In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16 NIV

In a rare treat, the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) Philippines held a special worship service to pay tribute to the congregation’s medical and non-medical frontliners on October 25, 2020.

Speakers during the service were firefighter-nurse Charles Niño Faburada of ICOC Cebu (welcome), nurse-respiratory therapist Jon Velasco of ICOC Manila (communion), Dr. Kel Castro of ICOC Quezon City (giving), and Dr. Jesse Caguioa (main message). Female doctors Pamil Mendoza of ICOC Dagupan and Liberty Sales of ICOC Pasig shared their respective testimonies during the sermon. Most of them are serving in the ICOC Philippines Medical Service Team and Health and Safety Group. 

Jon, in his communion message, said the love of God has helped him cope with the challenges of working at a hospital that caters to COVID-19 patients.

Referencing Romans 8:31-39, Jon said, “Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God through Christ. We will have to face more challenges. But nothing could stop our Father from loving us. Our salvation is secure because of his great love.”

“We have been facing this pandemic for several months now. I can feel and we all can feel God’s protection. Life may have become tough for some, yet God continues to provide for us and our families. We are all under God’s care,” he said, thankful that his two swab tests yielded negative results.

Meanwhile, Doc Jesse, an optometrist, thanked the church for honoring all frontliners. He then talked about “Spiritual Innovation Amidst Disruptions” with two points – innovate a godly heart and mind; and innovate a godly lifestyle.

He shared John 13:34 and 1 Corinthians 13:7 to make his first point that disciples need to grow in the area of love through protecting each other. He said that during this pandemic, showing love means wearing a mask and face shield, social distancing, going out only when needed, not hugging others, not eating together, isolating oneself when sick, and protecting the vulnerable.

“We simply need to trust God that this is not forever. We hope that it will become better and we can go out soon. We just need to be patient and persevere,” he said.

Doc Jesse then used 2 Corinthians 6:17 to remind disciples that sins and temptations are lurking even during the crisis, so he encouraged them to have a daily plan to be productive and not to be idle. “We have no excuse for not having time with God every day… let us innovate our lifestyle so that we will be able to continue living a godly life,” he added.

Both doctors Pamil and Libay reminisced about their challenges during the pandemic, praising God for His constant protection and sustaining them with strength, wisdom, love, and encouragement to go through the rigors of their call of duty.

Pamil, who serves in multiple roles in the church, was elated to share that ICOC Dagupan already had 11 baptisms this year including her cousin Sany while Libay was in awe of God’s encouragement after their youngest daughter Adrielle got baptized on August 23 after she finished her online Bible studies and decided to follow Jesus.

To wrap up the service, a special tribute video was played, saluting disciples who are serving the country in various capacities during the pandemic.

A day is certainly not enough to thank these unsung heroes who brave the odds and risk their lives each day to serve their fellow Filipinos, but their labor of love and dedicated service are not left unnoticed by the proudest of us all – GOD.