Making Changes – On Following My Dad’s Footsteps
Brother Donald Pinnock: You know, what’s really strange, son? When we visited you in France, when we went to Marseille, and you were preaching in—
Brother Daniel Pinnock: Oh man, I totally forgot about that…
Brother Donald: …in Tagalog, and also English. I’m sitting there listening to my son preaching Tagalog and also slices of English and French at the same time. And it was just like, wow. But I did notice, I really noticed that for you, I wasn’t there, because you were really concentrating on the brethren. And I could, I could also feel that the love that you have for them. So, that just made me even prouder, I suppose, and now, I’m telling you,
Brother Daniel: Well, like father, like son, Pop, it’s all the mercy of God.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: No matter where you are in the world, there is one thing we have all experienced together, change. This pandemic has forced us out of our comfort zones, and has pushed us into a new norm. And we simply surrendered and figured out a way to thrive. I’m your host, Aliw Pablo, and welcome to Making Changes, a new podcast from INC Media Audio. In this podcast, you’ll hear honest conversations between two people who are on the same path to change, but are in different stages in their journeys. And we’ll learn how they’ve navigated their way around their new normal, but always with God by their side.
On today’s episode, you’ll meet a father and son who have both decided to devote their lives in the holy ministry, Brother Donald Pinnock, assigned in Toronto, Canada, and also the host of the INC Media show, The Solution. We’ll be talking with his son, Brother Daniel Pinnock, currently assigned in Val-d’Oise, France, just outside of Paris. Today, we’ll learn about this close-knit father and son relationship, and they’ll take us back to their journey and how they answered God’s call to devote their lives to the Church. Brother Daniel who calls his dad, Pop, will seek advice from his father, on parenting his two young sons, while living a life in service to God and others. We’ll be flies on the wall as they share life lessons they’ve learned along the way. Let’s listen in.
Brother Daniel: Hey, Pops, thanks for sitting down with us and having this kind of conversation with me. How’s everything there?
Brother Donald: Good, son. It’s great to talk to you. You know how much we miss you and the family.
Brother Daniel: I miss you and mom, too. Please give my love to mom and Chantel.
Brother Donald: Always.
Brother Daniel: First off, Pop, try not to cry, okay?
Brother Donald: I can’t promise you anything.
Brother Daniel: Right off the bat, Dad, I just wanted to say, thanks. I’ve never really had a chance to, you know, say thank you for the advice and guidance that you’ve given me throughout my life and throughout both my pre-ministry and ministerial life. So you still continue to give that kind of advice. So I still want to express the kind of gratitude and know that when it comes to everything you’ve taught me up until this point, and all the advice that you still give. I’m always taking it to heart and I try my best to follow it. So, thanks for all of that, Pop.
Brother Donald: And even if you didn’t say thanks, and it’s a labor and fruit of love. You know how much your dad loves you and your sister. So, you know, love motivates everything that we try to do. We try their best as parents for you.
Brother Daniel: So far, so good, Pop, with God’s help.
Brother Daniel: Let’s take it back a little bit, Pop, when it comes to you joining the ministry. I figured that’s where we could start because that’s what we have in common right now, aside from families.
Brother Daniel: When it comes to you joining the ministry, Pop, and I know you’ve explained it to me before, but I guess my question right now is, when it comes to what you had to give up, to join the ministry, because at the time if I remember correctly, you were already married, you had me – newborn, you already had a job. So you were established as far as you know, living your life, as a member of the Church Of Christ. You had a duty or duties in the Church, you were performing them. So what was the, what was the reason or the catalyst for giving that up, to join the ministry? Was there any specific mindset that you had at the time?
Brother Donald: I think looking back, even though I had a, let’s say, a rough upbringing. I learned a lot, I experienced a lot, and all thanks be to God. But little by little, He started to channel me towards the Church. And, you know, eventually becoming a baptized member of the Church in 1985. And inside the Church, that is when I started to experience real progress when it came to my life.
