CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

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The 2002 CESNUR International Conference

Minority Religions, Social Change, and Freedom of Conscience

Salt Lake City and Provo (Utah), June 20-23, 2002

The Experiences of Several Members of El Shaddai-DWXI-PPFI: A Phenomenological Study

Prof. Esmeralda Fortunado-Sanchez
UST Social Research Center

A paper presented at CESNUR 2002, Salt Lake City and Provo. Preliminary version. Do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author


Filipinos are known to be believers of the divine and are innately religious. Deep accounts of this trait can be traced even before the coming of the Westerners in the Philippines. Pre-Hispanic ancestors are reputed as profoundly religious people and fanatics about anything spiritual. For them, God is everything. So that above anything, they had already committed their past, present, and future lives solely to God, a seemingly-fatalistic belief evidently common characteristic among the old folks who bore the expression bahala na, which signified "leaving one’s fate to the gods (bathala in Filipino)."

The fanaticism of ancient Filipinos, though predominantly born out of idolatry, was considered sacred and practiced in both mind and body. This was a custom in a time when the concept of private possession did not exist. The inhabitants’ dependence on the bounty of nature rested on the strong faith that God, whether anito, bathala, or any celestial body, had purposely laid to them all they need. As such, they freely hunt, fish and gather sufficient food for the day without greed. Jealousy and thievery were nonexistent since nothing worth grudging and stealing to anyone disturbed the rule of peace they enjoy. Not a single trace of anxiety about the future is present among them. Until the conquest, when the Spaniards came, everything has drastically changed.

Although cloaked with the mission to spread Christianity, the abomination of foreign dominion carried with it the acquisition of large estates for themselves, which introduced various Western principles, such as private ownership, land registration and titling. This virtual reality saddened the native population and the onset of agonies deprived our forefathers who once enjoyed the abundance of nature. Eventually, those who refused to embrace the new order were driven to the hinterlands, utterly dispossessed of primitive domain, deposed of any refuge of the sea, the plains and even the hills and mountains.

Far from over, their misery would endure and place them in long conflict with the new faith, deprive of cultural heritage and their lives in constant touch with danger. Catholicism triumphed, transformed Filipinos from being heathens into a God-fearing race, albeit such affinity to the Divine had been hampered by institutional structures brought about by repressive regime. Through deception, the Church had been utilized to spread a biblical catchword "Blessed are the poor and the oppressed…"

Indeed, the Filipinos’ desire to live on with the Christian faith was bolstered by their primitive belief on the Supreme Being. Hence, the healthy assimilation of Catholicism dragged on toward the Second World War. Yet, people still question the significance of religion in their lives. After the war, a global warning in religious teaching spread like an epidemic, serious affecting America, Japan, Western Europe and the ret of the Third World countries.

The Philippines also succumbed to the brunt of this phenomenon that brought religion to its knees. During the 1960s, the religious community roused in slumber with the advent of the different ecclesiastical groups that stormed into the country. Educational institutions in Manila were utilized as launching grounds. Laden with a peculiar design of attraction, Filipinos warmly accepted the novel western orthodoxy, which virtually replaced the language used in preaching and style in holding religious rites. Priests caught empty-handed crammed for answers to quench the people’s thirst for the Gospel. This problem compounded with the growing alienation separating Church leaders from their faithfuls. Twenty years later, there evolved a fresh wind in charismatic movements that saw a massive exodus to a new fold–the El Shaddai-DWXI-PPFI–a new revulsion in devotion to the Cross still maintaining fidelity in Catholicism. Yet, its revolutionary approach gravely alarmed the Church owing to its captivating persuasion that moved in hordes people from various denominations to the lively assembly, more than attending the regular parochial mass.

History of El Shaddai

On the testimony in February 1978 of Brother Mike Velarde, El Shaddai’s chief minister, an angel of God roused him in his room at the Philippine Heart Center while awaiting a major heart operation. On his account, the angel delivered to him the Word of God, which reinvigorated his failing heart and soul, and immediately restored the health that downed him for long.

The following day, Bro. Mike’s doctors were surprised to see him walking enthusiastically along the hospital alley. For many days, this patient was thoroughly diagnosed, but a miracle occurred. Not a single trace of heart deficiency was present, and the scheduled heart operation was finally suspended.

Since then, Bro. Mike became a Born Again Catholic. It was to be the turning point of a once wasteful life for he considered the miracle of the Lord in him as a grace filled with a supreme mission. The ensuing days found him busy in establishing the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Secretariat of Quezon City with Msgr. Fidelis Lim of Fairview, Quezon City, together with Jeanne Young, Sister Angela Lim, OFM of Stella Maris College, Bro. P.B. Dionisio, Bro. Cesar Roxas, Bro. Bingbong Crisologo, (the late) Bro. Ronald Remy and many other ardent followers of the congregation.

