Friday, January 18, 2013

2012 in Review (Part 1): Joy Church Silver Anniversary

This January, for my traditional reviewing of the previous year, I will be writing a series of articles that would recap or evaluate some (if I have the time, then all) of the highlights of 2012 that involved, concerned, compelled, and/or fascinated me… this is the first part…

2012 marked the fifth year since our family left our old denomination (since we couldn’t conform to the erroneous core doctrines that had just been established then) and started attending Bicol Presbyterian Joy Church (or Joy Church for short).  Our 5 years in Joy Church was full of God’s blessings and great testimonies, indeed.  Coincidently, the year 2012 – specifically December – also marked the 25th year of Joy Church’s foundation.  And for the celebration of its Silver Anniversary, Joy Church produced its grandest, most ambitious, most miraculous, and most grace-filled event to date!  And it was such an overwhelming honor to be part of it.   

There was no holding back in celebrating this milestone.  Albay Astrodome – the largest event place in the city, capable of seating about 6,000 – was chosen to be the venue.  A big evangelical concert – featuring the different performing ministries of Joy Church, from music to dance to drama – was planned.  Performers from Korea – brethren who we had already invited before in the past to perform in some of our previous evangelical endeavors – were asked to participate in it.  5,000 attendees were the target amount – a majority of which should be unbelievers, since the main purpose of this massive event was the sharing the Gospel. 

So as soon as the year 2012 started, preparation for it started.  Spearheaded by our Spirit-filled visionary pastor, members started preparing for the Silver Anniversary throughout the year until the set date of December 2 by praying, giving special offerings (for the anniversary) every Sunday, praying, planning and organizing, praying, picking out and practicing the performances, praying, contacting and setting up the necessary services (advertisement, chairs, logistics, sounds, lights, fireworks, documentation, etc.) needed, and praying some more. 

The event was themed “Joyers, Arise, Shine!” and was separated into two parts: part 1 was the divine worship, and part 2 was the concert proper.  As the days grow closer to the event, aggressive advertizing was done through Facebook, radio, and the handing out of invitations (10,000 of which were prepared) by Joy Church members to family, friends, and acquaintances – preferably, unbelievers (again, the primary purpose of this grand event was for sharing the Gospel).
Financing such huge affair and drawing 5,000 people to the event to fill up Albay Astrodome were insanely impossible through human eyes.  But all things are possible with God… thus, despite the great odds stacked against it, the Silver Anniversary had been a smashing success!  God provided the necessary funding and God packed Astrodome with people!
Definitely, all glory to Him alone! 

Below are some videos taken from the official DVD of Joy Church’s Silver Anniversary.  Of course, since this is my site and my review, the videos featured are those performances that I’ve been part of.  LOL.  To view the entire content of the DVD and all performances, visit the official Facebook page of Joy Church

The first part was the divine worship.   Here are the videos of the praise and worship (in which I play the keyboards) as Joy Music Team led everyone in singing “One Day”, “Shout of the King”, and “Great is the Lord”:

After the praise and worship, (in which I would shift to the guitar; it would be the instrument I would play throughout the rest of the event) the Joy Music Team then played some hymns (in their Filipino translations) with Joy Church’s mini-orchestra (which my sister Wanda – playing violin – is part of):

Pastor Jose Dasco was the guest speaker for the divine worship.  More than half in attendance were non-believers, thus, more than 2,500 non-believers were able to hear the Gospel through Pastor Dasco. 

After the divine worship was Part 2, the concert proper.  Before I proceed with the performances from Joy Church, let me first discuss of the guest performers…

The two Korean guest performers that Joy Church had invited for the event were the Korean Traditional Arts Team (they first visited and performed in our event in BU Amphitheater last November 2011) and Yesua Band (who was the special guest during our concert at Albay Park last August 2010).
The four ladies of the Korean Traditional Arts Team – as the name suggests – performed Korean dances, played Korean native instruments, and one song (in Korean, of course). 
And Yesua Band had their trademark set of hymn instrumentals in their own catchy style.  The line-up of Yesua Band that performed in the Silver Anniversary Concert was different from the line-up when they first came here.  The bassist and pianist were new.  There was no longer a guitarist.  The trombonist – who fronted the band alongside the leader, the trumpeter – was gone.  Only Pastor Lim, the leader and trumpeter, and Kevin, the drummer, were left from the previous line-up.
A pleasant unexpected surprise, though, is they were able to bring world-class genius violinist Eugene Park with them.  Mr. Park performed with Yesua Band, as well as having his own separate set.  (Eugene Park is still a baby Christian being discipled by his manager, who is a Christian and is the one who encouraged him to be part of Joy Church’s anniversary.  I pray that he, in the end, will really begin to have a sincere and deep faith and relationship with God, so that his musical passion will be more effectively channeled, that is, doing it all for God, and, thus, creating the most excellent music that he can possibly do in each of his performance – music that is fit for the King of Kings!)     

One important and touching note: I heard that prior to coming to Legazpi to participate in Joy Church’s Silver Anniversary, Yesua Band held a concert for the benefit of Joy Church’s Silver Anniversary.  The money they raised for admission on that concert was donated to help in the expenses for Joy Church’s Silver Anniversary. 
The non-Korean guest performers we invited were our long-time friends and concert collaborators (they invite us in their events, we invite them in ours), the SOP Band.
I was surprised they didn’t do that fancy instrumental sequences of theirs when they played their flagship composition, “Trip to Heaven (Happily Ever After).” 

These three guest acts were spread out during the concert flow and not necessarily in the order of my enumeration. 