Brother Daniel: Okay
Brother Donald: I started to be more successful. Yes, by the time I was a member of the Church, I was already in my career as a graphic artist. I mean, the most important void within me was filled, when I became a member of the Church. That was a lot. That was 99%, we can say that I became a member of the Church that filled the void within me, because before then, I just felt empty.
Brother Daniel: Okay
Brother Donald: But I became a member of the Church, I became full. However, there was still a part of me that was seeking more.
Brother Daniel: Okay
Brother Donald: Seeking more when it came to my life. You may have heard the expression, ‘The purpose of life is a life of purpose.’ Before I found what my real purpose was, yes, it was nine to five Monday to Friday, you work, you save up, you plan to get a house, you have your family, you work hard, if you’re lucky, you pay off the house that you get your retirement and enjoy the last decade of life. But I just couldn’t see myself doing it. I really couldn’t see myself doing it. There was no compulsion. It was almost drudgery to drag myself out to, again, a career that was paying. But at the same time, there was just something that was missing inside.
Brother Daniel: Okay.
Brother Donald: And I was a CWS [Children’s Worship Service] teacher. And our dear Brother Pastor Palacios, he was the resident minister there in Toronto. I remember after a class, he said, just out of the blue, he says, “Who knows, you may join.”
Actually, what happened was we finished the class and I was walking out of the chapel there in Toronto. And I started walking towards the bus stop. I was taking the bus at that time. And all of a sudden, I heard that inner voice saying who knows one day you’re going to be a minister. And I started laughing to myself. I really did. I was laughing to myself. So that’s ridiculous, me a minister. But then, as time went by, I really started to, dwell on
Brother Daniel: The idea
Brother Donald: Of being in the ministry. Which was something, before then, I would never ever think of, to the point that we went to the Philippines, in 1990. Myself and your mom spent some time and we visited Brother Erano G. Manalo. Me and your mom, we spoke and we said, “Okay, I’m going to ask permission if I could study in the ministry.”
Brother Donald: And at the end of the visitation, he turned around, he says,
“Yes, you can study in the ministry.”
Brother Donald: So that changed everything.
Brother Daniel: Okay.
Brother Donald: That changed everything that was 1990. And yes, I could see that it would be very difficult. But at the same time, there was something that was really driving me.
Brother Daniel: And I don’t know if I ever actually told you this before, but for me, joining the ministry, what I noticed because if you remember, I had various like part time jobs from high school
Brother Donald: Right
Brother Daniel: You remember that? Working that, you know, Tim Hortons, coffee donut place, KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken], Taco Knives. Yeah, all of these jobs.
But what was crazy, Pop, was when it came to all the jobs, even the good paying ones, I don’t know if it’s the same as yours or in the same sense as your case, but for me, it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t fulfilling to the point where I wanted to stay.
Brother Donald: Right
Brother Daniel: Even the good paying jobs, it was like, yeah, they were good paying, I got the money I could buy whatever I wanted to buy for either myself or for you and mom or Chantel
Brother Donald: Video game consoles
Brother Daniel: Yeah, my video game consoles, which I miss, and I hope you’re taking care of them. But it just never felt like enough or never felt fulfilling. And that was one of the reasons that pushed me towards considering joining the ministry. Because it was as if even a good paying job, which at the time it was, if even a good paying job, wasn’t enough to keep me in that job, then, what’s a bad paying job for sure going to keep me there?
Brother Donald: Maybe like father, like son.
Brother Daniel: Which is crazy, Dad.
Brother Daniel: It’s as if that need for purpose that you had was like, through heredity, was just installed.
Brother Daniel: Do you remember when I told you I was joining the ministry? That
Brother Donald: Yeah. But that was maybe a week or so after you graduated from university.
Brother Daniel: Yeah.