Wasting no time, the movement poised the "Good News of the Lord" under the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to form a vigorous assembly in a monthly Charismatic Mass and Healing Rally at Araneta Coliseum every fourth week of the month. As a token of good faith, Bro. Mike wholeheartedly offered to Msgr. Limcaoco his last money in the bank, a PhP50,000 blood money intended for the currently ailing real estate business during the crisis-torn Philippine economy. He gave the financial help despite an outstanding debt of PhP200 million!

Truly, the Word of God is grace for anyone who seeks Him and the power of His miracle, which restored Bro. Mike to a renewed health at the Philippine Heart Center, worked wonders in his moribund real estate firm. It was again proven that evil ways have no place in the grace of the Lord. For a week before the scheduled first gathering of the Charismatic Mass and Healing Rally at Araneta Coliseum, a group of businessmen went to his real estate office to buy a PhP60 million worth of lots at the Multinational Village with an advance of PhP5 million. This was the start of the financial miracle of Bro. Mike’s physical and spiritual world…a life stirring his desire to sprinkle the great truth that Jesus Christ "Is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." He is the Miraculous, the Merciful and the Gracious; that everything with Him is possible, if only everyone has faith and the resolve to follow His Golden Rule.

The amount of PhP50,000 share Bro. Mike had sincerely offered as seed money for the germination of the Gospel of the Lord was a pittance if taken in parallel of what his real estate firm had gained from grace. But being the last resources he had in the world, the money freely given away no longer counted by quantity, but by the lofty spirit carried within the man exalted by God’s mercy and grace. As in a biblical account: "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall be burnt out with new wine." (Proverbs 3:9-10)

The Gospel of the Lord grew like a miraculous seed sown to the heart of Bro. Mike and it sprouted with multiplier effect. Soon, his fervent wishes to share this spirit among people in all walks of life swelled and bloomed as beauteous flowers would be. Then one morning, the Holy Spirit worked in him, a conscious mind being goaded as to make the radio station DWXI (1314 kHz) an absolute voice for the Good News that saves and heals people. Thereupon, Bro. Mike instructed his lawyer to register with SEC a foundation upon which financial supports derived from tithes in his real estate firm and other businesses would be deposited.

Even at this stage, the spiritual movement was beset with problems adding to the fact that Bro. Mike’s familiarity with the Bible and religion was practically nil. Primarily, he planned to support the financial needs of DWXI’s radio ministry and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement. As it turned out in 1984, the DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation, International was established.

After the successful mass and healing rally in 1981, Bro. Mike said that a voice told him "to build the temple of God in a place where people can find rest, be cured and rested."

He was mistaken to think this temple be made of steel, marble, stone or any concrete like that of a basilica, for he had contracted an architect for the choice design. In 1982, when the plan was finished, Bro. Mike made a trip to Rome for the Pope’s blessings of the project.

However, the Lord’s temple was not material, because the voice wants it to be built within the spirituality of Bro. Mike. For it was written: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (I Corinthians 3:16-17)

Also in the same year (1981), Bro. Mike launched the program titled "To God Be The Glory" through DWXI, the Good News was aired 9-11 p.m. every Sunday. However, he had second thoughts because broadcasting was a personal handicap. Perhaps, a colleague should do it instead, he thought. To his surprise, Bro. Mike received a letter asking him to go on. Nobody knew what was in his mind, yet "thank you" letters kept coming for testimonies.

One Sunday of 20 August 1984, he invited radio listeners of DWXI to come over for a Holy Mass to thank the Lord for all the blessings He had showered to all the listeners. Some thousand people came to radio station DWXI at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Again, the miracles happened. Almost all who came for the healing rally received the unexpected blessings from the Lord.

Since then, hordes after hordes of people flooded the site of Bro. Mike’s healing rally, extending the crowded assembly into his very office at Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village in Makati City. Everyday, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a large crowd swarmed to the place. These long weeks were the tests of Bro. Mike’s firm determination and for the Movement itself.

Unfortunately, before the end of 1987, a raucous confusion occurred at the station DWXI resulting in the destruction of many properties and communication equipment. The negative event was a serious one and the radio program was compelled to be off the air for sometime until 1988. The reason: some skeptics have questioned about the Movement’s fund prompting a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission. When the verdict of the SEC came about, Bro. Mike was absolved. His acquittal returned some blessings from the trial he had undergone, for during the fourth anniversary of El Shaddai held at the Rizal Park on August 20-21, 1998 a multitude of more than 400,000 attended. This phenomenon was overwhelming as the members mushroomed to incomparable numbers.

