The American Dream

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

If you never dream, you’ll never have a dream come true. The Prophet Joel encourages “old men to dream dreams and young men to see visions.” (Joel 2:28) Let me tell you about a dreamer, Sieu Tang. I’ve learned some big lessons from a little Chinese woman who dared to dream the American dream!
When Sieu was 8 years old, she and her family moved from Vietnam to Laos. She was involved in a failed marriage. She had three children. She realized that she needed to do something to care for her children and her family. She asked her mother to take care of her children so that she could come to America.
In 1973, Sieu and a younger sister came to San Francisco with two suitcases and $500 between them. They immediately went out and got a job, while later working second jobs in order to send money back to their family. When the company they worked for transferred to Alaska, and her sister married into a tailor’s family, Sieu learned the tailoring business. She opened her first little shop of 400 square feet and the next year expanded to 3,000 square feet.
A dream without a plan can become a nightmare. (Tweet that!) As her dream started to become reality, she developed a great plan. Her plan was to let her God-given talents be used for God’s glory, exemplify honesty and integrity, and work harder and smarter than anyone else. Great plan! It paid off!
Sieu’s life as a seamstress led her to Maxwell AFB in 1985. Perfecting her skills allowed her to first acquire several contracts with the military throughout the southeast and later open the five locations of Tang’s in the River Region.

Sieu grew to love the River Region. In addition to her passion for her work, her customers, and her employees she became involved in many civic and charitable activities in order “to give back” to the community for the success she enjoyed. After her marriage to Bill Wood in 1990, Sieu became active in Frazer Methodist Church, joined numerous civic organizations, and helped with multiple charitable events. Her passion “to give back” has been displayed in the Annual International Tasting event she began thirteen years ago to benefit senior citizens through MACOA’s “Meals-on-Wheels.”
Along with the Chamber of Commerce and city and county officials, I was recently a part of cutting the ribbon for her newest location. I have cut ribbons at many, many businesses during my time in Montgomery. Mayor Emory Folmar, mayor of Montgomery for 22 years, and I would go to a lot of ribbon cuttings together. He would give his talk about the good things in Montgomery, and I would give the prayer. One day he said to me, “John Ed, if you would learn my speech I wouldn’t need to come to all these ribbon cuttings.” To that I replied, “Mayor, if you’d learn to pray, I wouldn’t need to come to all of these ribbon cuttings.” Prayer is very important to Sieu. That made her ribbon cutting special to me.

Sieu and I share the same birthday – but I’m a lot older than she is! Visiting with her recently in her new location, I could see that she still employed the same work ethic that she has always employed. She works hard. She commented, “I’m the oldest person in these shops, but I will still work the longest hours!” Sieu is a radiant Christian. She gives God the glory for what she has done. She didn’t have the option of getting an education, so she started educating herself. She is hungry to learn. In order to serve more people she has learned to speak eight languages!
Today her dream continues to come true. She has 40 family members in the US. They have all become citizens. Several of them are doctors, pharmacists, engineers, business persons, etc. Her dream today is to help young people and be a mentor for them. She can certainly teach by example!
What’s your dream? The size of your dream reflects the size of your God. (Tweet that!) What is your plan to facilitate your dream? How much are you willing to risk? How much are you willing to trust God?

Dream God’s dream!

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