Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

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Christian Brotherhood

In this first episode of our "Thank You Series," we hear about a friendship that has lasted over 30 years. Brother Eric Waterman surprises Brother Bob Pellien to thank him for the impact and change he’s had in his life. It’s a heartfelt conversation between two ministers of the gospel whose lives are connected by their duty and love for God.


Aliw Pablo: Hi, Brother Eric, thank you so much for joining us. And before we bring on our guest that you’re going to thank, can you tell us a little something Brother about who you’re going to be thanking today?

Brother Eric Waterman: Today, I’m thanking Brother Bob Pellien.  I met Brother Bob Pillien back in 1989, he introduced me to my beautiful wife and then he married my son, and he’s been there on all the important occasions of my life and always been there whenever I needed him, good times, bad times, storms and sunny days and rainy days. You know, just a real solid brother, a really nice friend, you know, could never count your blessings. But he’s one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Aliw Pablo:  From INC Media Audio, this is Making Changes, a podcast about the changes we go through and the life lessons we learn along the way…always with God by our side. I’m your host, Aliw Garcia Pablo. 

Hi everyone! Welcome to season 2 of Making Changes. I know it’s been a while we’re really excited to share this new season with you. You know, it’s not surprising that everyone who works on this podcast loves to hear stories about big life changes, the pivotal moments in our lives when everything begins to shift. But lately, we’ve also been talking a lot about those friends, acquaintances, sometimes, complete strangers—those individuals who become instrumental in making these big changes in our lives. And that’s exactly what brought us to season 2 of Making Changes. 

We’re calling this our “Thank You” series—it’s basically surprise phone calls or video calls to people who have made a positive change in someone’s life, and it’s a chance to say thank you. 

Today, we’ll hear from  Brother Eric Waterman, a minister of the gospel who will be talking to a friend and fellow minister who has had a great impact in his life for over 30 years. Let’s listen in… 

Brother Eric Waterman:  Good morning, Brother Bob. How are you there? 

Brother Bob Pellien: Brother Eric! Nice to hear from you, Brother. We haven’t talked in a long, long time. How have you been? How’s the family?

Brother Eric Waterman: Oh we’re very well, Brother. 

Brother Bob Pellien: So are you getting old yet?

Brother Eric Waterman: Yes, I hit the big 65 last year. So I’m officially a senior citizen. So I have my senior moments now. So but I try, I try my best to be happy. 

Brother Bob Pellien: There you go.

Brother Eric Waterman: Brother Bob, I just wanted to take the moment to really from the bottom of my heart, really, thanks for always being there. Always being a great friend. And always for the constant reminders, the advice, your kindness, the care, the counsel. You know, you’ve counseled me with my mom, with my ministry and my membership with my wife, with my family and with my kids. I mean, whenever I needed it, it just seemed like I got through to you, you know, and like, you were you were the cavalry, man. You were always you know, when I was surrounded, and the Indians were all around me, you would always just say, Brother, you know, we’re sending the cavalry. And every time you know, it was just there. And, you know, that’s what friends are for, you know, to the good times.

Brother Bob Pellien: We really consider you Brother Eric, a very dear friend and an important part of our family and our life too. But no need to thank me because it’s God that is good. You know, and you know that as a Minister, and I’m sure you tell that to members of the Church all the time. It’s God, that’s good. You know, and if ever I have shared anything with you, that has helped you or then I join you in thanking God for that, because, you know, you’ve been awesome for the Church, you have touched the lives of many and you know, if you consider me even a small part of, of your life and becoming who you are, well, I join you in thanking God for that. You’re pretty awesome, too. And I’m glad to see that you’re there and happy and performing your ministry, like you are, you know. Must be the upstate New York in you, I guess.

Brother Eric Waterman: Well, I don’t really know, you know. The work ethic, you know, you really set the bar quite high. And when we used to do our landscaping projects and those… 

Brother Bob Pellien: You remember that?  

Brother Eric Waterman: Yes, those improvement projects Brother Bob was like the ‘energizer bunny’ never slept and he’s always on the go, go, go. There’s always something to do, something to repair, something to paint, something to plan. And then we always were able to get on the road. (audio fade, conversation under VO)

Aliw Pablo: And with that, these  two brothers who are both from New York, went down memory lane and went thirty years back and began recalling  everything from gardening projects at the chapel compound, to long drives to visit local congregations…to late night pecan pie a la modes.

Brother Eric Waterman: And then do you remember the late night counseling sessions at Denny’s with the pecan pie and the alamode?

Brother Bob Pellien: I remember those days. We couldn’t finish the day without swinging by at the end of the day, usually like midnight. Get our pecan pie ala mode. Don’t forget the ala mode. You got to have a little vanilla ice cream there with that, right?