Brother Donald: And then you and I went out, we to a Vietnamese Pho. Well, we went, and we sat down. It was probably a long time since we had a father and son discussion like we did there. And it was because of course, your mom
Brother Daniel: Gung ho
Brother Donald: Gung ho. She wanted you…
So more or less in that conversation, if you remember, we talked about pros and cons, there’s no real cons, per se. But there are certain realities that have to be accepted. Again, when the Administration goes, you go there, you go there, there’s no complaint. When it comes to discipline — we make a mistake, we fall short of expectations, and there’s a discipline there,iIt has to be accepted. So in many ways, it’s like you’re, you’re entering into the military, but this is a holy military. So it’s the holy ministry.
And some of what I went through, I relate to you in that conversation, and I told you at the end, more or less, son, whatever your decision is, I will accept it wholeheartedly. But don’t join the ministry, because I’m in the ministry. It can’t be, it has to be because you feel that God is calling you. And you should also understand that it’s a lifetime commitment. It’s not just a trait now, you don’t like it. Okay, I’ll take off because, that’s really doing a 180 in ways you’re turning away from God. 3
Brother Daniel: In truth, you didn’t just sit down and talk, do you remember, you wrote me a letter about that? You don’t you don’t remember that email? Do you?
Brother Donald: I sent you so many.
Brother Daniel: You don’t remember that email though?
Brother Donald: Did we have email in those days?
Brother Daniel: Yes we had email. How far back do you think this was, Pop? This was less than 10 years ago. I’ve been a minister since 2017. Four years, now going into 2021. But you wrote me an email, right in the same week that I was graduating, that’s where you listed out, like what you mentioned,
Brother Donald: Do you still have it?
Brother Daniel: Yes, I’m looking at it right now. I printed it out.
Brother Donald: Really?
Brother Daniel: Yes, I saved it, Pop
Brother Donald: Send me a copy.
Brother Daniel: I’ll send you a copy afterwards. But I’ll read you one part just to see if it jogs your memory. But the first part right there it says:
“I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time, but as usual, so busy. Anyway, I’m taking a little while here to mention a few matters. You’re reaching that stage of life, when you have to make serious decisions concerning your future. You’re about to step out of being a student per se and into manhood, the path that you take in life will be based on your decision, even though overall God will have known already.”
Brother Daniel: And then that’s where you go and talk about, you know, life in the ministry, which you’ve experienced, and then life outside of the ministry, and what you’ve experienced. But that letter was before, our sit down there at the Vietnamese restaurant.
Brother Daniel: It was nice, it was a nice prep for entering the ministry.
Brother Donald: And you had job offers remember?
Brother Daniel: Yes, ,that was but that was like God’s way of testing if I really wanted to go to the ministry, because that was right around the time when it was time to enter the ministry.
Brother Daniel: Oh, here’s one for you, Pop because we’re talking about going into the ministry. So I decided to join, I was chasing that purpose in life as well. that was a big one for me, because that was a big point that you always instilled in me in Chantel. That was to always love the brethren and take care of them, and I figured, with all the love the brethren have shown us, what better way can I help them, then, to help them in their services to God, so why not be a minister?
Brother Daniel: So going into the ministry now, with all the reasons that were already laid out. I’m trying to get my mindset around how different it must have been me studying there versus your time. What were some of the biggest aspects of studying in the Philippines you had to deal with, Pop? Aside from the obvious, you know, language, difference in culture and food? What would you say, if you can remember, or like the biggest challenges or the biggest adjustments that you had to make as far as studying, actually studying now, in the ministry?
Brother Donald: The biggest challenge for me when it came to my studies was being alone. Being the only black man in a school of hundreds and hundreds of ministerial students, I was the only black at that time. That’s an old brother Greg, a good, best Friend.. He’s a best friend in the ministry. And I really miss that guy,
Brother Daniel: I miss brother Greg, Pop.
