Whereas today marks a sad anniversary in the life of our country with the Roe v Wade ruling making abortion legal in the United States, today also marks the 60th birthday of my brother from another mother, the Rod of God, Roddie Taylor.
Many of you who know me know Roddie. Roddie has served for the last 28 years as Senior Pastor of the Mount Beulah Evangelical Baptists Church in Point Fortin, Trinidad and Tobago (Point Fortin is in the Trinidad part of T & T). Over the years, I’ve made ten trips to Trinidad to minister with them in various capacities. Sometimes, I go alone to conduct conferences and services, other times I have taken members from my church to help them with their church plants, Vacation Bible Schools, construction, among other things.
I first met Roddie while I was in seminary in the mid-1990’s. Our Seminary Vocal Ensemble was planning a trip to Trinidad and Tobago to teach music (piano, guitar, conducting, and basic rudiments to the kiddos). The entire team was set up by November 1995 until one person dropped out. That left a spot open for me to go. So, on December 28, 1995, I and 30 other music students flew to Trinidad for a two week stay–in what turned out to be two of the most challenging weeks of my life. But that’s for another time.
Two days before we returned home, we had a joint concert to demonstrate all that the churches had learned. It was a wonderful time of worship. While I was sitting in the congregation, I sat next to a fellow that was funny and engaging–we had a great time, and I hardly knew him. I introduced myself, and he responded, “Glad to meet you! My name is Roddie Taylor.” That was January 1996–and the name stuck.
When I came to Boone’s Creek Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, in September 2003, I felt that our church should not only be active in missions monetarily but personally. And Trinidad had always been on my heart and mind–even to the point of exploring whether I could serve in Trinidad as a missionary. Even those the IMB said they wouldn’t send more missionaries to Trinidad due to the high amount of evangelical churches there, I knew Trinidad needed more of a witness. With the high volume of Catholics, Hindus, and other cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, Trinidad needed help in getting the gospel out.
So I tracked down a missionary named Garey Scott and his wife Polly, who were in the last stages of their missions work there through the IMB. When I inquired as to a place in Trinidad where a church could go, Garey said, “I have just the place. The pastor’s name is Roddie Taylor who serves in the southwest part of Trinidad in Point Fortin.” I was blown away! No way this could be the same man. After getting his e-mail and talking to him online, it was indeed him. He remembered me. And that began a friendship that has endured.
Our church in Lexington agreed to send a team to Trinidad to conduct VBS in July 2004. We had just over 15 go, and what a challenge that was. But what a blessing that was as well. God has a way of getting us out of our comfort zone. But Roddie and his lovely wife Stella, along with their kiddos (who aren’t kids anymore) have become like family to us. Well, they are family: he’s my brother from another mother!
And I was honored that in 2012, I was asked to preach at his 25th anniversary service at Mt. Beulah.
Roddie has allowed me to come and preach the Word to them and bring teams to help get the gospel out. But he has given me his friendship, which I will treasure. Roddie turns 60 today. Plans are in the works for either myself or a small team from ARBC to go to help them with a church plant in their area and spread the gospel where we can by God’s leading.
Happy birthday, Roddie! I’m thankful that our friendship has transcended seasons of life, geography, and will transcend this life as we feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb, never having to say goodbye at an airport any longer.