Mariano "Mike" Zuniega Velarde or better known as Bro. Mike Velarde (born August 20, 1939) is the founder and Servant Leader of the Philippine based Catholic Charismatic religious group El Shaddai Movement which has a following of an estimated three to seven million Filipinos.He is the owner of Amvel Land Development Corporation, a real estate company and Delta Broadcasting System, an AM Band Radio station (DWXI 1314KHz).
Saved for a purpose
The turning point of his life was sometime in February 1978, When at the age of 38, Bro. Mike was scheduled for major surgery due to heart enlargement and heart block at the Philippine Heart Centre. However, none of his 5 doctors could guarantee that he would survive the operation. For 3 weeks he lay on his hospital bed- downhearted, hopeless and fearful for a heart attack. Then one night at one hour past midnight, an angel of the Lord in the guise of a nurse came to his room and said: "Mike Velarde, I've been watching you for the past three weeks. You're down and worried for fear of heart attack. But if you will allow me, I'll open that Bible besides you and show a way out of your predicament.
Just read it over and over again and I assure you, it will help." She then opened the Bible to 1 Corinthians 10:13 saying thus:"No temptation has overtaken you that are not common to man. And God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out that you can stand up under it." Bro. Mike read it again and again, just as he had been told. Then he prayed thus: "God, if am going to die now, please forgive me for the sins I' eve committed all these years. However if this is just but a test, restore my courage and strength to live." After that simple prayer, Bro. Mike saw a Man hanging on a cross with blood flowing down from His side saying, "Come unto Me!" His fear completely melted, peace enveloped his whole being and he slept soundly that night.
The following day, he woke up with renewed strength and joy, and with a new life! The doctors were surprised to find Bro. Mike up from his bed - walking along the corridors of the hospital with a new vigour. After a week-long thorough test, he was discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health. Thus the scheduled surgery was cancelled. God Almighty performed a very special heart transplant in Bro. Mike!
From that time on, his desire and ambitions changed. The word of God that was planted in his heart bloomed. He started to seek God Who miraculously healed him at the hospital by attending charismatic movement prayer meetings which were then held at first class hotels. Being a devout Catholics, Bro. Mike desired to share his experience of the miracle-working power of God's Word to his brothers and sisters within the catholic faith where he had received his baptism and confirmation.
His preaching style is no different from typical prosperity gospel-driven Pentecostal televangelists. His brand of Catholic Charismatic-style prosperity gospel theology captures the masses from which most of his followings come. It promises God's financial and physical blessings to all provided that they remain faithful in attendance to gatherings, giving their tithes and offerings, and obedience. Part of Velarde's practical theology is the use of certain inanimate items such as handkerchiefs, umbrellas and even eggs as channels of God's power. Part of their regular meetings is lifting up and praying over bankbooks, checkbooks, purses and billfolds in hopes of heaven filling them with money. Such practices are not foreign to Filipino indigenous and folk religion. Thus, Velarde's brand of Catholic Charismaticism is highly acceptable to a majority of Filipinos.
To Yahweh El Shaddai be the Glory!