Brother Donald: He really helped a lot in those years, because we used to spend a lot of time together, after class and everything. But what compelled me was, especially when, before I entered the ministry was, here’s this glorious Church, doctrines – watertight, solid; there was just absolutely no new poll or leak when it came to the teachings. And it’s like, wow, people have to know about this Church. And especially people of my kind, meaning to say, non-Filipinos, but fellow blacks – they need to know.
And, my purpose was just developing. And it was, getting into fourth or fifth gear was going turbo by that time. So even when I went there, in fact, if I can just retell this I don’t know if; in fact, I’m sure I told you, but when you were one year old, your mom was still a choir member that I have set up for the choir because I had to, spend more time when it comes to preparing my studies. So as an overseer, and one worship service in Toronto, I had to babysit you. And near the end of the worship service, we’re in the nursery. All of a sudden, you started to have convulsions, to the point where your eyes were rolling to the back of your head, your lips turned blue. And you were listless and it was right at the end of the worship service. So I just kind of ran out of the nursery and I’ve just virtually shouting for somebody to help.
Brother Donald: Fortunately, there are a couple of sisters who were nurses, they came. They tried to help out but still you seem very listless. And in fact, I was afraid you’re gonna die. And we went into the office, Brother Raniel Serrano, the Minister, called me in and he prayed for you, and immediately you started to return to normal.
But I will never forget that there was that proverbial voice inside that said, “The life of your son is in my hands, you do what I tell you to do.”
And the reason why that happened was because a couple of months before I started to have doubts, I started to hesitate because I said to leave all my friends, I was going to leave a well paying job – we were just at a point of buying our first house. And I’m thinking, are you crazy gonna leave all this behind?
Brother Donald: And let’s face it, life there in the Philippines at that time, especially for a foreigner was going to be very, very difficult.
Brother Daniel: For sure.
Brother Donald: But then because of what happened in that worship service, that removed every single iota of doubt that I had. I was there, even though I was the only black man, still I was so focused. I knew God wanted me to be there. And that was, that was everything. I knew he wanted me to be there to study in a ministry. And that’s why, glory be to God, I was able to stick it out. And now, looking back and seeing so many ministerial students of different cultural backgrounds, there’s a great joy in my heart, and especially when it comes to seeing my son as a minister. I mean, can’t be happier.
Brother Daniel: How about now, 30 years later? What’s been the drive to keep you performing that duty? Because I’m just starting and I haven’t even hit five years yet. So I’m trying to picture in my head, Pop—what, five times four? Four more years? Or sorry, four more times? Just five years? What’s the drive that’s kept you performing that duty, the way that you’re expected to as a minister?
Brother Donald: Love—love of God. And because I have all of these years in the ministry, I can look back. And I, you know, I can see the condition, and also the position of the Church in the 1990s.
Brother Daniel: Okay—
Brother Donald: …and here I am in 2020, you know, I mentioned earlier when it comes to seeing all of these non-Filipino ministers coming from virtually every cultural background in the world; the houses of worship, all of these congregations. here in Toronto before when you were growing up? It was normal for ministers here to have eight worship services a week to conduct eight—so six to eight worship services a week—because we were short, few in number.
Brother Daniel: Oh, yeah.
Brother Donald: … few a number. But definitely love, love of God, love of the Lord Jesus Christ—because we’re seeing all of these prophecies being fulfilled, and of course, love of the brethren. You really get to care. But if I’m going to point to one delightful aspect of my ministry, no matter what it has to be preaching, I love to preach.
Brother Daniel: It’s crazy that you say that, because for me so far in my ministry, you know, preaching the words of God, the way the Church Administration taught us to preach. That’s like—that brings the most fire; the most drive to my idea of the ministry—is being able to preach. And that’s where it feels the most—it’s so flowing. It helps that what we’re preaching is the truth, and we see it happening. And you can see it being fulfilled in our lives and the lives of the brethren. That’s what adds to that love for preaching the words of God, and sharing them with people.
