Good morning bros and sis! I am your bro Jun Yap, of BCBP Mactan, standing up for God this morning.
My wife and I joined the BCBP in 1995. It was during my renewal life that God granted my long time prayer to have my own business. In partnership with my cousin, who is also a BCBP member, we established Junrex Cellphones and Accessories, a business with very humble beginnings and with the mission of serving God by making a difference in the marketplace. We ran the company with dedication and love for God.
We were very happy at how our company was growing. We were blessed with the right opportunity at the right time. Our growth was exponential even if I was serving fulltime in the BCBP community. My partner and I always kept in mind that we are only God’s stewards.
But every business has its challenges, challenges that really put one’s faith to the test. While the business was growing, my partner and I started to quarrel. We began to doubt each other. We doubted how each one managed the business. We doubted each other’s motives and unreasonably questioned each other’s decisions. This went on until we realized that we could not agree anymore, even on the simplest matters. Ideas, no matter how honest and brilliant, were not welcome but were met with sarcasm. Instead of being optimistic we became pessimistic. We were so hot headed and agitated that we even challenged each other to a fight.
Day after day it was becoming worse and the big possibility of closing our business was very imminent. The company we built with so much faith, so much trust, was collapsing in front of my own eyes. Human as I am, I kept on asking God why He allowed this thing to happen. I cried out: God, isn’t this business yours? What is it that I have failed to do? What is it that I have failed to recognize? I had so many questions that sometimes I found myself staring at blank walls. It dawned on me that somehow God had brought me to the Brotherhood to prepare me for these challenges. So faced with all these uncertainties, I did my best to increase my faith and held on to God by making myself more active in the BCBP activities, trusting in God that He would lead the way for me and give me light.
After almost five long agonizing years of bickering and quarrelling, to my surprise, my partner confided that he was migrating to New Zealand. When he told me about it, I said to myself, without a doubt this is definitely God’s way of solving our conflict. He also told me further about his plan to sell his shares which I agreed since trust is now a big issue between us. What followed was a year-long period of bickering between me and his in-laws even up to the point na personalan na. I felt I was accused of just about everything behind my back. Maligned and deceived, I was burning with anger. Perhaps, had it not been for my renewal and active service in the BCBP community, I could have retaliated and done worse things.
God, in His loving ways, sent a brother in the BCBP community and he suggested that I buy peace, so I decided to give-in to the demands of my partner to buy him out for I also believed that was the only peaceful way to solve the conflict. But just after I made known my intention to buy, they demanded even more. The amount was so big that seemed impossible for me to pay. Again, I felt deceived and betrayed, bothered and deeply worried, resulting in lots of sleepless nights. Day after day, I was becoming so frustrated. But my God is a God of hope. So in faith I knew that somehow He would rescue me. I grabbed every chance I could find to pray. And in my prayer, I always said, ‘Lord, this business is not mine but yours. You lead, I’ll just follow’.
God again sent His instrument. My sister offered to help me out with the payment. Finally my partner conceded and said they would not bother me again. He asked for forgiveness for all the hurts and anger they had caused. He confessed that had been doing his best to defend me from his in-laws. I felt his sincerity and in the spirit of Brotherhood invited him to dinner at my house just the two of us before he left for permanent immigration. During that dinner, each of us said our sincere thanksgiving prayer, we reconciled and both of us enjoyed a night of karaoke and drinks at my house. I even offered him to come home and visit us once every year all expenses paid.
Soon after he left, I decided to take a one year Sabbatical leave from the BCBP community since I thought I needed a break after serving the community for 10 years. And also since I was the only one running the business now, I felt I needed to be more visible and more focused on being its President & CEO. But sadly one year turned into three years. Slowly I drifted away from the Lord into enjoying worldly life, from spiritual teaching sessions to drinking sessions and from singing in BCBP Worship assemblies to singing in private karaoke rooms. Sad to say, I enjoyed too much and forgot the Lord.
I rose to being one of the top 10 retailers in the country in the telecom industry. We were called ‘The Elites’ of our industry. And we enjoyed its perks – treated like royalty, booked in business class flights, given suite room accommodations, wined and dined complete with entertainment. We were treated to the best restaurants, bars and golfing destinations in Asia. I felt I was on top of the world.
Personally, I became arrogant and easily got irritated with the slightest provocation even for petty reasons. I was losing my patience and my focus on my business. I was at the right age and with right influence for evil to take advantage of. This continued until the world economic crisis hit us flatfooted and before I knew it, my company was also losing its market share. My finance manager fearfully informed me that we had millions of payables. Not only 1 million, not even 10 million but more! To cut the story short, we were losing. Our suppliers were calling my attention about our mounting payables. The reason I gave that we were affected by the economic crisis was not enough for them to accept for they too were affected by crisis. Eventually, they cut our credit limits and credit terms and some even stopped sending stocks because of our big payables.
Rumor circulated that we were going bankrupt; many thought that soon I would be selling the company. Some of my friends whom I thought were true and loyal to me started to disappear. I was getting very scared. I felt alone. Enveloped by fear, there was darkness wherever I looked. There were moments of helplessness and loneliness. I was even more scared when I looked at my family; my wife, my growing kids. I pitied them. I couldn’t help but look at them with tears in my eyes. I wanted to shout in desperation. Then I remembered God.
Bros and sis, it was so bad that God had to bend my knees. Several mornings, on bended knees in the Carmelite Chapel in Cebu, I found myself crying. Tears flowed as I kept on thinking how weak I was. I kept on thinking how vulnerable my faith was. In between sobs and tears, I asked God’s forgiveness and repeatedly asked Him to give me another chance. In faith, I trusted that God would embrace and welcome me back again.
Little by little I recalled my life when I was with the renewal, the person that I was before and the different values that I treasured most. I then promised God that I would recommit myself to serve Him, glorify Him and stand up for Him.
In trust and in faith the first thing I did was to talk to my people in the company and told them the situation and my plans. I asked them to hold on and increase their faith and help me bombard heaven with prayers. I showed them my personal changes and focused myself on running the business again. With all courage and humility that I found in me, the kind of humility I learned from BCBP, I talked to our suppliers, visited their offices and showed them the changes we were making. I renegotiated with them. And that proved to be the big difference. It wasn’t that easy, but maybe they saw my sincerity and, praise God, one supplier after the other reinstated our credit lines to help us get back into our normal operations again. We even have more suppliers now than before giving us even better deals. God is really good.
Psalm 145: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.’
Those were really very painful experiences. We just can’t fathom God’s plans and His ways; truly He has a purpose for everything. I can now say that God brought me into the BCBP to strengthen me and prepare me for tests like these. And those challenges prepared me for growth and bigger opportunities.
I am happy to share with you that our company is getting stronger with more shops being opened. We already have 17 stores in major malls in Cebu. Just recently, we have received several citations from prestigious organizations like the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Philippine Retailers Association recognizing us as one of the Top Outstanding Cebuano Retailers.
I now definitely believe I cannot serve two masters at the same time. Money cannot be my God. I may not have enough of it but God provides my family with our needs and we enjoy an abundance of His blessings. The BCBP, I believe, is the community for me. Even knowing my weaknesses, my shortcomings and unfaithfulness to God, our brothers and sisters in Mactan still warmly welcomed me back into the Brotherhood fold.
I now know that in every place, somebody must take a stand for God. And I firmly believe God has called me and brought me into this business and into the BCBP because He wants me to be a true Christian in the market place.