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The Ultimate Success

The products I designed under the brand name “Annielee” were extremely popular all over America and also entered the sales markets in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and Japan. In England, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth chose several of my products to hang on the Christmas trees in Buckingham Palace. During this period of my life, I perceived wrongly that I could depend solely on myself to control my future. Not until later did I realize that my unique abilities and foresight were given to me by God. It was God who allowed me to enjoy success. Although I experienced many miracles and wonders that made me feel the splendor of the Lord’s blessing, I falsely construed by self-pride that my accomplishments were due to my own sovereignty. With my success, I had no time to take part in church worship or fellowship meetings.

Foundational Years

During the first twenty years of my life, God was definitely holding my hand and nurturing me for future usefulness. My first crisis of faith came at age fourteen when my dad died unexpectedly from heart failure. I was the child who had shared the gospel with my parents, who, after seeing the positive changes in my attitude and behavior, became genuine believers and followers of the Christian faith. Dad studied the Bible daily, wanting to learn all he could about Jesus and His life. His death caused me to realize that no one has a guarantee for tomorrow. Needing assurance that I would be reunited with Dad in heaven, I requested baptism, even though I was not yet an adult. Later, mature believers in the church helped me understand that my salvation was secure in Christ alone. With this assurance, my love for the Lord grew even more. I had always been zealous to do mission work, and now I began working in special ministries—teaching toddlers in Sunday school and leading a fellowship group.

As a child, I was fragile and unable to take Western drugs, so an uncle who ran a hospital treating patients in the Eastern style introduced me to Oriental medicine. Because of this, I followed the natural health path and became knowledgeable about basic Chinese medicine. When I entered the university, I initially thought I would study medicine but later switched to pursue a master’s degree instead.

Upon completion of my degree, I was given opportunity to do research in the pathology department of a large municipal hospital. I passed the specialist exam with high distinction and was employed at the hospital for five years. The research involved working with leukemia patients in a clinical trial setting. During these years, I interacted daily with many patients with whom I established reciprocal friendships, only to see them pass away one by one. It is a pity that some thirty years ago, cancer—especially leukemia—was not yet treatable with excellent therapeutic methods or proper medication. Seeing such suffering, my heart was burdened daily with frustration, despair, and mental anguish!

In all these circumstances, God was at work in my life building a medical foundation for me—and later my husband—to serve people. He gave me a heart of compassion to care for the sick, so that today, through the platform of educational seminars, I am able to not only enhance the health and wellbeing of others but also spread the gospel.

Years of Success and Failure

The second 20 years of my life entails a different story—one of success and failure. After arriving in America to continue my education, I pursued knowledge for success and worldly ways for temporary pleasures. I went to church only occasionally, spent little time studying the Bible, and prayed infrequently. My motive for prayer was usually to ask God to bless me according to my own selfish desires.

My success came through the creation of my famous brand name. An uncle, known as “King of Chinese Art in Threading and Knitting,” gave me ten exceptionally beautiful tablecloths to sell at an American commercial center. A buyer from a large department store suggested that I create an advertising board with my own brand name “Annielee.” To my amazement, I was able to sell five tablecloths in one day! Since marketing tablecloths alone brought in limited sales, I converted them into exquisite quilted wraps, bedspreads, window curtains, and interior design decoration items.

After meeting a famous fashion designer, I formed my own design studio, using the threaded tablecloths to make detachable collars fitted with tiny buttons to be worn with women’s dresses. My stylish lace-trimmed collars stunned the world of fashion. Factories began to produce my products, and I became a celebrity! I even introduced traditional American business franchise and bureaucratic procedures to the Chinese markets. From collars, I ventured into making small, cloth teddy bears for Christmas tree ornaments. Large and small department stores exhibited my products, bearing the name “Annielee,” which attracted many buyers. My mother and many relatives traveled to Los Angeles to visit me. Noticing the large sign “Annielee Originals” on the main street of Disneyland, my mom felt so proud. Her daughter was a celebrity!

