Feature Stories

From Skepticism to Conviction: A Lawyer’s Journey Into the Ministry

Atty. Edsel S. Deris

Skepticism to ConvictionIt was a prayer answered when my friend, a lawyer, stood up during a Sabbath service in December 2019 to express her intention to be baptized, prompted by the appeal of the Divine Service speaker, Judge Chalmer Gevieso. In 2011, I was converted to Seventh-Day Adventism through a Daniel and the Revelation seminar in Sydney Hotel, General Santos City, conducted by Pastor Edwin Gulfan. I knew then that I had been called and chosen to bring souls to Jesus. Recognizing the influence lawyers have on their clients, I desired to be an instrument for the conversion of at least one lawyer.

My close bond with Attorney Minveles B. Gulle developed when we were graduating law students at Mindanao State University College of Law Extension. She inquired about my bar review plans, and I mentioned that I would be reviewing at UP Diliman, my alma mater. To my delight, she expressed her desire to join me, so we embarked on the journey together.

Back then, we were both Roman Catholics who diligently prayed the rosary and attended masses. By God’s grace, we passed the bar examination and began our careers in private practice. Our friendship and professional relationship deepened as Attorney Gulle joined me as part of the legal team representing former Senator Manny Pacquiao during his congressional campaign in Sarangani province in 2010. Together, we even traveled to Malaysia in 2018 to witness Pacquiao’s boxing match against Mathysse, and again went to Vegas in 2019 to watch his fight against Broner.

It was during our time in Las Vegas that I had the opportunity to give Attorney Gulle her first Bible study. On a Friday night, I invited her to join me and a friend for church the next day, explaining that Seventh-Day Adventists observe the true day of worship on Saturday. I shared Exodus 20: 8-11 with her, illustrating our beliefs.

When we returned to General Santos City, I was thrilled to learn that an evangelistic seminar would be held. Without hesitation, I invited Attorney Gulle to join me, and to my delight, she agreed. Throughout the seminar, I stayed by her side, encouraging her to come back each night. I could sense that the Holy Spirit was working in her, as she attentively listened to the lectures.

However, on the final night, when the speaker asked if there were any seminar attendees who wanted to be baptized, Attorney Gulle candidly told me that she would not proceed with the baptism. While I felt a little disappointed, I replied, “That is your decision, and ultimately, your conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.” She then said, “I cannot be baptized because I do not understand why you do not eat pork and certain seafood.”

To address her concerns, I opened my Bible and directed her to Leviticus 11:7, which states that although pork has cloven hooves, it does not chew the cud, making it unclean. I thought that this verse alone would be enough to convince her, but she argued that the New Testament also mentions the cleansing of unclean animals by the Lord. Fortunately, I had thoroughly studied my Bible and prepared for such a discussion. I explained to her that she may be referring to Acts 10, and we read the entire chapter together. She was convinced that this chapter referred to the cleansing of Gentiles, not unclean animals.

With a sigh of relief, she acknowledged that the Bible is accurate, and God can never be mistaken because He is all-powerful.

At present, Attorney Gulle is actively involved in the ministry, utilizing her influence as a lawyer to give Bible studies, preach, and serve as a member of the Adventist Lawyers of the Philippines.

Mizpah Q3 2023