NEWBERRY — Dearal Rodgers presented the message, “when God calls good men and women to do things they would not normally do,” during the Newberry Rotary Club’s 38th Annual Prayer Breakfast Tuesday morning.
“It is the reason David fought Goliath, the reason why Daniel went into the Lion’s Den. God called these good men to do things they woundn’t normally do,” he said.
Rodgers is a professional angler who has competed in Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Tour, FLW Series and Bass Fishing League (BFL) events throughout the southeast. His accomplishments include a “Forrest Wood Cup” win as a coangler in 2010, an FLW Tour “Coangler of the Year” title in 2009, and has recently qualified for the BFL “All American.”
Rodgers grew up in the upstate of South Carolina, and when he was 10 years old caught an eight pound bass, he said that changed his life. He took any opportunity to fish, trying to learn how to catch bass. When he was in high school he would get up before school and go fishing, trying to catch bass.
Around the time Rodgers became a teenager, he got his driver’s license.
“I had been going to church with my family my whole life, when I got my driver’s license I had some independence, I decided maybe church isn’t for me anymore. I went out on my own way for a while,” Rodgers said. “Found myself, about 22 years old, trying some things, met my girlfriend and we were dating. One day I got an invitation to go fishing with a guy that was a pastor, and the only reason I went is because I heard he was really good (at fishing).”
According to Rodgers, that pastor had the joy of the Lord, and had a happiness Rodgers never saw before. The two just clicked, and they would go fishing a few more times together.
“He eventually invited me to go to his church, the night before my girlfriend and I went out. I woke up late, and got to church about 15 minutes late. I said I am going to be embarrassed if we go in there, she said ‘no lets go in, you promised,’” he said. “I can still remember putting my hand on that door, and I could hear them singing, and my life changed.”
That day Rodgers and his girlfriend, who became his wife, dedicated their lives to Christ. Rodgers said Christ’s blood washed away every stain on him, and his life became anew. Ever since then, Rodgers and his wife have been walking the straight line.
Later in life, Rodgers was on his way to work, and something came into his mind. He said God told him he was going to make him a professional bass fisher. On the way home, he heard it again, and when he got home he told his wife.
“I told her what God had told me, she looked up to me and said ‘if God told you that, let’s make it happen,’” he said.
That is what they did, over the years Rodgers got better and better, to the point he made it to the national level, fishing as an amateur on the FLW Tour. In 2007 he was in his first tournament in Austin, Texas. However, before he could go, Rodgers and his wife had to get the finances worked out.
While they did this, he discovered they were down to $20 dollars, which is all Rodgers would have for food. His wife suggested Rodgers call his father, he decided not to.
“I happen to love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, for eight days I can survive,” Rodgers said.
After arriving in Austin, Rodgers went to the store and bought supplies for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and for four days that is what he ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
On the fifth day, Rodgers was preparing for the tournament while watching the weather channel, and eating a sandwich. When all of a sudden there was an alert saying there was a salmonella outbreak in the United States, and it was in Peter Pan peanut butter.
“My cell phone rang, I said ‘hello,’ my wife screaming on the phone, ‘don’t you eat any more peanut butter,’” Rodgers said.
At this time Rodgers checked his peanut butter, only to discover it was a part of the contaminated product.
“I got on my knees, had my cell phone to my ear and said every word she said. She said ‘Lord my husband is in Austin, Texas because you sent him there, and I expect him to come home safely, protect him,’” he said.
That night Rodgers slept like a baby, and as it turned out he was okay.
The next day Rodgers caught so many fish that his thumbs hurt. Afterwards, he realized he had nothing to eat, and no money. So he did something he did not want to do, called his father.
He told his father everything that happened, and that he was 1,200 miles from home without a dime to his name. His father told him to call the bank in 10 minutes and check his bank account. When Rodgers called the bank, he had $100 dollars in his account.
“See, when I got in trouble I called my daddy, my daddy loves me with a love that cannot be explained. Now that I have children, I understand that love. When I was a teenager, I didn’t understand that love,” Rodgers said. “He had a personal responsibility for his baby boy. When I called him he immediately went and met my need. That is exactly what God is standing on the corner waiting to do for all of us.”
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.