Dare to Dream
I have been in America for a little more than a year, and I have seen the faithfulness of God every day. Back home in Brazil, I watched images of America on television and dreamed about the day I would live there. One day, a friend had a similar dream. She saw a vision of me preaching to people from other nations. She said, “Thiago, God is going to send you to America; you need to prepare.”
My parents couldn’t afford to send me to America. I knew if God wanted me to go there, He would have to make a way. I also knew I had to do my part to prepare, so I started studying English. I listened to American music, watched movies, and attended church services led by American pastors. I also worked hard and began to save for that day when my dream would come true.
A friend moved to Florida and invited me to visit. Finally, I had enough money saved to go on a 15-day trip. When I arrived, all I could say was, “Wow, God, You are amazing!” I was like a kid at Disney World! I knew that one day I would live in America.
In Brazil, I continued to study hard to prepare for that day when God would answer my prayer. Every day, this dream burned in my heart. I had no idea what God had in store, but little by little, God revealed His plan. One day He spoke to my heart, “Thiago, I will do something in your life no one will understand.”I held fast to those words.
I came to America again in 2015 and visited Orlando. I immediately felt at home and knew that one day I would live there. “God, if You have something for me in America, please do something,” I prayed. And He did.
On September 15, 2015, I was working overnight at the shipping company in Brazil where I was employed. The director of the company told us that as of January 2016, the company would lose important contracts. Soon there would be no job for me. But then I remembered I had been asking God to do something. Suddenly I was happy. I knew God was closing one door and opening a new one. Now was the time for me to go to America.
I told people everywhere that in the next year, I would be moving to Orlando. Many of my friends thought I was crazy and tried to discourage me. “Thiago, it cannot be done!” they said. “There are too many obstacles!” But I trusted that if God had put this dream in my heart, He would make a way. I kept studying and praying and saving.
On February 22, 2016, I finally realized my dream. Leaving my parents and brother behind was more than difficult, but I’ve found God often asks us to leave treasured things behind to step into our purposes.
Once on the plane it hit me…it was just God and me now. He was all I had. Fear tried to rise up in my heart. I had no idea what would happen when I landed in Orlando. Would I even make it through airport immigration? I had to keep going back to God’s Word, His promises, and His faithful character and remind myself, “God is already there. Don’t be afraid!”
I arrived in Orlando on a one-way ticket and a six-month tourist visa. I had a small amount of money, but no job, no home, and no car. But I had a dream…and I had God. That’s all I needed. Upon arrival, I said three things to God: “God, I want to live in America legally. I want to serve You every day of my life here. And I want to live here permanently.”
Being in this country legally was important to me. My parents taught me to respect the laws of the land. My responsibility is to live a life above reproach with a clear conscience. God will take care of the rest.
A Brazilian friend allowed me to spend a few nights at his home until I could find a permanent place to live. One morning, I was out running and singing songs of praise to God for allowing me to realize my dream despite being poor. As I ran, I heard these words, “Give 10 percent of the money you brought to America back to Me.”
“Are you crazy, God?” I argued. “I don’t have work or a place to live. I needthis money.” I had come with only $3,800 to start my new life. But again, God said, “Give Me what belongs to Me. Trust Me.”
I wrestled with God’s request. When I walked in the door, my friend told me I had to move out within the week. He needed the space for another friend from Brazil.
“Wow, God. You ask me to give You the tithe, and now I have less than one week to find a place to live? I have no job, no car, no bike, and now no place to live.” I was so scared, but I knew I had to trust God and obey Him regardless of my emotions.
I went to the church and gave $380 that very day. “Here, God, it’s all Yours. I trust You.” But I was scared.
I found a room to rent at 10 p.m., the night before I had to be out of the house. When the owner of the home showed me to my room, tears welled up in my eyes. I had been sleeping on a mattress on a floor, and now I had a room. There was a bed and a closet—just for me. It was like a palace! God had provided more than I could hope for.
Transportation was a big deal for me. The devil liked to remind me, “In Brazil, you had a car and lots of friends. In America, you are alone and you have to depend on others to get to do anything.” Sometimes I would feel sad, but God used this time to teach me to rely on Him for all my needs. Even going to Walmart!
One day a leader of my church life group saw I had no transportation and bought me a bike. With my new bike, I could go to First Baptist Orlando regularly. I would ride my bike in the hot Florida sun for over an hour to church, singing praises to God. I was so desperate to learn English that I attended every service on Sunday mornings—all three! I wouldn’t even use a translation device. I had to hear God’s Word in English so I could learn faster. I also took English classes offered at the church.
My money began to run low. Just in time, God gave me work with a landscape company. And then He gave me a car. One day, a man from church called me at work and said, “Thiago, God has told me to help you buy a car.” I started to cry. The man said he’d never heard God’s voice like that before, and he gave me a $1,500 check. It was hard to accept his gift. In Brazil, I was the one blessing others; now I was the one in need, and God was blessing me through people I didn’t even know. I prefer to give than to receive, but God is teaching me the blessing in both.
A friend told me about a mechanic who sold cars. He had a reliable car for sale for $2,500. I had only $1,500. When I met him, he said, “I can see in your eyes that you are a good man. I know you have God in your life. The car is yours. Pay me when you can.” Only God can do such a thing!
God kept showing me that in a land so full of people, He saw me; He saw my needs.One day I was at church and feeling quite alone. At home in Brazil, I was a leader in a church with 300 people, now at First Baptist, I was one of thousands. I told God, “No one here knows me…but You do. Your eyes are on me.”
At the end of that service, a lady came to me and said, “God has shown me a dream about you. You have God’s power on you, and His light is within you.”
Then, on October 6, 2016, another woman came to me and said, “God has shown me that you have something in your life that the world needs. I publish a magazine, and I’d like to share your story with our readers.” She introduced me to her family and invited me to dinner for an interview.
“God, why is this white family inviting me to dinner?” I was so nervous as I drove to their home. I didn’t know what God had in store. Their warm welcome made all my fears go away. We sat on the couch, and I shared my story.
I was amazed that an American family would invite me into their home. I had always heard Americans could be closed off, but here, a family was opening their home to me. I was playing with their kids when Kristi and her husband, Tim, asked me to come upstairs.
“Thiago,” they said, “we want to offer you a place to live. We want you to become a part of our family.”
I was shocked. No one but God knew how much I longed for a family. Through the Johnsons, God provided a place for me to live and a home filled with His love. I cried all the way home and then remembered Pastor David’s sermon from the week before. He had said, “When God opens a door, don’t be afraid to walk through it. He is always on the other side, waiting for you.” I moved in the very next day. This family has become my family, and I their son.
God is amazing. He has met my every need, including providing visa documents to study in America. My dream is to be a preacher or translator of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will make this dream a reality. He never fails.
If you have a dream in your heart, don’t give up. Trust God. Prepare. Obey Him. And give thanks every day of the journey. One day, your dream will become a reality.
Written By Thiago Egydio