Instead of following God’s call for me to be a pastor, I went to Taiwan to work as a machine operator. In doing so, a huge void invaded my heart.

While abroad, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my joyful experiences with God. As I thought about them, I also reflected on the bad decisions I had made. I felt a deep sense of regret, especially when He reminded me of the spiritual things I had learned in the Philippines. I also realized that I missed worshipping God, singing songs, and playing my instruments for Him. I realized that only Jesus could fill the big void in my heart.

I looked for a church in Taiwan and started to attend one. To my amazement, the church was in dire need of a musician! I then decided to serve God in their music ministry.

My Church in Taiwan

Going Back to God
After 2.5 years in Taiwan, my contract ended, and I returned to the Philippines. God reminded me again of His calling in my life. A part of me wanted to stay in Taiwan and renew my contract, but the company I had been involved with was having economic difficulties. I knew I had to go home. I told God that I still wasn’t ready to be a pastor, and I begged Him for another chance to go abroad.

Surprisingly, another door for work opened, this time as a welder for an oil tanker. I was able to go abroad again!

I went to Saudi Arabia, but unlike my time in Taiwan where I started off on the wrong foot; this time, I resolved to live my life for Christ from the time I arrived in the Middle East. Despite the strict laws against worshiping Christ in Saudi, I joined an underground church, gathering with fellow believers in worship. There was one instance at the middle of a worship service, when some Arabs aggravatingly knocked on our door. We told them we were merely celebrating a birthday; hence, no further issue was made. This made me think about home in the Philippines, and how freedom was such a beautiful experience we often take for granted.

While in Saudi Arabia, thoughts of my call as a pastor kept nagging me. In 2013, after being in Saudi Arabia for nine months, I had to return to the Philippines because my employer went bankrupt.

Working in Saudi

On Philippine Soil

In the first church service I attended back home in the Philippines, God reminded me again of my calling in life to be a pastor. This time, I told God that I would obey Him. He showed me again the vision He once gave me— the one where I stood behind the pulpit. His Presence overwhelmed me that I cried tears of joy. Despite my running away from the call, I hadn’t lost my call! I was so comforted and so joyful. It was a feeling I hadn’t felt for quite some time.

No more running, no more hiding, and no more alibies. I told God that I was ready to surrender to Him my past, present, and future.

I started handling the Praise and Worship team of the church. I was still hesitant to be called a pastor since I felt unqualified to be called one. My personal circumstances didn’t change, and I was still dealing with insecurities and brokenness.

Living in My Calling
In 2016, I got married to a beautiful woman named Zilpah whom I met at a church youth camp. She encouraged me to go back to school and finish a degree. We prayed for a school near Makati and eventually, I found the Asian Seminary in Christian Ministries. I enrolled in 2017, and I am happy to say that I finished my AB Theology degree this year. Praise God!

I used to believe that I was unworthy and unqualified to be called by God. My past is messy. I have no achievements in life. I was a “tambay.” I have a background on vices. But God doesn’t call the qualified, instead, He qualifies the called.

As I embraced my call, Christ healed my brokeness. I learned to see myself as a precious child of God; a child He has redeemed. I realize that I am important in God’s sight and that is the only thing that matters.

As I came to understand how much God loved me, I lost interest in my vices. I became conscious of how I lived my life, and I wanted it to be a pleasing offering to the Lord.

The God Who Qualifies

My life message is, “GOD IS IN CONTROL.” God is not looking for the perfect servant. He is looking for men and women who will listen and obey His voice. He is looking for people who will hear His call.

God will use your past to become a testimony of His grace and greatness. He will redeem you. He desires that your life will be put on its proper track as He lavishes you with His love. You can set aside your doubts and fears. He knows what He’s doing in your life. He’s watching your every step.

My Song to the Lord

Below is an original song composition. It is about a person who presents himself to God (Isaiah 6:8), but is admittedly afraid. Most of us might feel this way—we’re ready, but afraid. This song is a declaration that God’s love secures us, and that He alone can guide us and lead the way as we walk in Faith with Him. I wrote this when I finally told God that I was ready to follow His call.

Here I Am, Send Me
Here I am Lord, I am ready
Dictate in my heart— where do I start
Though I’m afraid, though I’m surrounded
But Your love secures.

Settle my heart for Your voice will
I only hear; Lord lead me
Though I’m afraid, though I’m surrounded
But Your love secures.

Ignite my desire and light the fire
Consume me, take me, all is yours
Down on my knees I pray, oh lead the way
Surround me, embrace me all is Yours

No limitations, no one can ever stop me
For He is with me, my God is able

Rodrigo Beltran

Rodrigo R Beltran is happily married to Zilpah Beltran. The Lord had blessed them with two beautiful children, Ziarah Ashrielle and Matthias Eli. Rodrigo is the associate Pastor of Ablaze for Jesus Christian Ministries, and he handles the Praise and Worship team. He also conducts Bible Studies and serves as a Gospel preacher.