So unusual was the course of the events that it caught the attention of the echelon of the Catholic Church, when some priests agreed in holding prayer meetings during El Shaddai rallies. Still others were cynical and they would hurl questions whether the principle of the Movement was based on the canons of the Church. Too soon, there was a response. Bishop Teodoro Bacani himself headed the first Leadership Training Seminar of workers in the Foundation in October 1989 at Amorsolo.

Later, Bro. Mike was invited as guest of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in a meeting, which threshed out ecclesiastical procedures within the ambits of Catholicism. With this, charismatic rallies were fully guided and the spiritual directors and advisers were designated. Some of them were Bishop Bacani, Rev. Frs. Archie Guiriba, OFM, Anton Pascual, Bong Guerrero and Sony de Claro.

This time, the Movement’s broadcast extended to television (IBC 13) and the tasks of DWXI spread to far-flung provinces of the country. Like hailstorm workers, the El Shaddai personnel became a busy bunch of spiritual followers receiving a regular deluge of letters that narrated the problems, expression of joy and enthusiasm of members. All them were given support.

El Shaddai’s endeavors engulf a never-ending responsibility with an open hand as it continually nurtures love under a Mother Church in a congenial atmosphere towards faith and sacred life.

Problem of the Study

Over some decades, the Catholic Church had been very wary about the fading enthusiasm of its people attending the regular mass and the tasks on spirituality. This was so alarming that many devout Catholics settled to other religious sects, especially the heavy desertions towards charismatic movements. One of the most popular of these was the El Shaddai, where millions of the population thrived into its jovial and discordant liveliness in the prayer rallies. Yet in the midst of the seeming pandemonium characterized in every meeting marked with jumping, singing and shouting, the apparent obedience of its current members to attend these rallies were evident. For some critics, their attitudes had become dogmatic, a ritual in cults, corny and even used as a launching pad of political opportunists.

Why are its members so blind and indifferent not to have detected this? It seems all of these queries rest on one man alone, Bro. Mike Velarde. What is within El Shaddai that its members have painstakingly hoped for? Can they not find it in the Church anyhow?

Importance of the Study

This study is vital among priests and clerics of the Church. It can also help theologians, sociologists and catechists in explaining the phenomenon behind religions. The study of religion can result in reviving faith to the Catholic fold and restore a meaningful, beneficial and dynamic devotion of Filipino Christians. With this knowledge, close interaction among Christians would produce responsible, peace-loving and decent citizens who can develop a harmonious and progressive nation.




Ethnography was the method used by this researcher in gathering data. This was started in the observation of the three-Saturday workshop at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the two Sundays at the El Shaddai Office in Amorsolo. After this, the researcher attended the Life in the Spirit Seminar being held by El Shaddai at Cuneta Astrodome. She also joined the Brothers’ Keeper Cooperative Seminar and became active members. After the Life in the Spirit Seminar, she assumed higher responsibilities as members during Saturdays in addition to the work of the El Shaddai Chapter in the parish of Almar. During Tuesdays, this researcher was also attending the Growth Series Seminar at Cuneta Astrodome, that is, whenever there is a chance. This is known as the interaction among El Shaddai members. Together with this is the participatory observation wherein the researcher tried to know and join all the different sections of the Movement.

Once the researcher was able to develop rapport with the members and vice versa, she began exchanging stories with the members using guide questions. These conversations were taped with the consent of those who participated in this research. The recorded conversations were then transcribed verbatim for the analysis of their narration.


Data Analysis


To evaluate data, the researcher utilized the phenomenological approach. The structure above indicates the process of evaluation used in this study. The collected testimonies are repeatedly read. Afterwards, the testimonies are labeled, wherein words, phrases or sentences that pertain to the requirement of the research are separated. The testimonies are then given titles and treated with thematic reflection. These activities are done with continuing reflection so that they can be marked with themes, assumption, values and meanings. After all meanings are reflected upon, the following will be made: a list of meanings, reflection–guided thinking derived from the list of meanings, reflection–overall view on the total reality. All of these are derived from the narration of experiences. In summary, each step is guided with reflection.


Testimonial Experiences of an El Shaddai Member

    "It was in 1985, as a teacher in religion in Fr. Anton Pascual’s parish, when I was first invited to join El Shaddai. Being a coordinator in prayer meetings of the parish’s charismatic renewal, I never thought its fate to become a disciple someday…and that day had come. After two years of intensive training in the Movement, I was given a chance to go abroad. It was with the help of Bro. Rex America that I became familiar with this religious group–El Shaddai-DWXI-PPFI."

    There are so many ways how the Lord enters into our lives. One instance is placing people in close intimacy with others. Since love is inborn in every heart, there is joy that emits light from it, which He wants to share with everyone.

