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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Manny makes a joyful noise for the Lord


My first meeting in February 2012 with Manny Pacquiao 
in an interview at the Pacquiao Mansion for this article.

The article as originally written:

Oh Lord my God, when I, in awesome wonder,
consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Here is the man who declared that he would retire from boxing when he turned 29 five years ago. But it took God who appeared to him in a dream this January for him to decide on retiring. God told him, "You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful."

Indeed, Manny Pacquiao has become a preacher of the Good Word these days, much to the surprise and dismay of many of his fans worldwide. And here he is, in a v-neck orange and white striped t-shirt, at the living room of the Pacman Mansion in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City, leading the group in rehearsing the praise songs for the prayer meeting that night. The group is composed of Mommy Dionisia, wife Jinkee, their kids and their playmates, pastors, some politicians and their wives, family and personal friends, neighbors, a group of businessmen, employees, a sprinkling of media people and a few curious onlookers.

Pinupuri, sinasamba kita Dakilang Diyos at Panginoon  
Tunay ngang ika’y walang katulad
Tunay ngang ika’y di nagbabago
Mabuting Diyos na sa aki’y nagmamahal

The pastor starts the prayer meeting and with gusto discusses what it means to belong to the body of believers or the Body of Christ. Manny listens intently to him and nods in agreement to what he says. His hunger for the word of God is palpable in his face. From time to time, Manny opens the Bible in his hand to read the verse mentioned by the pastor. He also shares his thoughts and feelings to the discussion of issues raised by the pastor. His fervor is evident in his eyes and in the way his right hand punches the air before him.

I love you with the love of the Lord,
I love you with the love of the Lord.
I can see in you the glory of my King,
And I love you with the love of the Lord.

Later, he stands to lead in the distribution of several bags containing Bibles to those present when it was needed during the prayer meeting. His voice soars with every hymn being sung. Towards the end of the prayer meeting, he serves, along with others, the juice in caps and crackers for the communion. 
 
When the prayer meeting wraps up, several people go to him, convinced and pleased by the changed man before them. Mommy Dionisia and Jinkee look at him with obvious pride and pleasure.

Matthew 16:26: What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Here is the changed man who now repentantly admits his worldliness in the past and declares, “No more womanizing, no more gambling, no more over-drinking of liquor!” 

Here is the man who gained wealth and fame as a leading sports figure and a showbiz celebrity and got elected to the House of Representatives to serve his people, saying he believes he had been chosen by God to use his fame to spread His Word. 

Here is the man who for all his street smarts and slick moves in the ring could not say “no” when God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Come follow me.” 

Here is the man whose eye is now on the Kingdom of Heaven and whose intent is investing in eternal life. Here is the man who now wears his heart on his sleeve so that everyone knows where his faith stands.

The article published as the cover story of the July 2012 issue of It's a Good Life @ KCC Mall of Gensan
                           

The article as edited and published:

Oh Lord my God, when I, in awesome wonder,
consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

He declared that he would retire from boxing when he turned 29 five years ago but it seems God had other plans for him. He recounts a dream last January that made his decision for him. God told him, "You have done enough. You have made yourself famous but this is harmful."

The man's name is Manny Pacquiao and he has become a preacher of the Good Word these days. Some in his worldwide fan base are pleasantly surprised, while others are dismayed. In a striped orange and white striped v-neck t-shirt, at the living room of the Pacman Mansion in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City, he leads a group in rehearsing the praise songs for the night's prayer meeting. The group is composed of Mommy Dionisia, his wife Jinkee, the Pacquiao couple's kids and the kids' playmates, pastors, some politicians and their wives, other members of the Manny's and Jinkee's extended family, personal friends and neighbors of the Pacquiao family, a group of businessmen, employees, a sprinkling of media people and a few curious onlookers.

Pinupuri, sinasamba kita Dakilang Diyos at Panginoon
                      Tunay ngang ika’y walang katulad katulad                                
Tunay ngang ika’y di nagbabago
Mabuting Diyos na sa aki’y nagmamahal

The pastor starts the prayer meeting with gusto and discusses what it means to belong to the body of believers or the Body of Christ. Manny listens intently to him and nods in agreement. His hunger for the word of God is palpable and clearly reflected in his face. At appropriate times, Manny opens the Bible in his hand to read the verse mentioned by the pastor. He also shares his thoughts and feelings to the discussion of issues raised by the pastor. His fervor is evident in his eyes and in how his right hand punches the air before him.

I love you with the love of the Lord,
I love you with the love of the Lord.
I can see in you the glory of my King,
And I love you with the love of the Lord.

Later, he stands to lead in the distribution of several bags containing Bibles to those present. His voice soars with every hymn being sung. Towards the end of the prayer meeting, he serves, along with others, in the communion rites.

When the prayer meeting wraps up, several people go to him, convinced and pleased by the changed man before them. Mommy Dionisia and Jinkee look at him with obvious pride and pleasure.

Matthew 16:26: What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
 
Here is the changed man who now repentantly admits his worldliness in the past and declares, “No more womanizing, no more gambling, no more over-drinking of liquor!” Here is the man who gained wealth and fame as a leading sports figure and a household name and who serves his constituents as a member of the Philippine Congress, saying he believes he had been chosen by God to use his fame to spread The Word. Here is the man who, for all his street smarts and slick moves, in the ring could not say “no” when God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Come follow me.” Here is the man whose eye is now on the Kingdom of Heaven and whose intent is investing in eternal life. Here is the man who now wears his heart on his sleeve so that everyone knows where his faith stands.
 

Matthew 7:24: Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

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