Soaring Financial Heights
I stood on a seminar platform in Kazakhstan, my fingers and ears adorned with brilliant diamonds, my reputation as a financial mentor applauded. I was teaching people how to earn money the way I earned millions.
“How much are those earrings?” asked a lady after the training.
Smiling, I quoted a five figure U.S. dollar price that did not faze her.
“Do you have another set?” asked the lady’s friend who stood beside her. “For me?”
The sudden sale of my earrings thrilled me since I was about to enter a business venture with someone I had met while visiting my son in the United States a few months prior. This “someone” was a known businessman and entrepreneur. He had invited me to buy 10% stock from a certain company where big names invested.
Mind you, I did not enter business ventures rashly. I prayed about this, and after 4.5 months of discussing this enterprise with the Lord, I said YES to a business partnership with the man.
Investing: Sound Deal? Fraudulent Deal?
In good faith, I started giving money regularly to our new corporation, fulfilling my monetary obligations for my percentage of the stock. However, after mentioning a personal sale to him concerning a condominium unit I owned in the Philippines, he asked me to give money again. This request puzzled me since the amount was beyond my required giving. Still, I handed him the money, justifying to myself that I was making an additional investment. This man goes to a credible church, I thought. And he is friends with my daughter. I’m sure he can be trusted.
Lo and behold, when the paperwork was done for the corporation, my name was not found among the investors. A paper trail was present, giving me some assurance that this was not a fraudulent deal, yet I wondered: Wasn’t it wrong for my name to be absent? There was also another upsetting detail: the names of the man’s family members were written on the business permit— not mine or the other investors’ names. Plus, when I wanted to tell my business-minded daughter what I was doing, the man did not want me to. I should have seen these as warning signs of the huge mistake I was making.
I gave this man the benefit of a doubt and foolishly increased my giving. I pawned my gold vintage coins, my Rolex watch, and other expensive valuables. I even took out a credit card loan! Finally, with my doubts rising like an ominous brick tower I could not ignore, I decided to ask the man for a detailed account of the company’s expenses. When I finally received a summary of these expenses after six months of reminding him again and again, I—with two other investors—confronted him.
This man gave us a thousand stories to back up the company’s validity. He spoke glibly, showing his obvious experience in sales. The two other investors and I handed him three written narratives of our experience with him and the business venture—documents a personal lawyer encouraged we keep a record of (for our legal protection), and of which the man needed to sign. Thankfully, he signed the papers.
As we waited for matters to unfold, this man gave us a new business proposal to consider. However, we found out that he had applied as an employee at another company. We decided to end the problematic business venture.
A New, Difficult Chapter
I was then thrust into a season of sudden poverty. The company where I had grown my financial assets for the past 16 years terminated me when they found out that I had invested in a business venture similar to theirs. To alleviate the pressure coming from my rising expenses and my stolen savings, I tried to sell my jewelry and other items.
Unlike before, selling proved difficult. Yet even so, the purchase of a South Sea pearl choker came through, allowing me some finances. I had not intended the sale, but a Taiwanese pastor had seen the choker on my neck and asked me how much it cost. After I named a price, she decided not to buy it; however, after two days, she came to me with her husband, telling me that after much prayer, God had told her to buy it. I was stunned. The sale helped me financially— but only for a while. In a few months, I did not even have enough money for groceries.
Still, I knew had something. Or rather, Someone. Despite my mistakes, I had God, and I knew I could trust Him as my Provider.
I started to guard my heart against encroaching anger, bitterness, and self-pity as I crashed rock-bottom. I chose to spend long hours with God reading the Bible, praising and worshipping Him despite myself. I prayed, “Lord, You are my ultimate Source; my only Source. I will not run to any man for help except You. You are my Provider. You said in Your Word that You will not put me to shame.”
I resolved to hold on to God. I made many mistakes yes, but I knew that that didn’t spell the end to His provision, goodness, and grace in my life.
END OF PART 1
How does God provide for Rosemarie at this time? And how does He lift her from rock bottom? What happens to the man who conned her? You can read Part 2 of Rosemarie’s journey soon in One Voice Magazine!