    "I was in the shadows of darkness before I had an encounter with the Lord. I was always high on prohibited drugs and it seemed my life depended on cigarettes my lungs inhale in chain smoking. My bad mouth scoffed foul language at times like chewing gums, which often led to as invitation for troubles because of hot-headedness. Then in 1982, I joined a full gospel Born Again congregation; I stayed there for three years."

    A man knows that he cannot find happiness in a life without peace in his heart and in his mind. It is natural he dislikes a world in peril, that is why he seeks the straightforward way.

    "The Christian community accepted me despite my transgressions. As one of those many spinners in the group, I felt it too within myself and now I’m trying to reform, to trek the right road of righteousness and transfigure into another person, to be acceptable in the eyes of the Lord. Every one of us prayed. The comforts afforded by the Christian community helped us restore confidence within ourselves and brought back the good impression of other people, yet all of these were done by the Word of God. In addition, we had received enough grace from the Lord, especially the chance to go abroad."

    The Christian Society is an unfailing refuge for those who needed comfort in times of ups and downs. Careful understanding of situations brings back the strength of erring members and stimulates them to become better subjects. This community embraces the weaknesses, accepts the wrong paths of who were waylaid, and helps them face the challenges of the future, to appear clean in the eyes of the Lord. He is generous to those who part from wrongdoings.

    "Man’s life in the world is entwined with despair until his death. Financial difficulties, personal problems, health and camaraderie with people–all these, if yielded to God who created all things on earth, will get back in return the supreme love that will change anything for good. This will also strengthen one’s faith in Him."

    Problems are inseparable to man. However, all these faults are healed upon submission to God.

    "According to the bible account, "those who endure till the end will be saved." Sacrifices against the temptations of the world will be lessened by means of regular bible reading. Listening everyday to the Word of the Lord will greatly help in solving problems. One must not forget that the waiting arms of the Christian community are ready to give solace and share joy. Some contradictions are being thrown into the Christian community, that it is backward and austere in its dealings, but one must trust in the simplicity of the heart of Jesus which this group bear every time. God is near to those who love the simple life and are ignorant; but despises the tormentors who believed in their sophistication to high learning."

    Always clinging to God, in the Gospel and ever in his domain. Even from the earliest Christians, these acts were strong foundations in life’s successes. One is always subject to persecutions, which Jesus had overcome.

    "He is a living exemplar who shares the dark experiences of past worldly affairs. Bro. Mike’s testimonies regained hopes that were vain when he was able to become righteous by just following the words of the Lord. He was made a tool in rousing us from the apathy and indifference to the Christian faith of many Filipinos. Never did Bro. Mike become outrageous to us that he always made himself available to everyone. And that was the reason why we felt ourselves in him and like him especially in times of depression and in need."

    The tree is the model of its fruits. The head presents the spectacles of examples in words and in deed, and forever he will never be indifferent to all but one and equal to them.

    "At El Shaddai, everyone can experience a merry assembly: dancing, singing, where we do the spiritual devotion to the sacraments being done by the Mother Church. Here we feel the blissful enthusiasm to attend every meeting because we feel we are really healed. The celestial aura brought about by jovial singing and dancing work wonders in our physical and spiritual growth. When we do this routine, it seems we belong to another different world."

    The Filipinos are endowed with natural hospitality. Its charming congeniality helped so much in the works of El Shaddai. In all endeavors, this natural character could help very much in the development of spirituality.

    "First is the Word of God. Second is my daily providence from Him. Like the good life I had been enjoying with my wife, the fortunes of going abroad, and those travails, the trying moments we were able to overcome with each other."

    Determination to follow the words of the Lord is the faith in Him omnipotence and goodness. Absolute trust in Him would reveal Him who and what is He to your life.


Title Derived from the Testimony:

"El Shaddai and the Dynamic Filipino Faith"

Thematic Reflection on Narrated Experiences





  1. Joining
Was invited Concern with/to others Response to the momentary need
Brought by somebody Concern with others The life of others is important
Given as an option to him In search of rules in a life situation The need for solutions in a life situation
Convinced to attend the services Open-mindedness to stories Listening to other people’s good advice
First learned in a conversation, while searching for a TV show to watch, and there was a mass, with the name El Shaddai written in the stage The heart’s longing for God Various ways of quenching the longings of our hearts
Was invited Good naturedness Invitation to people’s charity
Was told to try attending an El Shaddai meeting, due to the ailment of a sibling (cancer of the liver) A call from God In response to God’s call
Was invited Concern for others Man lives for others
Searching, wandering, has found…formerly a cursillo member where all are preachers In search for the spiritual life The importance of spirituality in our life
Instant physical healing (cancer of the lungs), following the advice of Bro. Mike of someone from V. Luna Hospital Turning to God in times of trouble God is the only ultimate provider in all times
Life before joining El Shaddai With troubles/problems in life Importance of serenity in life Yearning for peace in life
Has problems Acknowledging the role of God in any life situation Problems are easier to bear knowing that God is at our side
Living a troubled life Serenity in life Peace in life means inner peace
With doubts but was curious why El Shaddai members are so happy, seemingly without problems Striving for a meaningful life Leading a meaningful life is what gives people true happiness
Not worthy to God, a sinner Acknowledging and accepting one’s life Using respect to God in making life choices; making decisions based on one’s accountability to Him
Poor but is not being deterred by his poverty;

