preacher of God

I and my Peers Drank Liquor Visibly as my Family Prayed and Worshipped Next Door

My family was attending services at a locale before. In my foolishness I timed my drinking with my peers in the store next door to that Ang Dating Daan church service so that my family would see me. I was not really rebelling, however. I was just doing that for the fun of doing it and to annoy them. I had no serious perspective about life then.


By Elizer Dizon

I came from world of troublesome youth. Being alive was enough. That was my philosophy before as I was godless and worldly. While growing up, I grew closer with my barkada (peers), who seemed to share the same philosophy as mine, than with my family. I became very attached with illegal activities that my peers were involved in. Sure, we were into underage alcohol drinking and smoking, but we got also involved in selling drugs. Such lifestyle was thrill to me, thus I had very little interest in other matters of life such as spirituality and religion. In fact, even after hearing Bro. Eli Soriano at the early age, I remained uninterested about religion.

My grandparents, my parents and some relatives were already members of the Church of God International, locally known by its radio and TV program, Ang Dating Daan. That was how I got acquainted with Bro. Eli Soriano and the Church he was presiding to even I was young. I often heared his broadcast over the television, but his words were just passing through my ear and coming out of the other. My heart was in the pleasures of the world so I my ears were elusive from listening to his preaching.

My impression was that my family was just wasting their time into the Church activities – they were so absorbed in it. I was doubting Bro. Eli when he talked about religion. Not that I was siding with other religion but he talked of things that contradicted my materialistic beliefs. Because of that, I opened myself to attend other religions’ gathering whenever some of my neighbors would invite me just to avoid Bro. Eli. I was able to attend the gatherings of Iglesia ni Cristo, and the many feasts being celebrated by the Catholics. But after hearing them, the more I lost interest in joining any religion.

My family was attending services at a locale before. In my foolishness I timed my drinking with my peers in the store next door to that Ang Dating Daan (MCGI) church service so that my family would see me. I was not really rebelling, however. I was just doing that for the fun of doing it and to annoy them. I had no serious perspective about life then.

I would say that was the influence of my rebellious peers. They were the ones who had real issues about their own families, but I had absorbed their thinking as well. It is only now I realised that it was anger that made them do those things. And I was blindly joining them. We got into street fights with other groups of boys for no definite reason at all. We just fell to picking on them and hurting them. For us, just a stare from other men was already a call to start a fight. That’s how troublesome we were.

Then it had gotten much serious. I was just fourteen years old when I started selling drugs as introduced to me by an acquaintance. In our place, selling marijuana was rampant like it was a common thing to sell in the neighborhood, particularly among the young people. The process was like this: I buy one fourth kilo of marijuana for 500 pesos, then I repack them for retail. Like the others, I use peanut stash to pack them. After selling them all, I gross 2,000 pesos, and this was big enough for me. Then there’s also shabu. Selling that drug is more profitable than selling marijuana, but customers of shabu in our area were seldom.

I lived my entire teenage years like that, not minding the dangers that might happen upon selling drugs and getting into fights. Like I said, it was thrill to me. Up until one time, my cousin who was also my childhood friend and already a member of Church of God, had invited me to attend the Mass Indoctrination. I knew that the indoctrination was the first step in joining the Church because I was hearing them from my parents and grandparents, so I refused. My cousin didn’t give up on me; he persisted. Finally, I agreed.

Then came the mass indoctrination. I found myself greatly interested in listening to Bro. Eli this time around. It felt like I was hearing Bro. Eli for the first time. Perhaps because the set of teachings was different from the usual topics he was discussing over his broadcasts. Or perhaps because I heard other preachers preach and I was able to compare his qualities to theirs.

I was amazed. Every time he spoke, it was based on the Bible. It was like finally understanding the verses from the Bible as he read them. When he spoke of the need to live in holiness, to leave the evil doings that men are indulged in today, it did not sound hypocritical as I was felt with other preachers. With him, it sounded real and compelling.

Suddenly, I started believing Bro. Eli. One might find this funny because I had been avoiding Bro. Eli’s preaching for a long time. Yet, there I was, eagerly agreeing with everything he was saying.

I think the timing worked on my favor as well because as I was undergoing the indoctrination, we left the neighborhood and moved to Sampaloc, Apalit – a much peaceful neighbourhood.

I was able to get away from my peers who influenced me badly. Then, I was also able to get employed in a restaurant where I worked as a cook. Life was getting better, I had no more reason to sell drugs as I can earn money legally. I chose to continue with my indoctrination sessions upon hearing the truth from the Bible and left my former way of life.

When baptism came, I didn’t hesitate anymore. I was baptized on July 17, 2009 by Bro. Rudy Alamares. It was an indescribable feeling. Everything seemed new. I felt light. It was like a heavy load inside of me was removed. I said to myself this is where I would want to be, and that there’s no more turning back.

I realized it was me – and not my family – who was wasting time doing worldly things when everything I needed to know to have a meaningful life was only within my reach. Before, I was thinking that being alive was enough. However, upon knowing the truth, my perspective changed: We need to serve and glorify God who has been doing great things in our own favor. Being alive is being blessed with many things such as the opportunity to know truth and know His will. With that, I know that I should be eternally grateful.

