Winning Tampa for Christ Five Houses At A Time
Missionary to America Yolima Sanabria Cobos
Yolima Sanabria Cobos has a dream to bring the Word of the Lord to everyone in Tampa.
Yolima did not grow up in Florida. Her early years were spent in the country of Colombia during a time of terrible unrest. Her father and mother, saints committed to serving Jesus, raised their children in the love of the Lord. This love was severely tested in Colombia, where drug cartels went to war with the country’s authorities. Political parties fought each other. As a young woman she saw violence take over her homeland.
Yolima became an activist for peace and order. Eventually this would bring her to the attention of lawless people who had the power to end her life and the lives of her loved ones; it eventually caused her to flee with her family to Tampa, Florida – along with many others who feared for their and their families’ lives. In one sense Yolima saw this as God’s salvation for her, but also as God’s way to bring more people to faith in Jesus.
America is seeing many immigrants and many Spanish speaking immigrants arriving from countries like Colombia, countries torn by war and violent divisions. Many immigrants did not hear the gospel in their homeland.
Concordia Seminary has perfected an Hispanic Institute to prepare Spanish speaking missionaries to bring the love of God to the new arrivals. Yolima’s father had extensive theological training in Colombia; he entered the Concordia program to enhance his skills and be ordained. The classes are based on a distance education curriculum and Yolima, the youngest of the three Sanabria children, found them fascinating. She asked to be allowed to sit in when professors from the seminary occasionally came to Tampa to supplement online classes. Yolima says “It was beautiful sitting in and listening to the professors.” She had a hunger to learn more – and applied for entry to the seminary’s deaconess program.
Messiah Lutheran Church in Tampa, the city where the Sanabrias emigrated, saw an opportunity to reach out to the new Latino population. Pr. mark Adrian and the members of Messiah accepted the family as missionaries and provided support to begin new missions to the immigrants. Yolima became a deaconess-missionary. She is not paid by the church – income for her and her family comes from her position as a director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. But Mary Kay is only an avocation – her vocation is bringing Christ to those dispossessed from countries where mayhem and murder are too much a part of life.
In her Mary Kay job Yolima visits five homes a day, but she does more than provide cosmetics. It is her vocation to daily bring Christ into those five homes. Her heart’s desire is to reach all of Tampa with the good news of God’s love for human beings. She brings Christ with her to meet everyone along her way. Yolima’s passion to bring God’s Word to all people fulfills Jesus’ desire, the same desire that drove Him to a cross and then through His servants to bring His love to the whole world.
Thank you Lord for Yolima Sanabria Cobos.