My wife, Hsin Yi and I have been in City Harvest Church (CHC) for more than 10 years. When we first came to church, I was an outdoor salesman selling roof tiles for houses, and Hsin Yi was a teacher. We were both earning just enough to make ends meet every month.
Through the teachings in CHC, we have learned to put God first in every area of our lives, especially in the area of finances. For the last 10 years, we have been tithing faithfully to the house of God and have participated in every Arise and Build campaign. But for many years, we did not seem to be prospering while everyone around us was experiencing his or her breakthrough.
In 2002, God blessed us with a lovely daughter, Min. However, due to our tight financial condition, things started to become very tough for us.
All this time, I dreamed of starting my own business. When my baby was born, I wanted to increase my income but everything I tried failed. I started an import and export company in home furnishings, but it didn’t work out. I went all out to obtain a permit to set up a booth selling imported goods at the Stadium Cove outdoor market but that didn’t work out either. I had to cut losses by giving away all my goods to budget shops.
Desperate to prove myself again, I started an air-conditioning service company although I knew nothing about air-cons. I had to learn from scratch, doing even the most basic tasks like cleaning air con units, together with the workers. Sadly, all my efforts went down the drain. As a result of all these business failures, I lost all my savings of $50,000 and got my family into financial debts.
In 2003, we were at the lowest point of our lives. We had to downgrade from a 5-room apartment to a 3-room flat. Little did we know at that time, my mother was so embarrassed about living in a smaller house that whenever she went out with her friends, she would get them to send her back to our previous home instead of our new one. I was so heartbroken and ashamed that I cried out to God for help. Hsin Yi and I prayed that God would turn things around for us. Through it all, we refused to stop trusting God.
After a long-drawn job search, I finally found an employment as a trainee in interior design. I worked as hard as I could, and by the grace of God, I climbed my way up to become one of the top designers in the company. In my second year of employment, I managed to meet the entire year’s quota in just six months, and I went on to become the first designer in the company to employ my own personal assistant. I thank God for His favor upon my life and for the favor of my bosses. I won their trust and was made a manager and trainer at the end of my second year with them.
It was during this time that Church embarked on our first Arise and Build in 2005. Both Hsin Yi and I felt that this would be the breakthrough needed for us to get out of debt.
In spite of our difficulties, we pledged $10,000 to the Building Fund. I also felt that it was time for me to pursue my dream once again to start a company.
Understandably, when my bosses found out about my intention, they wanted me to resign immediately. But God was good. With the help and guidance of some friends in my Business Breakthrough Group, I took a step of faith and started my own interior design firm.
I was running a one man show, but I was determined to fulfill my pledge and succeed in life. I ran my operations out of a makeshift office, using the utility room of our small apartment, right next to the washing machine. By the grace of God, deals started to come in. Business was so good that in just one year, my company managed to have a turnover of $600,000! I employed a full-time 3D designer to work for me and at the same time, I shifted my office to an empty shophouse. Most importantly, I fulfilled my $10,000 pledge to the Building Fund that year!
As the business grew, I had a vision to renovate my empty shop-house office into a design showroom. It was in 2006, when our church started the second Arise and Build campaign. I told myself that if God could turn things around for me in the previous year, surely He would do it again this year. I decided to persevere, and we doubled our pledge to $20,000.
As a result of our giving, I saw my business double in the total number of orders. During this time, the property market took an upswing and many houses needed renovation. In just a few months, my company hit a turnover of $1 million dollars! With that, we were able to build a design showroom in Stamford House, which is right in the heart of the city. When I took over the lease, it was just before the rental prices went up, so I enjoyed a fantastic rate. Since then, business has grown and my staff strength increased. I now have a showroom manager, a 3D design specialist, two interior designers and one accounts assistant. God is indeed faithful. When we put Him first, He will open the windows of heaven over our lives!
The blessing of God didn’t just rain over my business. Recently, I invested in a property that appreciated by $200,000 in a short time. With this, I was able to pay off all my debts and ended up having more than enough leftover for my family.
I would like to thank my amazing wife, Hsin Yi, who has supported me through thick and thin and has always believed in me. Indeed, God’s principle of tithing-and-offering, sowing-and-reaping works! Praise the Lord!