Thankful Hearts, No Matter What
It was the week of our midterm exams and my friends and I went to the Central Temple to have our devotional prayer. There were a lot more people in the main sanctuary, which was a bit unusual since it was in the morning during the middle of the week. We did not know until later that day that Brother Erano G. Manalo passed away and the people in the main sanctuary were getting things ready for his viewing. Our hearts broke when we heard the news. We texted all the brothers and sisters in our school and in the morning, we had our devotional prayers in one of the rooms to ask God for wisdom to guide us through our exams and strength to get us through the loss of our Executive Minister.
Friends from the province came to stay at our house so they could pay their respects to Ka Erdy, as we lovingly called him, one last time. It took hours to stand in line, but I felt the brotherhood, love, and faith each and every time. I remember writing my name in the guest book and then writing my family’s name and local congregation from the US because I knew how much they wanted to pay their respects as well.
Church of Christ members and well-wishers alike swarm to the Central Temple to pay their final respects to Brother Erano G. Manalo.
I loved seeing members from different local congregations; striking up conversations, hearing where they were from, how far they traveled; some even traveled from far corners of the Philippines, taking them over 20 hours just to get there. I remember seeing the Ministerial students, some friends of mine from back home in Anaheim, at wee hours of the morning, passing out food and drink to the brethren. Brothers and sisters in the faith were sharing their food and water, their blankets, their pillows and their stories. Yes, it took hours to see him, but being around fellow brothers and sisters in the Church helped me mourn. Our hearts cried together, but we uplifted each other with stories of faith, and for that, I am grateful.
<—The crowd inching forward to Central Temple in Quezon City, Philippines.
On the final day, I remember parking over a mile away because the streets of Commonwealth were filled with brethren, and I walked to Central from there. I found my friends and we were looking at a big screen to see what was going on inside Central Temple when it started to rain. People opened their umbrellas to shield themselves from the downpour, but the brethren farther from the screen weren’t able to see because of the umbrellas. So the brethren closed their umbrellas and we stood there in the rain to pay our respects. United in love. United in faith.
Tiffany, on the right, recalls happier times during the Church of Christ’s 95th Anniversary Celebration commemorated around the world.—>
His passing was definitely a time of our lives that was filled with heartache. I remember the black sash over his chair on the podium. I remember emailing and calling my family back in the US because I was so sad. I remember my friends and I would pray together for strength to get us through it all. Above all, I remember how our Almighty God never left the Church’s side. I remember being happy that Ka Erdy was able to see the success of the Church’s 95th anniversary; I remember witnessing the resilience of the brethren, the faith of the Church, and the love of the brotherhood. How even through Brother Erano G. Manalo’s death, we were still able to missionize and edify… a true testament to God’s grace.
Tiffany, second from the right, with her sister and mother, meeting Brother Erano G. Manalo for the first time during ‘Balikbayan Day’ – a homecoming reception hosted by the late Executive Minister, who greeted members of the Church of Christ visiting the Central Temple in the Philippines. Tiffany Santos Canlas or ‘Teenee’ is a grateful and loving aunt residing in Anaheim, California.