October 19, 2013
Everyone has been poor, regardless of income. If you’ve ever been low on joy or laughter; love, company or even hope; you’ve experienced a form of poverty. Some forms hurt more than others. Some may even cripple a person forever.
“Everyone in the world should have aid,” said Trisha Whitman, a guest at the Outreach Program and Evangelical Mission hosted by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) in Mountain View, California.
The event drew over 20,000 members and their guests to the Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 19, 2013. Through the said activity the INC endeavored to meet the growing needs of members of their communities.
“During tough times,” said INC member Edwil Antolin, “though people need help they don’t always tell you, and that’s why we reach out.”
According to a poll taken by USA Today of a focus group of 1001 uninsured Americans, 47% stated that they “don’t even know where to turn” to obtain health care information. The volunteers for the Iglesia Ni Cristo Outreach mission however, brought the aid of much needed medical services and advice. Church members in the medical field manned booths offering services like: blood pressure and blood sugar checkups, eye exams, dental exams, and flu vaccinations.
Throughout the day, guests visited an array of different booths lining the Amphitheatre’s promenade. Some booths offered tips on preparing for disasters while others helped guests prepare for job interviews. People of all ages lined up just for fun for arts and crafts, games, face painting and even photos. Even the smallest gestures coaxed smiles out of attendees all throughout the day. It was a day meant to heal through laughter and love.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I came full aim that God’s going to be here, and God’s here. It’s amazing. It’s amazing,” said guest Thomas Connolly.
It was a day meant to reach out to the community through aid.
“Knowing that someone will help you goes a long way,” said Joshua Gutierrez and INC Member from Alameda, California.
It was a day meant to aide those experiencing the very worst kind of poverty.
“Poverty,” said INC member Marc Cruz, “is the absence of the true words of God needed for survival.”
By 11:00 A.M., members and guests took their seats for a historical first for the Shoreline. The venue, which often draws huge crowds for concerts of high-profile musicians, would for the very first time be a place where thousands would stop to listen to the true words of God taught in the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
“That was the highlight of our activity,” said Brother Moises Kadusale, the District Minister of the Church of Christ assigned in Northern California. “We offered all those things like medical services. But the most important thing we offered to people is the study of the words of God.”
Then heart-stirring musical performances followed. And though the INC later distributed over 16,000 relief bags to attendees, nothing could outshine the main event.
“The most interesting part of the day was the Bible scriptures,” said Bernadine Anderson.
“Coming here, hearing the word of God preaching out of the Book [The Bible], I mean you can’t do anything better than that,” said Thomas Connolly of San Jose. ”Just hearing it this morning made me really, really happy that I came.”
As Minister of the Gospel, Brother Glenn Gomez relayed God’s message from the Bible, guests sat immersed in teachings that came purely from the Holy Scriptures.
“It’s a very humbling experience for me,” said guest Melanie Pharms, “I almost had tears in my eyes when he was preaching…”
“In 99 years the Church has accomplished so much,” said Brother Glenn Gomez after the event. “Starting from the works of our beloved Brother Felix Y. Manalo, our belief, based on the Bible, is that this is God’s nation in these last days and God fervently desires people to belong to the Church.”
And some, like Thomas Connolly of San Jose, paused for the first time to consider if one true church really could exist.
“I’ve been in many churches and you don’t know which one is true or what, but I am taking a lesson from you guys,” said Connolly. “I signed up for Bible lessons.”
Connolly is continuing his investigation as a Bible Student learning fundamental teachings of the Church of Christ based solely on the Bible.
In a world where more and more people are looking for answers to all forms of poverty like the shortage of affordable healthcare and income, or the technology induced famine of human interaction and common courtesy, or the drought of morals and truth in today’s society, the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s FYM Foundation offers aide.
“In the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, they need spiritual aid,” said INC Member Alex Lacap of Fremont, California. “As part of a community, it’s our duty to help out materially and spiritually. They need to know the Iglesia Ni Cristo.”
The City of Mountain View, California and thousands of guests from across the northern part of the state know they can rely on the Iglesia Ni Cristo if they’re looking for an arm reaching out to help pull up all those who find themselves in need.
“There’s not a lot of organizations or groups who do that nowadays, especially churches,” said guest Jan Policarpio of San Jose. “And I just think [you’re] doing a great job trying to touch other peoples’ hearts.”