I thank God and the Lord Jesus Christ for giving me the opportunity to know Bro. Eli Soriano and his preaching. Through him, I was able to know the truth and I was saved from the potential dangers that could have happened if I continued with my former way of life. Having found the true Church, I am a changed man.


I was studying hard for a personal ambition, but it changed when I heard Bro. Eli’s preaching

I strongly believe that when one receives the real Christ in his heart and put on the armor of Christ, everything will be changed.

By Louie Gopez

I am now 19 years old, but more than a year in the Church of God. I come from San Fernando Pampanga, and the youngest among 8 siblings. My father, Domingo M. Gopez, died on November 9, 2000, and my mother, Priscilla R. Gopez, passed away on March 2, 2005. Hence, my older brother and sister took charge and became our parents.

As orphans, it was really hard for us because oftentimes others tended to oppress us. They knew that no one was going to defend us and they could do whatever they wanted. However, it is better to be quiet and be accepting of their persecutions than to waste our time dealing with them.

We were with no parents at a very young age. In fact, I was just a 10-year-old then, thus, I badly needed their affection and protection. At a very young age I had blamed God for all of the misfortunes that my siblings and I have experienced. Consequently, I realized that God has reasons why He let such things happen to us. Realizing this, I asked God for forgiveness and was deeply remorse with my careless thoughts.

Having no parents that would provide our needs, my siblings and I lived with destitution. My older brother and I even went to the waste area of the public market looking for leftover food from the trash to satisfy our hunger. We also collected plastic bottles and anything from the garbage, which can be sold to the junk shop to earn money. I believe that these experiences were allowed by God to happen in order to further strengthen us and enable us to face the realities of life.

Despite our condition, I finished my elementary and high school from Calulut Elementary School and Sindalan High School, respectively. Sadly, after graduating high school, my sister told me that she could no longer send me to college because of the high cost. I resorted to various ways to pursue my studies. I applied to numerous scholarships offered by various schools. I kept on searching and prayed to God to give me a scholarship grant. I was desperate to go to college.

Finally, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) contacted me to take their examination. TESDA was the answer to my prayer. I asked God’s guidance during the examination day. Thank God, I was one of the top 5 from the 13 passers among the innumerable examinees. I was very delighted and thankful as I received my Certificate of Completion for Computer Literacy during the awarding ceremony.

Subsequently, I decided to undergo my On-the-Job-Training (OJT) at TESDA to show my gratitude for the opportunity that they gave. I was very committed with my job as a data encoder. Most of the staff, employees and even the Director of TESDA Region III, Mr. Ben-Hur Baniqued, were very considerate with me. One fateful day, during the last day of my OJT, I met Mr. Albert Soriano. He happened to be the Registrar of La Verdad Christian College. One of my colleagues at TESDA recommended me to him as a candidate for scholarship to their prestigious institution. She told Mr. Soriano that I wanted to continue my education but has no means to do it.

Mr. Soriano told me that he would contact me for next semester’s examination and interview. It did not take long when I received a message from Mr. Soriano telling me that I needed to go to ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga to take the exam and interview. I went there even though I haven’t had any idea about the place, I just followed the directions he gave until I reached the place. After the process, I was advised that I passed the exam and interview. I was told that I could stay at the dormitory for free – another blessing from God.

I was asked to get my things because the opening of classes was just a few days away. When I got home, instead of feeling excited, I was actually lonely despite having the good results I prayed for. My dilemma was that I could not see myself leaving my family and friends because I was not used to being away from them for a long period of time. I sat at the corner and pondered on what I will do. If I pursue my studies, I will be missing them. I prayed to God to help me make the right decision because I was confused. In the evening, I made the decision to proceed and prepared my things as I had to leave the next day. Although, it was tough for me to leave my loved ones, I knew I had to do it to pursue my dreams: to finish my studies.

I took up Office Management at La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) in Apalit, Pampanga. I was also privileged to stay at the La Verdad Dormitory. I really thanked God for the scholarship. Being a scholar may not be easy as I needed to maintain an average grade (which should not be lower than 85) but I took this on with gratitude in my heart.

I am very thankful to Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, the founders of La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) who provide free education for the poor, for this grand opportunity. Studying with dedication is the only way I knew to return their kindness.

I take pride in being a La Verdarian. This is the very first time that I came across a school where everything is FREE! – free tuition and miscellaneous fees, free books and manuals, free school and P.E uniforms, free lunch meals, and free dormitory accommodation. At first, I did not believe it. But it is genuinely true that behind this institution are people who really care for the future of these poor.

I never knew Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel nor “Ang Dating Daan” before I became a student of LVCC. The interviewer even asked me if I know them. I answered “NO”, and they laughed saying “you should know them because they are the founders of the school.” They are also the leaders of Members Church of God International (MCGI). I feared of being discriminated as I was a Catholic member but I was wrong. I found out that whatever religion a student is affiliated in, whatever status in life, they will accept and respect you.

