The Cooperative Baptist Fellowhip announced today resumption of new appointments to field service through its Global Missions program after a two-year pause necessitated by the global pandemic.
Elket Rodríguez has been named as CBF field personnel to serve among the communities and migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. A native of Puerto Rico, Rodriguez has served since March 2020 in a collaborative role with CBF and Fellowship Southwest as an immigrant and refugee specialist.
In addition to continuing his immigration advocacy leadership role with CBF, Rodríguez will provide legal aid to asylum seekers and advise pastors and churches on how to assist migrants in their communities. He also will connect migrant families to resources such as shelters, food pantries, medical and legal assistance services, job opportunities, sponsorship programs and transportation.
His field of work will extend the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, from Texas to California. He will work with and encourage churches on both sides of the border. That work will include hosting workshops in both countries to educate migrants, asylum seekers, pastors and churches on the biblical foundations of welcoming the stranger and loving neighbors.
CBF Latino Field Ministries Coordinator Rubén Ortiz said Rodríguez already has raised CBF’s standing on immigration advocacy and expanded the Fellowship’s “sphere of influence in defending the human rights of asylum seekers in the United States and Mexico border.”
“Elket has interconnected ecumenical immigration advocacy networks across the entire political spectrum in the United States, and he has the respect and appreciation of organizations like the Evangelical Immigration Table, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition and Tearfund’s Latin America As Born Among Us campaign,” Ortiz said. “Thanks to Elket’s efforts, CBF pastors, leaders and friends of Familia, CBF’s Latino network, have participated in multiple meetings with elected officials to advocate for immigrant rights.”
The Fellowship will formally celebrate Rodriguez’s appointment at its General Assembly next June in Dallas. News of his appointment — the first new field personnel appointment by CBF in two years — came during a season in which many CBF congregations are participating in the Offering for Global Missions, a primary source of funding for CBF’s global missions work.
“As gifts to the offering continue to increase, we will be able to appoint others who can partner with our congregations and the global church to carry out Christ’s mission in our communities and around the world,” said CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley.
Rodríguez was born and raised in Puerto Rico and lived on the island until 2017, when he moved to West Texas. He is bilingual and has seven years of legal experience and nearly 20 years of involvement in ministry. He earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and a law degree from the University of Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico, he worked for two law firms, the Court of Appeals and the Department of Family. He also served in various capacities with the Christian Missionary Alliance. In Texas, he has worked for a law firm, Child Protective Services, and First Baptist Church of Midland, where he was a family and senior-adult ministry assistant, taught citizenship classes and served as an English as a Second Language consultant, and also established a Spanish Sunday school class/ministry that continues to thrive.
Rodríguez is married to Yesenia Zayas, a geographer. They have two sons, Yesel, 9 and Sahir, 6.