Brother Eric Waterman: How about the old days when you did the recording upstairs in CWS (Children’s Worship Service) Chapel of LA, that little room with one machine with one camera? 

Brother Bob Pellien: Oh, yes, yes, that was, that was a different time. The Church media Brother Eric now has really, really grown since those days, I tell you. Since those L.A. days when we used to be up there and that second floor and behind the LA chapel. 

Brother Eric Waterman: And that big tape machine with the big thick tape. The big…

Brother Bob Pellien: 400 pounds thing. Yes.

Brother Eric Waterman: You always inspired me. And then those were after days of planting, doing landscaping, doing visitation, doing all kinds of things. And then we’d go there in the middle of the night because of the traffic in LA. And then you’d record. And then those were the miracle moments where really God guided us home, holding on to the steering wheel as you were making your way back home. 

Brother Bob Pellien: Yes, I’m very thankful to you, too Brother Eric, because you stuck with me, during all those late night works at the studio there in LA along with Brother Ed Maranan. You know, we were a good team. And I am thankful that you are always there to point the camera in the right direction. 

Brother Eric Waterman: Everything was new to me.

Aliw Pablo: And it was at this point in the conversation when Brother Bob went back to that very first day they met in 1989 when Brother Eric was a guest at one of the worship services that Brother Bob officiated. Based on that first meeting, no one could have guessed this is how it was all going to turn out. 

Brother Bob Pellien:  You know. It’s so thrilling to see you having joined the ministry and come so far and and since then, because when you first arrived and we were doing our bible exposition or it was a worship service maybe, but I remember coming out to the lobby, reaching out my hand you know, you were a newcomer there, reach out my hand, shake your hand, welcome you. Before even saying “Hello, nice to meet you.” Any kind of normal thing. Do you remember what you said? I remember, remember it explicitly. You said not like “Hello” or anything…you said, “I’m not staying, you know, I’m just here because of this guy that I drove. I’m not staying so and I won’t be here again.” But well, you know, I remember thinking to myself, well, “That’s what you say right now. We’ll see what God says, you know?” And sure enough, again, I don’t know if you remember so but the next day, you were there! You came back!

Brother Eric Waterman: And that was a two hour drive from Newport. You know, with the traffic, I had to go through three freeways. And then everybody that knew me said, “You’re out of your mind. You’re going to East LA, you’re on the beach, why would you go to East LA, there’s no purpose there.” So I remember the Bible studies upstairs. You know, when you have the overhead. Brother Bob this is a true story, huh? I thought everybody in that room was a Bible student.  Come to find out, I’m the one turning the overheads. I’m the Bible student. And all the others were the officers of the church that were there. It was a really enjoyable time there. And I learned a lot about…

Brother Bob Pellien: You did that for the whole time I was assigned there in San Gabriel Valley. You were, you became, you kind of adopted that duty to help make those slides and project them up on the screen while I was reading the verses. You were pretty awesome at that.

Brother Eric Waterman: And I really thought that this is the only way of God’s plan for me to be saved. It’s got to be the end of days, you know, I’ve already experienced three lifetimes before I met you. I mean, I had a really colorful life. It was quite a blessed life. And then “No, brother, you’ll have to wait another month.” And I’m like, “Oh, but what about the Holy Supper.” And so anyway, we waited another month, and then I got baptized, and then the last Holy Supper was up someplace in Washington. So brother, Bob, I remember that I was excited to get baptized, and then all my sins be forgiven me. So the one day I got baptized, and then the next day, I’m asking to be forgiven of my sins. And I remember the Minister saying, boy, this brother must have had life before. So I really thought that it was the end of days. And it really, I’m just amazed because you used to always say, “Just watch Brother Eric, just watch the Church and its growth.” And you used to say that to me all the time that “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” So when I came over to the Philippines in ‘91,  I was like a fish out of water. I had no idea what to expect over here and I was able to meet the Executive Minister and shook his hand and we were able to go to the museum. And it was really a surreal moment, you know, and I walked into the museum and Sir, Brother Eraño Manalo was asking me why are you here, Brother? And I said, “to show the Administration my heart.” And it was really from that moment on, you know, and even on my ordination, Sir, Brother Eraño Manalo was saying, “you might be wondering why you’re here.” And I was like, “Yes, I’m the last one that I thought would be here.” And he said, direct to me, it felt to me every time you know, he talks it seems straight to the heart. Same with you. You know, that’s why I kept coming back to the worship service. You know, there were 200 people in that congregation. But every time you preached, it was like, man, pow, right between the eyes. And you know, the truth is something that we can’t deny. You either are in it, or you’re not in it. And I had to realize that really, God was having a purpose and plan. 

