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A Certain Thing I'm Thankful For

It’s hard writing how much Bro. Eli Soriano means to me.

It will be his 50th birthday in the spirit come April 7 this year. And fathoming feelings of love and gratitude for a person as special as he is is never easy.

Most certainly, such depths of emotion do not stem from fanaticism as some may easily and soullessly accuse me of. For if some take a great deal of joy hearing their religious leader greet them in their own tongue once in a while, how much more others whose preacher untiringly answers their scriptural queries and solves their spiritual problems, for free might I add?

Nevertheless, this humble piece of writing is not one of contention, but of celebration. And as mentioned, of love and gratitude to a Filipino, a preacher, a leader like Bro. Eli Soriano. 

Where It All Began 

Thirteen years ago, my uncle brought me to this “magical” place called “Convention Center” in Apalit, Pampanga. In my head, it was the only term I could find to describe a place where people are fed for free, widows are taken care of, and thanksgiving abounds.

Yes, I was young, but certainly wasn’t gullible. In fact, this all happened after my cloud of anger against my uncle and Bro. Eli had finally dissipated.

(Read: Thanksgiving Roots and Fruits, In Summer and For All Seasons)

Cutting the story short, my hate sprung from the idea of my uncle and Bro. Eli bad-mouthing the religion I grew up in. Perhaps, because rejection was the easier thing to do.

Certainly however, it was an unmindful and unfair act towards my uncle, and especially towards a person I have never met all my life, and have not done anything of the sort towards me.

Thankfully, I dismissed the resentful idea and gave the actual person a chance. So I went to Apalit, Pampanga. 

A Very Memorable First 

Travelling before the sun’s rays reached the earth, I arrived at the ADD Convention Center early in the morning in a navy blue shirt, long white shorts and a baseball cap in my hand.

It was my first time there. And my very first encounter of people so polite you wouldn’t believe it, offering help with the smallest of things and giving smiles that can warm the most frozen of hearts.

When it was time for prayer and I saw people rushing to kneel down and heard them crying, it left me in awe.

It was April 7, 2001 — Bro. Eli’s 37th spiritual birthday. 

Happy Birthday Bro. Eli 

The time for Thanksgiving presentations came and there were various special numbers; it was a special day after all. There were those who recited poems accentuated by sincere gestures. Some sang, some danced. It was all very large but pleasing to take in.

When I approached that blessed stage where the performances were, I remember touching it. In my opinion, it was the modern equivalent of the altar upon which Old Israel presented their offerings to God.

And as I saw Bro. Eli there, it sunk in the more to me that for people to do these things, primarily for God, he was truly a very good man.

Through the years, I have heard deeply wonderful things about the Bible and about the Lord, delivered in all sincerity, purity, and wisdom.

It has become harder than ever to find a word that bears thanks, love you, take care and so much more in it.

Certainly however, with God’s help and mercy, all the praise I feel in me will never ever be for Bro. Eli, nor for Bro. Daniel Razon who has been there faithfully loving the brethren all this time. No.

All the honor and glory belong to God, who gave me and so many other people across the globe preachers who want nothing else in life, but for us and them to be saved. And that is a certain thing I'm very much thankful for.

Thanks be to God for Bro. Eli Soriano! To God be the glory!


Photo Source: What I'm Thankful For


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