As a professional singer I once lived in an upside-down world. For more than ten years, day and night I was surrounded by wine, bright lights and money. I never cared much for studying; my only interest was making money. Nobody would think that I would suddenly decided to give up my job which providing me with an abundant income and began studying at a seminary. What really brought me to this decision? This is my story.

I was born in a small-secluded mountain village in East Taiwan, my family were farmers. Since I was my parents’ only daughter, they spoiled me and I became quite stubborn, even rebellious. My father died when I was seven years old and our life changed drastically. Life became very difficult. I used wish that when I grow up I would be a kindergarten teacher or nurse. As time went on and circumstances become more difficult, I changed my mind thinking that it would be better to earn lots and lots of money and get out of this poor life.

I remember once when my mother was cooking and she had run out of salt, so she asked me to go and borrow some from the neighbors. I went from house to house was finally able to borrow some. Because I was gone such a long time that when I arrived home, my mother was very angry and put a deep impression in my heart that the only thing is important to me then is to make a lot of money. My mother is a good Christian. When I was small I used to go with her to Sunday School.

My mother sent me to a Christian boarding school where I stayed at the school dormitory due to poor transportation possibility. I was majoring in kindergarten education. I didn’t finish my courses there because I wasn’t interested in playing the piano. I remember pretending to be sick just to be excused from the class. My piano teacher is also the dormitory superintendent and she knew I usually found excuses to escape from attending class. She’s always angry with me and I was so afraid to see her.

One day her money was stolen and she accused me also tried to force me to confess and repent. Because I was innocent this false accusation really hurt me deeply and damaged my self-esteem. I left the school, the church, and I left God. At that time I was sixteen years old. I went to Taipei alone to look for a job. I had worked as a sitter, a sales girl and I also worked at a noodle stand. A year after I came to Taipei, a close friend introduced me to a lady who became like a mother to me. She worked for BBC ( China Broadcast Center ) and that was my big opportunity to sing in the public, from that program called “Melody Voice”, I began my life as an entertainer. It’s very difficult to be a top entertainer. I gave my all to learn the different technics of singing. I felt fortunate to find a very good voice teacher. In the beginning of my singing career, I started with very emotional type songs but the demand was for livelier songs, so I changed my style, even add dancing to my stage performance. I studied dance for two years and this helped me to climb from the lowest level to middle level then up the ladder of success. At that time, my income was US$10,000 a month. Besides singing on television, I also sang in night clubs, restaurants and did a few television commercials. Later, I traveled to Hong Kong to find my place as an actress on big screen appeared in movies with great stars. I stayed in Hong Kong for three years then returned to Taiwan continue worked as an actress on television.

Was I happy? No, was I satisfied? No. More I gain in fame my heart is given to love the material things more from this world. But deep in my heart I’m empty, full of fear and never feel secure. In the midst of my “glamorous life style” it was the time I was full of fear. I was afraid that someone would rob me or the bank would go bankrupt. What would I do then? My life was full of anxieties. Money can’t buy real peace and happiness, it can’t give real satisfaction either. I needed my heart to be full of peace, not worry. (Four years ago), I began to fellowship with a Chinese Christian group, in there I found myself and I found the real meaning of life. I clearly know my real identity that God created me in His image. He loves me and God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ’s blood had redeemed me. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every work that comes from the mouth of God.” I know now that as a human being I was created for a greater purpose than to just make money. I was owned by my job before, but now, I want to do all for the glory of God!

(During these four years), I went to church every Sunday to worship the Lord while I was still in my profession. I went on singing tours throughout Asia, but as I drew closer to the Lord I found myself unable to continue in this life. In my spirit, the song lyrics and the style of dress were really made me quite uncomfortable, and often made my heart very heavy. There was a pastor advised me to give up this life-style but at that time I could only think of the money I would loose and I didn’t take his advise. Then in June of 1984 when I returned to Taiwan from a singing tour in the United States, I went to a prayer mountain, the Holy Spirit inspired me to pray this prayer “Lord, if you want to use me, I’m willing to give up all to follow you.” Soon after that, I went on a singing tour to New York City and from there to Paris, France. There I met a pastor known as “MosesYang”, at an evangelistic crusade. He encouraged me to completely leave my job, however, I was under a contract then. As soon as that contract expired, I flew to New Jersey immediately to enroll myself into International Evangelistic Seminary to better equipped myself for one day if God should use me.

The ten years I spent as an entertainer has shown me a lot of things. I can see the different masks that the worldly people wore. There were no honesty in their relationships. People are using each other to fulfill their own lusts. If, at the beginning, I knew how dark and how complicated the entertainment world is, I wouldn’t have gotten involved in that field. I don’t care about the glamorous, materialistic life anymore because it’s all vanity and all will pass. “What does a man profit if he gains the whole world but loses his life.” Now I would rather have Jesus and I’m determined to follow Him and walk in eternal life’s path and may God use my life, my voice, to give testimony of His Love and spread the good news about His glorious name —-  Jesus.

Rev. Deborah Li