16. Tears of Trials
“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”Job 23:10
When you go from having nothing to having something, life is good. But when you move from having something to have nothing, it is a painful experience. Similarly, to fall from the pinnacle of your life into life’s deep valleys is a hard pill to swallow. I recall the days when I was the ‘Garment King’, and at the end, I was a street vendor selling clothes, such experiences are so difficult to describe, that devastating bitterness you will know in your heart only if you have gone through it yourself.
When the factory closed, I utilized the leftover materials to make skirts and shorts to sell as a street vendor on the sidewalk in the SoHo district, hoping I can earn something to feed my family and to pay off the debt. At the time my partner and I were selling our ware, I sat out at a corner, fearing others may see me. My sense of dignity was so strong, I felt embarrassed, and even a sense of being humiliated. I thought of the days when I was the rich ‘fat’ boss, and now this was where I ended up, my tears fell again, this is the tears of arid despondency.
After a while, I started my first ‘Popeyes Chicken’ in Astoria, Queens. I also opened another coffee shop right next to it. Those were hard days, in order to save money, I ate the same food every day. For lunch, I would eat leftover pastries and unsold sour coffee from the bakery, and for dinner, I ate leftover chickens. Every day was the same.
During this time, I personally managed Popeyes Chicken’s operation, from top to bottom so I gained a better understanding of how this franchise works. Though it was hard, these experiences helped me later in expansion of the Popeyes Chicken’s franchise. At this time, my wife Marion, who had not worked since we got married, and formerly known as the noble ‘Queen of the Garment Factory’, is now managing the bakery. I know this is the hardest experience of her entire life, yet she has not complained one bit. She just plows on quietly to support me, thank God for that! God has given me a wife who is virtuous, capable and flexible, to endure hardship with me and be my companion through thick and thin, and not go spiltsville when hardship looms, and for that I am extremely thankful! I have a great sense of being loved. Thank you Marion!
Come to think of it…, indeed God is using all these days to train me as a servant after his own heart. Beyond giving me wisdom and insight, He also transforms my value, when I place God first in my life, He helped me to turn what was originally a money-losing ‘Popeyes Chicken’ to where it is now 20 some years later as a popular chain store. Thank God! This is beyond my wildest imagination; God can turn the impossible possible!
Credit: Eng, Raymond. Edited by Angelyn Loh. Translated by Abraham Koo, Raymond Eng, 2020.