Ramon’s mother looks up from her sewing. She’s sitting on the step of their front door. “Yes, mijo.”
“Who made everything?” Ramon was only in six years old, but he was already pondering life’s biggest questions. How did man come to be? Is there a creator?
“God did,” his mother replies. She points to a patch of dirt in the area he likes to play in. “See that? God took the dirt, and He made a man out of it. He gave the dirt a nose and eyes. Then He breathed into the dirt and the man started to live and move. God made everything.”
Even though he wouldn’t become a Christian until a decade later, he would always carry this explanation in his heart. He still remembers it today at sixty-five years old and as director of Nogales Baptist Seminary.
Ramon Rodriquez grew up in a small town in Mexico. His mother was faithful Christian who taught the children in his Baptist church. During his teenage years in Nogales, he didn’t attend church, but could still recall the bible stories his mom taught him. His sister invited him to church camp when he was sixteen, and he went so he could have a fun time with other guys his age. He didn’t expect for his life to change forever. The Holy Spirit convicted Ramon of his sin when he heard the gospel preached, and he decided to submit to that conviction. At sixteen, he invited Jesus into his heart.
When he went back to school for his senior year, he realized his friends were having a bad influence on him and had to stop hanging out with them. He began studying the bible, was being discipled by his pastor, and got baptized. When he graduated from high school, he strongly felt God’s calling to ministry. His relatives tried desperately to talk him out of it, saying he was too young and even promised to cover his tuition if he went to a university. But Ramon responded, “I may be young, but I’m obeying.” He entered Nogales Baptist Seminary at seventeen, feeling like he could do nothing else but serve God.
Lessons During Seminary
Ramon’s time at seminary was extremely influential. As a part of his studies, he served in a small church in the mountains. This type of kingdom work had most profound impact on him, even though many of his colleagues disregarded it. The church was considered insignificant by a lot of Christians and, therefore, had no support. “My partners would always tell me to look for a church in the city,” he recalls. But he learned a lot while serving this church – from hard labor to riding horses to reach people. His work didn’t come back empty. One of the members of that church eventually became a missionary.
His seminary project consisted of planting two different churches. In 1983, he pastored one of them. Over a decade later, the Nogales Baptist Seminary would invite him to teach their church history course. A couple of years later, he was asked to be a part-time instructor, then came on staff full-time, and eventually became the assistant director in 1998. It was in 2006, with everyone’s encouragement, that he became the seminary’s director, which is the role he still holds today.
Educating the Next Generation
Ramon loves seeing God move the hearts of his students to serve and how passionate they are about preaching the truth and evangelizing. “They’re very smart,” he says. “They’re learning Hebrew, Greek, and how to preach. They’re studying sound doctrine and how to take care of their churches.” Ramon owes that to the seminary’s commitment to staying faithful to the bible and not changing. This is important because many churches in Mexico, unfortunately, don’t follow biblical models. Congregants don’t understand membership and just visit periodically. A lot of churches don’t have pastors. The false prosperity gospel is rampant. One the seminary’s students once preached at a church and was told it was the first time in two years the congregation saw a preacher use a bible.
Most of the students at Nogales Baptist Seminary go on to become pastors or missionaries, shepherding the spiritual needs of their nation one at a time. But that’s not their only impact. The seminary also has a thriving prison church and ministry. Many prisoners have come to know the Lord there. When prisoners are released, they’re assisted with finding their families or even enrolling in the seminary if they feel led. The seminary has come a long way since being started by Missions Door. We are proud to be their supporters.
Ramon would love prayers for the seminary’s next director, as he’ll be retiring in a few years. Currently, he’s training a former student to take on the role. Pray for the seminary, the students, and Mexico as a whole. If you’d like to support Missions Door indigenous missionaries like Ramon who serve in his country, you can do so at his page or through our Strategic Advance Fund.
How Can You Help
The Great Commission is what spurs us to do indigenous ministry. Around the world, Christians are bringing the Gospel to their people and making disciples in their hometowns. How will you be a part of this?