A member of the Apostleship of Prayer, a BRM leader, a lector / commentator

Love for spiritual works;

Patient to the hardships of life

Spiritual works strengthen people against hardships in life
A wine/cigarette dealer; had 3 jeepneys and houses in Pasig, Kalookan and in the province;

Is quick to anger;

Lends money but makes so many complaints

Leading a very earthly existence The earthly existence is only temporary
Life centered on alcohol, women and gambling;

Irritable, very low patience;

A union leader;

Very depressed, was laid-off from work;

Bitter person, full of hatred

A clean mind and heart The need for a clean mind and heart to lead a comfortable life
Member of Cursillo movement;

Smokes and drinks alcohol;

Has migraine

The value of reflecting on the Word of God everyday The Good News/Word of God can change lives
Excessive alcoholism, gambling and other vices Physical health Physical health leads to spiritual health
Life with El Shaddai Happy;

prayer requests are answered

Approaching God with humility God never fails whoever turns to Him
Slowly seeing oneself change Slow change Slow change ensures total change
Before, troubled/trial-full life;

Answered prayer;

Many blessings: 3 houses, 3 cars, many businesses

Faith in God In every trial, there’s a blessing, and vice versa.
Many trials;

Investments from working in Japan are slowly disappearing: dollar/peso savings, owner-type jeep, jewelry;

Troubles in family and kin;

Was robbed of some properties;

Seduced by a former boyfriend who’s already married;

Had nothing to eat

Material possession have very few use in life Earthly possessions can never give total peace to oneself and with others
Faith has improved;

Everyday life is peaceful, does not fight with hubby despite his being unemployed

Faith in God;

Simplicity in life

Faith in God brings simplicity in life
Investments were disposed to defray expenses;

Studying child transferred from private to public school;

Left job because of Him;

Has almost nothing to eat;

Hot-headedness has disappeared, became charitable;

Sibling’s health has improved, was able to work again

Process of character improvement People must undergo the process of character improvement to attain a better Christian life
Have realized one’s mistakes;

Have surrendered everything to the Lord;

Have felt all the changes;

Have satisfaction and contentment;

Life depended on one’s relationship with God;

Humility and acceptance of the truth;

Acceptance of the Lord’s works in one’s life

One can only give value to the works of the Lord in one’s life if he/she has humility and if one accepts that he/she cannot do anything without Him
God has improved relationship with partner, relatives and other people;

Have undergone life transformation

Vices have disappeared;

Served in the Baptism of the Spirit;

Have shared testimonies to all visited parishes

One’s life is his testimony God uses man so that he can discover his true self and how he can change with His help
  I have experienced the goodness of God, His divine intervention, provisions, presence;

I learned what is His divine purpose in calling me;

I experienced joy and peace in my heart;

Healing of my family;

Hunger and thirst for the Word of God;

I have experienced that God is in control of everything;

He gives hope to the hopeless

Awe and wonder as God unfolds Himself to us To experience God, we must surrender everything to Him
Trials experienced as an El Shaddai member The temptation to sin is too strong God above all If we put God above everything, no temptation can ever defeat us
Doubt on a person’s change is a natural reaction of others Firm resolve to achieve a change in one’s life Ability to continually improve
Life became troubled; businesses have closed; Continuous knowing about God in each event in our lives Even in times of plenty, we must not forget about God
Stability against trials and problems;

Priority in life

God above everything If we put God above everything, he gives even more than what we ask for
God used someone to lend me money without interest when I needed to give allowance to my child; same when we had no food Bearing the hardships of life Acted upon a pressing situation with the faith of God’s grace
Experiences stomach trouble when going to work;

Helps to transport colleagues going to work

Being firm against temptations by praising God We will always encounter temptations, but every time we win over them, we become better persons
Spiritual dryness Diligence to perform our spiritual tasks;

Temptations make us stronger

Praying is an ordinary way of communicating with God. We must always talk with Him so that we won’t go astray

Moments of giving up on serving the Lord;

Financial problems;

