perform in the recent Anniversary Thanksgiving Worship Service in the choir and had enough strength to walk the processional hymn all the way to the choir loft. She gets stronger every day.
She loves to cook Filipino food now!
During the recent Momentous Evangelical Mission held in her district, she invited the whole dialysis unit where she receives treatment!
Just recently, she marked the 5th anniversary of her bone marrow/stem cell transplant, and as a celebration, we will be volunteering at a bone marrow donor drive at the University of California, San Francisco.
One month after her prayer with Brother Eduardo, she was on stage at Dreamfest 2018 (a concert benefiting UCSF Hospital, where she was a patient) accepting the Colin Powell Medal of Courage Award for all of her strength not only as a patient, but for her efforts to get more Asian donors registered as bone marrow donors.
Her recent bone marrow drive was a great success! She was able to inspire more donors to register and was featured by ABC7, who joined her at her re-birthday celebration.
A special message from the Cunanans to Brother Eduardo V. Manalo:
We would like to greet our Executive Minister, “Happy 10th Anniversary!”
We love you so much!
Myla still needs the perfect kidney transplant and is patiently waiting and praying for it. Keep up with Myla’s Journey for all the details on her search for a compatible donor.
Little Angeline was confined to the hospital with bone-marrow cancer and retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye. But her father was determined to bring her to the Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister in Athens, Greece.
When the doctors objected, he said, “I’ll carry her.” Oh, the strength of a father—body, and spirit.
She was prayed for by Brother Eduardo and immediately her parents saw God’s work first hand—an improvement in her demeanor. The doctors saw her cancers receding.
And update from the Doe family:
Every 6 months Angeline receives a check-up and her white blood cell counts are still zero. She is growing up healthy! We thank our Almighty God for this miracle that He has done in our life.
Next month, she goes to school!
We were able to travel to Rome, Italy for the Church’s 25th Anniversary of its establishment in Rome and once again we were able to have a prayer with Brother Eduardo for our daughter’s health. Glory be unto God!
A special message from the Doe family to Brother Eduardo V. Manalo:
To Brother Eduardo, we would like to greet him, “Happy 10 Years!” of his dynamic leadership inside the Church Of Christ. Thank you, for inspiring us. Thank you for caring for us. Thank you for loving the Church. May God continue to bless you and your family, may God continue to bless you with long life and strength, and may He protect you every day. We love you and we are always one with you. Thank you for praying for our family!
We learn in the Bible that faith can move mountains. It’s a hard concept to grasp when looking at the height of a mountain. But for Angeline, faith moved not just one mountain, but two. Two cancers in one small body; now gone. Her father might have carried her with all his strength that day, but her Father in Heaven has carried her every day since.
Inside the Church Of Christ, when we have children, we pray for them—but more than that, we promise to God to be their protector, their caregiver, the ones who will bring them up in true faith. This prayer, which is a prayer of offering, is done during congregational worship services inside the Church, with the laying of hands by a minister of the Gospel.
The Ang family was so thankful to God for another healthy baby boy, so naturally, the time came to offer their child to God. The timing happened to coincide with the Pastoral Visit of the Executive Minister and dedication of the newly renovated house of worship in nearby Bakersfield, California. The parents requested for the offering to happen during that congregational worship service. What were the chances that during an already special worship service, this extra special prayer would also be able to happen? Apparently, 100%.
The parents’ dreams came true—not only was Liam Ang offered during a special worship service led by Brother Eduardo, but when the moment came, it was Brother Eduardo himself who stepped forward and raised his hands over the child and conveyed their prayers of promise. There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire chapel.
“This is what we want Liam to understand—that you weren’t offered by just anyone,” Liam’s mom Eunice said at the time — but by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
Update on little Liam, from the Ang family:
Liam is now three years old and has grown to be a witty, sweet and caring boy with so much fascination for animals, most especially dinosaurs.
Even before he could talk straight he was able to name different kinds of dinosaurs. Recently he has learned how to swim, and ever since he has started to talk he would never fail to pray to our Lord God even with just a few words every night before going to bed.
