Homelessness, succulents and cake: Emmy’s whirlwind story of faith

Emmy with her succulents.

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Thick tension filled the room as Jonathan and his new wife Emmy faced a daunting predicament: homelessness.

Taking refuge in an old factory, Jonathan had just managed to get back on his feet and escape homelessness, after his ex-housemate had drained every last cent from his previously ample bank accounts. Now, with his new wife and three sons, he faced it again.

With Melbourne lockdowns reducing his job to part-time, Jonathan didn’t know how he would feed his family of five.

But Jonathan now had something he didn’t have before: faith. He knew God was on his side. Together with his new wife Emmy, he had recently become a Christian and been baptised into the Oasis Adventist Church.

Like most Filipino wives, Emmy wished she could do something to help her husband and take care of his three sons. So she decided to get a job.

But so far, the job market had been difficult. At her recent job interview, she had taken her friend along with her, only to have her friend be offered the job that she was applying for.

“Don’t worry,” Jonathan reassured her. “If you don’t get that job, it’s not God’s will and it’s not for you.”

“Okay, that job wasn’t the one for me!” said Emmy, matter-of-factly. “If it’s not [God’s] will, I won’t find a job but if it is [His] will, [He] will give me one.”

Despite her positive attitude, not having a job left Emmy feeling inadequate. So she kept praying—not only for her personal career fulfilment, but so that she could help her husband as well.

Together, the newlyweds left it in Jesus’ capable hands.

In the meantime, Emmy found stress relief through her passion for succulents. She would take selfies with the succulents she grew and post them to Facebook. Eventually, she joined a group of succulent-lovers and commented on a video from someone giving instructions on how to grow them.

“I wish I could work with you guys, I really love succulents,” the comment read.

“Where do you live?” came the reply.

“Monbulk,” Emmy responded.

“Contact the nursery on Monday.” he replied. “Our contact details are on this page.”

Emmy called first thing Monday morning. It was worth a try.

The man recognised her immediately.

“Would you like to come to see me at our nursery at 4:30 pm this afternoon?” he asked.

Emmy jumped at the opportunity. “Of course!” she said. She was delighted because the nursery was within walking distance of where she lived.

Emmy prayed earnestly, “Lord, if this job is not for me, do something to stop it. Like if the owner isn’t there, I won’t be disappointed because I’ll know that that the job isn’t Your will for me.”

Not knowing how long it would take to get there, and not wanting to be late, Emmy left home at 1:30pm.

Thirty-minutes later, Emmy arrived at the nursery—far too early for her appointment. Afraid they might criticise her for being early, she surreptitiously hid in the bushes, not wanting to be seen.

But the boss spotted her and came over. “Are you Emmy?”  he asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Come in,” he said, “and we can talk about the succulents and the job.” Immediately, the man showed every intention of employing her.

“It’s an online business selling to clients all over Australia. We open to the public once a month or on special days, but 99 per cent of our business is online.”

He introduced her to each of the other employees, calling her the “new worker”. Emmy was surprised. She noticed that most of them, like herself, were other Asians from Korea, Malaysia, Japan and China. Then he showed her around the other succulent nurseries—four in all.

Seeing her enthusiasm, the boss said, “It’s a deal!” And so, Emmy became an official, full-time nursery employee.

Emmy was amazed and thankful that God—in the middle of a pandemic—had used a simple Facebook comment to touch the heart of the boss whose nursery was so close to her home! This was a bonus as she didn’t drive.

On her first day, the boss gave Emmy a complete list of all the plants, and her job was to check the names and count how many there were of each kind. She found it confusing, because they all looked very similar.

“It was only my first day,” said Emmy, “but from 7:30am until 4:00pm I worked checking hundreds of varieties with only slight differences—the colour of the leaves, the colour of the stem, the various shapes. But they all had different names!”

Emmy soon learned all areas of work in the nursery, so she could fill in wherever needed. She liked this, as it provided variety in her work. She also was particularly interested in the propagation of the succulents because she wanted to be able to propagate her own plants at home. With permission, she began taking cuttings home with her to start her own collection.

Time flew each day as Emmy learned more and more, grateful to have full-time work doing something she loved, and so close to home. God had well and truly answered her prayers!

. . . Or so she thought.

On payday, Emmy was bewildered. When everyone else got their pay, she was given nothing. On enquiring, she was told that because she had been taking home cuttings of the succulents, that she would not be paid.

Emmy could hardly believe it.

Yes—with permission, she had taken home a number of cuttings, but it had not been made clear that this would be in lieu of wages!

Understandably upset, she told her husband about it.

“Don’t worry!” he said, “We’ll just pray about it.”

And that they did.

On Monday morning, Emmy received a pleasant surprised. Before she had the opportunity to make further enquiries about the pay situation, the boss’s wife immediately walked toward her, extending a cake as a peace-offering for what had happened.

Emmy was told that the situation had been a big mistake, and that she would receive her pay. She was relieved and full of joy. Once again, God had answered her prayers and showed His faithfulness toward her.

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