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 (Manna 50: Our Church)
To Build A Beautiful Life with God
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To Build A Beautiful Life with God

Amy Wang – Chicago, Illinois, USA

I was born in 1951, in Fuqing City, Fujian Province, China. Although I grew up in a Christian family, I slowly lost my faith soon after I married my atheist husband, who was an officer in the military—an institution that strictly upholds atheism.

When the long ten-year Cultural Revolution in China finally ended, my husband was transferred back to my hometown. During that time, the True Jesus Church also began to preach boldly about the gospel of salvation, and the believers were fearless in the face of persecution.

After receiving the gospel, my parents, their extended family, and my own growing family were baptized. At that time, I worked as an acupuncture doctor at the local hospital, and both my husband and I had high incomes.

We had two daughters and a son. The army also provided beautiful housing for us, and it was right next to our church, which enabled us to attend services every evening. Our life was full and very comfortable. It was the best time of my life.

Fortune and Loss at Wuhan

Soon afterward, China opened up her doors to economic reform, and my husband decided to ride the wave, starting his own restaurant business in WuhanCity of HubeiProvince. Six months later, he asked me to join him and help with his burgeoning business, so I took a long-term leave without pay and moved to Wuhan.

People say that the business world is like the battlefield because the competition is tough, but if you work hard it will pay off. True enough, our restaurant revenue was ten times higher than my hospital salary, and consequently, I became completely caught up in the material world.

To make things worse, there was no True Jesus Church in Wuhan, so my faith quickly dwindled. Everyday, I was so busy making money and counting the cash that I became completely out of touch with God. I never prayed and never thanked God for all the success. Although we made a lot of money, I never felt it was enough. Worst of all, I took everything for granted.

When my faith was weak, it was the perfect opportunity for Satan to work. My husband was also tempted and started to gamble. At first, I was in disbelief because I thought that a disciplined military officer, who exercised strict restraint for over twenty years of his life, wouldn’t be that easily influenced.

I also wasn’t paying close attention to our money management, so I had no idea how much my husband had gambled away. It wasn’t until later that I found out he had used our restaurant as a credit service to feed his addiction. In other words, he gave out credit to the people whom he gambled with, and they started coming in to the restaurant to eat for free.

The business seemed to be booming. Everyday we were able to sell all the good food, good wine and tobacco, and everyday we would need to restock everything. But at the end of the month, when I tried to collect the credit, I found out they were all just collateral for my husband’s debts. We basically ran the business for nothing! I was furious.

I went home and fought with him. I hated him so much. At my wits’ end, I warned him never to gamble again, or I would divorce him. My husband was penitent and he asked me to help pay off his debt, and I agreed to pay a lump sum of 160,000 Chinese yen—hoping that he would quit once and for all.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard.

Six months later, he went back to gambling. I felt like I just couldn’t forgive again, so I decided to divorce him. By then, he was so obsessed that he didn’t care anymore. On the divorce paper, he added a clause to share the debts equally between us. Since I had already paid 160,000 Chinese yen, I thought there shouldn’t be too much left.

Without further thought, and eager to get out of this painful marriage, I signed the papers. Afterwards, and to my dismay, I found out that he still owed another 1,4000,000 yen. Just like that, I got myself indebted for 700,000 yen (approximately 100,000 USD).

This addiction had turned my husband into a totally different person and he did not realize he was under Satan’s control. I found out that my husband had weaseled most of the money from my family, relatives, and friends, and all without my knowledge. So I ended up indebted to own my family and friends—people whom I simply could not just walk away from.

My divorce tore me apart. I was so anguished that I couldn’t find peace for a long time. I was full of rage and hatred, and I couldn’t stay to run the restaurant or bear to see those gamblers come in to have more free meals.

Eventually I returned to my hometown and took up my old job at the hospital. I didn’t go back to church right away, and I had forgotten how to cry out to God.

Everyday after work, I went home to my empty house. Where did my happy family go? I didn’t think God could help me. I was miserable, for I had gone to Wuhan with the big ambition to become rich, and yet I ended up with a broken family and was drowning in debt.

