Rocky Malloy is not your typical missionary. In addition to encountering numerous life and death experiences, he has also been a sea captain, drug dealer, pirate, healer, teacher and writer. He has risked everything to help the needy and distribute a quarter of a million Bible-based books to kids in the schools of his adopted home of Bolivia. We interviewed Malloy in 2009 and talked with him about why his ministry focuses on schools instead of building churches and how he started his ministry.
“I was pasturing a church with about a thousand people in it, and every Sunday there was a reason not to come. When ‘Spiderman’ came to town, the line went out down the road, and people waited for hours to see it. That’s when I realized we weren’t delivering. ‘Spiderman’ outdid church every day of the week. We had to change what we were doing. We made it attractive and we took the message out of the church, cuz people have such a stereotypical concept of what church is. I’m not criticizing the church, but…I got the idea from Paul in the book of Acts where they accused him of infecting society, and I realized I was trying build a network around Jesus in the name of my church. That was taking a lot of time and after nine years we only had 50,000 born again. How can you win whole continents like that, like Paul did? We realized that the largest network in any country was the school system. It covers about 30 percent of the population. In Bolivia there’s a little less than 9 million people, and they’ve got 2.7 million students. When you add all the parents and teachers, you’re talking about around 50 percent of the country. So, our program has the potential to impact half the population of the entire nation. It would have taken me lifetimes to build enough churches and Bible schools to do the same thing.”
“Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.” 1 Timothy 4:11-13
Malloy shares how he got his start in missions.
“When I went down to the war zone in Nicaragua, right on the boarder, on the Honduran side, I was working with the Contra soldiers, and I was building with them, and teaching them the dynamics of construction. I was really privileged to work with these battle-hardened guys that had a heart for God. I’m teaching them about the Lord, and how He works through their lives. The combat was so hot that a civilian plane couldn’t get through with their pay, and they were disgruntled. I said, ‘Let’s pray.’ As I’m praying, just of a second, rain fell. When it did it formed a rainbow right over the top of their heads, where you felt you could touch it. It really spoke volumes to them, because that’s the promise of God, in the Bible. Only a few hours later we heard the plane coming in with their pay…When we went to Bolivia we started working with kids from about seven to twelve. Many of them would be involved with petty theft, shining shoes, just surviving. Most of them didn’t have parents. One little boy about fourteen years old who was the leader of the group was raised in a cardboard box. These young people were so damaged mentally, they couldn’t imagine ever having anything or being successful. We’d bring them right up to a decision, and then they couldn’t make the decision…After struggling with this for years, we felt the only way to help was to go to schools and help prevent them going on the streets in the first place. We started a ministry, Mission Generation, with forty-four students in three schools. Today we have a quarter of a million students in over a thousand schools in Bolivia…We want to keep children in school and help them make quality life decisions based on Biblical principles.”
Reach students for Christ. While each of us might not be called to full-time ministry with students, each of us can support it. Pray that students would come to Christ, that their hearts would be open to the Gospel and that they would share with other students, and their parents. Pray for teachers, administration and ministry leaders that God would open the doors for them to share the message and have spiritual conversations with students. Consider hosting a small group Bible study at your house. If you have a student open your home to have a small group Bible study to meet at your house. Ask your local youth pastor or youth ministry leader if there is a way that you can support their ministry. It might be providing food for an outreach, driving students to an event, or just praying for their ministry.
Develop your message. There are so many competing messages when it comes to people hearing the Gospel. Whether you are doing an outreach event or having a spiritual conversation, pray and ask God for the words to share. Ask Him to give you his vision and creativity for your message. Don’t compare your message or what you are doing to what others are doing. Trust what God has shown you.
Be brave. Be willing to go wherever God calls you to serve. It could be an area of town that you aren’t familiar with or a foreign country. Pray and ask God to soften your heart and replace your fear with the faith needed to be obedient to his calling. If you have a friend or acquaintance that has served as a missionary ask them for their wisdom and insight.
To read our entire interview with Rocky Malloy, click here.