Most of my classmates who are members of Church of God International were always active in Church activities that I’m not very much familiar with. One time they invited me to attend their gatherings but I just ignored them. I was devoted and active in my religion. I was born a Catholic and I should die one. That was my belief. I promised myself that even if they will expel me, I would never join them!

One time, one of my professors (a member of MCGI), whom I respect highly, invited me to attend their Mass Indoctrination – composed of sessions teaching the doctrines of God. I did not have any idea what it was about. She told me that I could just listen and observe. Joining the Church is not required.

I accepted the invitation, and one of my roommates, also a member, accompanied me. On the first day of Mass Indoctrination and the first time I heard him preach, I was already amazed by Bro. Eli Soriano’s way of preaching – the way he talked, the way he acted, and the way he explained things – nobody showed and spelled out to me the way he did things. It is very different from the homily of our priest who always say “drink the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,”  or who just preach the same thing over and over again. To be honest, I have almost memorized the mass program.

But the teaching of Bro. Eli is in accordance with the Holy Scriptures as opposed to the priest’s sermon. I was silently thinking and saying to myself at the end of every indoctrination session,“Bro. Eli is telling the truth.” Then, the baptism day came. I was meditating and praying to God for guidance on what to do. I was afraid of what my family and friends will say about me.

I am supposed to be anxious that my family would hate or disown me when they come to know of me being affiliated with the Members Church of God International (MCGI), but I set aside all my anxieties. I knew God guided my decision. I knew this is the Highest Calling for me. I did not want to let God down. I answered His call. On February 15, 2013 at 12:51 P.M, I was baptized by Bro. Don Capulong in the true Church of God. That was the most memorable and remarkable day of my life. I felt I have taken on a new life, a new body and a new spirit. I really didn’t know what I was feeling at that time.

Moreover, I knew that God had mercy on me when He enlightened my mind. I knew that I did the right thing when I chose to be one of His servants. The only thing that I will forever say is, thanks be to God! Thanks be to God for His Highest Calling. Thanks be to God for Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel who are instruments of God for His gospel. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable and immeasurable gift.

I strongly believe that when one receives the real Christ in his heart and put on the armor of Christ, everything will be changed. Consequently, the way I talk to people, the way I treat or mingle with people, and even my appearance changed. I learned how to control my temper, to live a simple life, to be contented with what I have. I gained better perspectives about people and about things in life. I now have fear of God. I now believe in the true God. I have learned these from the teachings of the God Almighty and Jesus Christ through Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon.

I was persevering with my studies because of my family. They were my inspiration. However, it changed after hearing Bro. Eli’s preaching. I just felt something is never the same. It was unexplainable. I wanted to utilize what I have learned to where my life is being molded – to my alma mater. So after graduating Office Management, I applied as staff in LVCC. Thank God I am now officially part of La Verdad’s Faculty and Staff after the 2-month training for a College Library Staff.

I feel so blessed. This is something that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. Although my family was against my decision, I will hold on to it with God’s help. I know the road ahead will be an uphill battle but with God’s help and mercy, I can win this with Him and for His glory. I would like to dedicate my whole life to our God Almighty wholeheartedly. I am offering my everlasting thanksgiving. I won’t stop in glorifying and worshipping Him. And it is just but right to remain as His servant until the last breath of my life. This is my fate.

I used every breath of my life in gambling and liquor and it consumed my soul

I reminisced how I came to know the truth: the man who shouted loudly on my small television set. The man who bravely exposed the truth even if it meant his life. The man who gave me the chance to know God and to have another chance to do things right.

By Ron Louie Villar

It never dawned on me that my life would change in an instant. Living a life deep in vice and squalor, I never imagined that a person such as me would someday be free from the heavy shackles of sin. I lived my life the way I wanted to. I used every breath of my life in gambling and liquor and it consumed my soul.

I started walking this downward path when I was still a child. As far as I can remember, it was when I was only eight years old, a time when I should be still playing games with my friends and attending school that I first gambled. I held cards instead of toys and played with adults instead of other kids. I was living in a vice-riddled world, at a time when I was still learning how to write.

As a child, I was so consumed in gambling that I felt happy. My mind grew in that environment and it heavily influenced me. At eleven, I first tasted alcohol and my list of vices grew. Unlike normal children where they would be learning good morals fromtheir schools and parents, I on the other hand learned the exact opposite.

A child should be molded right from the start, however I was corrupted, my mind was filled not with fun stories and warm memories, but with the cold sting of greed, the love of money and the thrill of sin. I became involved in gang fights and violent riots. I grew up consuming every vile thing the world has to offer and it inched me closer into an inescapable life of hopelessness and despair.

However, an unforgettable event changed my life forever. My descent to oblivion was halted and I was slowly led to a future filled with hope and that change happened because of love.

The event that ushered a turnaround in my life was when some of my friends invited me to watch a show on TV, which they constantly ridiculed and laughed at. My friends were laughing at this program though all I could see was a person preaching the words of God. Yet, that TV program and that man were instrumental for the change that would happen to me. If for my friends all they can see on that show was nonsense, for me it felt as he was something different. I later knew that he was Bro. Eli Soriano and the show was called “Ang Dating Daan,” and it was the turning point of my life.