A special message from the Angs to Brother Eduardo V. Manalo:
With heartfelt thanks and praises to our Almighty God, our entire family greets our
beloved Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo on the occasion of his 10th year of successful, dynamic and truly blessed leadership of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Our dearest Brother, you are God’s instrument for all of the Church’s triumphs over the years. We will continue to be in union with the Church Administration; the same faith we shall continue to teach our children together with living a Christian way of life as we wait for our salvation. May our Lord God always bless you with good health and wisdom as you labor day and night to lead us towards the perfection of our faith. We love you so much.
If Liam is anything like my son, one day he might not know all the dinosaurs’ names anymore. He’ll look back and roll his eyes at his childish delights that we find just oh so cute right now.
But no matter how old Liam gets, where life leads him, the paths he takes, and in the presence of, and distraction of his own family that he’ll start one day—do you know what he won’t forget? That the first act of faith in his life was presided over by none other than the Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo himself.
It’s not very often you find a nine-year-old boy who already knows what he’d like to do with his life. But that was Oliver—he had just one short moment with Brother Eduardo during a Pastoral Visit in Bangkok, Thailand in 2011, and with so many questions that his curious mind wanted to ask, he only managed to ask one: “What can I do now, at this age, to help become a Minister”?
Most adults would probably sarcastically chuckle when a child declares their life’s ambitions at such a young age. But Brother Eduardo didn’t dismiss his goals and eagerness, he smiled at him and said, “Well, that depends on if God’s going to call you.”
So Oliver has been waiting for his heart to feel that calling, to feel that undeniable pull into the holy ministry that thousands of men have answered in recent years inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC).
He’s been waiting. Currently, studying in the Philippines, here’s an update from Oliver:
I was waiting for God’s call and it did come—it came like a great wave, through words from ministers telling me it’s a good idea that I entered a Filmmaking course. I wanted to help the Church and share my faith through the media. With an extra gift from God, knowing the Thai language, that may one day help spread the words of God in Thailand. The course I’m taking is digital filmmaking and I’m on my second year here at a college in the Philippines.
The duties I’m performing in the Church are Secretary, Children’s Worship Service officer and I am currently attending classes as a student to become a Children’s Worship Service teacher (how to preach the words of God to young children), while I continue my studies in college at the same time.
Holding a sacred duty inside the Church is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time management to balance what we prioritize in life. This for me is very important because the value of holding sacred duties in the Church is one of the greatest things in life. So is staying active in serving our Lord God.
A special message from Oliver to Brother Eduardo V. Manalo:
Thank you, Brother, for throughout your leadership and guidance you continue to remind us how thankful and prayerful we should be. My family and I continue to pray to Our Almighty God to give us the strength and faith that we need and continue to bear fruits, and share our faith to others so that they, too, may attain salvation.
I imagine my eight-year-old daughter, not much younger than Oliver was when he first met Brother Eduardo, and I think of all the other eight and nine-year-olds I’ve known and met over the years. Oliver’s maturity at that age is truly unique. I know he was waiting for a calling, waiting for confirmation in his heart. I can’t wait to (God-willing) hear about the day he’s a full-fledged Minister of the Gospel, in line to speak with Brother Eduardo again, and I hope that same smile appears on both of their faces—them knowing together what it feels like to know God’s purpose for your life.
The impact of the Executive Minister’s visits, the concern we feel from him as INC members aren’t quantifiable. He is often described as the guardian of our faith—he is that, and so much more.
When we hold up signs on which it is written, “We love you!”—we mean it.
When we put up a banner on which it is written: “Thank you for your visit!”—we mean it.
Angeline’s father carried her to you. Myla’s mother wheeled her to you. But their stories have become all of our Blessed Moments.
Naomi De La Cruz is a staff writer at INC Media Services, a mother of two, trafficker of books, lover of outdoor urban adventures and a baptized member of the Church Of Christ since 1998.