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iin the early hours of  June 2, 2016, at exactly 1:20 AM, a concerned mother  wrote me an email. She feared the uncertainty of her children’s future … the sadness in her heart inside a very unkind Church. This is her story.

“Dear Ka Will Smith,

I’ve been meaning to write you, AE, and other defenders out there but as you know… you can never be careful about what you “say” or “write” in the internet.

What to say to you? and as if you’d care… just the same… I have to let this out of my chest…

39596277b3f0b03ab324d80d3401adb9I am now typing with difficulty because, tears are continuously welling up my eyes. Ang hirap po tanggapin na ganito ang kalagayan ng Iglesia ngayon. Pero sino ba ako para magtanong? It’s just that, everything that I believed and held on to since I was a child suddenly comes down crumbling. I used to believe that, dahil Iglesia ako, I will always be safe. I tell my children that when they are lost or when the big earthquake comes and we are separated, what they will do is to approach any adult and introduce themselves as Iglesia Ni Cristo members and magpahatid sila sa pinaka malapit na kapilya… and hopefully, magkikita kami. But now, I’m not so sure that my children will be safe when they do profess to anyone that they are INCs… How can the love, care and instant familiarity that I used to feel whenever I meet new found “kapatid”, be now nonexistent? My family moved to *** last year and we live very near our locale and yet… we have yet to meet our katiwala. Unbelievable. Should I take it as a blessing in disguise that no one comes around to monitor us? But then again, wala din kaming matawagan para humingi ng panalangin sa panahong kailangan namin.

tenny4It’s just almost a month away until we learned of Ka Tenny’s and her children’s expulsion. I remember that Saturday night (July 25) when I attended church service and as I entered the church’s hall, i immediately sensed that immense sadness. The sermon was dry. And then when the Minister was reciting the circular… na itinitiwalag sila Ka Angel, Ka Mark, Ka Lottie and Ka Tenny… ang dami po naming tumangis, marami sa kapulungan ang humagulgol sa naramdamang sakit. Ang sakit po. Up to now, I need answers… How can you do that to your flesh and blood? Your own mother? What is the worst thing that a mother can do to deserve that? Sometimes I wish they’d be out…. that Ka Tenny actually did something to tear our Church apart…. pero wala po eh. All she wanted was to talk to Ka Eddie Boy. Bakit po napakahirap gawin? Gaano kalalaim ang sugat at hindi kaya maghilom ng puso ni Ka Eddie Boy?

tenny5Sabik po ako sa pagpapalakas ng aking nanlulumong kaluluwa. Sana dumating na ang lunas sa napakapait na yugtong ito sa buhay natin bilang Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Thank you Ka Will. Isasama po kita sa panalangin ko ngayon bago ako matulog. And of course Ka AE and lahat ng mga tapat sa tunay na Iglesia.

Ako po si ***. We are surely not related by blood. But I am your sister because of our faith.”

Dear ***,

Thank you for writing. Yes dear, everything has been  totally unexpected. During Ka Erdy’s time we used to hear him say, “Wala ng pagsubok mula sa labas, ang pagsubok ay galing sa loob!”, but never did we imagine that this test of faith would be to this extent! Kung yinayanig, tooong yanig na hindi lang ang mga dahon ang nalalaglag, kung di mga sanga na, and that is precisely what is happening.

But never forget what is in the deepest realm of your heart. Tulad ng sinabi ng aking maybahay during one of those times when my, should I call hatred, seemed to engulf me for all the corrupt ministers who were doing this to our Church. She said, “Magalit ka sa kanila, pero huwag mong putulin ang ugnayan mo sa Diyos.

Ang bahay-sambahan ay bahay ng Diyos at iyon ay ginawa para sa mga anak niyang nais tumawag sa Kaniya sa panahon ng kanilang kalungkutan at kabagabagan. Kung iniwan na ng Diyos ang ilan mga pinagkatiwalaan niya sa kaniyang Iglesia, ang bahay-sambahan ay nananatiling Kaniya pa rin dahil hinandog ito sa Kaniya.

Ang Diyos ay pag-ibig at kailanman hindi siya papanig sa mali o pababayaan ang mga anak niyang tapat na nananatili sa kaniya. Tanggapin natin na ang mga nangyayari ay pinayagan ng Diyos sa kaniyang bayan at kung bakit ay siya lang ang nakakaalam. Ang sa atin ay manatili tayong tapat mula sa ating puso at patuloy na umasa at manalangin para sa ating minamahal na Iglesia.”

Meanwhile dear ***, you have wonderful children. Bring them up and show them the goodness of this world which God has created for all of us. The kindness in the hearts of His people. The wonder of His love to His children. Teach them to be brave, to love, and to stand for what is right in their eyes and the eyes of God our Father. Kiss them good night each passing day. Embrace them as if there was no tomorrow. Love will always conquer evil. As it has since the beginning. Such is God’s way, and plan. Always.

William