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BULACAN, Philippines – July 26, Saturday, was not like most days for Markus Mahinay.
He shuffled up and down the bleachers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) newly-inaugurated Philippine Arena, speaking to fellow choir members as they waited for their ensayo (practice) to begin.
The 20-year-old was spending his weekend celebrating the INC’s Centennial. He’s barely had time to sleep. Most of Friday was spent rehearsing for the big event on Sunday, July 28, with only a few hours to spare for a quick bath and a change of clothes.
Despite the sleep deprivation, Mahinay thinks of himself as fortunate – not all members of the INC get to be there when the church turns a hundred. “Napakapalad namin sapagka’t maraming mga kapatid na hindi nakasama, maraming namayapa na, marami nang hindi makakapunta,” he told Rappler on Saturday, July 26.
(We’re fortunate because a lot of our brothers and sisters aren’t here, some have passed on, some are unable to come to Bulacan.)
More than a million INC members are on their way or are already in Cuided de Victoria, where the Philippine Arena is located. Officials give a higher estimate – between 2 to 3 million, according to Francis Tolentino, who heads the high-level government Task Force assigned to assist the INC in their centennial.
Mahinay said celebrating the INC’s 100th isn’t about him, the choir he is part of, or the millions who travelled from all parts of the Philippines and the world to celebrate. It’s about giving back to a God who has given so much more.
“Ginabay Niya ang Iglesia simula sa maliit pa lang ito… nagsimula sa Pilipinas hanggang lumawak sa buong mundo. Ang lahat ng kapurihan ay ibinabalik namin sa Panginoong Diyos,” he said.
(He’s been guiding Iglesia since it began. The church started in the Philippines until it spread throughout the world. We give everything back to the Lord God.) – Rappler.com