Something to be proud of: MCGI’s Hapi Christians Adopt Gays in Golden Years

News, Events and Second Glances

The month of June marks the celebration of LGBT Pride in the USA. Here in New York, a whole week of vibrant, rainbow-colored rallies, parties and dances were organized to show that they are happy and proud to be members of the LGBT community.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, a group of proud gay Christians show the world their unique brand of gay pride – by being gay men that the world can truly be proud of.

On June 18, 2014 in celebration of Philippine public service channel UNTV’s 10th year anniversary with the theme of “Caring for the Elderly,” MCGI’s Hapi Christians extended help to the Home for the Golden Gays – by giving them a new home, in Novaliches, Philippines.

Atty. Imelda Roque (L) and Brgy. Chairwoman Mila Uy (R) cut the ribbon to mark the relocation of The Home for the Golden Gays at Novaliches, Philippines. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International 

Atty. Imelda Roque (L) and Brgy. Chairwoman Mila Uy (R) cut the ribbon to mark the relocation of The Home for the Golden Gays at Novaliches, Philippines. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International

The Gift of Love for the Elderly Gay Community

“The Hapi Christians’ participation for UNTV’s 10th year anniversary is the establishment of the adoption house for the special elderly. We have chosen to welcome the golden gays into our home,” said Mr. Robi Lolin, PRO for the Hapi Christians.

“This is our way of showing our love, and this is under the guidance of our leaders, Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel,” Lolin added, referring to MCGI leaders Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon.

 

MCGI, UNTV and Hapi Christians gleefully welcome members of the Home for the Golden Gays to their new home. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International

MCGI, UNTV and Hapi Christians gleefully welcome members of the Home for the Golden Gays to their new home. Rodel Lumiares, Photoville International

To make sure that the special elderly in the Home for the Golden Gays utilize their skills, talents and time, the Hapi Christians will also organize seminars and trainings for the elderly gays.

“Based on interviews that we conduct, we check what the elderly are still capable of doing, based on their age. We want them to be productive. Some of them have experience with being masseuses, and some of them know how to cut hair,” said Mr. Relin Gimena, Hapi Christians’ Business Manager.

“We are planning to organize ways on how to come up with services for them to generate income for themselves,” stated Gimena.

Mr. Ramon Busa, President of the Home for the Golden Gays, thanked the Hapi Christians organization for their help and support to the Golden Gays during the live telecast of the MOA signing at the UNTV building.

“We greatly thank the Hapi organization for their helping and welcoming the members of our organization,” remarked Mr. Busa.

“Yesterday, we were formally relocated and were welcomed by the Hapi organization in Barangay Talipapa. In fact, some of the members of the Home for the Golden Gays are already living there. Thank you very much,” stated Busa.

“We will not be able to carry on with this project if it weren’t for God’s help. It is through Him that we are able to do this,” replied Mr. Larry Espinosa, President of the Hapi Christians group.

“Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel [always] teach us that we must help those who are in need of it,” he added.

The Hapi Christians is the Christian gay community of the Members Church of God International, who are being taught to utilize their talents, skills and abilities for the glory of God. Read more about them here.

 

 

References:

1] Pascual, P. (2014). A moment for the sunset beauty queens. Retrieved from: http://outragemag.com/moment-sunset-beauty-queens/

2] UNTVKasangbahayMo. (2014, June 23). MOA Signing between BMPI, UNTV, Hapi Christians and Home for the Golden Gays. [Video file] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IogG3xmJ2sg

 

 

 

#BibleExpo: Biblical Wisdom through a Hashtag

News, Events and Second Glances

From music to money, the flexible pound sign (#) has been making  lives easier since the 12th century.

And it was that one fateful day in August of 2007 when a mere suggestion by Chris Messina turned out to become the start of something that would change the face of the # forever.

Photo courtesy of InternetMediaLabs.com, from the article entitled The Hashtag: A Door to Discovery on Twitter. Link: http://internetmedialabs.com/twitter-hashtags-101-guide/

Today, the hashtag is everywhere – Twitter pioneered its usage while Google + and now Facebook has followed suit. Thanks to one symbol, social media users are now able to follow and track what topics interest them.