After watching Bro. Eli for the first time, I became one of his avid fans. I became interested in his style of preaching, most especially his debates with other religious groups in the country. Though I was very impressed at Bro. Eli, I didn’t attend indoctrinations, yet I continued to remain an avid listener.

However my past life crept up on me again and I returned wildly into a vice-filled existence. I graduated college and landed a good income job and it financed my vices extensively. I was wild, spending my life in gambling, alcohol and women. It seemed that my downward spiral was gaining speed and I am slowly being drowned into a sea of sin.

Then suddenly, without warning, a thought came into my mind. If I were to die at that moment, where would I go? Would I be confident that I will live forever in heavenly bliss or spend eternity in the lake of fire?

I whole-heartedly believe that God touched me at that point. Suddenly I felt heavy, my shoulders weary of carrying all the vices, addiction and sin that I have done all of those years. I suddenly felt that I need to leave it behind and start a new life.

I was stuck at traffic then, when that thought began to course through my mind, but God helped me at the moment. I felt His hand guiding me to what I should do because at that point of confusion, I saw a large streamer and emblazoned on it was, Ang Dating Daan Mass Indoctrination, and it was that night at seven. Never did I felt surer in my decision than on that moment. I knew from deep within that what I was going to do is the right thing and I should not miss this opportunity.

I cancelled my entire schedule that day and quickly went to an Ang Dating Daan Coordinating center. There I attended my first indoctrination session and there at that point in time I knew that my life would now change.

The following morning, I felt I had to continue my indoctrination sessions no matter what. This led me to decide to resign my work to make way for these sessions. I talked to my boss and requested an immediate resignation, but it was first denied. He said that I should at least work for another thirty days to process my resignation. If this happened at another time, I feel that I would prefer my work over listening about God, but not today. My mind was fixed on changing my life and I believed that finishing my indoctrination sessions was the first step towards gaining freedom from my sins and having inner peace.

I didn’t go to work and didn’t heed my boss’ decision and I continued attending my sessions without fail. Every night I would arrive early at the Coordinating center, listen to another topic and come home refreshed and full of hope.

After completing these sessions, I became a candidate for baptism. I was asked whether I want to continue on to baptism and was asked to raise my hand in affirmation. He I am, at the point of my life where I am now given the chance to make it all right.

I lived a life far from the love of God, I’ve done things that are immoral and I lived a life full of evil desires. Yet, at that moment, God was giving me the chance to wipe it all clean, to again have a fresh slate where only His words would fill. I pondered at all the events that happened in my life: the regrets, the failures and the sins I have done. More so, I reminisced how I came to know the truth: the man who shouted loudly on my small television set. The man who bravely exposed the truth even if it meant his life. The man who gave me the chance to know God and to have another chance to do things right.

After everything that has happened, I raised my hand, and said yes, let me be counted at baptism. And my life changed ever since.  You won’t see the old Ron Villar now because I am not the same.

You think the Devil got me? Then Fetch me from Here!

Now, here I am. You are saying that this one here is of the demon, come now and fetch me from here! If you are really shepherds – Shepherds of God. I give you up to the end of the month. If you do not fight….

By Cesar Adamos, Xman

I went home from work and it was already 11 0’clock. When I opened the TV, there was not much signal. And what I saw in RJTV29 baffled me. What they were showing was Bro. Eli. They were calling him tarantado (foolish), walang hiya (shameless), and then the gun shots. The TV was sounding with gun shots. I don’t know who that was, but they were firing at the face of Bro. Eli.

“Who was that?” I asked

“That’s Soriano. He really is like that. He cusses.”

“Is that so? If he is foolish, then he is foolish.” I went back to sleep. The following night, when I went home and opened the TV, it was Bro. Eli I saw.

“Isn’t this the guy I saw yesterday night cussing? Why is he now reading the Bible? He sounds like he knows what he is saying. There is not even five minutes and he calls for another verse. I will have to check on this.” My mind was quite disturbed.

The following night, I tried to open the TV again but I found no channel reception. RJTV29 did not anymore appear. At that time, both the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) program and Bro. Eli’s Ang Dating Daan were being aired there.

I imagined that a bamboo would provide me for antennae and so I climbed for the thinnest part. But nothing came out, no matter what I did. Come on, please appear just even once! After many tries, nothing came out. I was wondering why. The bamboo antennae did not work, so I went home to Peṅafrancia. Of course, I knew the channel there. When I opened it, there he was!

At that time, I was already wavering in my faith with the Iglesia ni Cristo – but I had not surfaced yet. I asked my mistress if she knew where Strata Building was, because I wanted to check about this Eli Soriano. We went there December 18, 2000. Once inside, I told her to stay at a distance as we might be seen by people. If you check the attendance sheet, you can see my name there – together with that of my mistress. She, too, was an engineer and she knew the places we went to.

The first time I went to Bro. Eli’s Bible Exposition, I was able to get a Bible – autographed by Bro. Eli, but I was not able to ask questions. Only 15 were called and then it was closing time. He said to watch for DZRH but upon going home, I found there was nothing there. My mistress said, “That’s all planted – everything about Soriano is scripted. It is like this, blah, blah, blah.”

