Stephen Chan

The Late Home-coming Prodigal Son – Chapter 1

A translation from ‘遊子遲遲歸’

Chinese believe in fate, but Christians believe in God and His provision. Those who believe in fate do not have a clear concept of what fate really is. They do not have a life goal and do not have any idea on who holds their fate. Believing in fate will result in neglecting the reality of life and resigning with a passive attitude towards life. Christians believe in a Creator of the universe, He is the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God, who, according to His will and plan, designed our lives. At the same time, He allows us to have the freedom of choice to face every situation. Fate believers may use fate to shrug off responsibilities, but Christians believe that God is in control, and they are held accountable to Him. God in His wisdom and knowledge, plan and control the lives of men without interfering their freedom of choice.

Chapter One    My Family Background

I was born in Hong Kong the year the dock workers and sailors were on strike. The whole economy was devastating, and prices surged up sky high. No one in my family welcomed my arrival.

I have a very large and traditional family. Grandpa had four wives and many children. Some children already married with their own family, but we all lived together. One of my aunts was number 12 in line, and honestly, I lost count of how many relatives I have. In those years, people enjoyed having many children, so was my grandpa. Rich families usually set up marriages for their children as early as possible, so my uncle and my father were all married before they graduated from high school.

My grandpa left Fuzhou (福州) at the age of sixteen for Hong Kong. He started a small business there. Soon his business grew and thrived and he became a millionaire in the 30’s. In those days, Chinese migrants usually sent money back home to purchase real estates. Therefore, in Fuzhou, besides a big mansion, my grandpa also owned a street block of houses. He was hard working, industrious and successful, but none of his offspring was a successful businessman, neither did any have high academic achievements. When grandpa died, his family financial situation declined rapidly.

My father had not finished high school when He ventured into the business world.  He was an honest man,   easily convinced by others, and lack problem solving skill. But he was very strict with his children, and very serious in keeping his father image. I never sat down once to chat with my father; neither would I dare to ask him for any advice.

 My mother on the other hand, was a very capable woman. Every time my father failed in his business, she always managed to get a loan somewhere for him to start all over, and to revert our financial difficult position. Since grandpa died, and we used up our share of the estates, my mother had to raise money from time to time to cover our daily needs. This was certainly quite a heavy load for her.

to be continued …

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