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Christian group members await 'end of the world' in Philippines

posted 21 May 2011, 08:52 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 May 2011, 08:55 ]

U.S. and Filipino volunteers of Christian group Family Radio - who are predicting that the world will today - await the final judgement after sunset in the Philippines.

BULACAN PROVINCE, PHILIPPINES (MAY 21, 2011) REUTERS - Volunteers from U.S.-based Christian group Family Radio were cooped up at home with their families on Saturday (May 21), the day they believed the world will end.

Darryl Smith and his wife Josie, who have been travelling around northern Philippines the past week to spread the prediction, spent what they believed were their remaining hours on earth with their two children in their home in Bulacan, a province north of Manila.

Smith, who refused to speak on camera, told Reuters over the phone that he wanted to spend the day with his wife and children since he was not able to see them much due to his travels.

The couple and their two children were holed up in a small bedroom at their house since this morning, reading the bible together and praying for their friends and families. Other members of the group stayed home with their loved ones on Saturday as well.

Smith said he believed they will be lifted up to heaven after sunset of May 21, which Family Radio says to be the start of Judgement Day.

But Josie Smith's mother, Dionesia Rivera, said she does not believe in the May 21 prediction, sharing the scepticism of most people that the group has come across. But she said she was there to support her daughter in case the failure of the prediction affects the group.

"They might be humiliated for what they did in the past since it might not happen. They might think badly of themselves, and might do something to themselves. That's why we're here for them," Dionesia Rivera said.

Rivera said her husband and daughter will be with Josie and Darryl Smith during sunset - whatever may happen to the world.

The May 21 end day prediction came from Family Radio president Harold Camping, who said he came to believe it through a series of mathematical calculations from the unravelling of codes behind the story of the great flood in the Christian Bible.

According to the prediction, a massive quake would hit the world at sunset for 24 hours, and would kill millions of people, while those who believed in the prophecy would be spared of the tribulation and be with God in heaven.

Camping has made two Judgement Day predictions - one for September 1994 and this recent one for May 21, 2011. After his initial prediction failed, he was convinced that the 2011 prediction would definitely come true.

A Majority of people who have heard of the prophecy did not believe it, and called the group false prophets or kooks. But some said they felt uneasy about the prediction.

"I think we need to prepare, because either way even if it's a prediction or not, we know in ourselves that we should prepare for whatever may happen. Anyway, they say that nobody can tell when the time comes. We can vanish anytime," said Alan Pua, a student at a Catholic college.

As the clock struck six in the afternoon, the beginning of the prophesied Judgement Day - nothing happened in Manila.

Life went on in the streets, and people went about their business.

But Darryl Smith said he believes that Judgement Day will still happen by the end of May 21, and will continue to wait inside their home.

Family Radio came to the Philippines in May, spreading end day predictions to the predominantly Catholic country.