Taking Jesus to the Marketplace
God took what appeared to be an impossible dream and made it into a reality.
My name is Robson Lima. I am 30 years old, and I have been married to my gorgeous Raquel since 2002. We live in a small city of 80,000 people called Sapiranga located in the south of Brazil.
Until 2001 we were just like other young people. We desired to get married, have good jobs, a great family and all the things that people pursue when they are in a dating relationship. However, there was a burning desire in our hearts to see God’s promises fulfilled. I continually received words from the Lord that I would be a different minister of the gospel, who would travel the world, representing the Kingdom, and I would be someone who makes decisions that would benefit many people.
How is it possible that someone from a small city in the south of Brazil would be able to live out these promises?
I remember when I was child, I would joke with my parents and brother, as children often do, that one day I would be the president of Brazil. I attempted to go to England and realize my dream to improve my English and get to know the beautiful country, but everything was so expensive. Also, by that time I was working with my parents in their leather jacket factory, which was still small at the time, and they were unable to afford for me to go, so I gave up my dream to leave and stayed in my little city.
"God was preparing us for the next step."
In January 2001, Raquel received the opportunity to work as a volunteer at TACF for six months. I was very happy for her, but to be apart from her was very difficult. I didn’t have the money to travel; and I couldn’t work towards having a family because my girlfriend was in Canada, and so it looked like all of my dreams had disappeared. I felt like God had abandoned me and taken everything away that was important to me. My routine became ‘from home to work, from work to home.’
Even though those times were difficult for a young man with many dreams and convictions, I cannot imagine my life without those months of waiting. Actually God was preparing us for the next step, maturing us to live together for His purpose.
In June 2001, the miracle happened. After working for 6 months as a volunteer, Raquel was blessed with two scholarships for the School of Ministry donated by a lovely couple from TACF.
Immediately, she called me and told me the news. That was the only time that I was excited to pay for a collect call to Canada! It was hard to believe. Me studying outside of the country? And with my future wife?
Everything started on September 11, 2001. This date didn’t only change world history, but also our personal history. On this day, the promise of God became real in our lives.
Through the five months of intense ministry, we experienced the precious love of God through teachings, friendships and predominantly through the leadership of the School of Ministry who knew how to recognize the potential in the students’ lives and encourage spiritual growth in each one.
"The effects of the school started to make sense"
I had deep conviction that we were in the right place at the right time. Studying and living with people from all over the world while your heart is transformed was a trans-cultural experience managed by the Holy Spirit. But that wasn’t everything; guess where God took us on outreach? England, of course!
We came back to Brazil in February 2002, and by the end of the year we finally had the wedding that we had been waiting for. Everything was so beautiful. Now the effects of the school started to make sense in our lives. I was ordained as a pastor in 2003, but God continued to pull me in the direction of the marketplace and anoint me to be a ‘different’ minister. In the same year, in partnership with a friend of mine, we opened a travel agency that very soon became the main agency in the city. The following year I opened my office to work for and represent a European company that has small businesses in the south of Brazil.
So in 2005, at 28 years of age, I was already involved in the business world. I received a call from the mayor of our city inviting me to become one of his directors and assume responsibility over all the businesses in the city: industry, shops and tourism. That was a big step. No one was able to open a company without my authorization, and it was my job to create laws and incentives to develop and produce jobs for the population.
It was also my responsibility to close businesses that didn’t have the correct authorization. This gave me the right to close prostitution houses in the city. I became known in the city as a man of principles who looked to the future of the city.
In the past year, there was another surprise. The Court Judge of Sapiranga gathered a group of the main businessmen in the city to help him resolve the problem of underage crime which would eventually increase and become a big problem in the future. This group of people made up of businessmen, doctors, social assistants and psychologists instruct these young people and their families, making the society more secure and organized. The incredible thing is, not only am I part of the group, but I am president of the group. Based on what they said, the reason that they chose me was because I am a pastor that understands the city’s social problems and has a good relationship with the business people of the city, which can bring financial benefits to this organization in the future.
"Not even in our wildest dreams could we have imagined how far God would take us"
In January of this year, I realized one of my greatest dreams; I graduated from university with a degree in public relations focusing in multinational business. Today I no longer work in the city hall, but our work with the European businesses has grown a lot and has become known throughout the whole country. Raquel and I are still pastors, and we are responsible for co-coordinating the Leaders School of Ministry that happens every January here in Brazil. Raquel is also in charge of the dance ministry in our church.
Not even in our wildest dreams could we have imagined how far God would take us because “no eye has seen nor ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love Him” not only in heaven but here on earth, too.
I have never believed in a gospel that was good only for preaching and not for putting into action. We are a couple of few words who prefer to practice the Scripture and see the effects in society. Once the society has seen the positive effects of the gospel at work in your life, they will be drawn to you because they want what you have. If you are reading this and wondering if you should go to the TACF School of Ministry, accept the challenge of living a life with God and go! His promises for your life will never compare to what the world has to offer.
And to the pastors and leaders, I would like to say that as a young man, I always received support from my pastor to minister not only the way that the church expected or had seen before but to go the way that God had intended. Pastor, your youth need you.
I hope that our testimony blessed your life.