“Let’s see. They do those things to me, and we will see.” That was January 30, 2001; I remember that. It was the birthday of my real wife. I went home to her. I asked her to go with me to a Bible Exposition but she refused. She became a Born-Again and so she despised Bro. Eli as cussing. I went alone.

This time I was Number 8 in the line-up of those to ask questions. I was not again called. I was thinking that my wife was telling the truth – that there’s no discipline with them. I tried again the telephone; I could not contact them. There were three numbers. I determined to find out if this group was true or not. I focused on only one number. As soon as a question was answered, I dialed. If I cannot enter, then this is really foolishness, I swore to myself. But there, I was able to contact them.

I asked Bro. Eli about holy kiss because I had researched on that. Every Bible verse on holy kiss, I looked for it. I was able to contact, I think, three times. I remembered that one of the prominent questions I had asked was about the holy kiss, because Bro. Eli was not answering that. If possible, I will answer that; can I? Bro. Eli said, go ahead answer it off the air; I will answer you on the air. Then he said, Bro. Cesar, it is not like that. Not entirely like that.

Then I called Maximo Bularan of the Iglesia ni Cristo as I was able to get his number. I called on a Saturday. I told him I am researching. I did this a lot of times, giving a new name each time. “Why don’t you have a program? This guy has a program. Put up a program and answer Soriano! You are at a loss. Look at that! He is attacking you but you have no means of answering him!”

The program of Bularan was merely giving texto. They had no Ang Tamang Daan yet. So it was like that. Every Saturday, January. February. March, April, I did that. I was challenging them.

Meanwhile, there was a Bible Exposition of Bro. Eli in Rodriguez but I found out Bro. Eli was not there – only Bro. Jocel Mallari. Next, I went to SBN21 to ask for tapes on debates because the INC were saying Bro. Eli did not appear on a debate agreed upon.  Bro. Mel Magdaraog said they were having a running debate with Ka Ramos for a year already. Who of them will I believe now? The Iglesia ni Cristo? Bro. Eli? There is no tape, no evidence. This cannot be!

I had to know which of them is true: my faith – the Iglesia ni Cristo – or that of Bro. Eli. The ministers said, “Our word against their word.”

“No! I have to know. That is why I was saying every Saturday, you should have a program”

Saturday came and I talked with one INC minister. I said, “So we will be having a program to answer Soriano!”

“The truth is, after his program, then us also,” he said.

“That’s good then,” I replied.

“Because many are calling,” he said.

He didn’t know I was that “many” calling. The truth is, I was the one who fired it all up. That Ang Taman Daan.

When Saturday came, I was calling again with different names. I was referred again. The system was to pass through the operator. I introduced myself to her. She spoke in English. When she learned I was an engineer, she had given me some respect.

The ministers said it cannot be. They wanted me to go to the chapel. But I said no. I will be by the TV. They gave me time, but I did not go. When Saturday came, I called again and they passed me over to a minister.

“So how is your program now? They say there’s a program now to answer Soriano.”

“What program is that?” the minister asked.

“There was someone I talked to last Saturday. He said, there will be a program, Ang Tamang Daan, that will answer Soriano.”

“No, there’s none such!” he said.

“Oh, you are that foolish! Are you all liars there? The one I talked to said there is. Now, you say, there is none? Do not be staying there if you do not know anything! Do not answer phones! You are shameless!” Then I banged the phone.

After a time, my wife came home from church and said there is now a program of the Iglesia ni Cristo. “Which? Ang Tamang Daan?”

There was a circular released. I did not know that because I did not go to church. Ang Tamang Daan – the program that would answer Soriano –  will open.

“How did you know?” She asked me.

“Because last week yet, there was someone answering me.” I was happy. So now, this is for real. I was looking forward to that.

It was my biological birthday – in May.  I was happy, but by then I was fully convinced about Bro. Eli. I already had three notebooks full of his discussions. That was everyday I was listening to him. My wife left me to myself in the room at night.

Then came June. Here, they will begin answering back. Came July; it was one month already. But why were they not exchanging  discourse? They were not fighting! No attacks came from Bro. Eli! August, my back was already tired from viewing.

I needed to go there, I said. This is my ultimatum. I will call from Bro. Eli’s studio. I will reach out to the INC. Now, if they do not call me yet, this is really foolishness.

I went there, August 10, 2001- to SBN 21 at one o’clock high noon. The guard asked me who I was looking for. I told him I wanted to ask questions and to please give me the list.

“So, I am Number 1. I do not want any change there, okay? You are the witness. I will come back as I am going to see a movie. I am sure I will be Number 1.”

I went to Megamall to watch two shows. It was night time already when I came out. By the time I came back to SBN21, there were many people. The receptionist asked me where I was going.

“No, just show me the list.” I was exasperated already and my plan was that I was going to snatch the microphone if not given my chance. If this is not true, I am going to cause trouble. Why would you fool people? This was my third time already to come and in the earlier two times, I was not called.

