HIGHLAND VILLAGE—Cori Rodgers worked more than two decades in executive management in the auto service industry. Today, she can fit all her worldly possessions into a 2005 Honda.
Rodgers grew up in a Christian home, but for an extended time, she chose material success over following Christ.
“For 20 years, I wallowed in the selfishness of my own heart,” she confessed. “No matter what I achieved, it didn’t satisfy me. My pockets seemed full, but my heart was empty.”
Several years ago, she agreed to go to church to make her parents happy, and hearing the gospel message changed everything.
“The word of God transformed my heart, and God began to transform my life,” she said. “My desire now is to allow the word of God to come alive in anyone who comes into contact with me.”
Moving from the corporate world to the mission field presented challenges, Rodgers acknowledged. Well-trained in business administration, she lacked any background in theology or linguistics. Family responsibilities and related financial obligations could have represented in insurmountable hurdle.
“There were a lot of ‘no’s to overcome before I answered God’s call to go,” she said. “There was a mountain of debt … but I saw God erase it like we would erase a text message.”
After selling nearly all her possessions and using personal savings, Rodgers had enough money to provide the initial funding she needed to be accepted for missions service through Wycliffe. She will depend on the ongoing financial support of donors for continuing needs.
Her parents supported her decision to follow God’s leadership, and they moved to Tennessee to live with her sister. She took a yearlong basic theological studies course at her home church.
Put management skills to work in Nigeria
She applied with Wycliffe in 2015 and was accepted last May. Wycliffe will provide the additional cultural and linguistic orientation she needs before she leaves for Nigeria in early March, and her business background won’t go to waste on the mission field.
“I will be using the skills the Lord allowed me to hone in management,” she said. “I will serve in an operational support position, freeing up the time of others to work in translation.”
Rodgers will serve through SIL Nigeria, Wycliffe’s partner organization that formerly was known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Nigeria is home to 520 languages and dialects, and 244 languages have no Christian Scripture, she said.
Jos, a city of 900,000 in central Nigeria, will serve as the hub of activity for SIL workers throughout the nation. By promoting literacy, Rodgers and her co-workers will support economic and community development—goals the Nigerian government welcomes.
As a special projects assistant, Rodgers will facilitate workshops and seminars to engage communities in addressing issues such as trauma and disease, as well was literacy.
Rodgers recognizes and acknowledges the risks Christians face in Nigeria. Since 2011, Boko Haram extremists have killed more than 15,000 people and displaced 2.1 million from their homes, the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative reported.
“Of course, we’ll practice good common sense, but we realize persecution follows wherever we go,” she said. “It’s a concern, but I’m trusting the Lord to clear the way where he wants me to go. And I know I have a wonderful group of people praying for me.”