People often ask how I achieved such success. It seemed that my inspiration about design was endless, and I had a unique ability to match color and material. My products also entered the market at an opportune time. I never studied marketing management, marketing expansion, or commercial merchandising, yet I was quite sensitive to the needs in the marketing world. I was able to predict when the marketing world could meet the current trends of color and style concepts.

The old saying, “A flower cannot remain red for one hundred days,” came true for my business in 2001. The US economy turned south, and the career I had created through many tough struggles collapsed suddenly one day when the CEO of two sizable companies told me to stop importation of my products because business was too slow. As a result, I lost capital and profits and could not pay employees' salaries. With many companies closing down, I was left owing enormous sums of money to my affiliate business associates.

At this time, a friend who owned a business enterprise committed suicide because of the pressure of heavy debt. I thought of my husband, who, with me, had been at the height of our career. We had plenty of wealth and enjoyed prestige and status. Now, we both were having a difficult time coping with our new circumstances, worrying every day how we would face tomorrow. In order to escape creditors preying on us, as well as to avoid receiving prosecuting letters from lawyers summoning us to appear in court, we dared not live at home nor stay in prominent hotels. We lived like fugitives, moving into small hostels in order to maintain our privacy. The days of trying to flee from our creditors were extremely stressful for us.

It was only at this critical time that we woke up to think about God, and we yearned to call upon Him for deliverance! I began to pray and read the Bible for the purpose of seeking the will of God and His leading. One day, I was pondering the Lord Jesus being nailed to the cross, completing the work of redeeming sinners and uttering His last words, “It is finished!” It was as though the Holy Spirit said to me, “Let you be finished!” I remembered that Jesus had said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29). These words inspired me to give up my career completely. I closed my company, sold everything including the leftover product items, and relinquished capital funds and real estate. My husband contributed all of his earnings to help pay off my debts so that—praise God!—we were spared from bankruptcy. Even though during this period of time my soul was weary, I no longer groped around with uncertainty for direction for my life.

Years of Usefulness

What God has given to me and my husband in this next 20 years of our lives exceeds everything we had experienced before. Today, our lives are enriched with God’s abundance, as 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 says, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Now, I am deeply aware that when I am weak, I can be strong and rely on the Lord. In the past, I walked on a dark road with no peace in my heart. But this suffering taught me humility and led me to experience God’s forgiveness and love, and ultimately to enjoy His blessings. And the Holy Spirit stirred in me a desire to spread the unspeakable joy I have in Christ with others.

Today, the Lord is leading us “in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). My husband and I returned to church as repentant sinners. We retired early in order to commit ourselves to active involvement in spreading the gospel. Over the past ten years, we have learned to be faithful, to do good, to serve others, and to please the Lord as His servants.

I work full-time with my husband, volunteering with many non-profit Christian organizations, and conducting seminars on healthy living and nutrition. With the theme, “Walking Together Along a Healthy Road,” each seminar begins with a seven-minute devotion and concludes with testimonies shared by Christians, as well as a prayer time for those with needs. Our hope is that through these seminars and the love we exhibit, people will sense the Lord’s love and will want to commit their hearts and lives to Him.

God has always been in my life, but now I can echo what the man Job said in the Old Testament, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). The previous Annie was seeking after prestige and wealth. She loved only the world and what the world gave her. Her primary goal in life was centered on having a successful career but which ended as a fugitive eluding creditors! The Annie of today is now relying on Jesus Christ as her Center in life. She lives for Christ, has inner peace and hope, and does not feel lonely or without purpose in life. Even when facing difficulties and encountering stormy winds and rainy days, she remembers what Psalm 46:1 says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!”

*Based on an interview with Annielee written by Kelly Yu and published by Chinese Christian Mission in Chinese Today, December Issue 680, 2018. It was translated into English for Challenger by Kelly’s husband, Philip Yu.

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20190302
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Jul-Sep 2019. CCMUSA.