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Bebê Milagre

Tiago’s story by Rick Dalby

When he was born, doctors called Tiago Dias the “Bebê Milagre”— the miracle baby. Due to his parents’ health, the doctors gave Tiago a slim chance of surviving before his birth. The miracle began with his parents amidst the beautiful farms and rivers of Brazil.

His father had lived a wild life in the hedonistic cities of Brazil. One weekend, that changed. He met a bright, intelligent young woman who saw his strength and character despite his careless choices. The weekend partying lost its appeal. Now his attention was focused on one special woman. They were young and in love.

They were excited about building a new life and family together. But something was not quite right. He was usually as strong as an ox but began getting tired during the day. He chalked it up to working long hours, but as weeks wore on he found he had to stop and rest, easily winded. Doctors first believed that he was suffering from the effects of leukemia. But further tests confirmed that he had contracted HIV/AIDS.

Wanting to spare his love from suffering with him, he called off their engagement. Her first impulse was to flee. But one thing stopped her: she was in love with this man, and she believed that she was in his life for a reason. Despite the physical complications, she married this handsome young man. They moved to the plateaus of central Brazil, to the jewel green countryside circling the town of Trindade. They’d had hopes of starting a new life and a new family, but knew that his diagnosis would cripple that dream. A year into their marriage, his skin rashes started appearing. Dark blotches, scaly patches, weight loss. He retired from his work early as his body weakened—his pride and his hopes dwindling by the day.

His wife also began to fear for her own health, having noticed physical changes in her body and energy as well. Further tests confirmed what she had dreaded: she had contracted HIV/AIDS as well, because of his earlier life choices. Neither was raised in the church, but one Sunday morning they felt drawn to attend one nearby. “Perhaps, if God really exists, there could be hope in him,” they thought. Their hearts felt strangely warmed by the joyful singing and preaching. So, they came back the next Sunday. And the next. A few weeks later both knelt together at the altar and gave their tangled, messy lives to Jesus. They experienced an unknown peace with God; the urgent weight of their fears felt lighter somehow. And as their new brothers and sisters at the church observed his weight loss and skin rashes, they explained that Jesus could heal him.

The small Church began to pray in earnest, believing for healing. An older woman from their church came to their house one day and began to prophesy over them. The woman spoke in faith, saying that he would be healed of the virus and that she would become pregnant and bear a child untouched by the disease. In the week following, he began to gain weight and he soon found himself able to work and move without resting. As the puzzled doctors confirmed, for some inexplicable reason, the AIDS virus had left him. He had been healed! She was still showing the virus present but it had gone dormant and her energy returned as well. Their dream of starting a family suddenly seemed like a possibility again. The doctors strictly warned them of the risk of having an HIV positive baby, but they decided to trust this word from God.

Fifteen months later, a healthy, dark-haired boy was born, announcing his arrival with loud squalling and eyes opened curiously. After blood tests, doctors confirmed that little Tiago Dias had no trace whatsoever of the virus. One surprised doctor declared to the beaming new parents that little Tiago was the Bebê Milagre.

Growing up in the beautiful countryside of Brazil was idyllic. Year-round warm weather, cool evening breezes, tropical birds and long days playing soccer. Young Tiago was naturally athletic, tall and had grown a head of dark curls. Somehow, he avoided the gangs, drugs, and poverty that afflicted the favelas—or slums—of the larger cities and beach towns. Tiago was there with his parents at every church service. His father was now working tirelessly in evangelism and construction. But the hard work and a compromised immune system had taken their toll on his heart. The pressure in his chest was getting worse and one evening as he and his brother drove home from work, the pain became unbearable. His brother insisted on driving him to the hospital. As they pulled out of the driveway, Tiago’s father rolled down the window and whispered hoarsely to his son Tiago, “I will come back tomorrow.” But in a span of 48 hours, he suffered five heart attacks. The last one finally took him and his spirit was welcomed into heaven.

Ten-year-old Tiago and his mother were grief-stricken, wondering who would take care of them now. A few days later while Tiago was sleeping, his father appeared to him in a dream, healthy and happy, hugging him and saying, “I promised you I would come back!” At that point, any doubts that Tiago had about God vanished. But still, expenses were mounting so they sold the house and moved in with his grandmother. His mother took a job as a high school teacher and the three of them became a small family. He had to grow up quickly and took on more responsibility as they depended on each other and on God.

One Sunday evening, the passionate young pastor of their church spoke on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Tiago’s heart began to beat faster. The joy and power that these older Christians had were so appealing to him. At 12 years of age, he rushed from his pew to the altar. Tiago had always assumed he was a Christian because of his parents’ faith and because he was always in church. But as the preacher began to talk directly to him he realized he had never consciously invited Jesus as Lord of his life. So that Sunday evening, with his mother and grandmother watching from their pew, he gave his life to Christ. The pastor and elders laid hands on his head and through his happy tears, he began to worship God in the gift of a heavenly language. This was a game changer.

 

As someone well-loved by his peers in many ways, Tiago became a powerful witness for Christ even though his past had been marked with difficulties.

Three years later, his mother bumped into a man she had dated 30 years ago before she married his father. He was kind, successful and now a faithful Christian. The relationship had broken up over his strong desire to emigrate to America. She had not been ready yet. All those early feelings of love flooded back over her and this time she was more than willing to start over in America. They soon married, and 17-year-old Tiago joined his mother and his new step-father as they boarded a jet and flew to the distant state of Oregon. Settling in Beaverton, Tiago finished his last years of high school at Sunset. They searched for another faith-filled church and made Beaverton Foursquare Church their new home.

Tiago quickly began volunteering to work with students and helping out at church camps. He felt a natural kinship with immigrants and began attending Mosaic meetings, the cross-cultural ministry at the church. He enjoyed the prophetic word of God, community worship and praying for the sick.

This past December, Tiago and his parents flew back to Brazil to see relatives over Christmas. While relaxing in his Grandmother’s kitchen, an older friend walked through the door with her arm in a sling. She winced with pain as she eased down into an overstuffed chair. A sudden thought rose up in Tiago as he noted her discomfort. The woman had a broken clavicle, which is difficult to mend. He asked her, “Can I pray for you?” Although not a believer she said, “Sure, it can’t hurt.” Tiago gathered with his mother and grandmother and called upon the name of Jesus to heal her. When they finished praying, the woman had a surprised look on her face. The pain had gone. What is more, she could move her arm, and she exuberantly demonstrated by swinging it freely over her head. Overwhelmed, she received Jesus as Savior and started her journey at the same church where Tiago had given his life to Jesus.

Today, at 21, Tiago still attends each of the monthly Prayer and Worship gatherings at Beaverton Foursquare to pray for those who need Jesus in any way, bringing prophetic hope. Tiago also recently had the joy of seeing his step-father go down into the waters of baptism at a Sunday morning church service. He has attended classes at Portland Community College and Portland State University and plans to minister to people through his major of Psychology. His goal is either working as a practicing psychologist or licensed counselor. He wants to connect with people and to see them become well. Tiago’s full-time passion is to lead people to Christ, pray for healing, and see others filled with the Holy Spirit.

Tiago Dias was the miracle baby, never supposed to have entered this world. But today Tiago continues to walk in the miraculous as he serves Jesus.

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