In this issue, our guest interviewed for the American Dream profile is Pastor Silvani DaSilva of the Assembly of God Church in Danbury. He shares a little bit of his journey in the United States, the challenges and the love and admiration he has for the country that has embraced him.
Born in a small town in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Silvani DaSilva moved to Sao Paulo with his family at age of 10. He lived there until he was 28 years old, when he decided to come to the United States with his wife in pursuit of their dreams.
“I got married in 1989 and have always had a desire to come here, which I did as soon as my wife, Dejane Ferreira, and I got our tourist visa. We arrived in February of that year,” he recalls.
It was winter, he remembers, and he did not speak English. He had only a cousin, who allowed them to live with him until they could find a place to live. That was the beginning of his journey.
“I started to work with landscaping, then four years as a butcher at a supermarket, and then, I decided to help my wife clean houses.”
“We had three children in Brazil and they all passed when they were still babies due to consanguinity related complications. Our third child, Lucas, was born perfect, with no health problems. He lived for 21 days and, in a matter of hours, he became ill and died in the middle of the night. We can’t explain why all of that happened.”
The years passed by and with their move to the United States, they decided to stop trying to have children again. Nevertheless, after a while, they realized there were more resources available here and tried once again to have a baby.
“Our daughter, Nataniele, was born in 2010. During the pregnancy, we found out that she already had some developing condition. She was born in a C-section after 27 weeks, weighting 850 grams. They kept her at the hospital for 109 days to gain wait and be monitored.”
“Some doctors said that she would not go above 10 lbs., that she had a developmental condition and we would probably lose her. Seven years have passed… now, she weighs 42 lbs.; she does not speak or walk yet, but understands everything that we say. She can express a few things. She attends a special school, and specialist doctors assist her. She is gradually developing, one day at a time, growing and becoming more active. My daughter’s life is a true miracle,” he emphasizes.
“My religious life started in Brazil”
From a Christian family, Pr. DaSilva, since he was a child, felt the call to preach, minister and lead a church. “I was baptized in the Assembly of God Church at 14, and have, since then, dedicated my life to preaching the Gospel and Bible study. I became a presbyter in Brazil, which is a minister of the second order in the church’s hierarchy. I assisted a pastor, and I came to America under the same title with a letter giving me permission to move here. My life as a minister started to develop more at that point. I became an evangelist in 2004, and was prepared for ministry,” he explains.
“Remarkable memories in my life”
“My daughter’s birth was a mark in my life in 2010. We faced many challenges and difficulties with her birth. We could not sleep well. She had several complications, pain and acid reflux. We were always afraid something would happen to her if we felt asleep. Thanks to God, today, she sleeps the whole night and we don’t have to monitor her or be afraid something will happen in the middle of the night.”
“2010 and 2011 were remarkable years and very difficult, two of the most sad in my life here in the U.S., but I needed to move on, serve and preach, I could not show sadness, and in return, the messages I was inspired to deliver were the most profound in my life. Since then, God has blessed our church and my personal life, and I can only be grateful.”
For Pr. DaSilva, the United States is more than a homeland. It is an embracing country in which people are treated with dignity. “I was able to have things here that I didn’t have an opportunity to achieve in Brazil. I had no money to buy a bag of popcorn sold at the train station. Today, to be here, as an American citizen, speaking English and living the American dream, this is not mine; it is God’s,” he concludes.