How far is Haw Par? Well, that is not the question for the people of GOD… Distance will not matter in celebrating the INTERNATIONAL THANKS GIVING DAY.
Three months have passed and another two consecutive days are given to us to celebrate this very big event. As expected, each one of us who were enlightened of the Righteousness of GOD is preparing for this very moment of offering our gratitude to HIM for all His Loving Kindness and Unspeakable gifts. Song of Praises with graceful movements and heartfelt Hymns as presentation by the whole nation of GOD in our times that is being led by HIS chosen vessels, Brother Eli Soriano and Brother Daniel Razon.
Here in Singapore, Haw Par Techno Centre is the place where the locale gathered to unite with the brethren from other places, emanating from Apalit, this very special moment. Celebration wherein we sing, dance and gather to hear the Wisdom of God, together with the newly baptized (“bunsong kapatid”) and newly arrived brethren from other countries, particularly those who came from the Philippines. This is something that is not so new to us. Nevertheless, we are still eager to hear how delighted they are to partake the Thanksgiving Day abroad.
Below is a short interview conducted with newly baptized brethren…
How do you feel celebrating this event with the brethren here in Singapore?
“This is my second time to attend the International Thanksgiving Day. The first one was when I was still one of the guests and at present, that I am now a member, Thanks be to GOD! I can say that I feel more excited and more prepared than before when I was not yet part of the True Church. I am amazed how vast we are…nothing can be compared to this kind of event. Truly how happy I am to see that we also celebrate with the brethren whom are of different nationalities. I wish to see and meet our Presiding Ministers, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel, personally.” sister Irene Sula exclaimed. She was baptized on July of the same year and now celebrating together with us.
Also Sister Katrina Esperanza, who was recently baptized, said that it is not her first time because she used to be attending the previous same event. “But it is very different, now that I am a sister in Faith. I am overjoyed in spite of some hindrances being encountered upon the preparations. Indeed, it is different and cannot be compared to other congregations. Unable to expound but I truly feel blissful. Thanks be to GOD for I now belong to one of HIS called out ones.”
This time, let us hear from other brethren who are not “so new” but newly arrived brothers and sisters
Is this your first time to join the International Thanksgiving here in Singapore?
“Yes, this is the first time for me and my family.” Bro. Erwin San Miguel answered. He and his wife will turn seven Godwilling on October 19 and 12 this year. They have just arrived from the Philippines together with their children. “We usually celebrate ITG in Apalit so we cannot deny the fact that it is better there. But what we have here right now is a better place, very orderly. There is an area for KNC which makes easier for us to listen to the topic being preached by Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel. I am expecting to learn more about the Word of GOD through them.”
How do you feel?
“I feel the same way I felt when I was baptized. I feel HIS Love that I could not express in words. Sometimes, I even could not contain it in my heart, only tears will flow out of my eyes… I might be missing my love ones for I am afar. But I know in my heart, I thank Him for HIS Loving Kindness that all my prayers are being answered. Through His Mercy I have the chance to continue serving Him wherever I may be. I am blessed to experience my first International Thanksgiving in Singapore” said Brother Rovic Balunsay. He is from Central Apalit and also came here to practice his profession.
Another brother, CJ Tanedo from Locale of Cubao Aurora, is here for a few days of business trip. He has exhibitions of Art work to attend and apparently his first experience too “My heart is very glad to know that we have a locale here in Singapore. It is hard to intermingle with different races with different culture, which can be a cause for us to fail to remember His doctrines. That’s why I Thank GOD for HIS love and care. Even I am in a different place, seeing that we have brothers and sisters here and together we will offer our Praises, I really feel blessed that HE is not allowing us to go astray.”
Further unexplainable expressions from Sister Shennivi Dela Vega, “I am overjoyed to experience this event here in Singapore. I can’t believe that I’m already here that even though it is the same celebration as we have in Apalit, however I feel more of excited, perhaps because of the place, well that is given because it’s beautiful and more convenient here..” she utters with smile “..But perhaps that feeling of appreciations that no words can express (basta hindi ko maipaliwanag,e). I was like watching the brethren from here who were offering thanksgiving a few weeks ago, and then now I’m also here to offer thaksgiving together with the brethren I was just watching before...” sister Shennivi graciously stated. She’s from Mindanao Region, younger sister of our sister in Faith Cristy Alovera, one of locale secretaries, and currently looking forward to stay here for a long term with her family who are also members of the Church of GOD (kasambahay).
What is the difference between you celebrating the ITG here in SG and when you were in the Philippines?
Brother Romy Santisteban from Locale of Tartaria, East District in Cavite Region, came here to search for a job. He has just arrived a few weeks ago and he will experience as well the offering of praises, this time, in Singapore. “Celebrating here, although may not be as crowded as we are in Apalit, yet the spirit of enthusiasm is still being felt. I could say that there is a feeling of longing with the way I usually do back in our locale in the Philippines especially in Thanksgiving Day preparations. But regardless of the place, this should always be treated as one of a very treasured moment in acknowledging HIS Greatness and Goodness to all of us. One of those chances that we should not miss.”
What are the preparations you have done before the actual celebration?
Brother Oliver Coderes who was baptized on July 16, 1999 said “Firstly, preparation of our conscience. All hatreds, resentment, and uncleanness must e removed from our being. Instead, forgiveness, kindness, and love to our brothers and sisters in Faith and even non-brethren. Assessment of myself and our songs of praises together with our offerings. Other material things are the last priority.” He arrived a few days ago also for a job opportunity here in Singapore.
And recently, we happen to hear good news about the opening of locale in Malaysia. Currently, one of our OICs, Brother Mel Pingal with his behalf, is the one being assigned to take good care of our brethren from the said place. How glad we are as they travelled miles away to participate this special celebration together with us.
Brother Dexter Ariso, one who comes from there, shares his thoughts “this is not my first time, nevertheless I thank God for giving us again the opportunities to celebrate this special day with the brethren here in Singapore. Although the trip will take 12 hours through taking a bus ride and may exhaust us physically, however, thinking that once again we will reunite with brothers and sisters here, eases the feeling of weariness. It’s hard when you are in a country where you are being surrounded by those which are against our doctrines, especially the food that are prohibited to eat and the people you work with everyday. However, Thanks to GOD that even we are in the distance, we still have the opportunities to attend our gatherings, Thanksgiving Day in particular, through means of satellite monitoring. But along with happiness is still a little sadness because we’re just a few who offer songs of praises, sometimes you just dance alone. Feel like incomplete, unlike the joy brought by the Quarterly Thanks giving, where we gather with a huge company of brothers and sisters. Hence, Thanks be to GOD for all HIS guidance and for all the brethren whom HE continuously allow to be with us. The feeling which cannot be written in words, just ‘Thank YOU’…”
Certainly, we cannot fathom nor count every good thing HE does in our lives. The only thing that we can do is to acknowledge HIS Greatness and Glorify HIM through offering our praises. It is very pleasing to hear that wherever we are, through HIS grace and mercy, the spirit of having this pure intent of showing how we appreciate all the Loving Kindness of GOD and HIS Greatness is still within our being. We are thanking HIM because HE gave us Brother Eli and Brother Daniel that is why we understand this true meaning of Glorifying HIM. Thanks be to God for all HIS unspeakable gifts! Truly the righteous will say “....I will go also…” Zechariah 8: 21
Happy Thanks Giving!