Brother Donald: Yeah, I just always look forward (to it) until today. You know, it has always been taught by the ministers in the past, that you should always consider every worship service assignment, as not only your last, which is very important, because it could be your last; but also an opportunity for you to deliver a perfect message. And when I say a perfect message, it is not just words, per se, but words that will impact the listeners coupled with the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, that can’t be done unless you know your way of life when it comes to your prayers—your devotional prayers—and also when it comes to studying the lesson. But I just love to preach. I just want to help the brethren to just stay firm, bring them closer to God and deliver them to Him, you know? We’re just mouthpieces.
You know, what’s really strange son was, for example, when we visited you in France, then we went to Marseille. And then you were preaching in Tagalog and also English.
Brother Daniel: I totally forgot about that!
Brother Donald: Now I’m sitting there listening to my son preaching Tagalog, and also with slices of English and French at the same time, and it was just like, wow. But I did notice—I really noticed that for you, I wasn’t there. You were really concentrating on the brethren, and I could also feel the love that you have for them. So, that just made me even prouder. Now I’m telling you,
Brother Daniel: Like father, like son, Pop. It’s all the mercy of God.
Brother Donald: You were in Canada. You had to come back because of your paperwork. I believe the visa that you had in France was only good for a year or so?
Brother Daniel: No, it was three months. It was three months.
Brother Donald: So, you had to leave the country. And you came back to Canada. And of course, they gave you a worship service assignment. And then we were graced with sharing a worship service.
Brother Daniel: Yeah—
Brother Donald: It was in the locale of Markham. I remember we were both sitting there as father and son, and then I gave you the nod for you to stand and start to preach. And while you’re preaching, it really felt as if I was looking in the mirror. It’s like I was looking back in time at myself. And you even sounded like me!
Brother Daniel: First of all, as far as the preaching when I was even in my studies, and I was preaching out loud, practicing, there were times where I stopped myself. I said, man, I’m starting to sound like Pop. Like , I can see exactly how he says it. And I guarantee you, Pop, I can do the same exact intonations that you do on certain questions or certain verses, like, for tone for tone, I could match you. That’s how it for me was God’s way of showing like, you know, your, your Donald Pinnock’s son. So for me, it was a point of pride. That first worship service assignment, Pop, for me was a big time blessing.
Brother Donald: Yeah, those are memories that God gifted us with, that I’ll cherish. I’ll cherish until my last days.
Brother Daniel: What advice would you give me about raising these two munchkins who are super crazy—
Brother Donald: [laughing] You know, those early years of the child’s development—it’s like, placing them in the car, without giving them instructions. For sure they’re going to crash in the lake, have accidents, make mistakes. You know, Christian discipline, it’s really important. And you also have to create it, where you’re able to have that warm relationship with your children. You know, the open lines of communication, talking to them as if it’s an older brother to a younger brother, sort of thing. That’s why, you know, I just love—I really enjoy what we have, because we can just talk, we can laugh, and we can joke.
Brother Daniel: And I’ve always told everyone this, you’re a minister, before you’re my Pop. But you’ve always done that balance of, you know, of raising me and Chantel, to recognize that you’re a minister. You are going to discipline and raise us and correct us based on the teachings of God. But that love of being our father, always was and always will be there. We always felt it. So that’s—I’m hoping I can give that kind of balance, as well.
Brother Donald: I’m sure you will, son.
Do I have regrets? I have to confess, yes. And the regrets are, when it comes to not being able to spend more time with you, and your sister, Chantel.
Brother Daniel: It always worked out, Pop, because that’s when, believe it or not, me or Chantel—we were always the most proud of you, and we knew where you were. We never even when we talked about it—if Chantel even remembers from back in the day, we would talk about you being gone either for, you know, being in the locale or out of the locale like you mentioned, and it was never with any regret on our end.
Brother Donald: As a father, I suppose, that’s where the regret is. So, my advice to you, as much as possible, even though there are circumstances that you will not be able to control, but as much as possible, try to be there. Spend some real quality time, talking, laughing with your kids. It’s everything. Time is that commodity, you know, one second goes by, and you can’t get it back.
