I sat and listened the entire hour as he mentioned coherent statements from the Bible and quoting at the same time, “Bro. Eli said this… Bro. Eli explained that…”
By Robie Rose Demelletes
One somber afternoon, in the year 1998, I came home from school after my classes. I only attended half-day of it since we were having some school activities then. Weary and feeling a bit tired, I was approached by my mom gently who asked how my day was while feeding me.
I was thirteen years old then, already in my second year in high school. I can still remember that time when I had to follow my mom around, staying under her careful watch, in her protective, yet loving embrace.
After eating, she asked me to come with her to Davao City to attend to some errands. We were living in Panabo City then, just an hour ride by bus to Davao. Bursting with joy upon knowing that we’ll go to the city, spend some time at the malls and dine at our favorite restaurants, perhaps, after she finishes her errands, I cheerfully went along with her.
When the bus came to a halt, the excitement within me started to bubble to a certain point. With a rush of adrenaline, I came down the bus before my mom did. I was expecting to see a huge mall with a lot of entertaining stuffs to entice the young mind. But to my utter disappointment, I saw a simple two-story apartment bearing the sign “Ang Dating Daan Coordinating Center.”
Seeing the question clearly written all over my face, my mom gently told me, “Before going over to the mall or wherever you like, let’s go and check out first what this place is all about,” she said while pointing to the sturdy building before us.
Knowing now what’s in store for us inside, I had let her lead me to the opened doors of the center. As we entered the premises, I saw a man standing in front of the pulpit, speaking loudly to a few people.
As my curiosity got ahead of me, I sat down and started to listen attentively to every word he was saying. He was speaking about the Bible and some verses from it. I sat and listened the entire hour as he mentioned coherent statements from the Bible and quoting at the same time, “Bro. Eli said… Bro. Eli explained that…”
Towards the end of the discussion, I learned that his name was Bro. Rodel Mangiliman, a worker of the Church. He welcomed us to the congregation and spoke about what Ang Dating Daan was all about and that Bro. Eli Soriano was the Presiding Minister. He also lent us some video tapes to watch like Bible Expositions and Itanong mo kay Soriano (Ask Bro. Eli) episodes. Engrossed with what I was hearing about, the thought of going to the mall was quickly forgotten.
Since then, whenever my mom would ask me to go with her to the center to attend mass indoctrination, I would gladly go with her, thinking that I would once again hear the words of God through Bro. Eli Soriano. And I did – a number of times. As I matured, I found out this was a thousand times better than spending time mindlessly at the malls.
And on the eve of November 24, 1998, at exactly 9:00 p.m., I was baptized at the Gulf View of Davao, by Bro. Rodel Mangiliman, then Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Mindanao Division.
That was almost 14 years ago… and I can still vividly remember that one somber afternoon.