The Little Girl in Pink
By Susan Membrere
When I was seven years old, after the Worship Service, we gathered outside on the front lawn for a group photo. Brother Eraño G. Manalo was gently advising my younger brother, Diego, a rowdy little five-year-old boy, not to run in the street. Everyone was excited to take the picture. Even my dad, who usually takes all the Instamatic photos didn’t mind taking turns as the photographer with Brother Eddie Vargas this time. I was dressed in pink.
As years passed, I came to realize that this single visit from Brother Eraño G. Manalo would be a pivotal moment in the history of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the west. This photo has always been my favorite because it was the only photograph I had with Brother Eraño G. Manalo.
Our family moved to America on June 23, 1967, petitioned by my grandparents Angel & Alejandra Balcita. My parents Rio & Vivian Balcita went to the Church Administration to ask a prayer from Brother Eraño G. Manalo before leaving for the States. My mom told him, “We will look for brethren and we will let you know when we find members. We will listen to the tapes you gave us for every worship service day and we will continue to have our devotional prayer every day.”
In that same year, Sister Marina Labson and her family went to the Philippines for vacation and visited Brother Eraño Manalo and he asked them to contact my family. Every day, more joined us in those devotional prayers.
This has become part of our inspiration to do as much as we can for the Church. I get goosebumps seeing how the Church has spread all over the world! This is why it’s so important to know the Church’s history, to know what the Church and brethren have gone through, and to realize God’s miracles first hand every day.
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary in the West, my family and I want to show our gratitude by participating in the activities leading up to the grand anniversary celebration. Our parents have done their part in sharing their experiences, and it’s now our turn to do the same for our children and grandchildren.
Today, my younger brother Diego isn’t so little anymore. He goes by Brother Vizar Balcita now and is a devoted Minister of the Gospel. My Dad still loves taking photos of everything, but now uses his iPhone camera. We are so humbled to take part in this wonderful chapter in the Church’s history. We owe this all to God and to the Church Administration for allowing us to have such a great celebration. While I may not get the chance to take a photo with Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, I’m still very excited to take pictures with my family to commemorate the 50th anniversary celebration. After all those years since the original photo was taken in 1968, the Church Of Christ is still the same Iglesia Ni Cristo from the Philippines in 1914, only now grown into a glorious stature, beyond the imagination of a little girl in pink.