In the Philippines, André Rodrigues was tasked with teaching Bible and physical education while simultaneously learning English and Palawan. “[It] was hard for me to communicate, but in P.E., it’s pretty easy for you to get involved or to connect,” he conveys. Over time, he developed strong relationships with the people and resolved to return and continue his work.
A year later, André 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 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.”
Ministry and Mission
His time in the Philippines led André to pursue a Master of Divinity at Andrews University in order to maintain 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. He explains, “Sometimes you can help people by talking to them, or just listening to them. I consider my job in the Wellness Center to be part of my ministry.”
André takes Romans 10:13–15 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.”
André encourages others on their own paths to service, too, affirming, “Start wherever you are right now. You have one huge mission field close to you.”