A life spent preaching and living God’s words. This is the legacy that Brother Eli Soriano left behind when he passed away in February of this year. He was 73. Brother Eli was an award-winning evangelist and the servant to the Members Church of God International (MCGI). To pay tribute to his life and works, MCGI will hold a special event fittingly called “The Legacy Continues” from April 4 to 10, 2021. It will coincide with the 57th year since he was baptized in the Church. The week-long commemoration will include a global feeding program, the simultaneous opening of MCGI Free Store branches worldwide, a round-the-clock wish-granting, and a special episode of “Serbisyong Bayanihan” set for broadcast on April 7, 2021, at 4 p.m. PHT on UNTV (UHF Channel 37).
In all the charitable endeavors of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), the ultimate objective is to glorify the name of the Almighty God.
Among these endeavors is the MCGI Free Store where Jane Domin-Ang and thousands of others have shopped for free. Her statement is just one proof that the Church’s objective of making God’s name exalted is fulfilled.
The MCGI Free Store is exactly what its name implies — a store where everything is free.
Shelves at MCGI Free Store branches are usually stacked with essential grocery items — rice, bread, canned goods, snacks, coffee and milk packets, condiments, instant noodles, toiletries, soap, and many more.
Most branches also offer brand new or used clothes, footwear, bags, and toys; in other locations, fresh fruits, vegetables and raw meat are up for grabs.
As of April 2021, around 1.4 million items have been given out by MCGI Free Stores across the globe.
With God’s help, the stores’ merchandise come from donations of Church members who were taught of the real essence of giving written in the Bible:
The project also instills what the Lord Jesus Christ taught about discipline and contentment, as embodied in the tagline “Get what you need and not what you want.”
A point-system is followed where recipients are given 500-point coupons each, which they can use to avail products tagged with equivalent price points.
To date, there are over 2,000 Free Store branches located in the Philippines and abroad.
The history of the Free Store dates back to the early 2000s when Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon thought of setting up a store that will benefit Church members in need.
Obeying what is written in Galatians 6:10, they reached out to indigent members and helped provide their basic necessities.
Not long after, when the onslaught of a new coronavirus disease was declared a pandemic in March 2020 — crippling economies around the world — Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel reignited this charitable effort. An online Free Store, where Church members can get the aid they need, was then established.
Wanting to extend help outside the congregation, MCGI held a global launch of the Free Store on March 14, 2021. With this, the Church was able to lend a hand to non-members who are in dire need amidst the continuing challenges brought about by the pandemic.
The endeavor took its inspiration from the initiatives of Bro. Eli Soriano, whom God had given temporal rest on February 11.
In celebration of his 74th birthday and 57th year of service to God and humanity in April, MCGI held a week-long event called “The Legacy Continues”. The event, in commemoration of Bro. Eli’s life and the good works he initiated, included the simultaneous opening of the MCGI Free Store branches worldwide for three consecutive days.
From the Philippines to many other countries around the globe, the brethren worked together to reach out to thousands of our less fortunate fellowmen and offered them their much needed help, which is but a continuation of Bro. Eli’s legacy.
A Facebook post by Sister Lovely Sotto, an MCGI volunteer at the Free Store branch in Las Piñas, Metro Manila, caught the attention of various local media and news outlets.
“Get everything for free! You won’t spend a penny,” she began writing. She then remarked about what one beneficiary said: “I’ll just be quick so others can have their turn.” Apparently, the man was thinking about the other people outside the store, waiting for their turn, who were also poor like him.
All of a sudden, she remembered what Bro. Eli said during one of MCGI’s congregational gatherings, “When the rich help others, it is a good thing. But when the help comes from the poor, it’s extraordinary, extra special.”
“This is very noble, timely, and responsive. This is a good template that others can adopt, said Vicente Tomas, the Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Manila, Philippines during the Free Store’s global launch in Quezon City.
True enough, through the stirring social media posts about the MCGI Free Store, others were inspired to set up their own.
While these MCGI-inspired efforts come from different people, they bring about the same heartwarming outcome: more who need help are being reached out to and more people are giving thanks to God.
For MCGI, this ripple effect is yet another reason to be thankful for, an additional inspiration to keep on doing good works according to the will of God written in the Bible.
As MCGI Servant Bro. Daniel Razon said: “With God’s help and mercy, we’ll continue to do good works for as long as He gives us good opportunities.”
The MCGI Free Store is a continuous effort pursued by the Church. For any queries, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 0977 674 0328, or 0968 658 2190.
Following the Holy Scriptures’ admonition to do good unto all, especially to those of the household of faith, MCGI Servant Bro. Eli Soriano started the humble endeavor of helping out poor members of the Church of God International. Before he was laid to rest, Bro. Eli granted the modest requests of members to start a small livelihood and help them earn money.
Aired from 2008 to 2018 on UNTV, a Philippine television Channel, the program has already helped a number of our indigent fellowmen by providing them start-up capital for micro-businesses, medical assistance, and other services.
At present, the regular Wish-Granting activities of MCGI are done through “Serbisyong Bayanihan” on UNTV. The program premiered on April 8, 2020 to help people in their predicaments concerning the Covid-19 crisis by providing timely and relevant information and the necessary health tips that they need to observe.
Eventually, the wish-granting activity was added to extend help to those who are going through tough times due to the pandemic.
