Manila, Philippines (August 1, 2016) – Members Church of God International (MCGI) celebrates its three-day international thanksgiving to God for the second quarter of 2016. From July 29 to 31, the whole congregation offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Almighty God for the overflowing wisdom and the recent Biblical “mysteries” revealed to the congregation. The church is also very thankful for the success of recent events in the church, for reaching new milestones in propagating the Gospel and for the continuous growth in membership, through regular and mass baptisms.

Line-up of activities include prayers and singing of songs of praises to God and preaching of Biblical topics. It also gives opportune time for the brethren to ask Bro. Eli about their spiritual concerns. The event starts at 6 am with the congregational singing of hymns led by the MCGI Music Ministry.

During the three-day celebration, MCGI’s Overall Servant Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano (Bro. Eli), and Assistant to the Overall Servant Bro. Daniel S. Razon (Kuya Daniel), discussed three comprehensive Biblical topics, showing how the Bible is consistently written and truly inspired by God, the unspeakable gifts of God for His people and how vast God’s plan of salvation is.

God’s people according to the Bible, are commanded to thank God for everything. Based on Hebrews 13:15 KJV, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” They are characterized by their abundant service of thanksgiving, for which God is well pleased.

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Psalms 50:23 reads “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (KJV) | “He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; to him who orders his way aright I will show the salvation of God!” (RSV)

Brethren coming from various places flock to the MCGI central headquarters in Apalit, Pampanga, to participate in the three-day spiritual feast. It is being broadcast live via satellite and via internet links in more than 1,360 satellite monitoring centers across the globe. Bro. Eli who is now based in South America, speaks to the congregation through live video streaming technology.

All of the official hashtags for the quarterly celebration also reached the top spot in Twitter Philippine trends as thousands of brethren showed their excitement through the social media.

UNTV News and Rescue covered the event. Its morning newscast Hataw Balita aired a report on August 1, showing the highlights of the celebration (video time stamp from 11:02 to 18:53).

Pasalamat ng Buong Bayan ng Dios (PBB)

Starting July 29, MCGI’s quarterly international thanksgiving celebration will be called “Thanksgiving of God’s People” (Filipino:Pasalamat ng Buong Bayan ng Dios”, abbreviated as “PBB”). It was formerly called in Filipino as Pasalamat ng Katawan or “PNK”  (“Thanksgiving of the Body,” alternatively called as “International Thanksgiving to God” or “ITG”), wherein the word “body” refers to the “church.”

Growth in membership

As part of God’s promise written in Jeremiah 30:19 (KJV), God’s people will not be small. Bro. Eli recounted how the congregation, now called as Members Church of God International, grew in number during the recent decades, since he started preaching on the AM radio in 1980.

Bro. Eli also reported that a total of 11,639 souls were added to the flock from January to July 2016, through regular and mass baptisms.

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Bro. Eli Soriano speaks to the whole congregation during the 2nd quarter International Thanksgiving of God’s People. (Screen capture from the YouTube video of UNTV News and Rescue)
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Bro. Daniel Razon while discussing Biblical topics to the whole congregation during the three-day celebration. (Screen capture from the YouTube video of UNTV News and Rescue)

The intense persecution did not hinder the church’s growth. In 2005, Bro. Eli was forced to leave the Philippines due to grave persecution of his opponents in powerful religious organizations and corrupt government officials. This seemingly deplorable event in the history of the church turned out to be a part of God’s greater plans, knowing Romans 8:28 (KJV) which says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The series of events paved way for the Gospel to reach foreign shores, in the west. Bro. Eli said that the current direction of propagation is in line with the Biblical “blueprint,” which is from the east to the west.

Bro. Eli also reported the church’s growing missions in South America, particularly in Brazil and other Latin American countries, where local congregations are expanding exponentially.

Own broadcasting network

Propagation of the Gospel in the west is currently in full swing. Bro. Eli reported that the expansion of the church’s own broadcast station in Brazil is ongoing. MCGI’s TV Verdade already fired-up more than 50 UHF relay stations and soon in more cities in Brazil, God willing. These relay stations air MCGI’s flagship program in Portuguese, O Caminho Antigo.

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MCGI’s own free-to-air TV station in Brazil. (Screen capture from MCGI Broadcast App)

Bro. Eli explained the necessity to establish a TV network owned by the church. He shared to the congregation that most high-powered TV stations in Brazil were controlled by rich religious leaders. To discourage other religious denominations including MCGI, from entering the mainstream TV, they were asked to pay onerous airtime fees for a limited time slot. He added that this strategy will not only spare the congregation from expensive airtime fees, but will also allow a 24/7 non-stop broadcast of MCGI programs in the country.

Evangelism in North America

During the consultation period, Bro. Eli explained that while the propagation is concentrated in the Philippines and South America, the church is looking forward to enter North America, with God’s help. The church had already established locales in North America and Canada but has not yet started a local free TV broadcast in the continent. He also shared that currently, it is financially burdensome to air in local channels in the United States since broadcast networks there ask for exorbitant airtime fees.

For the meantime, he advised the brethren in the USA to continue sharing the good news through “word of mouth” and inviting guests to watch MCGI’s programs available via direct-to-home satellite broadcasts and recorded episodes of the program available on the internet.

Jubilation

The thanksgiving event is filled with joy and happiness from the brethren all over the world. Children in the church, called “Kawan ng Cordero”  (English: “Flock of Lamb”) or “KNC” graciously sang “Pasasalamatan.”  Various ministries in the church including The Youth Ministry, Prison Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Workers Ministry offered their songs of praises. Brethren from the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions in the Philippines, those in Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries and Bro. Eli’s “sambahayan” (household) also offered their respective songs of praises to God. At around 5:30 in the afternoon, the whole congregation simultaneously offered “Awit ng Pag-asa” (English: “Song of Hope”) to the Almighty God.

Reasons for thanksgiving

Bro. Eli, Kuya Daniel and brethren all over the world shared their reasons for thanksgiving through Twitter and the newest voice-based application, Quipsphere.

Second quarter of 2016 events

The church as a whole, is thankful to God for the overflowing wisdom and the recent Biblical “mysteries” revealed to the congregation, through his faithful servants. For the past three months, the church held three (3) one-day International Thanksgiving to God celebrations on April 30, June 18 and June 25.

The MCGI is also thankful for the success of events during the second quarter. The Mother’s Club, one of the largest groups in the church, composed of mothers in different parts of the globe successfully convened for the 2nd International Mothers’ Convention held last April 10. It was attended by more than 1,900 mothers. From April 24-25, the 1st Music Ministry Musical Play Festival was held, where members of the MCGI Music Ministry showcased their talents in portraying prominent Biblical stories through singing and acting.

Bro. Daniel Razon visited MCGI local congregations in the provinces and other countries in Southeast Asia. He also conducted a benefit concert in Hongkong last May 1 entitled “Labour of Love.” In May 2016, youth members participated in the annual Metro Manila Youth Sports Activity. MCGI brethren in various locations joined the Brigada Eskwela program of the Department of Education (DepEd), to prepare classrooms before the start of classes. The church also held A Song of Praise (ASOP) Music Festival Year-end 5775, an exclusive event in the church which showcased eight (8) new song compositions. Winning the top spot is “Since My Younger Days,” the song entry from North America.

In June 2016, the church also achieved a milestone in religious broadcasting. For the first time, the church used the newest feature of social media platform Facebook, to propagate the Gospel. MCGI aired its Worlwide Bible Exposition live via Facebook Live streaming. It was also aired for the first time via the YouTube application.


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