“27: The total number of different loan sharks I borrowed money from.”

A DEBT OF MONEY COVERED BY A DEPTH OF LOVE

The first loan was $200,000. The second debt was $40,000. The third debt was $60,000.  But the third debt was complicated.

I borrowed from a total of 27 different loan sharks. I had no one else to turn to for help. My wife and I were crying in our room, and I had the thought to end my own life.

There was no way out for me.

My brothers came to my house and they discussed how to help me, like they did for the first two debts. I firmly rejected their help because this time, I knew that they could not help me anymore.

It was then my eldest brother said, “If you regard me as your brother, you would accept my help.”

“You are not my brother,” I said. It wasn’t that I disregarded him as my brother, but I knew that I was beyond help. Together with my younger brother, they walked out of my house. I watched their backs as they left.

It wasn’t that I disregarded him as my brother, but I knew that I was beyond help.

— Uncle De Cai, 59

It hurt me deeply. I just said with my own mouth that he was no longer my brother.

But that wasn’t all. Before I was in debt for the third time, I lied to my eldest son. I persuaded him to take a $20,000 bank loan to help me. He was going through some problems in his life during that time. And I, as his father, made use of his vulnerability.

Still he borrowed from the bank. He even told me very clearly that it was impossible for him to repay the debt on his own; he wanted to save up to study abroad.

However, after I got the money, I gambled everything away. I did not return him a single cent; he repaid the full sum.

My son held a grudge against me from then on. He didn’t speak to me for an entire year. But then one day, he called me.

“Pa, I will be able to clear our debt with the bank in two months’ time,” he said. He pleaded that I stopped borrowing money, because he wanted to start saving up for his studies again.

It was this point that I knew I hurt this son of mine. I had dashed his hopes of studying abroad. Even up till now, he has not been able to do so.

I did not tear, but I was crying in my heart.

At that time, I knew only Jesus could help me.

I was reminded of my heart attack in 2007. While I was in hospital, a lady from a church came to pray for me. During that time, I felt the peace and comfort in my heart. Maybe it was this flashback that I had that made me realized that only Jesus could save me. Apart from Jesus, no one else could get me out of this mess I was in.

But of course that still didn’t settle my debt with the 27 loan sharks. I was afraid and lived in great fear. My family had often faced threats from the loan sharks. It was a great distress for them too. 

It was until one day in 2010 that a police officer contacted me and showed me a list of names of those loan sharks. He said they were all arrested. He advised me not to borrow again or even try to repay the debt. After that, those 27 loan sharks did not confront me at all. They left me alone.

At the point, I felt it was amazing. I believe God was helping me.

From 2010 onwards, my life changed after I came to know Jesus. So did my character. I was able to get rid of my foul temper. I stopped gambling completely as well. All these things that I wasn’t able to get rid of, I was about to do it within a year with the help of community in church and of course, the conviction from God. 

When my siblings witnessed my change, they were elated. Especially my eldest brother. We mended our broken relationship. 

With Jesus in my life, I rediscovered my purpose in life and what I need to do. In the past, I made mistakes in my folly. But now I know that I must cherish my life and lead a purposeful life.