A former full-time pastoral worker and foreign missionary, Tina Santiago Rodriguez is currently an author, speaker, and media missionary based in the Philippines. She tells World Mission how “media missionaries” can counter bad news by emphasizing the positive side of life.
PUBLISHED ONNov 2019
Please tell us briefly about your life, education and work
I was born in the Philippines, grew up and went to kindergarten ‘til secondary school (high school) in Brunei, then went for university studies in the Philippines. After graduating from university, I became a mission volunteer for CFC (Couples for Christ) Youth for Christ. After some months of prayer and discernment, I decided to commit to full-time mission work, under CFC. I was a full-time mission worker for around 10 years, serving in different places including Malaysia, Brunei, and East Timor.
In 2011, the Lord led me to a different path. I resigned from full-time mission work because my husband and I felt called to focus more on our young children, especially in homeschooling them.
To be perfectly honest, I was a bit fearful at the time. You see, my husband was also a full-time mission worker back then. My resignation would mean that only one of us would have a regular monthly income. I asked the Lord to keep providing for us as He always has. And He truly did!
He led me to work for Shepherd’s Voice Publications or SVP, a media ministry of Bro. Bo Sanchez. What was even better – it was a job that I could do from home some days of the week! So I could still focus on homeschooling while working.
However, when our third child was born, God once again led us to another path. You see, she had health issues as a newborn and needed extra care. Our helper left us at the time too, so my husband and I were led to pray and discern again regarding what the Lord wanted for us.
I ended up resigning from my full-time work with SVP so I could focus on our baby’s needs. The Lord continued to provide for our growing family, and He still does to this day.
Fast forward to the present day: I now work full-time as a writer and special projects staff of The Parenting Emporium, a parenting and family-focused store and social enterprise. I get to work from home and anywhere else, as long as I have an internet connection! This means that I also get to homeschool our kids – what a blessing, right?
How do you manage these multi-dimensional roles?
To be perfectly honest, it is a challenge to manage all my roles. I like to say that I take it one day at a time, one prayer at a time. It is only God’s grace that sees me through. I am also blessed to have a very supportive and helpful husband, and kids, too; plus extended family. It really takes a village to raise a child – and in our case, it’s five children!
What are the challenges you face as you perform these roles?
I guess the biggest challenges are time management and knowing when enough is enough. I also need to always check if my priorities are in the right place.
You were a full-time pastoral worker / missionary as part of Couples for Christ Global Mission Foundation, Inc. from 2001 to 2010. Kindly enlighten us on that.
I was initially a missionary for CFC Youth for Christ. Then, when my husband – who was my fiancé back then – and I were assigned to serve in East Timor with my parents, we both served in the Family Ministries of Couples for Christ, in the ministries for kids, youth, and singles. After we got married, we also ministered to couples. When we returned to Manila in 2010, I was assigned to serve in the media ministry of CFC.
You are also a self-proclaimed “media missionary” in order to inspire others through social media, articles, videos, and offline events. Can you share with us more about it?
When I started blogging, it was primarily because someone told me that I could earn extra income from it. But then I realized that it could be so much more. I knew that it could be a powerful platform for sharing God’s word.
From blogging about motherhood and everything in between as “Truly Rich Mom,” I felt led by the Lord to “rebrand” my blog to what it is now, i.e. TrulyRichandBlessed.com. Then, the hashtag #TrulyRichandBlessed on social media also became a way to share about the “riches we already have.” These are not material riches only, but – and more importantly – the riches that we have in Christ Jesus.
That’s why I try to make sure that whatever I post on social media, whatever I write about in articles, whatever videos I make, and whatever offline events I organize are all pointed towards Jesus. I am just the messenger; He is the message.
Why is it important to be a “media missionary” in the present context?
The world is in dire need of people who are willing to tell their stories of how God changes and moves them. As we all know, mainstream media is chock-full of bad things, even anti-God things and beliefs. We need to counter all of these by doing what we can to highlight the good –God’s goodness, even if it’s just through our social media posts.
Do you think more and more people would become “media missionaries”?
I really pray and hope they would. You need not be “super holy” or a priest or nun or anything like that to be a missionary. You just have to say “yes” to the Lord. He will take care of the rest.
How do you integrate your faith into your life, work and profession?
My faith is a big part of who I am and what I do. It’s not just something that is there on Sundays or in church. So it is really part and parcel of everything that I am and do.
Your final message for our readers
My hope and prayer is that people will be inspired and encouraged by the Lord even through the little things I do and say, despite my weaknesses and sinfulness. I am a sinner who hopes to be a saint, and I hope the same for my family and everyone else I meet. After all, every one of us is called to sainthood. Jesus wants all of us to be in heaven with Him. I also pray that the Lord will use me in spite of my brokenness.
As Saint Mother Teresa once said, “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more.”