According to LinkedIn, his career path looks like a well-planned progression. According to Rodrigo, a technical training manager for a start-up company in Southeast Asia, it’s all because of God.
Despite the prestigious promotion, attractive salary and generous benefits – including housing, international school tuition for his children and annual round-trip flights to Latin America, where he’s from – Rodrigo would have never considered the position if he had not been certain of God’s leading.
In fact, when a Scatter Global recruiting partner first reached out to Rodrigo about the job in Southeast Asia, his immediate reaction was, “No, no, not at all interested.”
No matter what the professional proposal was or how much money he could earn, Rodrigo and his wife agreed: they were not uprooting their family and moving across the world. But the recruiter was persistent, and the offer stuck in Rodrigo’s mind.
After the recruiter contacted Rodrigo a second time about the job, he and his wife decided to pray. “We want to see signals about Your will, what You want for us,” they interceded.
Rodrigo also talked to his boss at the time, another Jesus follower. Expecting his boss to tell him to forget about the offer, Rodrigo was shocked by his response. “He told me: ‘This is amazing! Go. Pray to the Lord, and ask Him for the answer, but this is an amazing opportunity for you, for your family, for your professional life. Go.’”
Along with other confirmations from their church and community in Latin America, Rodrigo and his wife decided to trust God with all the unknowns of an overseas move. “This is not coincidence; this is God delivering something for us that we never imagined before,” he explained.
From a work perspective, Rodrigo’s role was an excellent fit, drawing on his more than two decades of experience, including an earlier six-month international placement in Europe and countless flights around the world, overseeing training and certification for 42 countries in his previous position.
“Since 2010, my life is travel,” he noted.
True to form, less than six months into his time at the Southeast Asian start-up, he boarded a series of airplanes again, visiting a swath of cities across North America on an extended business trip. Having the opportunity to join the rapidly growing company and influence its future was, without a doubt, “the biggest professional moment of my life,” he described.
Nonetheless, “this is not because of my professional capabilities; this is only about God,” he affirmed.
“Since I was younger, God has always shown me the way… Even here, it was God who prepared everything for me.”
Still, from a faith perspective, Rodrigo worried about the move. “One of my biggest concerns when I came to Southeast Asia was related to faith,” he shared. Growing up, Rodrigo’s dad was a pastor and going to church had always been a natural part of his identity.
Arriving in a country where Buddhist beliefs strongly influenced the culture, yet the majority of the population claimed no religion, Rodrigo needed to learn a new way to share Jesus with his colleagues and people in the community. He recognized that telling people to stop praying to their ancestors amounted to complete disrespect for their deeply ingrained familial values. The local language, of course, presented an additional barrier.
“But the one thing I try to do is show with my life, with my behavior, that I’m really a Christian,” Rodrigo shared. “I ask God to make them see something in me that is not natural, something different.”
When people ask him about that difference, “this is the open door to say: ‘This is not about me, it’s something higher.’ Then I start to talk about God,” he explained.
Start-up culture can be stressful, Rodrigo’s experience included. “In the first six months, I had six bosses,” he shared. “Overnight you have change, and overnight you don’t know if you are still on the organizational diagram or not. One day you are still there, but the next day, you open your email and see a new organizational diagram.”
Amidst that uncertainty, Rodrigo has depended on God’s sovereignty rather than relying on his own professional competence. “The only thing that makes me calm and brings me peace is knowing that God is in control,” he said.
His local colleagues have noticed. “They say, “How are you laughing? Why are you saying good afternoon and smiling because your name is not there on the chart?’ I can just say in whom I trust. I know why I’m here. …This is really what I believe: I’m still here while God wants me to be. The door that God opens, nobody can close. If God closes the door, I’ll go where He wants.”
That sense of calm in the middle of chaos, not only at work but also evident against the backdrop of the quickly modernizing country, has made a profound impact on people in Rodrigo’s life and allowed him to point them to God. When others ask him how to have the same peace he possesses, “this is the open door to talk about Jesus and faith,” he said.
For Rodrigo, spiritual support has been critical to his time in Southeast Asia – both the small group he participates in with like-minded colleagues as well as faithful friends and family praying for him back in Latin America. “This is very comforting that people you can really trust are praying for you, not for personal interest or gain, just praying for God to keep you safe and give you a healthy mind and heart,” he shared.
While Buddhist temples and places for ancestor worship can be easily accessed throughout the city, Rodrigo said churches are rare. The one larger church he found was located more than an hour away from his home, making it hard for his family – and others – to attend. Although a challenge, this scarcity indicates huge growth potential to Rodrigo and encourages him to continue his Kingdom-driven work in Southeast Asia. “Nothing we have done professionally has such value as to save souls,” he said. “This is why we are here.”
Written by Erin Schipper