One night in 1984, I changed from being just an ordinary teenager to being a celebrity. I was crowned Miss Hong Kong. My picture was on the front page of magazines and newspapers. I sang, danced, gave speeches, hosted TV shows, wore beautiful clothes, and appeared with important people, such as the governor of Hong Kong.
The next year, I started acting in movies, several times starring in the leading role. Reporters wanted my story, photographers wanted my picture, and people wanted my presence for premieres, ribbon cuttings, lunches, and dinners. I was always the center of attention.
Gradually, though, I discovered that all of this was not as attractive as I had imagined. I worked mainly on action movies, and that was dangerous. Actors in Hong Kong did not use doubles as often as actors in Hollywood did, so I performed my own stunts, such as riding a motorcycle over a car. Many films I starred in were immoral and violent. Some featured demonism.
In 1995, I married a movie producer. Although I seemed to have everything to make me happy
REMEMBERING MY CHILDHOOD FAITH
I began to remember with fondness the faith that I had when I was a little girl. Back then, each Saturday my sister and I went to visit a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The father, Joe McGrath, studied the Bible with us together with his three daughters. Theirs was a warm and loving family, and “Uncle Joe” treated his wife and children with respect. I also enjoyed going with them to their Christian meetings. Sometimes we went to big assemblies. Those were happy times. I felt safe with the Witnesses.
In contrast, terrible things happened to me in my own home. My father’s way of life caused my mother a lot of grief, and she became deeply depressed. When I was about ten, Mother stopped associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I continued halfheartedly and was baptized at age 17. But soon afterward, I became involved in unchristian conduct and was no longer a part of the congregation.
I DECIDED TO RETURN
Shortly after my wedding, two overseers from the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to visit me. They explained how I could return to Jehovah God, and they arranged for a missionary named Cindy to help me. By this time, I had lost much of my faith, so I asked her to prove to me that the Bible really is God’s Word. She showed me examples of Bible prophecies that have been fulfilled. Gradually, we became close friends, and she invited me to study the basic teachings of the Bible with her. I accepted. For the first time, I came to appreciate that Jehovah is a God of love, who wants me to be happy.
When I started going to Christian meetings again, I found that I enjoyed the company of the Witnesses much more than the company of people in the movie business. But my childhood experiences left me feeling that I could not trust anyone, and I did not like myself. A member of the congregation helped me when she showed me from the Bible how to deal with those emotional problems, and I also learned to make genuine friends.
SOMETHING BETTER THAN GLAMOUR
In 1997, my husband and I moved to Hollywood, California, U.S.A. There I became more involved in helping people to benefit from the wisdom of God’s Word. Teaching the Bible has given me more satisfaction than all the glamour of acting and starring in movies. For example, in 2002, I met up with Cheri, an old acquaintance from Hong Kong. In many ways our experiences in life had been similar. She had been Miss Hong Kong the year before I was. In fact, when I won the title, she was the one who crowned me. She also became a movie actor and later a producer, working with famous directors. She too had moved to Hollywood.
My heart went out to Cheri when I learned that she had lost her fiancé to a sudden heart attack. She could find no consolation from her Buddhist religion. Like me, she had achieved the glamorous life that others envy, yet she was sad and unable to trust anyone. I began sharing with her what I had learned from the Bible, but her Buddhist background made it difficult for her to appreciate it.
One day in 2003, Cheri called me from Vancouver, Canada, where she was making a film. Excitedly, she told me that she had been driving and admiring the countryside when suddenly she started to pray out loud: “Tell me, Who is the true God? What is your name?” At that moment, she drove by a Kingdom Hall and saw the name Jehovah. That, she felt, was a reply from God, and she wanted to meet with Jehovah’s Witnesses as soon as possible. I made arrangements, and within a few days, she was at the meeting of a Chinese-language congregation in Vancouver.
“These people are genuinely interested in me,” Cheri told me later. “I can tell them how I feel.” I was very pleased to hear that, because when Cheri was in the movie business, she never made friends. Cheri continued attending the meetings. But in 2005, she signed a contract to produce two epic films in China, making it necessary for her to return to Hong Kong. Happily, in 2006, Cheri dedicated her life to Jehovah and was baptized at a Witness assembly in Hong Kong. Although she wanted to serve Jehovah more fully, her work in the movie business made things very difficult for her, and she was very unhappy.
THE JOY OF HELPING OTHERS
In 2009, Cheri’s whole situation in life changed. She decided to withdraw from the movie industry in order to serve Jehovah fully. She made many new friends in the Christian congregation. She became a full-time preacher of the good news of the Kingdom and really enjoyed helping people find a better way of life.
Then Cheri decided to learn Nepalese to support the growing group of Nepalese-speaking Witnesses in Hong Kong. I should explain that most Nepalese people in Hong Kong tend to be ignored or even despised because they speak little English or Chinese and because their customs are different. Cheri told me how much she enjoyed helping these people to understand the Bible. For example, when calling from house to house one day, she met a Nepalese woman who knew a little about Jesus but nothing about the true God, Jehovah. Cheri used the Bible to show her that Jesus prayed to his Father in heaven. When the woman realized that she could pray to the true God, whose name is Jehovah, she opened her heart to accept the good news. Soon her husband and daughter were also studying the Bible.
When I saw how much Cheri enjoyed preaching full-time, I asked myself, ‘What prevents me from doing what she is doing?’ By this time, I too was living in Hong Kong again. I decided to reorganize my life to share more fully in teaching Bible truth. I have found that listening to people and helping them to understand God’s Word makes me genuinely happy.
I have found that helping people to understand God’s Word makes me genuinely happy
For instance, I have been able to study the Bible with a Vietnamese woman who was always sad and often had tears in her eyes. Now she has a joyful outlook on life and really enjoys associating with the congregation.
Both Cheri and I found something far better than glamour. Although being in the movie industry was exciting and brought us fame, teaching people about Jehovah God is more satisfying because it brings glory to him. We have certainly experienced the truth of Jesus’ words: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”
Many teenagers who think they’re carving out their own identity are just conforming to an identity that’s been handed to them.