By DONNA QUETO-IBAÑEZ
Quezon City, Philippines – Led by Brother Rene Panoncillo, Head of the INC Personnel Office, ministers and volunteer workers from the INC Central Office conducted the first ever Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko project. An estimated 50,000 people came to the INC’s “Lingap-Pamamahayag” (Aid to Humanity-Evangelical Mission), at the Quezon Memorial Circle last Friday, December 13, 2013.
All these are being done under the project called “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” which had been launched by the INC Church Administration, under the leadership of INC Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, in April 2013. Under this project, relief-giving and medical missions are done as part of the evangelical work of the INC for more people to hear the words of God as written in the Bible.
The event started around 1:00 p.m., with the opening of the free medical and dental services that served as a way for the INC brethren to show their concern for their countrymen. Relief bags containing rice, noodles and canned goods were also distributed to the attendees when the main part of the program – an evangelical mission – ended at around 6:00 p.m. Some 500 policemen were deployed in the area to maintain peace and order.
People from all over Quezon City and other nearby areas came by busloads even before 1:00 p.m. By 4:00 p.m., police estimated the crowd to be already at 35,000. An entertainment program was also mounted for the guests. Various artists, including 1970s crooner Victor Wood, sang for the audience. Wood, who is now a candidate for baptism after taking all of the introductory fundamental lessons in his hometown Binangonan said that this was his seventh time to attend a Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko project of the Church. People watched the show through huge LED screens set up in various parts of the Quezon Memorial Circle. They were particularly entertained when Wood sang “Pearly Shells” and danced on the stage with a couple of old women.
After the entertainment portion, the next phase was the Evangelical Mission. It started with the reading of the message of the Executive Minister of the INC Brother EDUARDO V. MANALO by Brother Bienvenido C. Santiago, INC General Evangelist and Minister of the Gospel. Part of his message was thanking the people who came to the event. He explained that it was not only food or the physical well-being of their countrymen that was the concern of the Church, but also the spiritual needs for them to attain salvation come Judgment Day. He said that this project was in accordance with the teachings of God to love others as one loves himself as it is written in Mark 12:31.
It was followed by the singing of spiritual songs by the 400-member Central District choir, then the opening prayer led by Brother Emiliano C. Magtuto Jr., Director of the College of Evangelical Ministry, New Era University. After this, INC General Auditor Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr., expounded on the words of God. At the start of his homily, Brother Santos said that ministers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, in teaching the Gospel, only ask questions and then read the answer from the Bible. He also read various statements from other religious leaders who gave their unsolicited testimonies about the Iglesia Ni Cristo being one of the fastest growing religions today that originated in the Third World.
He added that the INC had also conducted “Aid For Humanity” relief operations in other countries, including Japan, Bundaberg in Australia, New York, and in Oklahoma, USA. Brother Santos said that the relief-medical and evangelical missions done by the INC, in cooperation with the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation Inc., are done not just during the times of calamities, but even during normal days since poverty had already become pervasive in various parts of the world.
The Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko project is being done weekly in various parts of Metro Manila, in the provinces, and even in other countries, Brother Santos said. Just recently, a relief and medical mission was done in Oxnard, California, in Sabah, Malaysia, and in Tala, Caloocan City in Metro Manila. Before this, there had also been relief operations in Paco, Metro Manila and in the various affected provinces of typhoon Yolanda.
He went on to explain that the various extreme weather events and other phenomena happening now, as well as the increasing poverty, are indications of the nearing Day of Judgment as foretold by the Bible. He enjoined the listening audience to a short video presentation of the various extraordinary calamities and natural disasters that are happening all over the world such as the tornadoes in Oklahoma and the super typhoon Yolanda that flattened entire villages in Central Philippines.
He concluded his presentation by exhorting everyone to join the Iglesia Ni Cristo since the promise of salvation is to the “Daughter of Zion” or the Church of Christ which emerged in these last days in the Far East, specifically the Philippines.
It is worth mentioning the efforts of the volunteer group led by Doctor Sergie Santos, consisting of 48 doctors and dentists, as well as more than 120 nurses and paramedics, who worked hard to render free medical and dental services. Most of the guests who came brought their children along. Free medicines and vitamins were given to the young and old. There were also old people who managed to walk to the Quezon Memorial Circle, although they had various ailments such as rheumatism. Some even had crutches.
Due to the huge turnout of people, some failed to avail of the free medical service. However, some of the attendees who failed to get relief packs said they enjoyed the program. Mrs. Mila Oriel came with her two young grandsons. She said even though she failed to get a relief pack, what she heard during the evangelical mission caught her interest that she would want to know more about the Church. What captivated them was the Evangelical Mission wherein many of them have realized that the Bible portrays the signs that Judgment Day is near.
Partial reports indicate that more than 6,000 people have registered as new Bible students. They will now undergo a series of study of the fundamental doctrines of the Bible believed in by the Iglesia Ni Cristo before they shall receive the holy baptism which shall make them officially as Church members.
Bro. Rene Panoncillo and the Personnel Staff contributed to this report.