My Half-a-Million Deal
Xiao Fen Tang
Early in 2017, I resigned a well-paying job to devote my life to serving the Lord. In the letter to my bosses, I emphasized God’s grace and blessings and shared the gospel. Going from valuing money to valuing the love of God as the most important thing in life had given me a new perspective about life. It is indeed amazing grace!
For 22 years I had worked as a sales agent—something I did without choice because I needed to earn a living. My driving ambition was to make money. I wanted to have financial freedom, so I could retire early, travel, and live a pleasure-filled life. Therefore, whenever there was a chance to make extra money, I would go for it. At the time, my husband and I were living in the Twin Cities, where he worked at Saint Paul University.
A lady (I will call her Jenny) came to me and described a great real estate investment opportunity in China. The plan sounded solid. So I enthusiastically invested half a million dollars. $100,000 came from my savings, and around $400,000 came from a home equity loan and credit cards. This lady’s plan would be my financial savior, I thought!
In the early morning of October 6, 2010, I found an ominous message on my cell phone. Jenny’s voice said, “I am leaving this world.” Shocked, I wondered how this could be. Only a week before she had emailed me from China saying she was selling the properties and would return my investment with profit once she had done the final accounting. I immediately called Jenny’s daughter, who knew nothing about the investment but agreed to bring me the paper documents she found after her mother’s suicide.
I was struck by what I found in the documents! Jenny had taken high-interest loans from 16 people and had forged property certificates. I knew immediately that my investment was likely gone. While waiting for my family members in China to investigate the real estate investments, I comforted myself with the knowledge that I still had a job and a great family. But when no progress was made on the investigation in China, I became aware that the other investors were suspecting me of being Jenny’s accomplice in her fraud. Jenny had told them that she was buying properties with me!
It is hard to describe the negative emotions that nearly overcame me. I was afraid the other investors would come after me to get their money back—or sue me if they didn’t get it! In my panic, my husband and I wrote a long letter to the other investors, as well as to people in the Chinese community, explaining where the money we gave Jenny had come from and revealing our present awful financial situation. We felt truly disgraced! I was grieved too. We had taken responsibility for our actions, and I felt the others should too. I was a victim, and now I was the accused! Self-pity filled my heart. Many of my friends would not even answer the phone or return my calls. I often felt I’d rather not live anymore.
One day, I received a surprise lunch invitation from an old friend. In tears, I told her the whole story. She told me not to be afraid or sad, that God is just, and He knows everything. Even though I did not really know God, her words gave me comfort. Later, a friend of hers involved in the export business called me for some advice, since I was a sales agent. I was impressed by her joy. She told me her source of joy was from the Lord, quoting Matthew 6:26 (BBE) to me, “See the birds of heaven; they do not put seeds in the earth, they do not get in grain, or put it in store-houses; and your Father in heaven gives them food. Are you not of much more value than they?”
God’s words were like sweet water from a spring flowing into my parched heart. I asked her to counsel me often, and she said that God was the only one who could meet my need, and that I could cast my cares onto Him and receive eternal hope and life by believing in Him. She even invited me to accept Jesus as my Savior, and I agreed! As we prayed over the phone, I was overcome with emotion. I felt like a long-lost child who had finally found her father. I experienced a peace that I had never had before.
On New Year’s Eve, I attended a gathering at a church near my home. Although I did not know anyone, I liked the atmosphere and felt the warmth of the people in my first worship service attendance. The hymns, the message, and prayers all touched my heart, and I told God that I wished I had known Him sooner. At the end of the service, the pastor gave the benediction: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). The words stayed in my heart and filled me with peace. From that day on, I have been attending worship, Bible study, and Friday evening fellowship, and I always long for the next meeting.
As I grew in my faith, my attitude toward my job changed. I wanted to do my job well—as to the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:23). Being grateful for my work helped me show more respect, care, and patience toward customers and coworkers. And God’s blessing exceeded anything I could ask or think! Due to the booming oil production business in my sales market territory, my income more than doubled. Within five years, I was able to pay off all my debt!
Today God is giving me opportunities to share the gospel with others—in the States and in China. I want people to know that nothing is more important than a right relationship with God!
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) Real peace, joy, and satisfaction can only be found in Christ—not in the world.