"Unless the Lord relinquishes me from my current obligation, I cannot move in another direction." This is the statement Rod made while considering an opportunity to engage in missionary work for a small church in Glasgow, Mont. A lifelong Adventist, Rod Nazari was a hard-hitting director of worldwide recruiting operations for Lucent Technologies, a high-tech company headquartered on the east coast.
About four years ago Rod and his wife Rosemary visited Montana and felt at peace there. Asking the Lord to guide them as they looked for a place to raise their growing family away from the hustle and bustle of Northern California’s Silicon Valley, they settled in Livingston. Then last year, when Lucent Technologies was downsizing and it was suggested that Rod move to the east coast in order to save his job, he decided to stay in Montana. "I was not willing to give up my location for a job that was not fulfilling me spiritually," he said.
After leaving Lucent, he joined a friend who had previously started a business recruiting sales executives and vice presidents of sales in the high-tech arena. He said, "I did not like dangling dollars in front of someone’s face to get them to make a move from one job to another. The more I did it, the less it seemed right. As Christians we make job moves based on the Lord’s leading in our lives, not dollar figures." At the end of four months he left that business.
One day, Rod encouraged a father to visit his son who was being held at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility (YCDF) in Billings. That visit was the beginning of an ongoing prison ministry. Joining the Billings Heights group, a church plant started two years ago by lay leader Glen French and others, Rod worked with church members to create a warm and inviting environment for former inmates. Five people who have been released from YCDF attend the Billings Heights church. Rod is preaching at the church on a weekly basis.
Today Rod and five others are traveling 125 miles from Livingston to Billings each Sabbath to speak to and visit with the inmates. They hold services in each of the five wings of the jail, counsel with the inmates, and share Bible study materials. Rod says that these people have a lot of time on their hands and are voracious readers, and why not make these life-changing materials available to them? Rod is also actively involved in training members from the Billings churches to minister to these prisoners.
Rod says that the whole experience in Montana has been life changing. "I went from moving up the corporate ladder in the business world to not caring what happened to my corporate career path. I have been involved in one form of ministry after another, and the prison ministry in particular has only continued my growth in sharing the Lord with others."
While his family continues to benefit from the settlement package from Lucent, Rod says that God has provided adequately for them. They are so grateful for his leading that they even tithe their withdrawals from savings which had already been tithed once. As their ministry continues to flourish and lives are deeply touched by the Spirit of God, the Nazaris continue to depend on God as their trusted Partner.