A Chef with a Mission

When a group of Christian businessmen began meeting in an Italian restaurant in Säo Paulo, Brazil, Chef Miriam Dias was listening. She approached the group, which was led by Alliance missionary Len Warden, and asked what they were doing. Warden explained that they were discussing biblical principles of integrity in the workplace. Dias was intrigued. “The idea of being honest in this business [is radical],” she said. As a successful restaurateur, Dias has appeared on national television and has hosted wealthy celebrities in her restaurant. Yet she felt an emptiness that no amount of achievement could fill. “I knew there had to be more,” she said.  
Although she had accepted the Lord at the age of fourteen, “it did not signify much to me,” said Dias. “I thought [being a Christian] was all about rules.” When her marriage fell apart after twenty-two years, she found herself destitute. She sought help from local churches, but they couldn’t fill the void in her life. “I would go to church, listen to the message, and come home feeling empty. I would cry and cry and cry. I thought that was how it was supposed to be.”  
Dias found her niche in the restaurant business. As a manager/chef, she hosted community groups for breakfast meetings. Warden’s wife, Diane, saw an ad for the gatherings, and the Zona Norte (Alliance) church plant arranged to hold integrity meetings for business professionals there.  
“The first time they were quiet in their little corner as I served them breakfast,” said Dias of the participants. “The second time I wondered, ‘What are they doing here?’” When she learned it was a meeting of evangelical business professionals, she asked to participate, and Diane offered to mentor Dias in a discipleship class. As a result, “I started to be transformed,” said Dias. “I realized what was missing from my life—the love of Jesus.”  
Dias is now a baptized member of the Zona Norte church plant and is sharing her faith with those she encounters in the upper reaches of Brazilian society. Because of her expertise as a chef, Dias was a representative at the World Cup in Italy. “God sent me there so I could tell people [about] my Jesus,” she said. 
When customers at her restaurant ask the reason for the joy and peace she radiates, Dias points them to Christ. “I believe God has given me these opportunities so I can tell people about the light of Jesus in my heart.” she said.


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