Trial on relationship with family members and co-workers in the ministry

Faith, patience and perseverance / endurance in life We can only truly know who God is through our experiences in life
How to win over trials in life Holding on to Christ in the midst of trials in life Being steadfast for Christ Since Christ has won over all trials, so can we.
Continually changing in life Attending to the works of El Shaddai Everything can change in God
Pray to God, Yahweh, El Shaddai, feel sorry, cry, ask for forgiveness, go back to work;

All that was lost are slowly being returned

Trust in God and in His works Since we owe all that we have to God, we cannot boast of anything to Him
Clinging to God

Continually attending to the works;

Support of brotherhood

Faith in God and in others We must have faith both to God and other people; we can experience how God moves in our lives
Serving God by serving others and His Church

Convincing others to go to God

Serving God and fellow human beings Serving God and other people is real service
Following the Lord since "meeting" Him;

Continually attending to the works;

Continuous prayer request;

Unceasing dependence in God;

Recruiting others to the fold continually

Continuous communication with God is the most effective way to win over all tests in life We must put talking with God above everything in life
Examining if one truly follows God–deepens one’s spirituality

Faith in God’s intervention;

Belief that God will give strength in times of weariness, problems and persecutions;

El Shaddai will take over;

Recalling the commitment to serve the Lord, to serve Him till death

Self processing Self processing enables one to determine his strengths and weaknesses; only this can help us improve
Role of Bro. Mike in the lives of El Shaddai members Explaining on how to apply the Word of God to one’s life Life based on the Word of God Different from earthly life, which is hard and full of trouble
The leader in the works of El Shaddai The value of a leader in work All endeavors require the need of a leader
Leads in El Shaddai’s works The need for a leader in the work All works depend on the leader and members
The healing messages helped me turn from evil ways;

Used by God to help me better my life

Heeding how God calls us God uses man to help us change
Citing how people remain composed as an example to others Life as an example The group needs an exemplary life especially in managing works
Helping others be aware of the Word of God;

His words are being heard and followed

A leader A leader helps members live better lives
Life as an example Leading by example is important The manner of teaching is effective and convincing because he had experienced what he teaches
Servant leader Humility A living example to people
The Distinction of Hearing Regular Masses and performing other religious activities of El Shaddai embers Inexhaustible and enthusiastic to learn and apply God’s teaching to one’s life Perseverance and eagerness for the Word of God Helps in Christian living
Feeling renewed, complete rejuvenation, problems disappear Being open to allow God to work inside a person Being emotionally healthy is a kind of freedom
El Shaddai members are a happy bunch, as if they don’t have problems Filipinos are naturally joyful in life and in praising God Happiness is inviting to people

It gives peace of mind;

My excessive pride has disappeared

Active participation in the works Bearing witness to the works

Have decided to give total dedication in serving the Lord

Joy in God Total dedication to God gives true happiness
Maintains peace of mind amidst problems Complete celebration Continuous celebration in all places
Has a mysterious kind of charisma;

Can really may you feel accepted, like the Prodigal Son who came back to the Lord

Relating with people with similar conditions In any celebrations, the way participants relate with each other is of paramount importance
Changes in life with the help of the Good News Accepting the Good News Bearing witness to the Good News
Gives strength to the weak;

Moved me to make a commitment with the Lord–to serve Him for life;

Shared the lesson: If God is with us, who can be against us?

Meaningful celebration Gives strength and reason to improve one’s religious life
Reason for staying with El Shaddai Continuous listening to the Word of God Reading/listening to reflections on God’s word The Gospel helps make one live a firm Christian life
The changes in life and those who have returned from being astray Allowing God to work in his life Surrendering one’s self to God
Believing in God in all kinds of situations in life Believing in God The awareness that God is always present within us
Listening to the Word of God;

Attending to one’s works;

Bible-sharing participation

Perseverance and continuous search for God God’s help can make us strong in this life
Eagerness to do one’s work Eagerness for God Our eagerness for God helps us to stay in His Holy presence
Listening and bearing witness to God’s word Allocating time to listen to the Gospel and bearing witness to it The Word of God gives us strength to live
Frequent praying Faithfulness to the Lord Faithfulness to God results in His constant presence in our life
Spreading the Gospel;

Inspirational testimonies;

Numerous miracles, was cured from illness and vices through the Spirit

God is alive God is very alive, we must only try our best to know Him
Trials and persecutions–the Divine interventions and His divine power Awareness on the presence of God even in times of trial Accepting God’s message in times of trial
Assumption about El Shaddai Incomparable Knowing the true God A life that acknowledges God is very distinct
Work of the Holy Spirit, like a phenomenon, is a mystery Allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our life God’s will always triumph
El Shaddai is great Discovering God through our experiences A mind receptive to God’s interventions in life
A constant companion;

He will never forsake us;