I had placed on the list that I am ex-INC because by then I did not like my faith anymore. I noticed that the people there were not quite receptive to me. I was at the center when Bro. Eli entered. The Questioning Portion came and Bro. Eli said, “I was told that the Number 1 had registered as early as 1 0’clock.” That was me! I was happy.

But really, I was ready for trouble. This is a live program. I had intended to snatch the microphone and say, this is not true; you are just fooling people. But now, there was nothing seen from me that was untoward. The one I challenged was the Iglesia ni Cristo. I addressed them.

What was taught by the Old Man was never to run away from debates. (We called Felix Manalo as Old Man – an endearing term). That was what was planted in my mind. I remembered this – never to run away from debates. It is said that the one chosen by God is innocent. Not foolish. The innocent, the simple, is chosen to confound the wise.

Felix Manalo only reached Grade 2. I believed in him. I became strong without teachings. No one could win over him in debates. Now, here, you ministers have gone to school; this Soriano had no schooling like you had. His schooling is nothing compared to yours.  So now, why don’t you like to fight in debates?

It might be that this is the one true. This is the one mentioned in the Bible…  it is the one I believe in. Now, if you are really Shepherds of God, of the lambs – it is also being taught there – that if one sheep is lost, leave the 99. Now, here I am. You are saying that this one here is of the demon. Come now and fetch me from here! If you are really shepherds – Shepherds of God. I give you up to the end of the month. If you do not fight….

“Are you going to get baptized now?” asked Bro. Eli. His voice came through the microphone.

I did not know that the impact of what I did was so strong.  Many people were calling me. My friends, my relatives who were Catholics and of the Born-Again were asking, “Dude, you were on TV, right?”

“Where?” I asked.

I did not know that, that episode was being replayed noontime and in the afternoon. I was surprised why even in Makati, people were simply asking me directions, and then asked if I belonged to the group of Bro. Eli.

“Why?” I asked.

So I learned that, that episode was being played every day. The INC were afraid to confront me – only Sis Judy.  But she and I were fighting.

I returned end of the month to SBN21- because that was my deadline for the INC ministers. I arrived 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I might not be called as I was considering Bro. Eli is so patient in answering – question for question.

So the end of the month came. I had a sense of what would happen to me. I asked Bro. Eli before I left, “Bro. Eli, in my situation that I am not yet affiliated – I am still researching – if I come out from this studio and I will be shot or I will be killed, I will be run over or someone runs over me, do I have hope in being saved?”

“You know, Brother Cesar, it is God who knows the intentions of the heart. He is the one to judge you. But if your intention is clean and good, you have hope.”

That was the answer I was waiting for. I was in high school yet and I had that question in my mind – if I would be saved. Will Jose Rizal be saved?  With us in the Iglesia ni Cristo, all Catholic priests are of the devil. Rizal was a heretic and a Filibuster; will he be saved? Because, you see, if you fight the Catholic priests and they are of the devil, God is pleased. It could not be that there are other demons. There is only one – and all of them are of the devil.

The minister of the INC answered me, “If Rizal were alive now, he would be an Iglesia ni Cristo.” That’s all. I did not ask anymore after that.

But Bro. Eli was able to answer my question. That is justice. In truth, the more I got courage from what I heard from him. I got double courage.

The moment I got out of the studio, there it is! A car without a plate number! It followed me up to the Marcos Highway. He was alone. I noticed that when I went out; he followed me. When I slowed down, he overtook me, and then slowed down. So, that’s how I knew he was after me.

When we approached Marcos Highway, there appeared two vehicles: one FX and an AUV as its support. When I turned, the car turned left – as if turning by Dela Paz. The AUV positioned left while the FX positioned itself on the right. They are now three and I was alone. When I advanced, the AUV bumped my car. I did not come out because I know what they will do to me. They will snatch me, for sure, and let me talk. I know their style.

I looked long at the plate number and then the face, then I scooted off. I did not care to go down even with my car bumped. My brake was set on Number 1 though I was looking at the guy. I was trying to sense if anyone of the two got out of their vehicles. I knew that one had stopped, and if that happened, he would take advantage.

In my mind, I was ready with whatever they did to me. I scooted off and then I stopped at Sta. Lucia at the right, then by the Supermarket for 30 minutes. I let them go ahead. After that was Sumulong Highway where the 3 separated: one was at the left; another was at the right; and the other one was direct. But one was burned. Only the FX and the other one were my remaining foes.

When I tried to advance, I was asking myself where to go. I went direct since by the left, there was a pit where they threw the dead. My house was also towards that way. If one passed by the gasoline station, at the left is my house. That is where I would go. When I arrived by the gasoline station, I saw the car – hiding inside Shell. I did not turn left but went direct by the Cemetery at Heaven’s Gate. I hid my car there. Since it was colored red, it was not very visible at night.

I was thinking that one of the two would arrive. But it was my car that had the advantage. It was at the center. It did not take long that the FX came along and it was beeping loud. When it came rolling down, I went out and then direct to Shell. I saw the first car still there. Coming from Shell, there was a church there that had no door, I turned left and hid my car. I came out and stood by a post. I had in my mind that the FX would return. It did and it was beeping loud! So there, you have to turn three times! You will have trouble turning there!

