After Hours: The Call to Go
In Western Africa, there are people waiting to be set free. Bars and walls don’t confine them, instead they are held hostage by the lack of ability to do things most of us take for granted every day — reading, writing and being able to do those things in our native languages.
If you’ve been in the quick lube industry for a while, the name Cori Rodgers might sound familiar. Rodgers spent 21 years with Kwik Industries before deciding to take a leap of faith to pursue her passion for sharing the love of Jesus with others — specifically those in Nigeria — in 2011. National Oil & Lube News is honored to tell her story. We hope it touches your heart in the same way it touched ours and inspires you to take action in your own community.
If everything goes as planned, by the end of this year, Rodgers will no longer enjoy the conveniences we are so accustomed to in the communities we serve. Pizza delivery isn’t an option where Rodgers is going. For that matter, clean running water is a commodity, and there definitely isn’t a quick lube on every corner.
“There is a lot of oppression and poverty. Unemployment rates are somewhere around 44 percent,” Rodgers said. “In Nigeria, they have 520 languages; 244 of those languages aren’t translated into any scripture whatsoever. Nigeria is slated by the U.S. government as a country that we should not go to, but if we don’t go help these people who will?”
Rodgers will be answering that call to “go,” and she’ll be working alongside an organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, as well as the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Rodgers will teach the underserved and oppressed people in a Nigerian village how to read and write in their native tongue as well as teach them about Jesus through Bible translation. Rodgers chose to work with Wycliffe because of their heart for Jesus and their experience sharing his love.
“The founder of Wycliffe, Cameron Townsend, started off doing Bible translation in Guatemala, but he quickly realized, the country wouldn’t let him in because what he was doing was religiously based,” Rodgers said. “To get around this he founded another company, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Their philosophy is to learn the language [of the locale], go into the community through the government and say, ‘We can help you by teaching literacy to your country to help you grow [and] fight poverty.’”
Rodgers didn’t go to seminary, and she doesn’t have a background in humanitarian work. What she does have is experience serving and loving people. When she stepped out in faith and left the quick lube industry, it was for a reason much different than most people when they’re making a career change.
“In 2011, the Lord really reached out and touched my heart. I felt like He was saying to me, ‘There’s something bigger than you out there.’ Honestly, the best way I can describe it is my pockets were really full, but my heart was very empty,” Rodgers said. “I enjoyed serving the fast lube industry, and I built an incredible amount of personal and business relationships that I still hold onto today because of it. At Kwik [Industries] I did a lot with inventory management, and that’s a skill I’m going to get to use with Wycliffe through setting up seminars and workshops.”
Being able to reach people where they’re at is a learned skill that Rodgers has honed through 17 years of attending industry tradeshows like AAPEX/SEMA and iFLEX — and those skills won’t be lost on the people of Nigeria.
“I worked all of the AOCA shows for probably 17 years along with ICA shows out in Vegas. I’m going to be able to utilize my relationship building experience. In Nigeria it’s going to be part of my job to engage community,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers is excited to be able to get to know the people, learn what their needs are and how she can meet them. She’s looking forward to building new friendships and making new memories, but most importantly, Rodgers is excited to share her faith through her God-given talents and abilities.
“This is Jesus-driven because I want to share his love, but I’m going to be sharing his love through the ability to work with short-term and mid-term mission trips that come over to work with and engage with the community. I’ll set up workshops that will tackle literacy, poverty, hunger and other developmental goals, too,” Rodgers said.
Those are just some of the issues Rodgers will be working on to educate the people of Nigeria. According to the United Nations, work like Rodgers will be doing to develop local language is essential to eradicating poverty and hunger, increasing literacy and primary education, empowering women, reducing child mortality and — through marital health — combating HIV, malaria and disease. Local language also helps ensure environmental sustainability and develop global partnerships.
“In the book of Isaiah, the Bible says ‘Send me.’ I have gotten to the point in my life where I’m not married, I don’t have any children and I’ve had the blessing of financially assisting my parents for several years. My sister and parents got together and said, ‘Go, do this!’ I want to be selfless and give my love to the world and help make it a better place,” Rodgers said. “My motto is, Bible translation equals life transformation. Once these people have the ability to learn a language, they can pursue further education, and that affects every aspect of their lives. It’s profound the amount of importance people place on language and its role in tackling poverty and hunger.”
Currently, Rodgers is preparing by studying the culture and languages of Nigeria, but you don’t have to quit your job and travel across the country to make an impact on this world. There are opportunities everywhere to make an impact — you can probably even think of some in your own bays.
“We have to understand there are people out there who are oppressed and need others to tell them we care, love them and want to help,” Rodgers said. “Listen to your heart, and follow what it tells you. My calling happens to be Nigeria, but that’s just where God called me. The need is here in the states, too. Whatever your skills are, you can make a difference.”
If you’re interested in learning more or becoming part of Rodger’s Wycliffe Ministry team through prayer, encouragement or financial commitment send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.wycliffe.org/partner/corirodgers