Born in the Philippines to a devout Roman Catholic family, Rodel Ramos never imagined he would one day become the property maintenance manager in the BJU Education Group.
After he graduated from high school, Ramos studied electrical engineering to please his father, despite his own desire to study business. Ramos found a job in Saudi Arabia as an electrical supervisor, but the Gulf War forced him back to the Philippines. Here he started a successful business making peanut brittle.
Soon after, Mount Pinatubo erupted and wiped out his entire business. “I started questioning God,” Ramos said. “I didn’t know that God had a plan for my life.” Ramos found a job in Pohnpei, Micronesia, as the manager of a hardware store. Here, he met the missionary Dave Arthurs, who gave him the Gospel.
Arthurs asked Ramos if he knew where he would spend eternity if he died that night, and Ramos replied that only God knows. Arthurs agreed, but asked Ramos if he would like to know from the Bible where he was going to spend eternity.
Ramos said he could feel his heart beating faster as he realized his sin and his need for a Savior. That night, Ramos got on his knees, confessed his sin and asked God to be the Lord of his life. “I look back now and I say, ‘Lord, thank you for wiping away my business,’” Ramos said. “I never would have gotten saved.”
At one point, Ramos’s drunken boss tried to kill him out of anger and jealousy, and Ramos eventually resigned from his job as a hardware store manager. Upon a suggestion from Arthurs, Ramos attended Harvest Baptist Bible College in Guam, where he was asked to stay as the facilities supervisor after graduation. Since he only had a student visa, Ramos had to return to Micronesia, where he got married.
HBBC called Ramos back a short time later, saying they had procured a work visa for him and asked if he would be willing to come back to work on staff. Ramos agreed to move back to Guam and work as the facilities supervisor at HBBC on a three-year work visa. When the three years ended, HBBC procured green cards for Ramos and his wife to remain in Guam for the next 20 years. HBBC later helped Ramos and his wife obtain their United States citizenship.
While in Guam, Ramos started a prison ministry and a basketball ministry, reaching out to the unsaved community and sharing the Gospel with them. Ramos suffered rejection and persecution from his family and friends because his desires changed: he didn’t want to do the things he used to do, and he wanted to go to church.
Ramos prayed for his family, sending them gospel tracts and sharing his testimony and love for them in letters he wrote while away at HBBC. “I told them, ‘It’s not about my religion; it’s about my relationship with God,’” Ramos said. Six months before Ramos’s father died, he accepted Christ, and after many more years of prayer and witnessing, his mother, sister and two brothers also accepted Christ.
When he was at HBBC, Ramos met Dr. Bobby Wood, then the college’s financial administrator, who introduced him to BJU. In 2015, Ramos’ son expressed his desire to attend BJU.
When Ramos was reading through Genesis 22 a short while later, he sensed God calling him to get outside of his comfort zone and trust Him as Abraham did when he offered his son Isaac on top of the mountain.
Ramos wondered if this was God telling him to move to America. Soon after, Wood told Ramos of a project coordinator opening at BJU. Ramos filled out the application in October 2015 and received an acceptance call one week later. Ramos didn’t want to move so soon and said he would be willing to come in June 2016 if there was still an opening. When he received another call from BJU in January 2016, Ramos knew God wanted him to move his family to America.
Now, Ramos is the property maintenance manager in the BJU Education Group, working to manage campus-wide projects and building maintenance. Ramos and his wife enjoy reaching out and ministering to BJU students.
“We encourage them to be used of God,” Ramos said. He tells students they can have a good education, but it means nothing if they live for the things of the world rather than things with eternal value.
Ramos serves as a deacon at Grace Baptist Fellowship in Greenville where he especially enjoys ministering to newly-married couples and widows. “My prayer is, ‘God, help us to make a difference whether to unbelievers or to the believers,’” Ramos said.
Someday, Ramos hopes to build relationships with the large Filipino community here in Greenville and give them the Gospel.