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INC continues ‘Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko’ medical, evangelical missions

MANG Placido Magnayen, 57, was very excited when he arrived at the site of the “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” (My Countrymen, My Brethren) evangelical and medical mission of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) in Lucena City on Thursday night. 

He and his wife, Aling Vina, 53, brought along boxes of pamphlets and religious magazines, called Pasugo or God’s Message, for distribution the following day, September 27, a Friday, the date set for the “Lingap-Pamamahayag” in the whole of Quezon province.

They barely had any sleep as they prepared for the big event in the Vista Verde open grounds in Lucena City. As soon as dawn broke, they started distributing the Pasugo magazines, inserted inside yellow Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko folders.

“We have already distributed four boxes of magazines and pamphlets,” Placido said in Pilipino.   They started at around 4 a.m., and as of 6:30 a.m., they are opening a fifth box.

“Gusto naming mas maraming maakay sa kaligtasan,” Aling Vina said.  “Kahit mapagod kami, okay lang.”

The Magnayen couple are among the INC members in Quezon province who flocked to the evangelical and medical mission of the INC, the latest of which was held in Lucena City on Saturday.

INC members, who participated in the event from the four ecclesiastical districts in Quezon were able to invite some 600,000 people, based on a preliminary listing.  But police estimated that the crowd that went to the INC evangelical and service mission reached 1.1 million, according to Col. Gerardo Umayao, chief of the Quezon Provincial Public Safety Command.

Lucena City Mayor Roderick “Dondon” Alcala said the traffic congestion was expected with such a big gathering.  He thanked the INC church administration for choosing his city as the site of the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko, which is being held almost weekly in various parts of the country.

“First time po na nagkaroon ng ganitong kalaking pagtitipon dito sa amin,” Alcala said.  He said that while there was no official announcement of class and work suspension in the city, they had encouraged schools near Vista Verde to attend the INC’s outreach mission.

There were more than 32 giant tents set up in the 50-hectare venue to accommodate the huge audience.  There were also tents set up for the medical and dental services.  Doctors provided free medical consultations, and gave free medicines and vitamins to those who consulted them.  There was a mobile x-ray van set up in the area as well as an ambulance for emergency cases that would require immediate hospital care.

Other services given were free ultrasound, complete blood count and blood-glucose tests. Several hospital beds were also set up in the medical area, which had curtains to give a little privacy to patients being referred for medical attention.

Doctors from Manila, as well as from Quezon, gave free services as part of their devotion to serve the poor in the provinces being visited by the INC mission.  But more important than that, INC doctors, dentists, nurses and other volunteers said they were doing this because they believed it was a way of serving God by following His commandments to “love others as one loves himself.”

Dr. Diogenes “Joen” Briones was among those doctors.  He works in a hospital in Candelaria and was invited to serve in the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko for the first time.  

During the INC mission in Lucena, he—like the other volunteers—served the patients, who came one after the other, with a smile and a ready explanation as to their ailments. 

“Pasensya na po, medyo masakit ito,” he said as he pressed the pus out of 18-year-old Aaron’s hand that had a wound infection.  Aaron’s hand was bloated, almost double its original size, when he came.  Dr. Briones made a small incision to get the pus out.  The pus from Aaron’s infected wound filled a saucer.

“Nagkasugat ito, tapos nilikot niya,” said Dr. Briones, explaining how a simple wound could get infected.

True enough, Aaron’s mother, Corazon Capistrano, 60, said her son got the wound from handling big rocks with bare hands, as he got a job of cleaning out a neighborhood official’s yard. It was a small wound at first, but Aaron kept poking at it for days, until it became so infected he could hardly move his hand.

A few minutes after the doctor dressed his wound, Aaron was given an anti-tetanus shot.  Dr. Briones explained that Aaron’s hand was saved because of the procedure.  If it had not been treated, it could have gotten worse and could even have led to an amputation, he said.  “Nakaligtas siya sa putol,” he said with a chuckle.

Dr. Briones also urged Aaron and his mother, as well as all the other patients he had treated, to also attend bible doctrinal lessons in the INC..

All the other patients waiting at the medical and dental area watched a program held at the main tent were performers and other singers did their act.  At the time, Abe Velasco of the famed Velasco brothers, was doing his acrobatic tricks.  There was a giant LCD wall inside the tent so the waiting patients held bated breath as they watched Abe’s precarious balancing act, dancing atop five small wooden planks, with drinking glasses in between—layered one on top of the other—and with a rolling wooden barrel in the middle. After a while, he added a dazzling juggling act to his number.

At the medical area, people with emergency cases would usually be brought in on a stretcher to the hospital beds.  A separate huge tent was set for doctors handling medical consultations.

There was a separate line of people waiting to have their x-rays taken after being given a referral slip by the doctors who examined them.  Some of the people who had their x-rays were found to have tuberculosis and pneumonia.

There was also a separate line for pregnant women who wanted to avail themselves of the ultrasound service in the medical mission.

Dr. Diane de Jesus, a resident radiologist at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, said she makes time to participate in the INC’s evangelical-medical mission.

“Ginagawa namin ito bilang pakikiisa sa pamamahala ng Iglesia Ni Cristo,” Dr. de Jesus said.  “Nakakatulong kami sa tao.  Paraan din ito ng pagpapasalamat ko sa Diyos sa mga biyaya na ibinigay Niya sa akin.”

While not everybody could be accommodated in the medical mission because of the huge number of people, they are urged to listen to the “message of salvation” explained in the pamamahayag or bible exposition that was the main part of the program.  Each of the 32 giant tents had big LCD walls and speakers, enabling the audience to see and hear the speakers in the main tent where the program was being held.

A minister read a message of INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo thanking people who attended the event and urging the people to study God’s Words.

Organizers said that while the INC is trying to help more people with the medical and dental mission and by distributing relief packages, what was more important was the “message of salvation” they were urging people to listen to and understand.

On Saturday INC General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr. officiated the Bible exposition in Quezon, and urged people to further study the words of God being followed by the INC.

After the bible exposition, relief packs, each containing four kilos of rice, four cans of sardines and four noodle packs, were given to the attendees.


In Photo: A shot inside one of the 32 giant tents set up for the “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko” evangelical and medical mission of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in Lucena City Friday, taken while the main program, a Bible exposition, was being held.


 

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