When I looked at my time, it was 1 o’clock past midnight! I left Ortigas at 11 0’clock. That means I was there for 2 hours! I got incensed. These fools are really too much. I went out. I was thinking: I have my car; you are a fool; let us fight if fight it is!

By the time I went out, the car already left but was at the other side of the highway. It was inside the gasoline station earlier. Now, it is waiting. I went to face it. Then with my cellphone, I was pointing to him, cursing him. He could see me but I could not see him because his windows were tinted. I could not even see a shadow!

I pretended to be talking to someone. Later on, I set my engine to sound – Iiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg, Iiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg. Then on our street, when he advanced, I lunged forward so he could not move right away. My plan was that if he followed, I would abruptly brake. My mind was set on that. I would go ahead of them. I would not allow them to take advantage of me.

They did not know I have had experience on these things. So now is the time. There was a Trailer parked there. I turned and went behind the Trailer; they did not see me. Then now came the iiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg and it was very fast. Adios! Adios! I went home and it was 1:30 already!

Imagine, that was August 10, 2001. I was only challenging the INC to prove that if they are the true church, they should answer Soriano’s allegations of their doctrinal flaws, but there was none. I asked them to fetch me if I was a lost sheep in the fold of the Church of God, but there was none. I was simply hunted like a criminal.

I got baptized on September 14, 2001 with the Church of God – after knowing the truth. With those who were involved in mauling the MCGI brothers near a restaurant in 2003, one of the cars following me before was there. But that’s a different story.

In the midst of drowning in a dark pit, mercy was bestowed upon me

I was exposed to many vices and bad things of the world: cigarettes, liquors, barkadas, and even marijuana. The path I was walking on was a road of confusion. There weren’t any clear signs but only detours and lost ways.

by Leonard Grape

Imagine a universe without planets, a sky without constellations, an Earth without air, a sea without its ebbing and flowing, a song without melody, a heaven without the moon and the sun; can you see how gloomy and dark life is? That is how my life was seven years ago.


Early in my life, I was exposed to many vices and bad things of the world: cigarettes, liquors, barkadas, and even marijuana. The path I was walking on was a road of confusion. There weren’t any clear signs but only detours and lost ways. Young as I was, I felt how blinded my soul was and how I was on the verge of totally ruining my life. It was almost a stale mate. It was almost reaching a point of no return.

Then in the midst of drowning in a dark pit, mercy was bestowed upon. There was light beyond the horizon. I never thought it will be a guiding force that will change my life forever. That was when I met Bro. Eli Soriano.

It was first my father, Alejandro Grape, who heard Bro. Eli on his tv program Ang Dating Daan when it was still in SBN 21. I didn’t have any idea that he had changed his faith and religion. But it was obvious that something drastically changed in my father’s heart. He stopped all his vices.

I wasn’t hearing him curse anymore. He was more hopeful despite all the hardships we were facing in life at that time. Next thing I knew, my mom was already with him attending the Church and every evening, I would see my father watching this man preaching the word of God, with all courage and passion. I learned his name was Bro. Eli Soriano.

In the beginning, I was annoyed by the fact that we couldn’t watch any tv shows while my father was still watching him. I never was interested in religious matters. I was a Catholic but I only went to Catholic Church when it is my birthday, not even consistent at that.  But every time I get the chance to join my parents in the Church, every time I hear Bro. Eli read and teach the words of God, there is always in an inexplicable feeling deep down my heart, something I couldn’t easily fathom, something joyous, something that brings out tears from the windows of my soul, something that gives me clarity, a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, the clear sign I knew I needed this. I was being called to the Church of God, the true Church in the Bible.

It was November 17, 2006 at the peak of the sun – 12:01 PM, a day I will never forget in my life – I received the Holy Baptism and was renewed in Christ. Ever since, with God’s help, everything changed, from the way I think, to the dreams I wish to chase, to the way I mingle with my friends, to the kind of leadership I was applying in my academic career, and in all other things in my life. It became so beautiful, like sitting at a hilltop while watching a never-ending show of shooting stars. But most importantly, it was like having the Bright Morning Star in my darkened life, receiving the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.

The Lord died for us. God gave us the brightest star. It is only but fitting that we do our best in living a life for God’s glory. Thanks be to God!

Bro. Eli not an INC? Someone had fooled me for a very long time!

I was disturbed of what I learned. Someone had fooled me for a very long time, or maybe my brother was just uninformed, and the questions lingered for as long as I remember.

By Mark Anthony Serrano

As I recollect the past, a longing feeling saddens my heart. I was young and naive when my mother left me. She left because she was in pain, and she never returned because God took her. When my mother was still alive, she was my teacher and taught me about God. Before she passed, she left me a bible. I read it every day and every night–looking for reasons, but the questions just lingered for as long as I remember.

