By Jocelyn Bautista
April 23 of this year marks my 10th year in the Church. I thank God that I have stayed this far, and I pray to remain so, until it is time for me to go.
My story began at the height of my career. I was in my early 30’s. At that time, I thought I had the world in my hands. I changed car every 3 years, courtesy of the company I worked for. I was the first to have a cell phone in our area, a nice house, and a first class tutor for my 2 kids (a retired principal), and 3 maids in the house.
I traveled the whole country, in the guise of attending PICPA conventions every now and then. When school permitted, I brought the kids with me. I enrolled as a life time member of Slimmers World. I looked so good at that time. My life was envied as most people said so. And most of all I was a “catholic”.
What I didn’t understand was that there were times I felt uneasy, kind of afraid of something, but I didn’t know why. With all those trimmings, insurances included, I still developed fear. I feared that I would lose my job; that I would develop sickness of whatever kind and such like. And so I was always at the Makati Medical Center. I had vertigo. My blood pressure was high.
During those times, I had the chance to see Bro. Eli in his program on television. I know it was in the early years of their programming, because the set up was kind of “no class” as I termed it. I will never forget it – the green curtains, moving – and I said to myself at that time, “What kind of religion is this, that it cannot afford to install aircon in their studio?”
One day, my job was gone, the company I worked for closed shop, and my world collapsed. At that time I thought I would not survive. To make the long story short, since I lost my job, I watched television all day, as part of being depressed, I guess.
It was a blessing in disguise though, because I needed something spiritual to uplift my life, which my catholic priest could not give. As I listened to Bro. Eli, I said to myself, “And I was just ignoring you for the past several years, and here you are saying what I wanted to hear a long time ago.” By this time I was in my middle forties. It took me two weeks of listening to his program, “Itanong mo Kay Soriano” (Ask Bro. Eli), then I called in to say that I wanted to join the mass indoctrination.
While with the Church, I had several small jobs outside, and with the last one I had, I was asked to leave. All I did was to lend money to my staff because she needed it for the hospitalization of her son. Their charge was that I must not lend money to the staff because that will develop a “gratitude feeling” on the part of my subordinate. I didn’t understand it even until now. What I remember was that my boss didn’t want me to report the mistakes of the department.
And so I went to South Korea. This was in September, 2004. I was invited by my sister who worked inside the US Base and she found a sponsor for me. I worked as a domestic helper from then on.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. What I know of is that if I am with God, nothing can go wrong. And most of all, the fear is gone; instead a peaceful heart resides inside of me now. I am a church worker.
I may pursue my continuing education here in the US while waiting for my green card as a student visa holder, so I can take the board examination for Certified Public Accountants. I may or I may not pass the CPA board, but who cares. After all, what good is a career if I cannot use it for the Church? At the moment, being an accountant in the Church is not a big deal. There is nothing much to account for anyway. Besides, Bro. Josel Mallari, in one of my encounters with this Minister-In-charge (MIC), said that the highest profession is that of being a church worker. And I know he is right.
Used to the good things while at the height of my career, and without a stable job and a good pay, it was not easy to adopt easily to the present condition. I have the feeling though that God took away the job I loved so much so that I will see His glory. I am humbled.
While inside the Church, I realize that the best way is to be the least of all. It is not that easy though as I am used to leading and I find it hard to follow. Woman that I am, sometimes I forget that women in the Church should seal their lips.
My family is another thing. They could not understand why an accountant like me suddenly is contented in working as domestic helper. To me, what good is an accountant job if it prevents me from attending services regularly?
The best that I see is the mystery revealed every time Brother Eli speaks before us. Never have I encountered a man who can answer questions from the simplest to the most intricate things of the bible.
To entrust your soul to a person is something else. He must be somebody who is all-knowing of the things of God. And to me that is Bro. Eliseo Soriano.