A Short History How I became a member in the Church, A History How the Church reached the Zamboanga Peninsula
We (my whole family) were having our usual TV-watching one night of late 1999 when we came across a cable channel (which was blurry and the signal wasn’t’ good then) where a man spoke “loudly” a particular topic in the Bible. With the “loud” and “angry-like” voice he had when he preached, we were almost literally nailed to our TV set to this channel and intently listened. Then, with some time of listening and watching, we were able to recognize that this TV program was somewhat similar to a particular segment in a gag show in aired over GMA-7 during Friday nights then, Bubble Gang. We were able to recognize that the set up was closely alike with that of the “Ang Dating Doon” segment of Bubble Gang. Then later on, we learned that the religious group’s name of the religious TV program was “Ang Dating Daan.” We were actually shocked for it was our first time to hear a preacher to have acquired such a unique way of preaching the Bible. Why did I say that? Most of the preachers I saw during those times were “mild” in their way of speaking and almost couldn’t utter “hard-hitting words” when they preached. They are fond of talking of things which are seemingly correct in logic related to the Bible. Back then, all I thought was that all religious programs are of God. Bro. Eli was different from them all. He spoke from his heart and he spoke of what was really being commanded by God in the Bible.
We continuously listened to him till a URL (Universal Resource Locator, an “address” of a website in the Internet) was flashed onto the TV screen, of which I wrote immediately on a piece of paper (if I remember it right, I think the URL back then was http://addjer616.dhs.sbn21.com or the like). The e-mail address was also shown onto the screen (back then I think it was firstname.lastname@example.org). I was then a 1st year college student. Whenever I had time, I came to visit the site and looked up for some updates. I also sent emails, inquiring how we would be able to find a place of worship here inZamboanga City. Then when I checked on my email again, it had a reply. It told me that someone had already been assigned to the city to hold indoctrination. I was really happy and told it to my family members. I learned later that there were also many who e-mailed requesting for an indoctrination to be held in our city. Sometime later, we were fond of watching the local Channel 13 for it showed movies with very little commercial breaks or advertisements. During some of these commercial breaks and some advertisements, an announcement (TV plugging) flashed on to the screen saying that there would be a mass indoctrination to be held at a place in Governor Camins. We were very happy to hear such.
The mass indoctrination started in the early weeks of 2000. We were told that there would be fifteen days of indoctrination periods followed by a baptism when we would be accepting with our whole hearts the pure and untarnished Words of God and gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible. During the later part of the indoctrination, late 1st quarter of 2000, the assigned worker told us that Bro. Eli would be passing-by Zamboanga City via a ship bound for Davao for a Bible Exposition. We were very happy for we would be seeing one of the important persons in our life – the one used by God as an instrument to open our minds and see the light of Truth of God in the Bible. Bro. Resty Reyes was then our OIC. The night came when Bro. Eli’s ship stopped over a wharf in Zamboanga City. At around 7 or 8pm, we were gathered to the wharf to welcome Bro. Eli (even though his destination was not reallyZamboanga City). The officers-In-Charge (OICs – there were no MICs (Ministers-In-Charge yet)) came down first, then without our knowledge, in a flash, Bro. Eli was already there with us! We were very happy to have seen personally Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel and his companions including the Ang Dating Daan panel members Bro. Danny Navales, Bro. Josel Mallari, Sis. Luz Cruz and Bro. Willy Santiago. We took pictures with them and were very very happy. It is still vivid from my mind how it looked like that night with Bro. Eli. Bro. Eli told us that he really felt that we were already brethren in the faith though we weren’t baptized then. That was one of the happiest days of our life. Then the time for them to leave came. We bade goodbye to our Bro. Eli and prayed for his good voyage to Davao. That was such a memorable sight!
There were two workers then who first started the indoctrination, one of whom was Bro. Jun Blaza, who became my friend during his stint here in Zamboanga City, one who came from Apalit, Pampanga, and Bro. Zaldy Laurete. The indoctrination started with 300-plus listeners, of these, 109 were sure to accept the Words of God in the Bible and were baptized, the biggest ever locale to have started with such a number as Bro. Eli told it during one of our Thanksgiving to God sometime May-June 2000.
From then on till as of the present time, I have been involved actively in the Church. And I thank God for having called us into HIS folds and to have opened our eyes to see the light of truth of God in the Bible through his sensible preacher in our time, Bro. Eli Soriano. That was how I have known the light. That was how I have known the Truth of God in the Bible. That was how when I involved myself in the congregation of God. And because of that, I will always offer my praises and thanksgiving to the Living God Our Father. Now, the Church of God in Zamboanga Peninsula and all over the world is continuously growing and growing and bringing back people to the fold of the Lord God. With all things that had happened in God’s will, we thank God for His unspeakable gifts forever and ever. “Salamat sa Dios sa Kanyang mga kaloob na hindi masayod.” – II Corinto 9:15