Apalit, Pampanga Philippines [8/12/16] Ang Dating Daan Worldwide Bible Exposition held on August 12, 2016 is a success. Despite the heavy rainfall, many of our fellowmen came to hear the word of God. Bro. Daniel Razon greeted everyone especially to those who are in different monitoring stations in and out of the country.
Bro. Eli Soriano began the exposition by pointing out the current situations in our times.He cited one line in Balagtas’ poem Florante at Laura, “Sapagka’t ang mundo’y bayan ng hinagpos,mamamaya’y sukat tibayan ang dibdib;lumaki sa tuwa’y walang pagtitiis…anong ilalaban sa dahas ng sakit.
It is normal for a person to fear death. But sad to say, now, people took his own life because of prevalent drug use and they know what will be their ending. Mayors, government officials and simple citizens were victims of drugs. Worrisome and alarming. that is the description that Bro. Eli describe at our society.
Fear of God
Bro. Eli looked back at how and when he started to accept the teachings of God. “I am always observant and curious. When I was young I have an asthma. What motivates me is that I feared dying without knowing the truth. The teachings. I recommended to fear God. It is the start of knowledge. In Proverbs 9:10 it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Who would have thought that the person being belittled by the different pastors in the province of Apalit, Pampanga would made a journey that had been changing and touching lives through his preachings coming straight from the Bible?
It is just amazing how God really moves in His mysterious ways. Truly, no one and no other pastor had ever done what Bro. Eli did. From a small and humble vision for every Filipino to know the truth and to be free from the chains of faith that had been wrangled around our necks for centuries, the shy kid and 7th of eighth siblings, Bro. Eli is delivering the teachings of God into different language-speaking countries all over the globe.
Bro. Eli traveled not in the most flattering way. It’s a rocky one. Rocky to be stepped upon to those who lives in lies and shades away the truth. Rocky to those people who blatantly refuses to see the truth in the clearest thoughts and teachings in the Bible.
One blogger wrote, and I quote,
“Bro. Soriano’s persecution led him into exile but the fruit turned out into something good for the Church.”
From a man power of just 3, the broadcast of Ang Dating Daan made thru the airwaves. With its minimal airtime, the impact of such powerful and hard-hitting teachings had struck down even the most powerful religious denomination to the point of dragging the whole congregation to stop Bro. Eli in courts.
Despite all intrigues and death threats, communication technology is the only source that cannot be stopped by his accusers. Showing evidences, the undisputed Filipino televangelist had been sweeping awards that acknowledging all his efforts. Not only in radio but also in television programs, and to the most well-known gag show Bubble Gang; the same station that had brought Bro. Eli Soriano to bad light.
Bro. Eli Soriano’s official blog site, Controversy Extraordinary with a total of 4,065,126 page views. Facebook page with over 253, 459 likes, and his Twitter account with more than 91.4 k followers. This were just some Bro. Eli’s way of communicating not only to those in the congregation but also to those who were looking for the truth and in most cases, just to seek some “loopholes” in his teachings.
The astounding requests for Bro. Eli to visit different countries to propagate the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ came to realization. Regardless to all the death threats of the influential religions joining forces for Bro. Eli to be put behind bars, specifically, Iglesia ni Cristo of Manalo, Bro. Eli Soriano, setting aside his safety and grant the request of that other side of the globe.
To those who want Bro. Eli not to be seen in his native country, the Philippines, still, thank you. Half-hearted and the road in this journey facing loneliness, but still – thank you. This may sound silly… absurd to others, but if it wasn’t for that persecutions and death threats, the Members Church of God International had not gone its full bloom worldwide. Never had such a church seeing people who were hungry for the truth and spiritual awakening that had brought this teachings from the Bible like a double-edged sword. Cutting both ways.
In the eyes of the people, Bro. Eli, not only the most sensible preacher of our times but a philanthropist as well. With most of his works, really, having a heart to do good for others cannot be kept silent – for a long time. Despite the fact that he wanted it to be a secret, gratitude always prevails. With our todays society, old people seems a burden to them. But in the congregation that Bro. Eli Soriano leads, he had placed them in the front. Home for the Elderly is one of them and so many other to mention.
Bro Eli and Bro Daniel gave Free Text booklets for the children studying at our MCGI Free School at La Verdad Christian School. To God be the Glory!
Countless people around the world seek rest to their souls. A time spent without blinking and thinking twice, Bro. Eli breathes and lives by the word of God. Thanks be to God for a preacher like you! A million thanks to God!
A vow turned into tragedy. The director of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council [MDRRMC] Johnny Yu confirmed that a member of the Hijos del Nazareno, Renato Guryon, 44, died on the day of the procession in January 9, 2015 while managing a sea of devotees wanted to have the chance to wipe or touch the Black Nazarene’s feet. Seeking for healing, personal requests and good fortune was the main reason for this clamor to get close to the statue. Guryon and the group were securing the carriage since Thursday night which aggravated their fatigue.