Traditional Chinese consider divorce a deep-seated disgrace, so I wouldn’t let people know what had happened to me. I was wary that people would despise me. Everybody thought that I had made a big fortune over the six years I was in Wuhan, but little did they know about my debt and my broken family. I was only making 2,000 yen a month from the hospital, and I had no idea how to pay off the 700,000.

My divorce also hurt my children greatly, and it was the cause of many problems to follow. I was troubled by all these matters and I had no one to talk to. I was also lost as to what to do with the rest of my life. Sometimes, I felt so depressed that I wanted to end my life.

In a state of deep agony, I remembered something that the Lord Jesus had spoken: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). With this encouragement, I was finally able to kneel down and, with all my heart, asked God to forgive the sinner that I was.

            Lord, You have granted me the truth and the Holy Spirit. My life is in Your hands. Please teach me how to follow You and to be honest, righteous, and truthful. Lord, please give me the peace and strength to face the difficulties and trials ahead.

The Lord Jesus Christ knew all my sufferings and cared about every tear that I shed. He is indeed the Savior of the afflicted and Friend of the sinners. After all the tribulations, I truly felt God’s presence and understood His will for me. I have walked through death’s valley and I was no longer afraid because God is with me.

A New License to Life

One day, I was surprised to receive a phone call from a previous customer from the restaurant. He was an American Chinese who had just returned to China from the U.S. He asked me to help him manage his company in the U.S., and he even offered to apply for my work visa. True to his word, he sponsored my business passport, and that was the beginning of my journey to the United States.

Coming to America was indeed like the exodus rite of passage, from crossing the Red Sea and River Jordan to entering the land of Canaan—all of which was full of God’s grace and guidance.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until my arrival in the U.S. that my sponsor became aware that I spoke no English and was not able to be of any help to his company. After his realization, I was out on my own.

I worked at various odd jobs to make ends meet. I tried my hand at being a nanny and a housekeeper. I toiled at a sewing shop and at a Laundromat. Even though these were very hard work, I was at least no longer pent up with resentment over gambling.

One day, I saw an article in the Chinese newspaper about how one could get a U.S. acupuncturist license by taking the test in Chinese. It was a great opportunity so I applied and took the exam. One year later, I became a licensed acupuncturist in the U.S.! I never dreamed that I could practice Chinese medicine in America and be able to help people again. It was truly the wonderful arrangement of God.

I opened a clinic in New York and settled into my business for seven years. With God’s blessings, I earned a good, steady income. Within the first three years, not only was I able to pay off my share of the 700,000 yen, I also paid off my husband’s share. I felt that it was the least I could do for him, to make up for the love and forgiveness that I couldn’t give him before. After all that, I bought an apartment unit for myself.

Two years after I came to the U.S., I found out that my daughter, Ling Yang, had run away from home. I also discovered later that she had gotten herself into substance abuse. Ling was unable to accept that her father had a new wife. She didn’t know about our divorce and felt that her father had wronged me, so she ran away and wandered outside for a long time. My divorce tore my family apart and sent us all on our separate ways.

My husband lived with his new wife, I was in the U.S., my older son lived with his friend, and my youngest daughter lived with her grandma. Ling didn’t have anyone to go to, so she wandered away. She was also at a tender and impressionable age. After I learned about Ling, I could only fast and pray for God’s mercy so that I could bring her to the U.S. I wanted to make up for all the years that I was absent in her life.

During my prayer, I saw a vision of her photo on a U.S. visa, and surely enough, God granted my wish. Ling got her visa at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, and God’s timing was impeccable.

Seeing God’s Will through Trials

Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee that there will always be smooth sailing. We will still go through difficulties and challenges like everybody else in the world. The difference is that our suffering is embedded in God’s will and is a test of our faith.

On March 10, 2004, I received a phone call from a friend asking me to return home immediately because a fire had started in my apartment. I didn’t believe it because I had just left my apartment fifteen minutes prior and everything was fine. I didn’t use the stove that day, so how could there be a fire?

