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Encouraging Stories From Christian Community Members - Part 2

Poor Little Rich Girl

Surrogate Parents

For about 15 years of my life, I lived with surrogate parents. I was given away (following Chinese tradition) - my parents not knowing any better then - to my father's brother and his wife who didn't have any children; they became my surrogate parents. I lived half my life with them, thinking myself lucky to have two sets of parents. When I came back to live with my parents in my early teens, I was shuttling between them. Weekdays were with my parents, weekends with my uncle and auntie.

Runaway

I became a problem child. I wanted so badly to please my mother. I wanted to come up to her expectations of a dutiful daughter that will do her proud. Good grades. Awards. Social grace. I come from a privileged family, my parents spending most of their time working hard. They sent me to the best schools and gave all that I needed. If I had known how to drive, I would have had my own car; but all the same, I had myself chauffeured. I had more than enough in: Allowance. Gimmicks. Night outs. Skipped classes, too - if only my sisters had not snitched on me. Weekends with my friends - if only my parents weren't on to me and my ways!

My ways? During my brat teenage years, that included cuss words (enough to get my mouth cleaned up with soap), smart-aleck big-shot (enough to get the belt), fudging the grades on my report card (enough to get transferred to another school where I would be monitored more closely).

But still, I wanted to please my mom badly. I wanted to be loved by her. I got her attention the wrong way. In the early 90's, in the heat of a fight with her, with hurtful words spoken between us, I ran away from home. I had already gotten a college degree by then and wanted to prove I could live on my own. First staying with friends, then renting a place and landing a job, I stayed away for 10 months, without a word to my parents nor they to me. (Later, I found out they knew all along where I was, were looking over my shoulder, and just giving me time alone as I had angrily fought for.) But I knew it was only a matter of time when I would go back to them. My cousins did the trick, ganging up on me to return home.

A driven person now, I worked my way up the corporate ladder in the stock brokerage industry. My formula was to make my clients my friends, whether they give me orders or not. Meeting my quotas time and again, I dealt with institutions, pension funds, retail, high net worth individuals. All my cell phones are on all the time. If they have problems with their husbands or their kids, they call me anytime. If their relative dies, I even make the funeral arrangements. With my boss, I maintain a relationship of trust, of honesty. Stock brokerage being a dynamic business, I have to have everyone's trust and confidence before anyone would transact with me. Secrets are kept. No under the table deals, no side deals, no insider trading, no manipulation or fraud. I cannot lose their trust.

High Debt

Earning enough for myself to live comfortably, I got opportunities to invest in stocks. My portfolio was good and growing. Then the Asian (financial) crisis came. Within that year, as stocks continued to plummet, all I earned disappeared. Some stocks went down 1,000% - what cost 12 Pesos could devalue to 50 centavos. I sunk deeper and deeper into debt. I owed as I had never owed before. I lost everything.

Two years ago, still paying off my debts, I attended the Singles for Christ's Christian Life Program. Highly critical throughout the whole CLP, I still continued on. I must have enjoyed meeting the people, gregarious that I am. Talk number 9 didn't even strike me as anything extraordinary. Nothing happened during that session. (I do suspect now though that I have the gifts of discernment or wisdom or both.) I didn't know what “oppression” was nor raised my hands in praise. But what I was learning, I was learning to do well. I was coming to prayer, getting myself invited into the presence of God Almighty.

Reading the Bible, I began to hunger for His word. One time, I came to Hebrews where it said, “Do not depend on money. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be content with having enough. What can man do to you?”

Now, because I have surrendered to the Lord, I got back what I lost, plus more. As long as it's His will, I am content with anything that He wants to give me - and even that I share. I only ask for 3 things: (1) my debt problem solved, (2) my family relationship restored, and (3) my own family started. The Lord has granted the first two. About the second, my parents, members of Couples for Christ before me, started the family restoration, also encouraging me to join SFC. For the third, I await the Lord's plan.

Profit-sharing Scheme

Now, the Lord is my 'Chairman of the Board.' My 'profit-sharing' goes to Him. I don't see myself owning my money - it's the Lord giving His to me. I'm just taking care of it for Him. He's already giving me a hefty 90% of it and is only asking back 10% of His. It's still a whooping 90%! Whatever corporation you join, you can't find a better profit sharing plan than that!

So though I was still in debt at that time, I would still really give the 10%. Very strict with myself, every time I gave, my next month's income would be bigger. It became harder and harder to give; but I'd still be strict about it. It's difficult too since I don't satisfy my curiosity to check where 'my' money is going; it's His money, why question God about His money!

Modern Dying

Like Gal 2:20, I like to be crucified with Christ. That I go through his sufferings with him, so that it's not me anymore who's living, but He living in me. For me, suffering with him is fighting for him. In this kind of stock brokerage business, nobody - unless you own the company, can afford to let opportunities pass or trust in the Lord - has seen anyone say in the middle of a meeting to say “Wait, we cannot decide. Let's pray.”

Or, boldly asking heads of corporations, chairmen, CEOs, and foreign fund managers to first pray before a meal. Other times, I just pray by myself. Yet, I still get reactions like, “Hello! Are you from Mars?” Or times when watching a stock rise or fall, excitedly shouting, “Lord, Lord, please, please, let it go up?” they say, “What is that? The Lord's stock?” in an ironic way.

For example, I was in an economic forum and was asked what book I read. Without editing my thoughts, I said “Bible.” They all said, “Huh!” They had been expecting the latest (book by) economics guru. I don't know why I said it; maybe, because it was Sunday and the Lord was reminding us all to hear Mass first before anything else!

Now, I dedicated myself to work full time for the poor - giving up half my job in the process - with ANGKOP [CFC's Special Ministry for the Poor]. Like Paul, I count my past achievements, money, stocks, possessions and all as of no consequence except that I come to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. As told by Jeanette Que

Continue to Part 3

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