“Have we understood them well enough and guided them properly? have we communicated to the ‘devotees’ properly?” — Msgr. Jose Clemente F. Ignacio, Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene
For 494 years of Catholic existence in the Philippines since it was first introduced on a Sunday of March 31st, it is such an interesting surprise to know that the rector and parish priest of the Quiapo Church, Msgr. Jose Clemente F. Ignacio, through the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, an article entitled, Understanding the Devotion to the Black Nazarene, he wrote that they, too, is still to understand the devotees kind of spirituality, “We understand the apprehensions of our brothers in the ministry because we, ourselves, have not fully understood the depths of this devotion. And admittedly, when emotions run too high without reason, fanaticism sets in. ”
The devotees were looking for the following:
transformation of spirit and personality
they were believed to be holy places where miracles happen and prayers were heard.
The parade of the Black Nazarene originally came from Mexico. A long been tradition that the Filipinos adopted. The color came about when the boat caught on fire that made the once white statue to a burnt one. Now, it is carried off by a gold carriage and the devotees wore maroon. This is held yearly at Quiapo, Manila.
A belief that whosoever touch the Black Nazarene will be healed and devotees from different parts of the country and tourists alike rub and kissed the Nazarene. The lighting of candles, performing mass, changing of clothes, holding the Nazarene, novena, parade, taking off foot-wears and walking in knees are some of the rituals that majority of the devotees do in the anticipation of the actual parade.
Devotees believed that it is the place that God showers his blessings in the church. But time passed that most attendees present in Quiapo came not to worship. Many of them came to sell souvenir items. Small and big replicas of the Black Nazarene — made out of plastic, wood and stones. But the most common is the handkerchief which devotees rub to the feet and face believed to heal anything that touches it.
Taking time to a “holy” event that vendors dug in to this occasion to produce some money and others for sentimental reason for the thousands of devotees gathered around the country. This festivity is held every 9th of January. The devotees joins the parade “barefoot” as a sign of humility. The Metro Manila Development Authority [MMDA] set a traffic rerouting scheme for the Friday’s procession.
Although the government had set some rules and rerouting schemes, still people are injured and many are suffocated due to the massive crowd that circled the Black Nazarene just to get a hold and wipe off its feet. Dr. Eric Tayag, Health Assistant Secretary said that 1,686 patients had already been attended as of 6 p.m. and that does not include the hours after the parade.
Here are some of the reactions of our fellowmen of last year’s event:
At the end of the day, it is us who make our life decisions. It’s just a matter of principle. What is right and what is just. What is clear and what is just absurd.
Rev. Anton Pascual, Executive Director of Caritas Manila and head of the papal visit subcommittee on media relations said in an interview of the Asian Journal that the Black Nazarene feast is a dry-run for the up-coming papal visit of Pope Francis. “Yes, the Black Nazarene fiesta is a dress rehearsal for the papal visit, especially the culminating mass at Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, manila on January 18.
It is just so sad that the feast that supposed to have healing miracles is also an event that caused another his life and to others, injuries.
It had been long practiced but what does the Bible says in these occasions?
At ninety three years old ( 93 ), lola Rosalina F. Sanchez, accompanied by her granddaughter, is one of those who came up on stage. It is such a delight to see the elders giving thanks and singing praises to the Lord. Everyone is rejoicing for another opportunity to see His creations.
Although had difficulty in hearing, everyone thought she is a thousand and three (1,003 ), after a few times been asked how old she was, finally understood — ninety three ( 93 ) Everyone is very happy and Bro. Eli Soriano has this to say:
“Dapat pagka matanda na, dapat maintindihan nyo na pinagpapasensiyahan na yung mga matatandang bingi. Si Papang, namatay, 97. Ang nanay ko 93 nung mamatay. Yung kapatid na 93 na yan, malakas pa, awa ng Panginoon. “
( It is already difficult for elders to hear. Elders need patience. My father died the the age of 97. My mother died at 93. So, the 93 year-old sister is still strong, with the help and mercy of God. )
“Makikita nyo ang ebidensiya sa mga taong ito. 80 … 70 mahigit, 90 mahigit, yang mga taong yan, nakalagpas na dun sa mga maraming pagsubok, maraming mga panganib. Kaya magkakaisa tayong kalooban ngayon. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Dios sa mga taong ipinagkaloob niya sa atin. “ – Bro. Eli Soriano
( “You can see the evidence from these people — 80, 70 and more than 90 years old, they are the ones who have surpassed the dangers and trials. So let us unite altogether in offering Thanksgiving to God for all the years He had given to us.” — Bro. Eli Soriano )
The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
“I uttered a prayer to God to let me be held to that papaya tree.”
