I was even hostile to him then because of his constant criticism of the Catholic Church.
By Josel Mallari
I would say that God used my father’s authority, being the head of our family, as an instrument in calling me to the fold of the Church of God. He encouraged me to attend worship service in Apalit, Pampanga in the Philippines for me to be able to listen to Bro. Eli’s preaching.
Actually, he met Bro. Eli in a business transaction. He wasn’t a member yet of this congregation. That time, I was not close to my father. I couldn’t remember any instance when I approached him just to ask for money. Whenever I was in need of money, I would always turn to my mother.
It was in 1983 that I got the chance to listen to Bro. Eli for the first time – through the persistence of my parents. There were occasions in the past when Bro. Eli would go to our house, but to me it was no big deal then. In fact, I was even hostile to him then because of his constant criticism of the Catholic Church.
But when I started to listen with an open mind to Bro. Eli’s mention of the erroneous doctrines of the Catholics, I suddenly felt that God was calling me. Thereafter, I turned away from the Catholic Church and joined the Church of God for one compelling reason – the doctrines. Both of my parents were baptized in November, 1983, but eight months after, I followed suit. I was baptized by Bro. Antonio “Teno” de Castro in June 12, 1984.
When I became a member of this congregation, I immediately broke off with my girlfriend. From the doctrines, which I have heard, I came to understand that we were too young for such matters. I was only 16 that time. That was why even without being told by anyone, I readily decided to put an end to our relationship.
It was due to my earnest desire to be of help to Bro. Eli in spreading the Word of God that made me decide to join the Workers Ministry. I was given my first assignment in Dolores, San Fernando, Pampanga in September 1986. As a neophyte, I was of course nervous. Initially, I was just a half-timer. There was an instance when it was right in the locale where I was assigned that Bro. Eli attended a worship service and I was not aware of it. The following week, I was no longer a half-timer.
In order to be full-time worker, I decided to quit college. My parents disliked my decision, and because of that, they got angry with me. But I had to stand by my decision even if it was against their will. And through God’s mercy I was able to continue on with my work because of the advices and reminders of Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel. I was also strengthened to go on.
As a worker, I also had my shortcomings. It had even reached a point where I was already contemplating on giving up because I had perceived myself to be unworthy of my position. I also felt frustrated because I just couldn’t attain goals that I have set for my self, and that was to be an effective and efficient worker.
Considering the number of years that I have spent in the ministry, I have already encountered a number of unforgettable experiences. One of them was when I was assigned in the mountainous San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. That time, worship services were being held every Sunday. Most of the brethren were poor. I was told that, for the brethren to have something to offer to their assigned worker, they had to stretch whatever was available. For instance, if they happened to catch a mudfish on Wednesday, they would have to take care of the fish until Sunday so that, when the worker comes, they would have something to feed him. That was why when they invited me to eat, I really had a hard time swallowing the food they served me. Not for anything else, but simply because I knew that they really had to sacrifice just to give me something to eat.
I was by then a worker when I became the floor director in Bro. Eli’s program over Channel 13. That was perhaps in 1990. I was only 22 years old then. But when we moved to Channel 29, Bro. Eli, all of a sudden, invited me to join them in the panel. I wasn’t prepared for it, but who could afford to say “no” to the invitation of Bro. Eli? So I borrowed somebody else’s “barong,” which was a bit loose, but I wore it nevertheless. And from that time on, I become a regular member of “Ang Dating Daan’s” panel, with Bro. Eli as the main host.
On the other hand, Bro. Daniel and I became close to each other when both of us were assigned as Officers-in-Charge of Metro Manila Division. But prior to that appointment, I was a personal aide to Bro. Eli. Aside from being a regular worker, we were taught by Bro. Eli to conduct indoctrinations and assemblies to be able to convert people to serve God. I was also appointed to baptize in our congregation.
These duties had given me the chance to see how great the responsibility of Bro. Eli is. Whenever we would be holding our broadcasts, he would double check that all of those who are asking for Bibles are being attended to. He would also see to it if there is enough food, not only for all the visitors, but also for the members of the crew. He always wanted to be sure that nobody is left unattended. That is how caring Bro. Eli is. I have seen how dedicated he is in the performance of his duties. Even during the time that Lolita Hizon showered him with several court cases, he never failed to hold broadcasts.
Bro. Eli has always been very persevering. In the past, after our broadcast, that would be around 1:00AM, we would go straight to Balintawak market to buy all the “lumpia” ingredients. I have seen how Bro. Eli exhausted all ways and means of earning clean and honest money – be it big or small. He never wasted time. In fact, he hardly took a rest because after cooking and selling “lumpia” the whole day, he would be preparing for either a broadcast or a public meeting in the evening.
When I became an OIC in 1993, I felt that greater responsibilities that go with my service to God had been vested on my shoulders. And the more I felt its weight when I became a Minister-in-Charge.
As days go by, the congregation likewise grows. I could feel a little pressure because I know very well that there are still lots of things that ought to be done. But I thank God because Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel are always here to teach and guide us.
First published in Believer News Magazine, Feb. 2005