“What good can come out of cancer? … Doctors said that I will surely die.”
I was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and given only six months left to live. There is no available medication or therapy that could treat my condition. Surgery was an option but not a solution as it does not guarantee a full recovery. Even though I had just received a death sentence, I did not waver as I knew in my heart what I must do for the limited time I have. I said to my wife, Judith, “This is not the end. We still have six months.”
Despite the despairing situation, I was determined to make the most out of the finite time that I had left.
“Defend the weak and the fatherless,
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
My wife and I decided to start a business, Olive Vine, with a purpose of channelling the profits into missions work. This calling came from God who always showed compassion for the poor and moved my heart to feed orphans and children in need.
- Psalm 82:3
It was difficult to cope with the challenges of starting a business and my illness at the same time. Prior to the opening of Olive Vine, my wife and I did not possess any expertise in the food and beverage sector. We simply obeyed God’s calling in simple faith as we knew that if He calls, He will surely provide. As we started out as hawkers in a food court, we struggled through the trials of a new business - long working hours, sluggish revenue, and high start-up costs. As we struggled to make ends meet, my wife and I always encouraged each other to never doubt God’s calling even when the situation seems impossible. But God always extended His hand of providence and assured us that He is in control. For the past 12 years, we never had to raise funds for our missions or feeding projects in different parts of Asia. God always provided more than enough, in both finances and the physical strength to battle through it all.
“Trust in God is to be unwavering in our character and grounded in what the Bible says. The moment we worry, doubt or fear is the moment we lose trust in God.”
Just as the doctors predicted, I suffered a relapse after living past the six months. The reality of death is harsh, but God gave me strength and courage to soldier on with no fear or depression. We continued feeding and loving the poor with our business, helping hundreds of children and orphans, and caring for every child as our own. I learnt to be a father to the fatherless by extending God’s love to them, including to my stepdaughter Joel.
Fathering Joel is a privilege from God. Living with the uncertainty of my condition, my wife and I were not convicted to have a biological child. As Joel has special needs, I often have to ask God for the necessary patience, wisdom, and love. I see her strengths: even though she is unable to express herself clearly at times, she is always learning to overcome her limitations. I ensure that I spend adequate time with her and devote as much attention to her as I can. I hope that my earthly fathering is a reflection of our Heavenly Father’s love for Joel, which I pray she will continue to understand as she matures in age and faith.
Watch Jason's story (shortened) with Chinese subtitles
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Watch David's story