The heartbreaking tragedy that hit Tacloban City left many Filipinos mourning for friends, families and relatives whose lives were lost during the storm surge. Many accounts of survivors unfolded.
One of the most fascinating story is that a “kababayan” survived just clinging to a fragile papaya tree. To my surprise, this survivor is one of my lost acquaintance.
Arlene Verona, 34 years old from Tacloban City recounts her survival from the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) who clung to a papaya tree for dear life. This is her story:
SUDDENLY, STORM SURGE
“As the storm surge happens, we were still at our house as my father refused to evacuate. The reason is that, for so many times that storms had passed, our house stood still. The storm stated around 5 in the morning. It continued as the wind blew even harder.
I am looking outside the window – worried because they are currently fixing the drainage and half of the roots of the coconut tree were on the ground. I saw when it shook to where I was standing. I instructed my family to move to the kitchen area. I am anticipating that it will fall into our house. At that time, the roofs were flying like papers; houses being smacked and woods were breaking. I immediately went to cover and we decided to take heed under the sink.
That storm is different from any other typhoons that we came across. My brother and I were texting. Updating him of what is happening to us. They were already in in evacuation center in Sugod, but there is no flood.
My sister called out our attention shouted that the water is already inside the house. We immediately emptied the water containers for everyone’s keep. As we hurriedly ran outside, the rush of water welcomed us. As we were running, I looked back and saw my father still closing the gates. I shouted for him to stop and just leave because he cannot do anything about it.
He insisted to lock the gates and my brother grabbed him leave the gates. As I was running, a splash of water smeared by eye. I barely see where I was going. There is a mini truck that is parked nearby. I immediately hopped at the back as I waited for the water to go up. People were shouting and all houses submerged before my eyes. Most of the people drowned while running away from their houses to main roads.
From the mini truck, I see roofs flying like papers. I saw my family together with other people, were waiting for the gate to open at a nearby apartelle. I was relieved, so I thought. The truck I was on turned over. I jumped on the waters together with the houses, roofs and woods.
It was too late when I noticed that I am already far from where I was washed out. I saw a walled vacant lot and saw a papaya tree. At that instance, I uttered a prayer to God to let me be held to that papaya tree. The gates were open and flood water swirled me inside like I was being guided to the papaya tree.
I curled by legs and an arm to the tree while my other arm I held the water can for protection from the flying roofs. Flood water is going at a rapid phase. All throughout, I am praying that the water would subside.
With only my head visible, with no one at that place, people from the 3rd level of the house cannot do anything but to watch me hang on to my life. Only prayers I can do at that moment because if that storm would continue much further, I will surely drown. Feeling a bit scared, but it was my trust in the Lord that saved me. The papaya tree is already shaking as the wave go about in different directions. I just held tight.
“Kakababa kakababa ng baha, nauusal ko, salamat po sa Dios.”
[As the water began to quiet, I uttered my gratitude to God.]
When it did subside and people found me, I’ve gotten weaker because I had poured it all hanging to a tree. After an hour in the rough waters and an excruciating 20 minutes clinging on the papaya tree, possibly be drowned at that moment, a prayer to God is all I can do and although dying occurred my mind, my trust with the Lord prevailed. That trust I envisioned. I trust the Lord He would protect me.
One of the people who rescued me is a friend of my brother who had seen me hanging on to the papaya tree. When they had brought me I even made an animated gesture greeting them. They are really glad that I had passed that storm without being hurt. There, I have seen people whose wounds were cut open. You can see through and bloods everywhere. We cannot do anything because even hospitals were washed out by the storm.
Her father Arturo, brothers Christian who is at another evacuation site and Arturo Jr., sisters Ibe and Maria Theresa with her month old daughter, baby Shang Shang had also survived the super typhoon.
“It was only after the storm surge that I clearly realized the disastrous picture that left the people of Tacloban. People were looting. No one cares and everyone was in search for food. Even the nearby town who is not badly affected also looted.
We knew that the owners let the people take everything. There were dead bodies lying everywhere. Identified corpses were claimed by families and relatives. My heart goes to those buried, together with the pile of wrecked houses and buildings.
Corpses were only removed after a week. The decayed bodies prevailed the town. The smell of dead body is different to that of dead animals. We always wear masks because of the smell makes us puke. Whenever we go out, we would ran because we cannot tolerate the smell of the decayed bodies laying around.
I don’t fear dead ones, but I cannot help to think that it was God’s will that it happened. People are so drawn into worldly things. They love to drink liquor. You cannot see restaurants that is not full of people. Parades of the graven image which they love to do even there is no occasion at all. They say that it is their vow.
It took us 9-10 days to make it to Manila. There were no means of transportation. The only thing that we want to do is to give thanks to God for this another chance of life.”