April 7, 2014 – Bro. Eliseo Soriano had a historic 50th year in service celebration with Members Church of God International (MCGI) delegates from all over the world during the International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) of the first quarter this year.
“I am thanking God that in spite of all the difficulties (that) I met along the way, all the problems and preoccupations everyday, every hour, until now I am with you standing,” said the Presiding Minister in a poignant welcoming remarks.
The international evangelist prayed that the brethren who attended with him may “find the grace and the favour of the Lord,” and wished for them to “remain in faith until the end.”
Thousands of Church members from various countries, wishing to meet Bro. Eli in person and celebrate his 50th year of baptism, pilgrimed to South America to offer the sacrifices of Thanksgiving to God.
For the bulk of Filipino brethren in the South American-set ITG, the gathering was a big opportunity to meet Portuguese and Spanish-speaking brethren for the first time.
Now five decades, Bro. Soriano has been preaching God’s words via different means. Starting out with a pulpit and bullhorn, the international preacher has now reached souls in six of the seven continents through 24-hour-a-day preaching over radio, television, print, satellite and the Web.
ITG is a quarterly event commemorated for three days with the Philippines as its long-established venue. Thus, moving the quarterly thanksgiving event to South America was the first in the history of the Church of God.
According to Bro. Eli, the historic and festive South American-hosted thanksgiving is a realization of the prophecy written in Zechariah 8:21 (And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.)
Never before has there been in the history of MCGI that pilgrims of different nationalities would come to one nation to celebrate the International Thanksgiving to God.
Previous years’ celebration in the Philippines of the ITG would only have representatives coming from the provinces and countries in Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and North America but not from Latin American countries.
The April 5-7 in South America had allowed brethren from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru, and Venezuela, among other Central and South American nations to join the offering of the sacrifices of Thanksgiving.
The presence of contingent from North America and Canada also made their presence felt.
Unsurprisingly, church members of different nationalities were overwhelmed with the experience.
“My heart was really glad!,” remarked Brazilian native, Josiane Mariano. “I felt a love so warm, and a feeling which even words cannot write,” she added. “For everything that happened— since our arrival at the venue to meeting our brethren from different parts of the world,” Mariano said that the event was very memorable.
Anna Licu, one of the Filipino delegates from Canada, shared how grateful for she is for this opportunity. “I am extremely thankful to God because I was given the chance to be with our preachers, brothers and sisters from around the world in this thanksgiving celebration,” she exclaimed.
“I am very, very happy. I just cannot really explain [what I felt for the last three days],” shared Aileen Ravalo, a Filipino representative from Australia. “It was overwhelming that despite the difference in languages, I can still see the faith the brethren has,” she added.
Meanwhile, congregants from the east of the globe also travelled to join in the celebration. The ADD Convention Center in the Philippines was also fully packed with congregants numbering about a hundred thousand attendees.
This is aside from the more than 700 MCGI chapters that were opened to accommodate more members and guests in farther provinces. Brethren from other parts of the globe also joined the revelry via Internet and satellite facilities.
Highlights of the celebration include the offering of sacrifices of thanksgiving, songs and dances of praises, and the revealing of another biblical wisdom about God’s intent of creating man through a topic prepared by Bro. Eli and MCGI’s Vice-Presiding Minister, Bro. Daniel Razon. #
(Written by Sis. Emmy Borromeo)