Where service and mission intersect

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In 2019, André Rodrigues arrived in the Philippines expecting to complete a single semester of missionary work before returning to Brazil to study theology. Instead, he found a new life passion for service and mission.

In the Philippines, André taught Bible and physical education classes while also studying English and Palawan. “[It] It was hard for me to communicate, but in physical education it’s pretty easy to get involved or socialize,” he says. Over time he developed strong relationships with people and decided to return and continue his work.

A year later, he did just that. His roles expanded to include building, storytelling, and transportation. One of the most memorable moments was when he acted as a human ambulance for a sick woman, trekking almost 30 hours to take her from her mountain home to a hospital. André spent almost a month with the woman and her husband and he was able to share the gospel of comfort to the couple and give them hope for Jesus’ return. Even though the wife died, the husband kept God’s message close.

André later learned that the widower had shared André’s stories with other parishioners and prayed for them in God’s name. “It was a blessing,” says André, “for her and for me.”

André Rodrigues (back, center) taught at a school in the Philippines. [Photo: courtesy of André Rodrigues]

His time in the Philippines prompted André to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree at Andrews University to improve his English skills while staying within reach of home. He notes, “I can find people from all over the world. The missionary spirit that I can see here at Andrews really caught my attention.”

At Andrews, André uses a previous degree in physical education to work as a personal trainer at the Andreasen Center for Wellness. In addition to teaching and providing training, he strives to be a friendly face. “Sometimes you can help people by talking to them or just listening to them,” he says. “I consider my job at the wellness center part of my ministry.”

André takes Romans 10:13-15 from the Bible as a call to action and gives him a sense of urgency to share the gospel. He elaborates: “My main goal is to return to the mission field. I came here to Andrews to gain more knowledge, to gain more skills and to be better prepared to return to the mission field as a pastor.”

In April André undertook a third trip to the Philippines, albeit on short notice. He plans to set up teams to do even more work in remote areas, with the added goal of spreading the gospel. Ultimately, he trusts in the Lord and says, “God will prepare you for this life and also for eternal life.”

He encourages others on their own journey of service, saying, “Start where you are. You have a huge mission field near you.”

That original version this story was posted by the Lake Union Herald.

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