Owner of Mount Hermon Christian Books & Gifts, Victoria Violet Yeo’s life is a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF VICTORIA VIOLET YEO|
When her husband passed away in 1985, Victoria Violet Yeo was catapulted into the daunting position of family breadwinner, with a baby daughter to support. An opportune job offer at a Christian bookstore, however, led her down a path of blessings—not just for herself but many others.
Spurred to start her own business so that she would have the flexibility to look after her daughter Andrea, Yeo founded Mount Zion Christian Books & Gifts Centre in 1986. It was anything but easy-going, being a highly niche industry which was already populated with big players. After two years, Yeo was ready to throw in the towel.
“I remember crying out to God, ‘Lord, if it is really You who has called me to this bookstore and gift ministry, I need to hear from You’,” she says. She also feared that closing down her business would be a negative testimony to her family members who were unbelievers. The coming Sunday morning at church, the speaker unexpectedly gave an altar call for those facing business problems. Yeo ran forward with tears streaming down her face. On the way home, with her daughter in her arms, she heard a voice saying to her, “Read and meditate on Psalms 1 day and night—from now on I will bless you.’ That word has sustained me till today.”
The next day at work, an American couple Yeo had never met walked into her store and said to her, “Daughter, God has heard you. Meditate on Psalms 1—the Lord is going to bless you.”
True enough, her business prospered. When the shop relocated to Raffles Place, business boomed, expanding to five branches in 15 years.
At that time, Yeo was also actively serving as a leader at a local church and making frequent mission trips to Indonesia to minister to a church called Elim Kairos Church, in the mountainous area of Berstagi. During her trips there, she experienced many demonic attacks while staying at a run-down visitors’ inn. She dreamed about building a proper facility, and in 1998, with the financial abundance she enjoyed from her business, Yeo bought a piece of land and built the Mount Hermon Mission Centre, a 90-minute drive from Medan airport.
Besides accommodating traveling pastors and mission workers, and serving as a rental facility for international seminars and retreats, the center also doubled up as a venue of worship and service for Elim Kairos Church. Through the use of the center, the church was able to grow its membership to 700, and it has since moved into its own building.
But life took a turn in 2001 for Yeo. She decided to sell her Mount Zion business in order to relocate to the USA with her daughter who was pursuing her university degree there.
For the seven years that they were in America, Yeo faced a great number of setbacks: she was cheated of a large sum of money while trying to set up and run another Christian bookstore called Mount Hermon, her daughter was rebelling against her, the expiry of her visa was looming up, and financial pressure was climbing. But God delivered her from trouble after trouble. Through a miraculous chain of events, she was granted the green card (the United States Permanent Resident Card) after just three years of being in the United States (the minimum is five years’ residency). Her daughter returned to her, and even her USD14,000 tuition debt was paid for by a “Good Samaritan” at the 11th hour.
But Yeo says the real turning point came in 2008, when mother and daughter attended an event in which senior pastor Kong Hee was preaching. Moved by the message, they decided that it was time to return to their roots in Singapore.
Yeo made the decision to drive her business Mount Hermon at YMCA Lodge at Fort Canning Road. “Though it is not a prominent location, the Lord has sustained us and saw us through the business, as the YWCA housed many church seminars and retreats.”
She adds, “I really thank Pastor Kong for speaking about the importance of having dreams at the beginning of this year. My dream is to be able to open up more Mount Hermon branches—that would support 30 missionary workers by allowing them to work part-time at the shop and take months off to do mission work overseas.” Currently the business has four mission workers on its staff, and Yeo is opening a second branch at West Coast Plaza.
Yeo’s heart for missions brought her back to Berstagi a few times this year. Just last month, she was asked to speak to a group of kindergarten teachers. As she ended her sharing, she discovered that among her audience was the Berstagi Head of the Ministry of Education. “He said to me afterward, ‘Victoria, thank you for your message. Please come again.’” The next day, she was invited to give an impromptu speech at the SMA Negeri 1 Berastagia, the top Junior High school in the area.
“I quickly got my daughter to send me some of Pastor Kong’s sermons on dreams, and after my 10-minute sharing in front of 800 students, the Principal came up to me and said that he had never seen the students so lively. He said, ‘Please help us raise the standard of our school. You can even paint the school walls whatever color you want.’” It was then that Yeo was reminded of a dream she had three years ago, of the Lord giving her seven schools.
Now, Yeo is hoping to gather aid, resources and manpower to help revamp the school facilities and give its curriculum a boost. “Looking back now, I can see that the Lord intended for Mount Zion to be a source of provision for me and my daughter during trying times, but with Mount Hermon, I dream that God will use it to be a blessing to many nations in time to come.”
Mount Hermon Christian Books & Gifts
6 Fort Canning Road #01-01, YWCA Lodge