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  • Writer's pictureJeff Kaldahl

Up Close and Personal With Yanyan

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Yanyan learned to surrender everything to the Lord, and she learned it the hard way. She was a girl with big dreams for her family, but her plans changed when she gave birth to her son.

For years as a single mother, Yanyan felt that her life was on pause. Immersed in disappointments, she spent many days asking “what if.” But God wasn’t shocked by her questions. The Lord used Yanyan’s greatest plot twist to demonstrate He is the God who can redeem every broken story for His glory.

Yanyan passionately crafting a design for our scholar’s debut

The Lord’s Plan Always Prevails

Several months into the pandemic Yanyan decided to look for a new job after having been laid off from her previous job. Prior to TRIM, she had various contracting jobs providing technical assistance to multiple companies and statistics research under a national-level government office. At one point she even considered working abroad and had already traveled to Manila to process her papers. But none of those efforts yielded the results she wanted.

In reality, Yanyan’s greatest dream was to be a seafarer. As someone who grew up in poverty, she believed this would give her the financial freedom she was longing for. But all of that changed when she gave birth to her son.

“[Losing those dreams] left a scar in my heart, honestly, because the things that I planned didn’t come true,” she confessed.

Yanyan chose to give up her career to be a hands-on mom for her son, Michael. She took time to nurture a relationship with him because she didn’t want Michael to grow up without a parent by his side. And although her parents were disappointed too, they stayed by her side and through it all she learned that she could be at her highest point of worship when she was at her lowest point in life.

Yanyan enjoying her creative moments with the House of Hope scholars

Understanding the Heart of God

Before joining TRIM, Yanyan learned to disciple others by leading a group of young professionals in her church. She engaged them one-on-one, which helped her understand how costly it could be to obey God’s calling over one’s life.

Nevertheless, Yanyan invested her time, effort, and money to make disciples of others to the degree that she began using her son’s snack allowance to share something with the group. She was content in serving the Lord by being active in church ministries and organizations. Little did she know that the Lord had already handpicked her for something new and in an expanded way as a ‘mother.’

God, Where Are You Leading Me?

Before her church mate introduced her to TRIM , Yanyan longed for a job where she would grow, and where she could use her gifts and talents to help others.

“I didn’t know where, why, or how, but I prayed for a place where I’d be established. I stopped dreaming for my career and reached the point where I asked the Lord, “Where are you leading me?”

Then TRIM happened. The first thing Yanyan appreciated was that she felt like she was working as a mother. She didn’t have to switch roles between her house and TRIM because she served as a mother both to her son and to the House of Hope scholars.

“I’m actually amazed that God is using my role as a mother to glorify Him. I never imagined that I’d serve in TRIM in this way,” Yanyan shared.

Today, Michael is 12 years old and Yanyan would not trade their relationship for anything. Yanyan sees the beauty of God’s redeeming power now, that despite failing before, it grew a new level of love and care within her which is perfect for her role in TRIM.

“I became a mother, my son loves me, and my motherhood is being used by God to serve others through TRIM. I understand my calling in the ministry,” she added.

TRIM Is A Safe Place To Rebuild One’s Life

For Yanyan, The Rising is a place where she has been able to rebuild her life. She once was hopeless, but now she sees there’s something she can do to make a difference.

“I’m so grateful for being a part of this organization because I have experienced so many changes.” she says. For her, these changes include building her character, confidence, leadership, and acquiring new skills that are not taught elsewhere. Additionally, even during hard times, the Lord met her needs and provided a way to care for her family.

“I see him move in my family. I see Him move in my life by eliminating my fears. I’m at peace with my ordinary life primarily serving the Lord. Now, I’m enjoying many benefits here and what I’m earning here really helps.”

Yanyan pampering Nicole during our spa day

Many Members In One Body

Within the context of The Rising, Yanyan sees the many members in the body of Christ each time we have our devotionals. As the staff have different roles in the ministry, Yanyan understands that each one is needed for the body of Christ to function properly, including herself as a house mentor. She’s assured that God doesn’t measure our performance or contribution but that He’s looking at the hearts of His people.

“I know God appreciates me,” she said while tears were rolling down her eyes. “I’m amazed how God turned nothing into something beautiful. I see myself as ordinary, but He made me extraordinary. He changed my outlook in life and I saw a lot of transformations,” she added.

Yanyan wrote encouraging letters for our scholars when their face to face classes resumed

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:18-20

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