And now for the performances from Joy Church (not necessarily in order)…

There were two dances performed by the Joy Dance Team.  First was the “How Great Thou Art” Fan Dance…

And then a powerful dance later on…

Floodgates’ covered (the ever Floodgates’ favorite) DC Talk’s “Jesus Freak” and Gary V’s “Shout for Joy”...

 This was followed immediately by our rendition of Hillsong Kids’ “Alive”, “Get Up and Dance”, and “Royalty…

The Hand Mime Team, er, hand mimed “Who Am I”…

There was a new mime performance (after years of Sin Chair. lol) by the Joy Mime Team as well.  Careyl played the lead, representing humanity.  Joneil played God/Jesus.  Chano played Satan, the deceiver and destroyer.  Zion played a scientist-demon representing the false god, Science; pretending to know all the answers, but denies the existence of the burden of sin.  Kim played a banker-demon representing materialism and love of wealth; giving the illusion of freedom but would actually bankrupt someone until he or she carries a heavier burden of sin.  I play the albularyo-demon representing the occult, false religions, and worldly superstitions; providing temporary release from the burden of sins through bogus religious practices but actually only adds to its weight.  Carlo played the homosexual friend-demon, representing worldly and sinful pleasures, as he leads Careyl’s character to Basil, who played a gigolo/stripper-demon, representing lust and sexual sin.  Here’s how it went: 

Also, we had a musical drama that has a simple plot but powerful message…

Before the last part of the concert, Pastor Lee delivered a testimony and an “Amazing Grace”song number.  Unfortunately, I can not find an accompanying picture for this.

The last part was a powerful praise and worship – the songs were “Take It All”, “Trading My Sorrows”, “What the World Will Never Take”, “How Great is Our God”, and “Hallelujah to the Lamb” – which culminated with church representatives joining the band on stage… Oh, this is the part where the fireworks were used (at the end of “Hallelujah to the Lamb”)…

My experience with Joy Church’s Silver Anniversary – from the year-long preparation leading to the event and at the event itself – is not only a highlight in my 2012 but in my life as well.  It was a wonderful experience where I was able to witness closely the mighty hand of God working.  As I’ve mentioned before, it was a miracle that it happened.  It was a miracle that it was victorious.  Surely, it couldn’t have been so without God. 

* * *

A coin has two sides.  Above, I only discussed of the positive side of the event.  Although, the positive of course greatly outweighs the negative, it can’t be denied that the negative exists.  From here on, I would be addressing the other side of the coin – the negative.  If you don’t want to know of the negative aspects, if you prefer to end this article in a positive note, I suggest that you should stop reading now and let the previous paragraph be the end of this recap. 

Still here? 

You sure?  Fine, here goes…

The video service company commissioned to cover the event and produce the official DVD of the Silver Anniversary charged a hefty price and stipulated that the full amount should be paid at front.  We complied and a contract was made.

So, here’s what happened…

STRIKE 1: The contract states that they should be there at 12 noon (so that they would have enough time to set up their video equipment), but they arrived late.  Because of that, the program, which was scheduled to start at 1pm, started late at around 2:30pm.  If you watched the videos above, you would notice that the crowd during the last praise and worship – the final part of the concert – has already greatly thinned compared to the big crowd during the beginning, as seen in the videos of the praise and worship of the divine worship.  Now, this is my opinion – and just my opinion – that if we were able to start on time (1pm) and finished on time (around 5pm) as planned, most of the audience will remain intact till the end.  Because of the delayed start, the concert was already pushing nighttime but the performances were about just halfway, thus, the people were already getting restless and hungry for their supper.  The event finished at about past seven.  About half of the initial crowd of more than 5,000 was gone by then.   (Thankfully though, when Pastor Dasco had shared the Gospel – which is the most important part –during the divine worship, they were all still there to hear it… what matters most is they got to hear the Gospel!)
To be fair, the fireworks technicians were late, too, and were also a cause of delay.  There was a gap of about half an hour between the end of the divine worship and the start of the concert as they set up the fireworks equipment.  So the delays were not totally all the video firm’s fault.  Maybe just about ¾ of it.           

STRIKE 2: The contract stated that the DVD should be finished in two weeks.  But they have just finished it this second week of January 2013 (that’s why it was only recently that I was able to upload the videos and start writing this recap).  Worse, when someone followed-up the DVD back in December, instead of apologies, she received scolding from the owner!  The nerve!

STRIKE 3: So it took more than a month, instead of the agreed two weeks, to assemble the official DVD of the Silver Anniversary.  I expected that being late in producing the DVD would ensure that they would have enough time in constructing an excellent piece of work.  Considering their expensive charging, I was expecting the video coverage and output to be the same kind of professional quality that we experienced when we performed at Will Graham’s crusade last 2011.  But what did we get?  The video editing was so terribly done!  Messy switching of camera perspectives which provoked a bit of nausea.  There were many parts where the audio is out of sync with the video.  There were cuts in the middle of performances. 

Yes, I am very much thankful for the DVD because through it, the grace of God during the Silver Anniversary can be relived!  However, considering the fact that this video service company’s output didn’t give justice to their expensive charging, and that they were rude and tardy, their service was a big disappointment.     

For what my recommendations are worth to you, I strongly advice that if you find yourself needing video documentation services, do not turn to D____ Studio.  That is all.      

(Hmmm.  Talking of milestones, this post is a milestone by its own: the first time I posted something as both a "My Thoughts" post and a "My Videos" post.  LOL. Click here for more video posts.)

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