A provider, merciful, good

Discovering God through our experiences God constantly introduces Himself to us through the different experiences in our life
Peace, humility and love Peace, humility and love Love is humble and has peace
A guide Needed to have a direction in Christian living Jesus is the only guide that we must follow in our Christian life
God’s work Openness to God’s acts God rules in those who open their hearts to Him
God works to unite all his sons to return to His Church Knowing how God acts Knowledge on how God acts to guide how we live
A call to serve the Lord;

A holy invitation to preach to the whole world that Yahweh El Shaddai is alive

Awareness on the call of God in our life All of us have a calling from God that we must perform here on earth

Notably common among El Shaddai members are their past uncertainties, the long fears and turbulent times in life. Most of them were in financial loss, while others once lived in immorality. They vary in every way and obliviously incomplete in life’s perfect necessities in many ways. For even with their wealth, there’s no peace of mind; despite luxury and substantial riches, they’re bedridden in sickness. Many of them subsist through poverty, yet were disciples of indecent living.

Incidentally, their paths crossed with El Shaddai. Chances were, somebody–an acquaintance, relative or friend, had invited them. Others had chanced upon a glimpse of an El Shaddai gathering either on TV or radio. Still others, out of curiosity or word of mouth of members came to witness and suddenly almost all of them experience great changes in their outlook in life. Gradually, these changes occur like fading watercolors.

The process of change, moreover, happened in a manner of individuality. As they join the fold, a few encountered transitions with instant solutions to their problems. However, many were loaded with heavy burdens. Some maintained steadfast resolve to wait. Allowing their faith to work by themselves and wait for God’s response by fervent prayers. Yet, all of them experienced remarkable transformation in their lives.

They have straightened from filthy existence to tread the path of righteousness; these people with their vile preoccupations turned back from doing wrong to lead a better life. But always, there were trials that barred them, hampered them away from the sweetness of light. Amidst these barriers, they have maintained communication with the Lord by attending El Shaddai gatherings, hearing and sharing the Gospel among themselves. Filling their awakening with prayers, they became stronger in faith and considered El Shaddai as a community the Lord had prepared for them. Finally, they were able to achieve equanimity, harmony with one another, hand-in-hand in praising the Lord whom they now cherish and never looked back to their past lives.

At long last, after the stories of those who traveled from good to evil were truly the works of a magnificent hand. And one by one, the members mustered endless thanks that they had found El Shaddai. For them, it is one systematic formula of God in gathering his flocks.


List of Meanings


Summary of Profiles of Meaning

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

We are here because of the Eternal love of God and He wants all of us to be saved. To realize this, He allows divine interventions to happen so that all can enter his fold. His words, prophets, commune, impoverishment, trials, sharing material things, and the afflictions around us–He uses these instruments of perfidy so that we can achieve salvation.

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus Christ has promised all of us. That those who would yield and follow Him will lead a good life–physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, materially, and above all spiritually. This is the reason why we must first put God above all else and everything that we need will be given to us. It is only through total self-surrender to God that enables the Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives. This is the start of our acceptance of His Holy Will. If the Holy Spirit can freely move in our lives, we will be constantly aware of his Holy Presence, making us lead a steadfast Christian life with full access to his power, charity, mercy and unconditional love. He is the only true support that we can hold on to. In everything that happens to us, He’ll be by our side. We need to be receptive to all the signs that He’ll show us so we can follow His plans.

If a man says, I love God, and hated his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has not seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (I John 4:20)

The love of God is the love of fellowmen, one that forgives, is steadfast against slander, endowed with a clean mind, heart and seeks to be a servant of the Lord. Serving others is serving God. This is the measure for a true Christian. Being sympathetic and aware of the needs of people, both rich and poor, is serving God.

Watch yourselves, therefore, and pray always, that you may be made worthy to escape all things that shall come pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

We are made of flesh and are not perfect, prone to error, easily confused, quick to fall into sin. Problems often occur due to our carelessness in leading our Christian life. Failing to fulfill our spiritual task usually result in spiritual dryness. We tend to first live in vanity, then slowly stray away from the Lord. Actually, everything that happens to us is a sign of the presence of God in our lives, often expressed in subtle forms. Jesus Christ has already triumphed over all the trials that come our way. If Christ accepted to be crucified and die on the cross, how much more can we? But we can also triumph over all tests only in the name of Jesus.

We can only be strong if we allow the Word of God to enter our hearts and mind. Since our frailties come from spiritual dryness, we must process ourselves first so we can improve our Christian living. We must first acknowledge that we are weak before we can be strong. Strong will and willingness to discover are needed in this process. We must bear in mind that God does not count how many times we fall, but how many times we rise. Constant prayer enables us to be continuously in His holy presence, thus helping us not to go astray. If God is with us, who can be against us? The Word of God can change every wrong into things that are worthy to Him.

