History of Brethren of Christ International
Brethren of Christ International is a mission church with the purpose of taking the Gospel to countries and individuals around the world. We take seriously the last command of the Lord recorded in Matthew 28:19 to “Go and make disciples to all Nations.”
Our primary objective is “To radiate the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit through His Son Jesus Christ in an unselfish service to humanity.”
We believe in a holistic ministry. Not forgetting the lost and the needy also as stated in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the last of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Aren’t we the brethren of Christ anyway? Hebrews 2:11 “For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all one: for which cause, he is not ashamed to call them brethren”.
Its Origin in the Philippines
Rev. Rodrigo Almosara was saved under the ministry of the late Rev. Harry A. Lorenzo, who started the Apostolic faith crusades in San Jose City. When Rev. Rodrigo O. Almosara answered the call of the Lord to leave everything behind, including his careers on April 22, 1977, he and his wife Victoria went on full-time ministry by faith and ministered to the needs of the brethren in San Jose City and vicinity under the Apostolic Faith Church.
The Brethren of Christ in the Philippines, Inc. was birthed out of the need of the community and compassion for the poor with the mission of “Radiating the Love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit through His Son Jesus Christ in an Unselfish Service to Humanity” on July 12, 1979. The new church became independent from the Apostolic Faith and was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 31, 1982, as a legal organization.
The organization was guided by the vision: “Go and Make Disciples to all Nations” (Matthew 28:19) and started a holistic ministry as stated in Matthew 25:40, “In as much as ye have done it to the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it to me.”
Brethren of Christ International in Hawaii
It was in the year 1982 when the majority of the Almosara family migrated to the United States, particularly Hawaii. Having been founded on the fullness of the Gospel truth with his whole family actively involved in church activities while in the Philippines, Santiago B. Almosara, Sr., the father and oldest of the Almosaras tried to safeguard the seed of faith and the Word of God sown in the hearts of his wife Dolores and their children. Immediately upon settling in Hawaii, they looked for a church where they could attend and worship together. Throughout those years, however, it was his heart’s desire to maintain and uphold the way of worship in accordance with the beliefs and doctrines of faith and working of the Holy Spirit that they had adhered to while in the Philippines.
Santiago B. Almosara, Sr. died on April 2, 1990, at the age of 86. It was during this time of mourning that the Almosara clan felt the need to reunite themselves under one faith and one God. On April 14, 1990, being the eldest son, Rev. Rodrigo O. Almosara left for Hawaii to officiate his father’s funeral. It was the Holy Week Observance and most of the offices were closed. He only had 2 days to prepare the proper documents for his travel, including his passport and a tourist’s visa. It would be a miracle to make it happen. As he prayed to God, He reminded him of all his friends as a member of the Regional Development Council III. He went to Secretary Chito Sobrepena, who was the Cabinet Secretary of the late Ms. Corazon Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines at that time.
With his recommendation, all the legal requirements were settled and the staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs personally accompanied him to get his Philippine passport. The next day was Wednesday and his only chance to get his U.S. visa. He was anxious because Thursday was a holiday. Governor Roberto Pagdanganan, who was then Governor of the Province of Bulacan, gave him a letter addressed to the U.S. Consul General Beardsley. The Honorable Beardsley was the governor’s best friend, and he requested an immediate issuance of his visa to Hawaii. He was interviewed personally by the Consul General and right away that morning he was issued a U.S. travel visa. It was really a miracle! With God, all things are possible. He arrived in Hawaii the next day, Thursday.
During the ensuing two months that he was in Hawaii, along with the majority of his brothers and sisters, they formally organized the Brethren of Christ in Hawaii (BCH) on July 12, 1990. The first members of the Board of Directors were Santiago O. Almosara Jr., Benjamin C. Tiburcio, Sara A. Tiburcio, and Judith A. Kidd. BCH was formally registered with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as a legal organization on August 23, 1990. Members of the Almosara family and friends of Dolor (Santie’s wife) constituted the first members of the church. Services were held at the Tiburcio residence at 91-619 Kilaha St. #60, Ewa Beach, Hawaii 96706.
In November of 1991, Rev. Almosara visited Hawaii once again, this time with his wife Victoria. It was during this visit that services were started at the Campbell High School drama room, every Sunday afternoon, as it was the only available room and schedule then. It was not until March of 1992, before they returned to the Philippines, that BCH was registered with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) as a tax-exempt religious organization. It was then that he was petitioned as pastor of the church.
On May 10, 1993, Vicky, and four of their children, Lorenza Love, Ernest Christian, Rodrigo, Jr., James Paul, and Pastor Rod arrived in Hawaii to minister to the spiritual needs of the brethren, especially to the Filipino community. The Brethren of Christ in Hawaii was formally opened and conducted services at the Ewa Beach Community Park building on July 4, 1993, with 8 adults and 4 children in attendance with Pastor Rod as the pastor. A few months later, as each initial member eagerly invited friends and family, attendance increased remarkably.
On March 1995, the Brethren in Hawaii had its first outreach to the Mainland, USA. Brother Santiago O. Almosara, Jr. felt the Lord’s calling for him in the ministry.
So, on March 19, 1995, the Brethren of Christ Church in Victorville, California was consecrated and inaugurated for the glory of God with Santiago O. Almosara, Jr. and his wife Dolor as the assigned pastor.
To cater to the needs of the emerging outreaches and branches not only in Hawaii but as well as in the Mainland, the name Brethren of Christ in Hawaii was amended last March 31, 1995, and was changed to Brethren of Christ International. In September of 1999, the Brethren of Christ International moved to its new location at 94-133 Pahu Street, Waipahu, Hawaii. Today, the Brethren of Christ International church in Hawaii is the main support church to all its daughter churches in the states and the Philippines.
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