Many preachers and leaders of different religious organizations comprised the membership of this panel. Although it was my first time to listen to the program, I noticed at once that most of the listeners were looking for Bro. Eli.
By Rolan Ocampo
One of my classmates in college invited me to listen to the pastors of the Evangelical Church. I accepted his invitation. Later on, I became interested in reading the Bible, so I bought my own copy of the Bible, and I read it from Genesis to the Book of Revelation. Eventually, I was baptized in this church but after sometime I stopped attending their gatherings. I noticed that the pastor spent more time in telling stories than in preaching the Word of God as written in the Bible. I then continued to examine other religions.
It was in 1983 that I got the chance to listen to the program of Mr. Manolo Favis, “Dis is Manolo and his Genius Family.” Many preachers and leaders of different religious organizations comprised the membership of this panel. They were being asked by the listeners on matters concerning the Bible.
Although it was my first time to listen to the program, I noticed at once that most of the listeners were looking for Bro. Eli. They wanted him to answer their queries about the teachings of God. I went to school the following day and I excitedly told my classmate, Jem, about Bro Eli and what I had observed.
Jem Villarico invited me to go to DZBB. There, we saw Bro. Eli and we were able to talk to him for a while. When I reached home, I heard him in the radio program discuss the Kingdom of God. And while listening to him, I felt something unexplainable. Everything that he said was based on the Bible.
When a question was thrown to him, he would really give an answer by reading verses of the Bible. From his discussions, I came to understand that the Kingdom of God on earth is the Church of God. I truly admired his manner of preaching.
I listened to Bro. Eli just once and as I listened to him, I was able to see the great difference between my former religion and the group that Bro. Eli led. I immediately looked for a coordinating center of their group to be able to attend a gathering and most of all, to be able to see Bro. Eli once again. From Meycauayan, I went to the church locale in Emilia, Makati.
I would say that my long search was nothing compared to hearing the enlightening preaching of Bro. Eli. Although I was employed then, I decided to resign and join Bro. Eli despite the fact that I was not a member yet of the congregation that he led.
Listening to him for just one night made me decide to undergo indoctrination. On February 29, 1984 I was baptized by Bro. Antonino de Castro at the river of San Marcos, Calumpit, Bulacan. When I became a member of this group, I attained peace of mind. I began to see how important life is, if we have God in our lives.
Later on, I attended the ministerial classes. I was able to witness how Bro. Eli cared for the brethren and the congregation. This was what encouraged me to join the Workers Ministry. I also saw Bro. Eli’s effort to earn just to sustain the propagation of the Word of God and to help the needy brethren. We would sell “lumpia” which he cooked. We would sell “tocino” and “longanisa” in different places, such as Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and others. I still remember then that after his broadcast in DZBB, he would be feeding the panelists. From DZBB, we would go straight to Balintawak to buy cabbages and different ingredients for “lumpia.” For six years, I and other brethren were doing that with Bro. Eli.
I found out that I can also help in preaching the Word of God under the supervision of Bro. Eli. Through God’s help my first assignment was the locale of San Fernando, Pampanga. I was very happy when I was given my first assignment.
After a few years, I was entrusted with a very sensitive position – I became an Officer-in-Charge. Deep within me, I was quite worried that I might not be able to live up to what was expected. In the end, I just entrusted everything to God. I prayed to Him that He help me fulfill my duties faithfully.
In 2001, our over-all Presiding Minister appointed me to become a Minister-in-Charge. In doing my service to God, I had the words of Bro. Eli deeply implanted in my heart, “Love the ministry; love our brethren.” These words linger in my mind wherever I am assigned because I have witnessed personally how Bro. Eli loves the Ministry. Despite the travails and the persecutions he would experience, he remains undaunted in preaching the Word of God.
I saw how much Bro. Eli loved the congregation. His primary concern is the welfare of the brethren. There are times when, even though he doesn’t have money, he would borrow from others just to have something to give to a brother who is in need.
I am very thankful to God for giving us the kind of leaders we have. Bro. Daniel, in its truest sense, is a real brother in faith who is always ready to help and understand, a brother that would surprise you. And Bro. Eli is the best thing that ever happened to me. He is one of a kind; he is beyond compare as a preacher, as a parent, and as a leader.
First published in Believer Newsmagazine, Feb. 2005