Part 1: God’s call into the Wellness business
We all know what we need to do to stay healthy:
But the truth is, most of us will not cherish our health until we lose it.
Death of a Loved One
About 10 years ago, I had a wakeup call when my second eldest sister, Irene, was found to have a brain tumour. She had the best surgeon and doctors but she could not handle the slow recovery. Not wanting to burden her family with her illness, she took her own life.
It was one of the most devastating moments for my family and me. Irene had always been the leader, the strongest person in our family whom all of us looked up to.
My husband and I totally believed in Western medicine and medical science. One day, he handed me a book, “Fit for Life”, and told me I must read it. In it, the writer exposed a conspiracy between the healthcare industry and pharmaceutical companies. I discovered the world of genetically modified foods and what air and water pollution, climate change and antibiotic abuse are doing to our bodies.
This opened up my eyes to the reality of the commercial aspect of medical science today. God then led me to a series of unplanned events to show me what His perfect will is for my health.
First, He threw me into the world of network marketing, also known as multi-level marketing (MLM).
I had bought some health and beauty products to help and support one of my fellow cell group members, KM, who had some marital problems. Within two weeks of using one of these products, a chronic sinus problem I had since I was a child disappeared and I have not had it since.
I introduced my friends to her, since this product seems effective and well made. But being a homemaker in an abusive marriage for many years, she struggled with presenting it. I told her to go for the training class offered by the company. She was nervous and asked me to accompany her. To give her moral support, I signed up with her even though the class costs a few hundred dollars.
It was in this serious training class watched by the eagle-eyed Japanese CEO of the company that I fully realised what I was in for.
The entire session, attended by about 300 people, was conducted in Chinese by their top agents from Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. They were very eloquent but also very dramatic, telling their life stories with much gusto and tears, like in a Chinese soap opera.
Being trained in some of the world’s best firms and by renowned business school trainers, this is not the usual kind of training sessions I have attended in all my professional life.
With me was KM, my sister and a friend from the cell group, all Christians. We got more and more silent as we got more and more uncomfortable.
What totally threw us off was towards the end when the Taiwanese presenter threw a chair down the stage with a great force and yelled for participants to go up if they want to succeed – and many of them literally ran up to the stage to fight for the microphone, encouraged and egged on by their minders, screaming with all of their everything in full throated Mandarin- “I want to be rich!”, “I want to live in a big house!”, “I want a yacht!”, “I want, I want, I want!!!” We stayed glued to our chairs. Totally stunned.
At tea break, we all smiled weakly..
I told KM, “You go ahead, I will support you by giving you my contacts, but this, this isn’t for me.” And all 4 of us started to push the envelope to each other ☺.
The Moment of Truth
That was when I heard the Lord’s gentle rebuke,
“You despise them, don’t you?”
THAT WAS WHEN I HEARD THE LORD'S GENTLE REBUKE
YOU DESPISE THEM, DON'T YOU?
Alas, I cringed.
“Yes Lord, I am sorry... I do,” I admitted ashamedly.
“Why do they have to scream and shout Sara?” He asked.
“Unlike all of you, they don’t have God and a cozy cell group to encourage them and support them. So, they need to find strength and courage in this way,” he continued.
I repented. And I knew exactly what I must do. I shared with the others and we humbled ourselves before God. Eventually, only two of us remained to do the business. KM and my sister gave up. I understand. This is totally out of our comfort zone and out of our element.
But the words of Paul rang in my spirit:
“… to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
“I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Opposition from Church
Little did I know that my involvement in MLM would create problems with my Church. My leader was totally against it and accused me of not staying focused on their newly implemented G12 model for super church growth. The pastors and leaders were very passionate about achieving their target numbers. As I now had to work the business and attend talks in the evenings, she was upset with me for missing her meetings and felt that I was not putting the Church’s vision first.
Truth be told. I had given up a very promising career years ago when the Lord called me out of the corporate world and I honestly did not have any drive or desire to return to the ‘secular world’ or to work. I told her I would readily give up the business if she heard from God that I should give it up, and would not hesitate to write off the investment I had put in. Secretly, I was hoping it would be my “get-out-of-jail” free pass so I would have the perfect excuse for quitting the business.
It was divine intervention when Pastor BC, her leader, wanted to meet us for a Church project. After hearing my account of how I was led into this business, she felt that God’s hand was in it and that I was being called back into the marketplace. She advised my leader not to question my commitment to the Church as I had worked hard to save souls and had consistently produced better results than most.
She comforted me by telling me that often the person who works the hardest is least appreciated. She gave me her blessing and gave me some good advice as well. Despite this, my leader still gave me a hard time after that. I soldiered on but after a very painful event in my life, I decided it is time to quit serving under her and I handed over to her the 3 cell groups I was leading.
It turned out to be a pivotal moment in my walk with God.
3 Churches for 3 Cell Groups
Through this Japanese MLM company, I got to know another important mentor in my life, Liz. She had been a pastor and missionary for 21 years before the Lord called her into this industry, rising to the top position that paid for her daughter’s university education. Before that, they hardly had any savings.
She reckoned that I was not motivated by the usual MLM pitch - wealth, financial freedom or recognition in the company - so she challenged me to support her vision of 10 home churches that one of her disciples wanted to plant in China using income from the business.
God knows I cannot resist that kind of challenge.
My team and I decided to take on the challenge to fund missionary couples in 3 Chinese cities for 3 years with our business income. We dived right into the business. We attended more events and conventions and polished up our knowledge and skills. I started giving talks at the company as I became more accomplished; building a bigger network and climbing up the ranks.
The money started to roll in but beyond this, we started to save more souls as people started to bring their prospects not only to attend my talks but also to be ministered to. The Holy Spirit worked His dunamis power of healing and freed many from demonic oppression and depression, even saving some from death and suicide when they met up with me for prayers or at our Monday morning team meetings, which starts with worshipping God.
What I thought was a sacrifice on my part – giving up three cell groups – turned out to be a greater joy as after three years, my team and I planted three home churches in China and saved hundreds more souls in Singapore, much more than when we were serving the Church.
But what I am most thankful of all, is that God led me into this not just for that, but for a sudden health crisis involving one of my siblings.
Such is the perfect timing and love of God for me, which I will continue in the next post.
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