Brother Bob Pellien: You know, Brother Eric, one of the most wonderful things in my life, is watching someone like yourself and watching yourself specifically, from the moment you said, I’m not here for any reason, I’m not coming. I’m just driving this and I was Wilfred Mercurio, I remember, and I’m just driving for him. And, you know, I’m not, I’m not here, I want, you know. From that moment, until the moment when you so dearly wanted to attend the holy supper and be baptized. And, you know, watching that transition, you know, watching you go from that person who was so insistent, I don’t need any baptism. I don’t need anything I don’t need. I’m not here, you know, and then you just, I don’t know what happened overnight while you slept or whatever  because you came back the next day, and there you go, like, what’s this all about, you know, what’s going on here, kind of thing. 

Brother Eric Waterman: Well, Brother Wilfred, he came down the next day, and I lived in a guard gated community with a you know, the intercom and camera. In those days, you know, you kind of didn’t let anyone into your neighborhood or your house. And he stood outside my house until I answered the door. And I’m like, oh geez!  So he really missionized me and really tried his best.

Aliw Pablo: Listening to both Brother Bob and Brother Eric reflect on what they’ve gone through all these years, I couldn’t help but notice how grateful they are for one another—they have that kind of friendship that one could only hope for. 

Brother Bob Pellien: Brother Eric, you know the memories that I have in the early days with you are memories that I will cherish forever. You know, I’m so thankful and so thankful that our friendship has continued to blossom over the years. And I’m so thankful that you and your son now are in this Holy Ministry, and have been helping the Church Administration do all the things that you’ve been doing. God bless you for that. And what a great blessing you’ve been to the Church.

Brother Eric Waterman: Brother Bob, I just like the thank you again. You know, you’ve been a role model to me. I remember so many times you taking under your wings, so many people that were complete strangers to you, you know there were those that we sought out that were lost, you bound up that which was broken.

Brother Bob Pellien: Like I said, you know, I don’t take any of those things to myself, you know, I’m thankful to God that if ever I had such kind of impact on anybody, it’s God who has been there and doing that. We’re just, we’re just a mouthpiece. We’re just an instrument that I and I know that’s what you teach to the ministerial students under your care nowadays, and congratulations on being trusted with that great duty by the Church Administration. 

Brother Eric Waterman: Brother Bob,  really, I appreciate everything that you’ve done for our life and for so many. And I know you’re just a humble guy, and you just will say that I’m just serving God but really, words can never express how much I love you, brother.

Brother Bob Pellien: Those are very kind words, Brother Eric. We love you, too. Give a hug to Sister Geralyn and Brother Cameron and Brother Tristan the next time that you see them. And I know you got a Worship Service you need to get to. So get to it. Get to it. And God bless you, Brother Eric. God bless you.

Aliw Pablo:  Thank you brothers for letting us be part of your conversation. And it really is truly inspiring, brothers seeing the kind of love, friendship, and respect for your duties and for each other, and for those under your care. But, Brother Eric, before we go, we are just, with everything that you’ve mentioned, brother, with, you know, over 35  years of friendship with Brother Bob, what would you say Brother has been the biggest change or impact that Brother Bob has had on your life?

Brother Eric Waterman: He taught me what integrity means.

Brother Bob Pellien: That is such a nice thing to say, Brother Eric. God bless you. And you’ve shown your fair share of integrity and honor. And with all the Ministers in the Church doing that the world will learn it from true Ministers.

Aliw Pablo: And Brother Bob, your friendship has lasted decades. What would you say, Brother Bob is the importance of friendships like these? Why are these types of friendships important, especially when you’re in the ministry? And you’re able to share your ministerial journeys together, brother?

Brother Bob Pellien: Well, you know, I never had a son. And I would, I would see everyone that comes in like part of the family, you know. Brother Eric became part of our family. You know, you have the same birthday, of course with our daughter, Naomi, and they, every year she actually puts a big stuffed animal that you gave her on the chair at the table and always says that’s Brother Eric, you know.  Sometimes, some people just are the mirror of what you hope to be and what if I had a son what I would hope my son to be, you know, grow and become someone with honor, with integrity, with strong faith, with a love of the Church Administration, you know, and Brother Eric, is that. How could you not be a friend to someone like that? You know, how could you not love someone like that, you know? If everyone knew that depth of Brother Eric’s love as well, they would consider him a friend too, if they had the chance to be. And I’m honored to be counted as a friend of Brother Eric.

Aliw Pablo: Special thanks to Brother Eric Waterman and Brother Bob Pellien for sharing the story of their friendship and a special bond of brotherhood that has withstood the test of time. Now is there someone that has made a huge change and impact in your life that you’d like to thank? We’d love to hear from you! Send us a dIrect message on our instagram account  @makingchangespodcast, and we’d love to connect you with an old friend, classmate, teacher or anyone who you want to thank.

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