The MCGI Wish-Granting endeavor was also part of The Legacy Continues event held on April 4-10, 2021. A total of 1,200 beneficiaries from different parts of the globe received small-scale livelihood grants and free tablets for students.
The Integrated Community for the Advancement of Respect and Excellence for PWD Incorporated, or ICARE, is a community of persons with disability and their loved ones in Quezon City, Philippines which operates a small sewing business. MCGI provided them with sewing materials and relief goods that will help them in their present difficulties.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the small sari-sari store of Moralyn Layson lost a lot of customers and had to close it. With the livelihood assistance from MCGI, Moralyn was provided with goods she can sell so she can open her store again.
Teacher Rose Ann Valencia, a passionate teacher from a small town in Lopez, Quezon, Philippines, was given a printer and reams of bond paper she can use to print modules for her students. MCGI also provided her with an extra desktop computer she can use.
MCGI granted solo parent Josan David from San Fernando, La Union, Philippines her wish for a livelihood assistance to continue selling rice cakes, and a tablet for her 2 daughters’ online education. Prior to this, she had to borrow a friend’s cell phone every time.
After being served with a warm meal prepared by Members Church of God International (MCGI) during its week-long feeding program held in April 2021, Elizer Aldeya felt the need for him to give glory to God. He believes that there is Someone Almighty working behind all of the Church’s efforts and endeavors, like providing food to the needy and the hungry.
Feeding programs are one of the main charitable activities initiated by Bro. Eli Soriano. Weeks after his passing, the Church organized a series of events in March and April that fed hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world, with God’s help.
But how did this global efforts being pursued by MCGI begin?
It started during Bro. Eli’s early ministerial days back in the 1970s when he would personally cook food for the brethren and guests listening to his Bible Studies and Bible Expositions.
“I know what it’s like to work on an empty stomach or go home after work and have only rice and sugar to eat,” Bro. Eli once stated, apart from citing the words of the Lord Jesus Christ as his inspiration in launching the charitable effort.
Since then, the Church has tirelessly administered feeding programs around the Philippines for the benefit of schoolchildren, jail inmates, and the less fortunate.
“I am grateful. I hope that they continue this kind of program because it is really successful,” remarked Isagani Pamintuan, the School Principal of Sto. Rosario National High School in Nueva Ecija where the Church organized a 100-day feeding program from 2013 to 2014.
As the Church membership grew in number due to its worldwide propagation efforts, brethren from different parts of the world emulated what Bro. Eli started in the Philippines. Regular feeding programs were also held abroad, including countries in Asia, North and Latin America, Europe, and Africa.
The Church particularly targeted to reach poverty-stricken countries such as Ghana, Liberia, and Haiti.
In September 2015, daily feeding programs were conducted in Ghana and Liberia amid the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
“I pray to God to give you people a long life so that what you are doing to us will also be done to others. Thanks be to God,” shared Victoria Barnor, one of the Liberian refugees who benefited from the feeding program.
Meanwhile in 2019, upon seeing a video of Haitian kids eating cookies made of mud, Bro. Eli immediately spearheaded another feeding event in order to alleviate the hunger not only of the children but also of the grown-ups residing in that particular place.
With God’s help and mercy, MCGI continuously holds feeding programs in the Philippines and abroad in fulfillment of the Lord Jesus Christ’s commandment that we ought to do good unto all, a teaching which Bro. Eli never failed to reiterate to the brethren in the Church.
During the April 2021 charity events held by the Church, over 600,000 individuals, from more than 7,000 locations worldwide, received free meals, beverages, and desserts.
Today, breakfast is also served in the Philippines. Some of the foods served include Filipino staples such as pandesal (bread) with egg, coffee, lugaw (porridge), lumpia (spring rolls), misua (noodle soup), meatballs, and sopas (macaroni soup).
In May 2021, one of the areas where MCGI held a feeding program was in Brgy. Pag-asa, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro, home of the tribe of Ati-atihans.
Rodolfo Dela Cruz, one of the recipients of the free meals distributed by the Church, shared his words of appreciation and gratitude: “It is a great help for us, especially amid the pandemic. Others have nothing to eat, not even coffee. This is a great help, you are blessings to us.”
For the members of the Church of God International, doing good deeds to others, like offering them something to eat, is a God-given opportunity which should not be withheld.
Even in these modern times, there are still communities around the world wherein clean and safe drinking water remains a big problem.
Aware about this situation, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) launched its Free Potable Water project to give these communities access to drinkable water, especially during these trying times.
With God’s help and mercy, the Free Potable Water project is slowly but persistently being carried out in the Philippines and in South America through the concerted effort of the members of the Church of God International.
Before the potable water system was installed in their area, Dumagat natives residing in Tanay, Rizal, Philippines needed to walk for about 30 minutes, or purchase at a price beyond their means, just to get clean water. Barangay Captain Rodel Hinagpisan thanks MCGI for the project and referred to it as “a blessing for all of us.”
It was hard for the 30 indeginous Aeta families in Sitio Bagingan, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines to get clean water – on a daily basis, they have to walk long and steep roads. Because of the MCGI Free Potable Water project, they now have easy access to clean water for their daily use.
Around 250 families living in Cordon Ecologico, Santa Cruz, Bolivia lack a regular supply of clean water due to extreme poverty. To have water, it’s either they pay a certain amount, or wait for the rain, or get water from a dirty canal. With the MCGI Free Potable Water, they no longer have to go through these predicaments.