Brother Daniel: I guess in closing, Pop, I mean, thanks for joining me on a trip down memory lane. And I just want you to know that I’m always praying and I’m always thankful to God, for blessing my life with parents, who not only love me and Chantel, but you know, raised us to, to recognize God. I mean, being born inside the Church, that was a grace that no one really controls. So, all praise, all glory to God for that. And what God has done to give us parents that raised us to know God, and to give importance to what God wants, to serve Him— enough that, you know, the son enters the ministry and my sister’s an active member and officer. So, I’m always thankful to God for that. And my prayer for you and mom, especially in these golden years of your life together, is just the best of health and that you keep being a minister that, you know, God can keep using to help the brethren.
Brother Donald: As for me, son, I’m really, really happy and fortunate. I pray for you and your family. Every single night, on bent knees, that God will keep all of you safe and that He’ll bless you in your ministry. Yeah, we miss you all. We love you all. And again, I’m very proud of you, son.
Brother Daniel: I miss you too, Pop.
Brother Donald: I’m very, very proud.
Brother Daniel: God’s good, Pop. Thanks so much.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: Hello Brother Daniel and Brother Donald. It’s so nice to listen in, and just simply be a witness to the love that you both have for each other.
Brother Daniel: Thanks for having us!
Aliw Garcia Pablo: What was so beautiful about listening to your conversation is, not only do we feel the love between the both of you, but the friendship. You know, we can really feel that you’re not just father and son, but you really are best friends and best buddies.
Now, Brother Daniel, I know that you’ve kept the e-mails and you have kept all the advice that your dad has given you through the years. But would you be able to point out the one thing that you always hear, one piece of advice that is constantly in your head, as you go on as a father; as kind of like your moral compass, as you go on in your ministry.
Brother Daniel: The one I guess voice that I could always hear, Brother Donald, my dad, saying is, to trust God. It’s shown so much in everything that he’s done and has happened in his life. Like, from the beginning, we’re talking, just becoming a member of the Church of Christ. Why? Because he trusted God enough to believe his words. So, he joined the church. Why did you join the ministry? Because he trusted God enough that when he saw certain signs, aspects of his life, he answered the call, he joined the ministry. You know, he trusts God enough to, to love the brethren through the hard times, and to see what God did in return because of that love and care for the brethren. He trusts God enough to always remind me to, you know, submit to the Church Administration. That’s why we follow the lead of the Church Administration, because that’s what God wants us to do. And that extends to my family, and raising these kids now, and having my own wife and and my own ministry—that will always be the reminder that I’ll remember from Brother Donald, my Pop, as far as being a father now and being a minister, is to just keep trusting God. Keep trusting his words that the Church Administration never gets tired of reminding us, that God will be the one to prove that that trust was well founded. And he’ll prove it multiple times. I’m sure of it.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And Brother Donald, you know, I, myself, I am from a ministerial family, and like you mentioned there was really something special about the bond between, you know, ministerial families, and just this call of duty. You talked about sharing a podium with your son, which, you know, I have to say, not a lot of ministers and their ministerial sons can honestly say they’ve been able to do. Can you describe the joy of having a son serve alongside you in the Holy ministry? What does that feeling like? And what is life like, you know, with that kind of shared purpose?
Brother Donald: It’s extremely surreal. You feel another level of spirituality. It goes beyond chance, beyond luck. And you really understand that this is God’s will. Just to be with Daniel, sharing a worship service, was amazing. To sit down in the congregation when I was on family week, and again, listening to him preach, was also, you know, so heartwarming. I can’t really—I can’t really ask for much more.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: Now, wasn’t that just a heartwarming conversation? Thanks again, Brother Daniel and Brother Donald for taking the time to share your stories and life lessons.
And if you found value in what you just heard, please share it with your dad or your son, and let them know you’re thinking about them.
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