"I am Amethyst Amy Deida Rodriguez, a child of God. . ."
I still remember stepping out of mom’s red Toyota 4x4 into the crisp air of upstate New York. Every morning she would ask, “Cha Cha who are you?”
I would stomp my feet, bite my lips, wave my hands thinking, ‘You ask me this everyday!’
“Mom, why do I have to say this every day?!”
“Say it, Amethyst.”
“I am Amethyst Amy Deida Rodriguez, a child of God.”
“That’s right, you know who you are, now go to school.”
Then off I would go to Minnisink Valley Elementary. . .
Fifteen years later, I couldn’t be happier of the way she made me. “Amethyst, you are a minority and that means you need to strive harder than the average: you need to be better than good in order to make it in this world. Amethyst, you’re a fighter and that’s why I know you’ll make it, don’t stop fighting for what you want. Try everything because you’ll never know what you can be good at: Amethyst, play the piano, you have to play the piano. Everyone in this world will fail you but Jesus won’t.”
I come from a family that has seen it all. They’ve seen the poverty of San Juan in the 40’s, they’ve experienced what it’s like to be an orphan and they’ve traveled the journey to Ellis Island with no money. They lived in the poorest slums of New York City, shot the rawest heroin, snorted the purest cocaine, witnessed the ironies of progressivism in America: being beaten in the streets by FBI agents, jumped bridges and have escaped the curses of poverty, racism and bitterness. I can’t pretend to know all the stories, but I know one thing. I’m a product of their sufferings and because of two praying grandmothers, I am here today. . .
"I'd rather push a Land Rover than drive a Jeep . . . "
Ha, so true! JK, wait a second... that's a Jee... well never mind... we don't speak those words. But in all seriousness, the Lord has brought me a long ways over the past years. I grew up in a Christian home but it wasn't until college that I really found God and found out what it means to live fully unto Him.
My involvement in college ministry revolved around my first Land Rover. I had saved up to buy it with my own money, in cash. Just after I bought my Land Rover Discovery XD, I found out that the Lord had blessed me with a full scholarship to attend the University Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). The summer before college, I actually met my would be spiritual mentor hanging out with my friends one night. He was visiting with my Young Life group. We didn't expect to see each other again. Low and behold, one day I was leaving my dorm to go drive some where and I met Seth. We got to know each other and over the next two years we developed a strong relationship.
During this time, the Lord really started to show me about missions. It was at a campus ministry prayer meeting where the Lord laid it on my heart to use Land Rovers to take the Gospel to the most remote places around the earth. Keep in mind, I was putting my Land Rover through the paces, pushing it to its limit in terms of its off-road ability. I was very familiar with Land Rover and their global expeditions, most notably the Camel Trophy.
Over the next few years, I learned spiritual disciplines and God's heart for the nations. Perspectives taught me a lot about missions and how God, since the dawn of creation is a missionary God, one who wants to draw all peoples unto Himself.
I was exploring opportunities to serve in missions and use my passion for adventure and off-roading. I came across an organization founded by a Land Rover Camel Trophy expedition trainer. He was the guy who trained the South African and German teams how to drive Land Rovers in arguably the most grueling and demanding off-road competition in the history of the world. That organization so happened to be Overland Missions.
In 2006, I traveled to Zambia where I went on my first mission trip ever. I never had been on a mission trip before Zambia, either in America or overseas. Ministry and the theology of missions wasn't new to me but missions in practice was. My time in Zambia was a great first experience. If you're going to do something, might as well go all out. This trip also happened to be where I met my would be wife, Amethyst.
Over the next few years, my heart for full-time missions grew and my relationship with God grew deeper. The Lord showed me His heart for reaching the unreached and God confirmed that call over and over again. It is my heart and desire to go to the places where others can't or won't go and to use modern technology to advance the Gospel. During this time, Amethyst and I grew closer and that brings us to where we are today.
Together we feel the divine call to go to some of the hardest places both spiritually and physically. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been laid on our heart. We're thankful for the Lord's direction and guiding. We wouldn't be where we are today without the Lord directing our every step of the way.