My father was a drunkard. I remember one day he was beaten up in front of my own eyes because he disrespected someone. He received death threats, and it led him to move to the province. After three years he returned as a changed man. He was no longer a drunkard but a bible reader. He attributed his change to the INCM (Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo), but it was all a fleeting change. After a couple of months, he returned to his old ways. His transformation was all but an illusion, but regrettably I also became an INCM member.

When I was baptized in INCM, a female church worker advised our group to watch for a certain preacher. The name is Brother Eli Soriano. In her own words, she said “Manood kayo sa Channel 13, kay Eli Soriano. Sa atin iyon!” (Watch Channel 13, the program of Eli Soriano. That is ours!) From that moment on, it was stuck in my mind that Bro. Eli Soriano was an INCM. I wondered what was special about him, but the questions lingered for as long as I remember.

Years passed, and I had this dream. In my dream I saw a man sitting on a giant rock. His face was hidden from me. He spoke with authority and said, “All your questions are already answered in the Bible,” and a metaphor was given to me to be wary against people with evil intentions. I was puzzled and asked myself, “What does this dream mean? Who has all the answers? Is the Bible really that complete?” And the questions lingered for as long as I remember.

In 1996, I migrated to the United States and lived with my uncle, a Catholic devotee. He forced me to participate in the Catholic mass, although back then I still considered myself a member of the INCM. At the same time, I was also a fan of religious debates. Often I spent my time in chatrooms–debating and proving that Jesus Christ was just a man and nothing more. This was my belief then.

In 2000 I parted ways from my uncle and moved back to the Philippines. I have a younger brother who at that time had been watching the “Ang Dating Daan” program. By chance I saw Bro. Eli Soriano speaking on the television. I boldly told my brother “Hindi mo ba alam na Iglesia ni Cristo iyan,” (Didn’t you know that, that man is a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo?).  My brother vehemently corrected me stating that Bro. Eli Soriano was never an INCM. I was disturbed of what I learned. Someone had fooled me for a very long time, or maybe my brother was just uninformed, and the questions lingered for as long as I remember.

I have an uncle who was a former drug addict who had lived with vices all of his life, but he was an avid fan of the “Ang Dating Daan” radio program. He had some insecurity that prevented him from leaving his faith. But he wished to become a member of Bro. Eli’s group. I helped him overcome his insecurities by going with him to Apalit. However, it was the day I started disliking the Ang Dating Daan doctrines. It started when I heard the teaching that it’s better to remain unmarried. At that time I just had a break-up, so it was painful to hear such advice. I had decided not to listen to the Ang Dating Daan program anymore.

However, I still could not avoid listening to Bro. Eli because my uncle kept tuning in to the Ang Dating Daan program. This was the time when the discussion between Ang Dating Daan and INCM started to gain traction. In my heart I was still pro-INCM then, but I was also a man of logic. Whenever Bro. Eli would respond back against the accusations of the INCMs, my heart refuses to accept, but my mind kept telling me he was right, and there was an inner battle, and it all began from here.

One year had passed when I decided to return back to the US to continue my studies. At that time I was still not fully convinced of the Ang Dating Daan. One day I was participating in a religious debate against a Baptist regarding the true nature of Christ. As former INCM member, I firmly defended that Christ was just a man and nothing else, but I also believed that God cannot be tempted. The Baptist asked me, “Did Christ fall to temptation?” I replied, “No”. He followed through, “If God cannot be tempted and Christ cannot be tempted, then Christ is God?” For some reason this debate had led to a spark of thinking, and in my mind a seed of doubt had sprouted. I said to myself, “Christ cannot be tempted, and so is God. Therefore there are two Gods?” However, being a proud INCM, I did not accept defeat. I had to make excuses, but deep in my mind the questions lingered for as long as I remember.

The following day I’ve started reassessing myself and my belief. Maybe the doctrine of Trinity is true? But that couldn’t be. Maybe there is the doctrine of duality–there are two Gods? So I thought maybe the Ang Dating Daan was right after all. So I thought I would debate again and pretend I am a member of the Ang Dating Daan to see how their doctrines will fare against other teachings. To my surprise, from atheists to Baptists, no one was able to refute the teachings. But I wanted more like someone gravely thirsty for water, and this led me to seek for more. I want to be indoctrinated.

Back then we still had an IRC-based chatroom named #angdatingdaan. I visited our chatroom and told the Admins I was an INCM member and would like to participate in the indoctrination, but no one would entertain me seriously. Maybe it was because they are accustomed to chatting in Tagalog and here comes a stranger who keeps chatting in English. Or maybe because I was an INCM and they were afraid of me being an insider, but I did not cease asking. On the third day, I had managed to convince them, and finally we scheduled the indoctrination sessions. With God’s help I was baptized in the Church of God in Los Angeles in 2003.

As a member of the true church, my eyes were opened and I learned numerous things. My knowledge grew. I was no longer the man who believed that Christ is just a man. In the church all my questions were answered fully, and it dawned to me the meaning of my dream. The answers are already written, and I have kept them in my heart. Thanks be to God!


Life was very difficult, but why did God keep saving me from dying?

 My mind was speaking to me. Life for me was very bitter, was very difficult, but why did God keep saving me from dying? It was more of a complain about life than a question.

By Jay Esconde