Just as long as a topic is preceded by the #, it is archived in the vast recesses of the Interwebs and will be there waiting patiently for you to peruse it until you get to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot.

Fast forward to six years from the first hashtag created: August 2, 2013 – a group of people who believe in sharing God’s wisdom to others via technology will be making use of this popular symbol to impart biblical logic to the world.

God willing, these people will be using the hashtag #BibleExpo on Twitter, Facebook and Google + for the Members Church of God International’s (MCGI) Worldwide Bible Exposition.

The official Bible Exposition hashtag: #BibleExpo. Photo courtesy of Ang Dating Daan's Facebook page.

The official Bible Exposition hashtag: #BibleExpo. Photo courtesy of Ang Dating Daan’s Facebook page.

Just like the hashtag, Bible Expositions were created to bring people who would like to learn more about an important topic together – salvation. Visitors from all over the world get to ask their questions on the Bible – and they would get a Bible-based answer from international preacher and MCGI Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano and Vice-Presiding Minister Bro. Daniel Razon.

During Bible Expositions, guests and online followers who may be stuck in traffic or their work desks benefit from the live blow-by-blow account of the questions and answers from the live Twitter feed from the Church’s official Twitter accounts –  @TheOldPathTV (English) and @AngDatingDaanTV (Filipino), as well as from visitors who join in on the live blogging using the #BibleExpo hashtag.

There’s a lot of use to the #. And for a group of humble believers the world over, its use is of something great:

#Salvation

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

References:

1] http://socialmediatoday.com/kevin-basset/1545426/history-hashtag-infographic

2] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/magazine/in-praise-of-the-hashtag.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

3] http://www.mcgi.org/about/leaders/

4] http://internetmedialabs.com/twitter-hashtags-101-guide/

One More Reason to Heart This Place: Finding Apalit in New York – Day 2

News, Events and Second Glances

It’s safe to say that if there’s one place in the world I so terribly miss, it’s the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga.

Believers from the Add Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga wake up to a special day -- Day 2 of MCGI's International Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: Rovic Balunsay, PVI

Believers from the Add Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga wake up to a special day — Day 2 of MCGI’s International Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: Rovic Balunsay, PVI

Every so often, I would regale myself with memories of ADD Con – traveling by bus very early in the morning from Baclaran to get to Apalit, smelling the freshly cooked arroz caldo and champorado from nearby vendors, walking the aisles of the convention center to find the perfect seat, singing at the wide stage with the rest of the brethren, the jamming sessions after the international thanksgiving celebrations.

And of course, the people I share those memories with.

By fate, it seems, I’ve found myself living in America. And though I am thousands of miles away from that special place in Apalit, somehow, I have stumbled upon Apalit here in New York. This is a realization that came to me during the second day of the Members Church of God International’s (MCGI) International Thanksgiving to God celebration.

To get to Apalit before 7 a.m., I used to have to make it to Baclaran at around 4:30 a.m. with my family and friends. Here in NY for the second day of the ITG, I travel with friends from New York, Connecticut and Canada to our ITG venue a little over four in the afternoon.

On our way to the ITG venue!

On our way to the ITG venue!

Arriving early at Apalit years ago, I always see choir members practicing before the congregational singing commences. In NY, choir members do the same, making sure that they perform their best because God deserves the best — a bit of wisdom we have learned from our preachers Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon.

Choir members practicing their opening song number in NYC. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Choir members practicing their opening song number in NYC. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

The beautiful and colorful presentation of choir members and the Teatro Kristiano never failed to astound me as I sat in one of the ADD Con’s white monobloc chairs. I may be sitting on a different kind of chair in NY, but the feeling upon watching these talented individuals remains the same.

Starting day two with music. East Coast USA & Canada Choir members together with the Teatro Kristiano on MCGI's International Thanksgiving to God on July 5, 2013. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Starting day two with music. East Coast USA & Canada Choir members together with the Teatro Kristiano on MCGI’s International Thanksgiving to God on July 5, 2013. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

With the bountiful wisdom being unfolded with each topic delivered by Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, rejoicing is inevitable. I have experienced it seemingly endless times in Apalit, and I, together with the believers in America, feel it still, even from afar; simply thankful to God for His wisdom and kindness.

