North America

Where Ministry and Mission Intersect

André Rodrigues shares what he learned in the mission field and why he plans to return.

Isabella Koh, for Lake Union Herald

In 2019, André Rodrigues arrived in the Philippines expecting to complete a single term of mission work before returning to his theology studies in Brazil. Instead, he found a new life passion for ministry and mission.

In the Philippines, André was teaching Bible and physical education, while simultaneously learning English and Palawan. “[It] was hard for me to communicate, but in physical education, it’s pretty easy for you to get involved or to connect,” he says. Over time, he developed strong relationships with the people and resolved 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 came when he acted as a human ambulance for a sick woman, hiking nearly 30 hours to bring her from her home in the mountains to a hospital. André spent almost a month with the woman and her husband, and he was able to share the gospel as a comfort to the couple, giving them hope in Jesus’ second coming. Although the wife passed away, the husband kept God’s message close.

André later learned that the widower had shared André’s stories with other community members, praying for them in God’s name. “That was a blessing,” André says, “for them and for me.”  

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

At Andrews, André utilizes a previous degree in physical education for a job as a personal trainer at the Andreasen Center for Wellness. In addition to teaching classes 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 in the Wellness Center to be part of my ministry.”

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

In April, André made a third, although short-term, trip to the Philippines. He plans to build teams for still more work in remote areas with the additional aim of sharing the gospel. Ultimately, he places his trust in the Lord, stating, “God will prepare you for this life and for eternal life as well.” 

He encourages others on their own path to service, saying, “Start wherever you are right now. You have one huge mission field close to you.”

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

Isabella Koh, for Lake Union Herald