This is what I was looking for. This is the realization of a dream I once had: I had gone out of a church, which was made of stone, and I entered a humble house, which is our congregation.
By Dino Hilario
It was in 1988 when I first heard Bro. Eliseo Soriano in the “Genius Family” program of Manolo Favis in DZBB. Since I was an avid fan of Chiquito, my fondness for comedy made me enjoy listening to the preacher, the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International.
Bro. Eli was very frank, but sincere in preaching the word of God. He spoke in a straightforward manner and sometimes he would inject facts of life in humorous way. Eventually, I became his enthusiastic listener.
Aside from that, I was also an avid fan of Toyota and Ginebra basketball teams. My uncle was a coach of the Toyota team then. At that time, the basketball games on TV and Bro. Eli’s program on radio were being broadcast at the same time slot. But instead of watching Ginebra, I chose to listen to Bro. Eli.
After one year of listening to him, I decided to be indoctrinated. But before officially joining the Church of God, I broke up with my girlfriend first. The teachings of God about marriage made me decide to do so. God has pre-requisites for marriage and not everybody is qualified for one ordained by God.
I underwent indoctrination in January 1989, in the Locale of Emilia by Bro. Josel Mallari. I was still addicted to cigarettes that time, but by the middle of the indoctrination sessions I had totally stopped smoking through God’s grace, and also because of my serious desire to join this Church organization.
On January 19, 1989 I was baptized by Bro. Teno de Castro in Sulipan River of Apalit, Pampanga. I became very active then because of my involvement in the National Choir for one and a half years. That time the choir was still under the supervision of Bro. Edong Erese. Bro. Eli used to call us “pa-morningan choir” (choir until dawn) because we used to rehearse till dawn.
In 1990 I entered the Workers’ Ministry. I prefer being a church worker because I’m happier here, to being a choir member. That maybe my calling and since I wanted to be a full-time worker, I left my job in the government. At that time, ministerial classes were being held every last Friday of the month. That made it difficult for me to work.
I decided to quit so I could have more time as a church worker. But deep down, I always had this feeling of joy whenever I was attending the ministerial class. In fact, I would sit at the front row.
A ministerial class was always enjoyable due to Bro. Eli’s way of preaching. From time to time, he would be cracking jokes. His style of preaching inspired me a lot so I tried to adopt it, but I see to it that even if I am throwing some jokes, whenever I am preaching the word of God, the message will always be there and people will learn from it. This way, although we are in the midst of problems, we would be able to take them in a lighter way with God’s help and mercy.
My first assignment by level was with Kawan ng Cordero (Flock of the Lamb) at Locale of Kabihasnan, Paranaque in the year 1990. My first assignment for a Worship Service was also in Kabihasnan. I was appointed District Servant in 1996. And from then on, I have been assigned to different places.
Although there were lots of trials, with the help of God, and with the guidance of our leaders, I am able to continue with my service to God. I was appointed as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) in January 2004. My first assignment was in the Division of Quezon, Marinduque and Bicol.
When I was designated as OIC, I felt I was incapable of handling the great task that God entrusted to me considering my shortcomings. Never did it enter my mind that I would become a Baptizer in our congregation, a duty which was entrusted to me August 2001. I would say that I have been very lucky. Although I didn’t obtain a higher position in my previous work in the government, I became an Officer-in-Charge, and at the same time, a Baptizer in our congregation.
My relatives kept on telling me that if I had continued with my job in the government, maybe I could have had a higher position now. But at present, I feel so secured. This is what I was looking for. This is the realization of a dream I once had: I had gone out of a church, which was made of stone, and I entered a humble house, which is our congregation.
First and foremost, I thank the Almighty God and, secondly, both Bro. Eli who was the instrument of God in opening my eyes to understand the word of God, and Bro. Daniel who would encourage me to continue with my service to God.
I owe everything to God and I thank Him for giving me brethren and family who are always there for me. I would say that since I started to serve God, my life has changed. Until now, with the Lord’s help, I am able to continue with my service to God. It is because of His Words, which had been deeply implanted in my heart.
First published in Believer Newsmagazine, Feb. 2005