Rejoicing in New York for the many biblical knowledge learned. Photo courtesy of Members Church of God International official Facebook fan page.

Rejoicing in New York for the many biblical knowledge learned. Photo courtesy of Members Church of God International official Facebook fan page.

And the same way as it when I was in Apalit, I am blessed to enjoy hearing such biblical brilliance with God-given friends.

Time will come, in His will, that I will get to walk in ADD Con’s aisles once more and sing, listen, and praise with the rest of the brethren in Apalit. But for now, I am truly grateful for having found a version of Apalit right here in NYC.

Time flies when you’re learning spiritual wisdom! Day 3, up next, God willing!

Faith and Fireworks: Celebrating the International Thanksgiving to God in Sunny New York – Day 1

News, Events and Second Glances

July 4, 2013.

While people from all over New York go to Times Square to watch the yearly fireworks display for the Independence Day celebration, members of the Church of God International in New York enjoy a different kind of fireworks from inside one event hall in Queens, New York.

Six hours before the big event, I, together with two sister-friends boarded the Q17 bus to get to the Thanksgiving location. On a hot, humid day, people wore short shorts and sleeveless tops.

Our “outfit of the day” looked somewhat different, eliciting looks as we passed by residents and commuters alike. No matter, we were proud of what we were wearing: Teatro Kristiano uniform and the usual modest, Thanksgiving garb – like what we were taught in the Church.

The sun shone down and heated pavements at a high 88 degrees Fahrenheit as I checked my old phone’s clock. It proudly told me that it was 1:09 p.m. At last, after about an hour of traveling, we reached the venue – all set, waiting for everyone.

Group by group, brethren from Canada, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and even Oklahoma arrived – with suitcases, duffel bags, and their adorable kids in tow. Despite the long travel hours, they all had something in common – they all brandished excited smiles.

Before I knew it, it was 5:55 p.m., and the music ministry choir led the congregants in singing songs of praise in Apalit, Pampanga. In New York, the East Coast USA Choir led us in singing.  Finally, after three months of long wait, the International Thanksgiving to God has finally begun!

The East Coast USA choir, together with choir delegates from Canada, lead the brethren in singing songs of praise during the ITG. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

The East Coast USA choir, together with choir delegates from Canada, lead the brethren in singing songs of praise during the ITG. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Cheers resounded in the small hall where brethren are in Queens, as Bro. Eli, in his signature turtleneck and coat, spoke to brethren all over the world. Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding-Minister to MCGI welcomed the brethren on the first day of the ITG, immediately after the choir and teatro offered a song of praise to start off the event.

Two topics were discussed on the first day. Vice-Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Daniel Razon gave the first part of each topic, while Bro. Eli delivered each topic’s climax.

During the International Thanksgiving celebration, believers from our neck of the woods turn night into day so we could listen fervently to spiritual knowledge that we won’t be able to hear anywhere else.

While some of the brethren in the Philippines drank coffee because it is the morning time norm, the brethren in the Americas did too, at night, to keep awake and focused while listening to the wisdom being unfolded during the three-day spiritual feast.

To make sure that all are up in the wee hours of the night, each short break was used to eat and recharge with power naps. At midnight, while brethren in the Philippines took a break for lunch, we here in New York prepared to take a short nap.

Before I closed my eyes, at 1:09 a.m., I stole a glance out the window. A couple of hours ago, traces of green, red, and blue muted fireworks peppered the ebony sky.

The night turned into day, and with their notebooks and Bibles in hand, the brethren were still up with God’s help and mercy, listening to Bro. Eli up until the very last biblical wisdom shared for the day.

Brethren from East Coast of US and Canada gather in New York to celebrate our International Thanksgiving. Januel Arriola, PVI NY

Brethren from East Coast of US and Canada gather in New York to celebrate our International Thanksgiving. Januel Arriola, PVI NY

Looking out the window, the sun was already high, and no trace of fireworks can no longer be seen from yesterday’s Independence Day celebration here in America. But inside the small hall in Queens, the fireworks are still very much alive.

The fireworks are the exuberant, excited glow of the brethren’s eyes. And as the International Thanksgiving is happening, the fireworks become stronger, more vibrant, and more extravagant. Never fading, never waning; despite the long travel, heat, and exhaustion, the fireworks don’t end.

