LIMA — Starting last Monday, R. Stanley Tam, well-known founder of U.S. Plastic Corp., is shipping out 30,000 of his books “God Owns My Business” to the Lima area.
“About a month ago,” he said, “God spoke to me. He told me to mail my book to everyone in Lima.”
The book, originally written in 1969, tells Tam’s unique story, not just about his successful businesses, but also about relying on God to guide him in all of his personal and professional decisions.
He started out in the silver business, reclaiming silver that was washed away when film negatives were developed into photographs, and eventually ended up, almost by accident according to him, in the plastics business, The U.S. Plastic Corp. brings in about $50 million a year, mostly from catalog sales.
At the age of 98, Tam no longer sees to the daily running of the business. Instead, his son-in-law Wes Lytle is the president of U.S. Plastic Corp., but neither man owns the business. The actual owner is God. Even the outside of the company proclaims what Tam believes. The large sign, visible from Interstate 75, reads “Christ is the answer.”
Tam early on sought God’s guidance in running his business. It was not long before he felt that he needed to make God his senior partner. This was not just in theory, but in practice as Tam legally made God owner of 51 percent of the company. That amount increased over time.
However, on a trip to South America where he visited the countries of Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Columbia in 1955, Tam said that he felt that God was asking for complete ownership and 100 percent of the profits. So, on Jan. 15, 1955, Tam legally turned over his entire business to God, and was no longer even a stock holder in the company. He described himself as simply God’s employee.
Throughout the years, Tam and his wife Juanita, who died in 2006 after 67 years of marriage, have been able to donate more than $100 million dollars to missionary work. One of those ministries is the Every Creature Crusade which has almost 400 mission teams of nationals in 44 different countries sharing the Gospel.
“We’ve had over 1,400,000 decisions for Christ,” said Tam.
Over the years, God has used Tam’s testimony to reach many people. “I’ve spoken over 7,000 times in over 30 countries around the world,” Tam explained.
During that time, he has sold or given away over 400,000 copies of his book, “God Owns My Business.” More importantly to Tam is that over 4,000 people have come to know Christ through his testimony in the book.
Tam has also published three other books, “Stanley Tam’s Incredible Adventures with God,” “Every Christian a Soul Winner,” and “God’s Woodshed.”
Although Tam continued to speak into his 90s, a stroke two years ago has greatly reduced the number of his speaking engagements.
“I think I’ve spoken about three times this year,” he said. “I had a stroke, and I had to learn to walk, talk and eat again. I forgot everything I knew. That was a dividing line in my life in speaking.”
Despite lingering issues with walking from the stroke, Tam comes into his woodshop on Findlay Road every weekday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to create beautiful walnut furniture. Even here, Tam’s zeal for sharing the Gospel is seen in the large sign outside that invites passersby to come in to get a free Bible.
“I’ve been doing woodworking all my life,” he said. “This shop is really a front for a way to share the Gospel with people, though.”
It this continued desire to share the Gospel that comes through when he spoke about shipping his books out to the Lima area and what he expects will result from that.
“Well, God spoke to me to mail them, so I’m going to obey,” he said. “But I would imagine that there will be about 1,000 or so decisions from the mailing. There is a decision card in each book.”
Tam received a call that the books were printed and being readied to ship the week before Thanksgiving. Because of the large volume of books, they will not be all shipped at once.
“We’ll be making five trips separately to the post office,” he explained. “The post office can’t handle all 30,000 of them at once, so we’ll have to ship them out in batches.”
In addition to his testimony, the book also includes Tam’s 22 secrets to a successful life. He has two top secrets that he shared and he still follows today. “First, surrender your life to Christ,” he said. “Give him your hands, your feet, your eyes, your mouth, everything you have over to the Lord. I believe God gives businesses as a pulpit to preach the Gospel. Second, obey the Lord in everything.”