God is sincere to His promise. He would not let us fall if only we would follow His will.

Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Basic Insight Derived from Various Profiles of Meaning

God wants all of us to be saved. He does his plan of salvation in various ways and forms. God dwells in our lives not only through his words but also in all things. This is vivid in how a Christian seeks to continue doing God’s will in his everyday life. He gives us warmth when we are cold, he cures us when we’re sick, and helps our spirituality move if can’t. It is really important to maintain our enthusiasm in leading a Christian life even in the most ordinary days. If gold is purified by burning amber, souls are molded by trials, challenges, anxiety and accidents. But we must always remember that all of these are only reminders so we can maintain our closeness with God. God does work in mysterious ways so man can really known what and who God is in our life.

Conclusion: overall view on the total reality

From the start of time, love is the reason why the universe was created and why we exist. Sin has separated man from God, and he can only come back to God through love. God has gathered his chosen ones because he wants man to be saved. In this light, we can consider the El Shaddai Movement as one of the ways that God uses to bring man back to Him. Salvation is in the nature of man, especially among Filipinos. We don’t want to live in sin so man is continually finding ways on how to go back to God. For Filipinos, even before the entry of the Spaniards, they have always known and witnessed the great importance of God in their lives. Early Filipinos endeavored to know God by means of various ceremonies, such as songs, dances and the like.

They have surrendered their entire life to the hands of God…similar to what present-day Christians are doing to achieve salvation. Their faith in God is immeasurable. Everything that they do, they do in the name of the Lord. They were never anxious about the future. But when the foreign intruders came, their belongings were taken away and then the ravenous greed reigned all over the country. Since then, the ordinary comfortable life transformed into misery, that whatever food and shelter they need, they must work hard for it. The primitives began to feel restless.

Their rich religious tradition gradually faded as their habitual communication with God, their very own, was changed by the foreigners. Their culture was also changed, the flow of thought was no longer the same, the basket of misery became a mountain of agony and grief was everywhere. They began to place their hopes to the institutional structures shaped by some people. The result: Filipinos became Christians in word, but not in deed. Further aggravating this was the arrogance of church leaders to the laity, the language used was alien to the natives and the way of life was entirely different from what they’re accustomed to.

Before the westerners came, spiritual leaders closely mingle with the followers. During Hispanic times, church leaders have distanced themselves from the laity, considering themselves as superior being over the common people. But when Protestantism arrived, it is evident that one of the new religious movements that sought to bring back the former religious ways of our forefathers is El Shaddai. A religious organization that goes back to the basic spiritual works: seeking to know God, refrain from sinning, total surrender to the Lord, etc. Even our forefathers’ religious rites are evident in how El Shaddai gatherings are characterized by lively singing, dancing, and emotional praying. Filipinos were able to see their spiritual needs in El Shaddai.

Thus, they have eliminated all the evil things the Westerners have brought into their lives and brought back things that are inherently Filipino. For "intellectuals," El Shaddai seemed to favor fanaticism over logic, an unsophisticated way versus intelligent manner of knowing God. Please consider this: if God has used His logic instead of his emotion, in light of the gravity of man’s sins…will humanity still exist? What has the sophisticated advances of man’s intelligence brought us to?



  1. Rosemarie Anderson and William Braud, Transpersonal Research Methods for the Social Sciences (Sage Publications, Inc., 1998).
  2. Uwe Flick, An Introduction to Qualitative Research (Sage Publications, Inc., 1998).
  3. Led Lapiz, Paano Magiging Pilipinong Kristiyano (Kaloob Publications, 1997).
  4. Jacob Needleman and George Baker, Understanding New Religions (The Seabury Press, 1978).
  5. Anselon Strauss and Juliet Corbin, Basics of Qualitative Research (Sage Publications, Inc., 1998).
  6. Bryan S. Turner, Religion and Social Theory, Second Edition (Sage Publications, Inc., 1991).
  7. Dr. Teresita Obusan, editor, Roots of Filipino Spirituality (Mamamathala, 1998).
  8. Life Today, Vol. 54, No. 12, December 1998.
  9. Social Compass, Vol. 46, No. 2, June 1999.


Appendix A

Segmentation of the Narration of Experience


Segmentation of the Narration of Experience

Segmentation of the Narration of Experience


Segmentation of the Narration of Experience


Segmentation of the Narration of Experience


Segmentation of the Narration of Experience

Segmentation of the Narration of Experience


Segmentation of the Narration of Experience


Segmentation of the Narration of Experience



Segmentation of the Narration of Experience



Appendix B

Titles from each Narration


Cyberproocedings Index

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