Our deepest condolences to the family of Ka Daniel Lapid more fondly known as Ka Lapid, one of the last – if not the last remaining pillar of true ministry. My family and I will miss you dearly. The year was in the late sixties when I first saw him at the locale of Cubao. I was a new convert then but still continuously attending doctrine sessions in the chapel. Ka Lapid was Pangalawang Tagapamahala of Metromanila (second to Ka Benjamin Santiago) that time. We used to call them Tagapamahala instead of of Tagapangasiwa. Anyway, I was sitting there waiting for the doctrine session to start to be officiated by Regular Worker Ka Rosario when instead of him Ka Lapid appeared and preached the lesson for the day. I must say it was a far, very far cry from what I was used to hearing (no offense meant for Ka Rosario who is actually a good preacher too). Before closing the lesson he invited everyone to return the next night where he would continue to preach the lessons. So the next night I returned and noticed that the audience had doubled. On the third night the main hall was almost full. Ka Lapid definitely knew how to draw a crowd.
During a Pamamahayag one night at the chapel he touched on the usual topic of salvation but with a twist. It went something like this: “Mga mahal namin panauhin, sino sa inyo ang binata? After a short while “lahat kayo dito may asawa? “ noticing no one raising their hands. Then he asked the question again and this time a fairly many raised their hands. He picked one and asked this question to him: “Kung wala kang utang, magbabayad ka?” The young man answered “Hindi po!” “Sigurado ka?” asked Ka Lapid. “Opo, wala akong utang bakit ako magbabayad” “O sige, iwan muna natin yan saglit” quipped Ka Lapid and turned his attention to the female audience. He asked “Sino sa inyo ang dalaga?” A few raised their hands. He picked one and asked her if she already had a boyfriend. “Wala pa po.” He would then look at the young man and say “Wala pa daw” This would elicit laughter from the audience. He would then explain: “Sabihin lang natin kunwari ay nagkagustuhan kayo at dumating sa puntong nagpakasal kayong dalawa.” (sabay kindat sa lalake) (tawanan uli). He turned to the young man and added: “Matapos kayong magpakasal nalaman mo na may utang pala asawa mo at kailangan bayaran, magbabayad ka?” The young man sheepishly answered “Magbabayad po.” “Sabi mo kanina kung wala kang utang hindi ka magbabayad, bakit ngayon magbabayad ka?.” That was how Ka Lapid explained the importance of the church and Christ who died for our sins; how Christ managed to solve the problem of “to each his own” when it comes to sin and salvation.
Before closing this story, there was this one time I noticed that the INC seal in the chapel’s pulpit and the one seen outside the chapel had a crucifix or cross in the center. Back then Tagapamahalas were just like you and me. They’d be seen taking walks, sitting on a bench, but usually exchanging light talks with us the brethren. During one of those times I approached him and asked why does our chapel support a crucifix. He answered, “Wala non”. Then I pointed out the pulpit and the chapel seal. “Oo nga ano, nakalusot ah” (The Cubao chapel being one of the first concrete houses of worship built had been put up under contract with our catholic friends and I guess they didn’t know the difference.) The next day the crucifix was gone. He immediately saw to that.
Ka Lapid, till we meet again, we thank you so very much for instilling in our hearts the true meaning of being the children of God. We will miss your teachings, your wisdom, and your love for the Church.