The Sermon that Changed this Immigrant’s Life: From Jobless to Business Owner
All Are Meant to Flourish
“It began with preaching that God intends for all people to flourish (and the Holy Spirit of course),” says Rev. Fernando Tamara, pastor of Orange County First Assembly of God (OCFA) Church, Santa Ana, CA. Tamara pastors OCFA’s Spanish speaking campus.
This biblical truth—that God intends for all people to flourish—resonated with “Jose,” an immigrant from Latin America. He came to the church because he had a relationship with a young lady who attends OCFA. Jose comes from a broken family; and sadly, he came to the church with no vision. Jose also came to the church paralyzed by fear.
Paralyzed By Fear
Jose is not the only Latin American immigrant paralyzed by fear. “In Santa Ana, it takes longer for Latino immigrants to be enculturated,” laments Tamara. One reason for this is that many who migrate from Latin America consider oppression, poverty, and injustice as normative. Because they believe the American majority culture will oppress them, they hesitate to learn the English language or assimilate into the American culture.
However, Jose mustered up enough courage to request a meeting with Tamara. Jose said to Tamara, “I notice you speak a lot about God intending for all persons to blossom or flourish. I want that. Would you pray that I find a job?” It was not too long after that Jose landed a job at a pool cleaning business.
Lacking a Vision to Launching a Business
Jose arrived at OCFA with no vision for his life. However, after working for several years with this pool cleaning business, Jose developed a vision to own his pool cleaning business. Again, he approached Tamara and shared his vision to be a business owner. Tamara knew that aspiring entrepreneurs need financial capital and social capital. Tamara called three church members—a marketing professional, a cleaning company professional, and a financial advisor to meet with Tamara and Jose. This was an opportunity for Tamara to facilitate what he calls ‘an exchange of services and wisdom.’ These professionals shared some lessons learned, best practices, and pitfalls to avoid with Jose.
This exchange of wisdom and services inspired Jose to not only become a legal US citizen, but to pass a pool inspector test that many typically fail the first time. In America, Jose learned that having pool inspector credentials equates to having credibility as a business owner. Today, Jose is a Pool Cleaning Business owner. His clientele includes customers from OCFA’s English and Spanish speaking congregations. Business is going so well that he is now looking to hire someone from the church to be his assistant.
Jose’s transformation from having no vision to having an economic vision commenced with Tamara’s preaching on human flourishing and the work of the Holy Spirit. Relationally and organically, Tamara invested in Jose’s life and soon became his confidante and prayer partner. Tamara was also privy to social capital and introduced Jose to people who could help him make his vision a reality Tamara’s hands-on discipling coupled with Jose’s new economic vision and access to social capital catapulted him to launching his own pool cleaning business.
Fernando Tamara is a pastor of
Orange County First Assembly of God Church
in Santa Ana, California.