Happy International Thanksgiving to God, from the brethren in East Coast USA and Canada! Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Happy International Thanksgiving to God, from the brethren in East Coast USA and Canada! Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

These kind of fireworks may very well last forever.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL THANKSGIVING TO BELIEVERS IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD!

Something NY Cab Drivers Should Learn: UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada

News, Events and Second Glances
A driver is trained to help motorists in need in UNTV's Tulong Muna Bago Pasada

A driver is trained to help motorists in need in UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada. Photo Credit: Screenshot from UNTVweb’s Youtube Account

New York is famous for its yellow taxicabs running circles in Manhattan. All 13,237 of them are ready to bring Yankees and tourists to their destinations, except of course when it’s raining, when it’s almost next to impossible to hail a taxi. Now, what I, as a glorified commuter in this great state, wish would be impossible is to be a witness (or be part of) a road accident in the beautiful streets of the Empire State. So imagine if the estimated 42,000 New York City cab drivers took part in a program like UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada, another revolutionary public service effort from the Philippines’ prime Public Service network – UNTV 37, we would have lesser road accidents. We would have thousands of real-life superheroes. We would have more people on the side of good and justice and all things great and in vivid Technicolor.

Now wouldn’t New York be a safer place to live in if this happened?

UNTV’s Tulong Muna Bago Pasada is a mouthful for those who aren’t Filipinos, and that’s fine and understandable. But what it translates to, in essence, is “Help First, Tansport Later.” Basically, this puts a greater deal of importance on human life than a cab fare. By learning to become more disciplined drivers and become certified first aid rescuers to give aid to those who need it in emergency situations, cab drivers are now the extension of our healthcare practitioners on the streets — where the action happens.

This public service endeavor has recently started in the Philippines, spearheaded by Kuya (That’s the Filipino term for “big brother”) Daniel Razon.  Tulong Muna Bago Pasada aims to educate cab drivers with first aid and BLS techniques. They are also trained based on real-life scenarios – they learn what to do first and who to call in case they witness a hit-and-run, a head-on collision, and other street emergencies requiring fast thinking and helping.  After they become well equipped with enough life-saving knowledge, they become certified. The intensive training that lasts for several days, like most of what UNTV’s projects, is absolutely free of charge for Filipino cab drivers.

Kuya Daniel Razon has concocted this one-of-a-kind public service project with the goal of hitting two public service goals with one unique project: making the streets safer for motorists, commuters, and pedestrians and increasing the number of Filipino public servants. The Tulong Muna Bago Pasada is an off-shoot to the Tulong Muna Bago Balita project of UNTV – which is the first of its kind in Philippine media, where reporters, cameramen, and drivers put helping first, before reporting; they are on-field rescuers primarily, valuing the lives of others than news reporting, and consequently, high ratings. Pure, unadulterated public service.

Kuya Daniel Razon spearheads another public service project - Tulong Muna Bago Pasada. Photo Credit: Screenshot from UNTVweb's Youtube Account

Kuya Daniel Razon spearheads another public service project – Tulong Muna Bago Pasada. Photo Credit: Screenshot from UNTVweb’s Youtube Account

Bringing this project in New York would be amazing and ideal. Not only will there be more public servants driving around the city, but since taxicabs are usually around at any given hour all year round, there will be trained cab drivers will be roaming the streets, ready to pull over and help out anyone in need. There will be a rebranding if you will, of our cab drivers’ reputation. They will become street superheroes.

Wouldn’t end-of-the-world movies find another place to sink rather than poor old Lady Liberty by Ellis Island? Instead of superheroes wreaking (unintentional, I guess) havoc in Manhattan, real ones would be driving all around it. Instead of a large lizard stomping all over the city, cab drivers will be actively on the look out for people in distress that they can help.  Once Tulong Muna Bago Pasada pushes through, I can’t guarantee that it will be easier to hail a taxicab, but hey, you’ll feel safer that the cab driver bringing you to your friend’s place can help you or other motorists in times of emergencies. So sit back, relax, and tip your cabbie well.

Sources:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/taxi-cab-statistics/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=exINwpNNuRQ#!