Bloggers posted messages of praise, appreciation and thanks over social networks to greet and honor Bro. Eli Soriano who celebrated his jubilee anniversary on April 7 this year.
Bro. Eli’s jubilee celebration was held incidentally during the quarterly International Thanksgiving of the Members Church of God International (MCGI), from April 5 to 7, 2014.
Before and after the celebration, the euphoria continues virtually on the web as admirers of the Ang Dating Daan host shared and re-shared blog posts that expressed their tribute to Bro. Eli.
Blog messages and formats range from essays of their sojourn to South America, poems of appreciation, and to testimonies of face-to-face encounter with the Filipino preacher.
The international evangelist was baptized on April 7, 1964 in Sineguelasan, Cavite, a province South of Manila. Observers and Church members who witnessed how Bro Eli lived his life note that the preacher exemplifies a life well-spent in preaching and caring for the congregants at MCGI.
A Rare Chance
Pol Arellano, a New York-based blogger, recounted her journey going to South America to celebrate Bro. Eli’s birthday in her faithandetcetera blog page.
“The skies were lit up by the moon and numerous stars when I first stepped foot on the venue, and reality struck the wind out of me, leaving me breathless with glee – I was really there,” was how Arellano palpably described getting at the venue for the first time.
Throughout her post, which now received 3,000 Facebook shares, Arellano shared her unexplainable feeling when she finally met Bro. Eli, this time from a foreign soil, away from the preacher’s hometown, the Philippines.
It will be recalled after leaving the Philippines in late 2005, Bro. Eli went to different countries to preach. Today, it was not only Filipinos who are getting baptized but people of other races, especially Latin American natives.
With the multitude of converts during the first few Bible Expositions there, he knew that his preaching is needed by these people and it is not an accident that he had the good fortune to be at the region.
“After several years of not seeing Bro. Eli, at the first sight of him standing amidst a sea of brethren who traveled from different corners of the world to be with him, a feeling of indescribable elation overwhelmed me. I felt light, and at the moment, I knew what happiness was,” the blogger added.
“Unforgettable and Surreal”
Another blogger who joined the contingents of Filipino pilgrims to South America, the writer of With Letters and Time, wrote of the unexplainable joy of finally meeting the brethren of Members Church of God International (MCGI) where she is a member, and more importantly of Bro. Eli Soriano.
The blogger wrote her unforgettable experience of finally making it in South America: “As they got to their destination, it was the chilly mountain air which first greeted her as she set foot on the side of that slope, the door of the van banging close behind her. Something got caught inside her throat. ‘Surreal,’ she whispered to herself, ‘I’m really here’.”
For Angela Borromeo, which is the same name carried by her blog, it was a feeling of devoted pride for being taught by Bro. Eli on how to live righteously and in line with God’s words in the Bible.
In her blog, Borromeo said: “All the more, I feel blessed that I am cared for whenever Bro Eli speaks of the biblically-based do’s and dont’s in life, which constantly helped me change to be better as a daughter to my loving parents and a wife to my dear husband.”
A Life Lived, Meaningfully and Poetically
One blogger dedicated a page in her Footnotes and Fillings blog, an expression of appreciation and could be the glue that binds the jubilant themes of these writers through a poem, lyrically expressed as a letter:
“Ingkong, those past years, to you He dearly gave,
You spent wisely, to us have this deeply engraved:
Life is meaningful if served with no reservation,
If deeds are done with love of pure intention.”
Ingkong is a Filipino word for grandfather, a moniker Bro. Eli is fondly called by his relatives and people close to him.
If for anything, the heaps of admiration, appreciation, praises and tributes poured to by bloggers to Bro. Eli expressed sameness of feelings — that is, their lives were touched by the faithful preacher.
While some blogs were as shorter than 100 words and others with more than 4,000 words, the bloggers admitted one thing: words are bereft to express all their love to Bro. Eli. Words seem not enough with love.
(Written by Roy Cruz)