FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The name of the mission is “Palabra de Vida” — Word of Life — and that’s what Carlos Rodriguez, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary master of divinity student from Mexico, is imparting there.
Lives are being changed at the little mission sponsored by First Baptist Church, Forest Hill, Texas, especially 58 people who have prayed to receive Christ since Word of Life began less than one year ago with the showing of the “Jesus” film. Those changed lives now require intensive discipleship, which is proving quite challenging for Rodriguez as the pastor of the fledgling mission.
“We need help to grow people,” he says. “We need a team.”
God has begun providing that team through fellow Southwestern students Jason Jones and his wife, Mayele, and Bicri Hernandez. Still, the need remains for more workers for this new harvest field. Rodriguez was featured during the Fort Worth seminary’s annual International Day. Two dozen of Southwestern’s 244 international students — a seminary record — led chapel Oct. 17. The next day, international students shared the sights, sounds and tastes of their home countries in an international bazaar at the Fort Worth campus.
Rodriguez is a former movie actor in Mexico who answered God’s call to ministry and enrolled at Southwestern in the fall of 2000. A clip from one of his movies was shown during the special chapel service.
Voicing the joy he now has in seeing lives impacted for eternity, Rodriguez tells of leading a couple to Christ and baptizing them in the church. “They battled with witchcraft and great oppression. I explained to them about spiritual warfare and we prayed together, and now we see how they have peace in Christ and are growing in their relationship with him.”
Rodriguez tells of another opportunity in which he and a fellow seminarian ministered to a young girl considering an abortion. Not only did she decide to keep the baby, she has become a faithful follower of Christ.
In the midst of seeing God work mightily, Rodriguez speaks boldly of the need for more seminarians to be on mission with the Lord while they are still in seminary.
“Southwestern students need to open their hearts to the direction of the Holy Spirit in their lives and be ready and listen when God wants to put us in a place of ministry,” he says. “We need to be obedient to be in ministry while still a student, remembering that we don’t minister in our capacity but in obedience to him.”
That obedience can yield great blessings, Rodriguez says.
“As seminarians, we are so immersed in academics and theory. It is good to see the power of God working in real life and to realize it has nothing to do with you,” he says with a smile. “You know you didn’t produce the results. It is God, and the glory is to him.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: LIFE-GIVING WITNESS.