This is an inspiring testimonial from Dave Yeo, a YMD from Singapore. With a never-give-up attitude towards faith and the Gohonzon, he and his family went through a lot of hardships and overcome many challenges.
I am Dave from Singapore and I would like to share this testimonial to share with our fellow members the benefits that my family and I have received over the years.
Growing up years
I have three elder sisters. Life was tough when we were young. My family situation was very poor and my father had to take on multiple jobs and often gambled in order to support my entire family.
As my father was an adopted son and my mother was lowly educated, our family had always been looked down upon by my grandmother and the extended family.
Due to our poor family situation, my father had been constantly out looking for work to support our family.
I could recall that our growing-up days were plagued with constant quarrels at home.
As a result of all these, my eldest sister grew up with mental problems. Our relatives and friends looked down upon us, and labeled us as a family with no hope.
I could recall festive occasions when our relatives would turn us away from visiting them.
Life was a state of anarchy and our house worshipped different deities at that time.
When my sister developed the mental illness, my parents had thought that she was possessed and tried to alleviate the situation by drinking burnt talisman and offering prayers to the deities.
Things only got worse.
On top of that, my eldest sister was also unable to get along with my two elder sisters and my parents had to take the heart-wrenching move to move them out of the house and let them stay with our grandparents or to rent apartments outside.
Fortunately, a friend, who stayed in our neighborhood when we were young, introduced my mother to the Gohonzon.
In face of my sister’s condition, the friend told my mother that chanting Nam-myoho-reng-ge-kyo would definitely make the situation better. My mother decided to give it a try, and started to chant a few hours a day.
From her friends, she knew that the situation we were facing were due to the bad karma. Determined to change the situation, my father also began chanting.
Our family situation improved slowly and we gradually moved the deities out of our house. My father also sold off our old apartment and we moved to a totally new environment.
However, my sister’s mental situation still persisted, and our house was constantly plagued with screams, terror and the constant fear of my sister taking her own life.
The pressure on my parents was immense, but they took care to ensure that the challenging environment did not affect my sisters and me.
My sister eventually passed on when I was secondary one. The loss of my sister was heart wrenching to my parents, who have constantly hoped that she would recover one day.
But through strong faith in the Gohonzon and the belief that she’ll one day be reborned into a different environment, my parents recovered slowly emotionally from the ordeal.
Amidst the difficulties, my sisters and I grew up with hope and self-respect.
Despite the hardship and having to go to school with used textbooks and torn clothes, we never felt inadequate when we were young.
Our common dreams were to make our parents proud one day and to ensure that they have a good life.
As for me, I had the good fortune to do well in my studies from primary to secondary school.
I was eventually offered a Government scholarship to go to France for my university education.
The initial years in France were tough in part due to the language barriers and in part due to the difficulties of the French education system.
The notorious French pre-university course system was one of the toughest cram-school in the world, with 10-hour school days and 3 assessments every week.
Some of my seniors were unable to cope with the stress of the system and eventually had to come back to Singapore and re-enroll as a fresh graduate.
I was initially unable to cope with the pace of school and had harboured the thought of coming back.
But determined not to let my parents down especially after all these years of hardship, I prayed to Gohonzon for the courage to continue and do my very best in the system.
My prayers specifically were that one day, my parents (who have never travelled on a plane then) would be able to see me graduate from one of the top universities of the world.
Test after test and exam after exam, I gradually found my niche in the system.
After 5 years in the French system, I graduated not just the top of my cohort, and had the opportunity to go to a top US university for my master’s degree.
The US University was highly renowned for its research work, and admits only 20 students out of 500 applicants for the faculty I was enrolled in – I was very honored to be part of this cohort.
My dream came through on the 9th of June 2006 when I stepped up to the podium to receive my Master’s degree scroll from the Dean of the University.
I’m so heartened that my dream of letting my parents take the first flight overseas and see me graduate finally came through.
After my overseas education, I came back eventually to Singapore for work.
The initial years of my career hadn’t been easy.
After completing my National Service, I started work in 2008 at a mid-sized investment bank. Unfortunately, the financial crisis struck then and my boss had to let go of me.
I had 2 months of salaries which were due to me which were unpaid.
I prayed for courage to be able to move to a different job in the crisis and was fortunate to move on to find a position a new company.
At the company, I was able to leverage some of my skill sets and eventually progressed to middle management over 4 years.
The path wasn’t easy, but through sincere prayers, I was able to progress through different obstacles and turn poison into medicine.
The unpaid salaries owed to me were eventually repaid to me.
After several years at the company, I decided that it wasn’t something for me in the long-term.
Once again, I was placed at the cross roads of my career embarking on a different career path without any relevant work experience.
At that time, I was also about to get married with my wife, a wonderful lady who was introduced to me by a good friend. The economic climate was bad, and I had to face constant pressure from the in-laws.
My working relationship with my supervisor also turned for the worse and I also had problems with my immediate reports. It was both tiring and stressful.
Once again, I turned to the Gohonzon for prayers to guide me to a new career path, and to lighten my path ahead amidst all the uncertainties.
At the start, I sent out close to 100 job applications, but none of them came back with any interviews.
I persevered and continue to pray to Gohonzon to see actual proof.
I prayed that not only will I see actual proof; I will also find the courage to share this actual proof with fellow Gakkai members.
The same way that whenever I feel demoralised, I would read past testimonials to encourage myself not to give up, I would also want to do the same to encourage others in my situation to persevere and not give up.
Things finally paid off in Jan 2013 when I received a call for an interview.
Even though I had no background in the industry that I applied for, I had the very good fortune to share with the interviewers with my career growth over the years, and my motivations for moving on to a new industry.
I progressed through two rounds of interview and was eventually offered the position. I also received 2 more offers from other MNCs, which I did not accept.
It was a tremendous journey and a great test of my faith, which I had once again managed to overcome with strong faith.
Mr Daisaku Ikeda once said: “Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.”
Indeed, it is natural for us to feel fearful when in times of challenge and feel that our prayers are unanswered.
With hard work, determination and unwavering faith, we will not only eventually achieve what we want, but also develop into a much better person to the people around us.
I am very happy to share that knowing Gohonzon had transformed my life and that of my family over all these years.
I would like to encourage our fellow Gakkai members to continue persevering with strong faith, even through the most trying of circumstances.
To end off with what Nichiren Daishonin once said: “Winter always turn to spring.”