By the time I got off the bus, the fire department had put out the flames and was ready to leave. I went into my home and found everything burnt to a crisp. I couldn’t salvage anything decent enough to be reused—not even a piece of cloth. Then I looked in the closet and found my address book intact and about two-thirds of my Illinois acupuncturist license. What remained of the license still had my license number, the valid date, and part of my name on it.

At that point, it was clear to me that it was God’s wonderful mercy, and I did not panic or worry. I understood that perhaps God had a greater plan and that I should move to Chicago. Some people discouraged me from going out to the WindyCity since it was far away, and I already had a practice in New York City where I had built up a client base and was making a good income.

The strange fire had burned all my furniture and medical equipment. So I went to stay with my daughter that evening and even had a good night’s sleep. The next morning, I got up and watched T.V. My daughter was confounded by the fact that I could still be in the mood to watch television, to which I replied, “I didn’t get hurt. Even if the furniture and equipment didn’t get burned, they are heavy. It would be too much trouble to move them to Chicago. Besides, we have insurance on the apartment and the furniture.”  

Usually, electrical fires take hours of slow burning before they develop into a thick flame. The night before the fire, I seemed to remember hearing some strange noises from the ceiling but I didn’t pay much attention to it.

Now that I think back, I know our Lord Jesus protected me and gave me true peace to get through this trial. The fire didn’t start until I left the apartment, and I can’t imagine the consequences had I been home, or if it had happened in the middle of the night.

Three months later, the insurance company remodeled my old apartment and turned it into a new one. Someone offered a good price for it, but I did not take the offer.

Always With A Thankful Heart

In May 2004, I moved again to a new and distant place. This time, I settled down in Chicago. At first, I stayed at the pastor’s house, and his family really showered their love on me. They welcomed me with their hospitality and helped me in any way they could. With their assistance, I was able to quickly find an apartment and settle down. Later, I even found a great location in Chinatown with affordable rent to open my clinic.

I made a big sign to put on the wall outside my shop, but when my landlord saw it, he was very upset and asked me to take it down. I had to hire someone to remove the sign. Not long afterward, my landlord suffered backaches, and I used acupuncture and massage to treat his pain until it was gone.

A few days later, I flew to New York to visit my daughter for the New Year. By the time I came back to Chicago, to my surprise, I discovered that my landlord had hired someone out of his own pocket to put my sign back up on the wall. With God’s blessing and guidance, the help and care from the sisters and brothers in church, I was able to establish myself in Chicago.

By now, my mother was seventy-seven years old, and she was a faithful Christian. She had gotten sick earlier in the year and was hospitalized in FuzhouCity. All nine of her children thought that she would get well soon, as long as we helped and chipped in on the medical expenses. But three months later, not only did her condition worsen, the doctors still couldn’t diagnose the cause of her illness. They told us that there was no sense for her to continue her stay in the hospital because she was too old to fight the sickness, and she was better off going home with us.

After my mother came home, we decided to ask the pastors and members from church to pray for her.  Through loving intercessions, my mother slowly and gradually recovered. Witnessing her miraculous recovery, four of my siblings were deeply touched by God’s power. Their lukewarm faith was once again revived and they turned back to the Lord. Presently, my mother is able to attend Sabbath services every week, and my whole family has become fervent at church. Praise God!

Now, I deeply believe that with God’s love and with Him in my life, I will be able to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things (1 Cor 13:7). I want to build a beautiful life with Him that is always accompanied by a thankful heart. And I don’t ever want to depart from God again to pursue this world.

Finally, I’d like to share some proverbs that I heard from a pastor on the topic of money:

            With money you can buy a good bed, but you can’t buy good sleep.
With money you can buy books, but you can’t buy knowledge.
With money you can buy good food, but you can’t buy appetite.
With money you can buy medicine, but you can’t buy health.
With money you can buy a nice house, but you can’t buy a happy family.
With money you can buy a church building, but you can’t buy the blessings of the heavenly kingdom.

May all the glory and praises be unto the true and living God of heaven! Amen.

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Publisher: True Jesus Church