With each military satellite safely launched and maneuvered into orbit, Rob Tang and his engineering team would beam with pride at another successful mission. At the peak of an exciting and challenging aerospace engineering career, Rob was living the American dream. He worked in an exciting field with brilliant co-workers, and enjoyed job security and satisfaction that others would envy.
With his wife, Denise, four children, a wonderful career, and a newly remodeled home, Rob didn’t think he’d ever leave California. “I had the perfect job,” Rob recalls. “And on top of that, we had just torn down our little house and had it built back up from scratch.” He smiles as he continues, “I would drive to the construction site every day for the 9 months that it was being built. I loved talking with the contractor and learning about the process. I knew where every stud, every wire, and every pipe were in that house. It wasn’t big, but it was our dream house!”
Packing up and moving to a new country was not in their long-term plans.
But one evening, Rob and Denise met Mike and Carol Hart, as they were just about to leave for Thailand to begin ZOE Children’s Home. Rob’s heart was broken, as he listened and learned about child trafficking and how ZOE planned to help. He couldn’t stop thinking about his experience that night and knew God wanted him to see ZOE’s work firsthand.
Rob and his entire family made the journey to Thailand for a short-term mission trip. Rob remembers, “Even though we went just to see and help, while we were there, I just had this sense that we were to come back for a longer term. God gave me an indescribable peace in my heart knowing that any concerns I had of picking up and moving my family halfway around the world would be taken care of. He told me, ‘If you take this next step, I will be with you.’”
That’s all Rob needed to hear to make a change.
When Rob returned home, he left his position along with the comforts and security his job provided. “I honestly didn’t know what I could do at a children’s home with my degree and work experience,” says Rob. “But the calling on my life was so strong that I knew we were meant to go even though I didn’t know what it would look like. I was prepared to mow the lawn or drive a truck, if that’s what I was asked to do.”
When Rob and his family arrived in Thailand, ZOE was in the process of buying land and getting ready to build. Not by coincidence or chance, Rob ended up overseeing the construction of ZOE’s current campus. “What I had learned from my little home remodel, along with my project management experiences at Boeing, God used to help me oversee this massive building project. Never in a million years did I imagine I’d be here doing that, but God is using all of my life experiences for His purposes and glory.”
It’s been nearly 8 years since Rob and Denise joined ZOE as career missionaries. Rob is now overseeing the building of ZOE’s new Child Rescue Center while continuing to manage the day-to-day operations of ZOE’s Child Rescue Team, whose mandate is to find and rescue enslaved children and bring awareness of human trafficking to communities. Denise assists in ZOE’s aftercare program by overseeing activities and events for ZOE’s teens, as well as providing training and support for ZOE’s house parents. Three of their four children have since graduated from high school in Thailand and are now attending universities in the States.
“We have absolutely no regrets,” Rob shares. “Personally and professionally, we are more satisfied and fulfilled now than we’ve ever been before. People always say that we’ve made such a huge sacrifice to leave everything behind, but honestly, what our family has gained here while serving the children at ZOE is simply priceless.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do what Rob did – it only takes someone who is willing to answer “yes” when called.
This is a man and his family who chose to “Live180.” It isn’t always about going halfway around the world (though ZOE is so grateful the Tang’s did!). What can you do, where you are in your sphere of influence today?