The Filipinos At The UPCI General Conference 2008
From Greensboro, North Carolina…
The exposure of our fellow Filipinos who attended the recent UPCI General Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina was an overwhelming experience. Our active participation in this type of event has led us to an increase of exposure and promotion of our Filipino Outreach in North America. Nothing quite like this has ever done before in the history of UPCI General Conference, at least not in the United States and Canada.
The Filipino Mass Choir was unique and only one of its kind. There were more or less 70 Filipinos who participated and joined the Mass Choir. These were folks who came from all over the United States, Canada, and from the Philippines. Most of the choir members have not met each other before. The songs were totally unknown and foreign to most of them. But thank God for the exceptional ability of our leadership in coordinating the song practices remotely through internet video that came handy with the song lyrics and live lessons of music parts for all the participants. When these folks arrived to the event, they were ready to be put on stage.
Friday Night Home Missions Service, the Filipino Mass Choir was on the platform throughout the service. Reverend Don Hanscom, the Multi-Cultural Director of Home Missions Division, introduced the Filipinos very favorably to several thousand attendees of the conference and they were received with standing ovation and warm approbation. And once again, the contagious revivalist spirit of the Filipinos took over… and made an incredible legacy of experience for our generations to come.
Saturday, the day after the Mass Choir event, there was a Multi-Cultural service which was focused on Filipino Service. The Filipinos sang again, and our Filipino Pastor Ryan Valenzuela from Maui, Hawaii did a fantastic job in preaching to us with such a powerful and anointed message. This talented and energetic young man is truly a gift of God to the Filipino Evangelism in North America. That service was concluded with wet eyes, and apostolic roars from all corners of the room which are evident signs of God’s mighty outpouring of great revival.
All the songs we sang were not only unique and noteworthy, they were also composed originally by our very own local talents. The lyrics of “Praise the Lord” was composed by Pastor Glenn and Sister Megan Villarin, music arranged by Brother Yoyong Nalasa, …and we sang it in 7 major languages. The lyrics of “Let’s Rise Up and Build”, was composed originally by Sister Irene Chavez and Pastor Glenn Villarin. The song “Temple of Praise” was by Brother Yoyong Nalasa.
And the cultural “barong” attire of all the men, and the women in black and white, added the spice to their incredible singing performance. Overall, the presence of the Filipinos at the UPCI General Conference was remarkably awe-inspiring.
We want to express our sincere appreciation to the Home Missions Division under the direction of Reverend Carlton Coon Sr. for showing their high confidence to the Filipinos. They could have chosen other groups to sing for that special night, but they handpicked us because they believe in the Filipinos.
Our hats off appreciation to Pastor Jess Fortaleza, our National Filipino Evangelism Coordinator of North America, who led our fellows to a remarkable experience; the result was a big pay-off for his hard work. But he said he could have never made it without those people who rallied behind him. He is extending his deep gratitude to all the Mass Choir members, all the Church Pastors who supported by sending Filipinos to participate in the choir, and all the Filipino Ministers who unselfishly worked with him behind the scene.
Big thanks and congratulations also to Pastor Glenn Villarin who did an excellent job in directing the Mass Choir; the musicians, Pastor Nestor Villarin, Brother Yoyong Nalasa and Brother Daryll Villarin who were outstanding in handling of the music.
Nonetheless, all of these were never ever to be accomplished without the leading and powerful anointing of our Holy God, our Lord Jesus Christ. ALL THE GLORY AND HONOR GOES TO HIM!
Just like the lyrics in one of the songs we sang, I would say, “Tsang May Zhu” (Chinese), “Aruji-O Sansho Shimasu!” (Japanese), “Gloria A Dios!” (Spanish), “Jai Masih Deh!” (Indian Hindi), “Yawaste ki Itaca!” (Native American), “Praise the Lord!”, “Purihin ang Panginoon!”
Brother Mike S Lacsamana
Kent, Washington U.S.A.