A Teenager Deals with Her Finances

Taught by Wise Parents

by Annabelle Bong

The Bong family outside their Melaka home.

Above L-R: Ezra, Annabelle, Clarissa, David (father), Michelle (mother), Barnabas || Front: Rebekah, Yosef

We went on a mission trip to Cambodia in 2018 with Malaccan friends Michelle and her daughter Annabelle and got to know their unusual family. They home-school all their children and besides academic subjects, they also teach them skills to earn money for their wants and needs such as going for holidays. Annabelle shares her views on how these skills are imparted…

Ever since I could remember, my father came back home late every night. He was trained as a lawyer, then worked for the church and operated a cybercafé. Even then his monthly earnings sometimes weren’t enough to support the family. But around four years ago, everything changed.

Domestic Industry

To help earn a bit extra for the family, my mother who is herself a university graduate started selling her mother’s Nyonya dumpling, a classic Nyonya kuih (cake) that is shaped in a glutinous rice triangle and filled with sweet minced pork.

After selling a few on Facebook and receiving more and more requests from friends, Grandma threw her hands up and complained that her knee and foot pains were too much work for her. So, she got my mother to pick up the skill from her. By God’s blessing, my mother was able to learn everything within just a month. Simultaneously, my father had begun to discover and to stand on the financial promises and blessings of God: “The Lord shall…bless all the work of thine hand.” Deuteronomy 28:12. This verse is a promise we have seen fulfilling itself when we intentionally stand on it.

My mother became the youngest and the best Nyonya dumpling maker in Malacca, producing authentic Nyonya dumplings which reminded many people of their own grandmothers’ Chang (*a dialect for dumplings), some even shedding tears because the taste of my mum’s Nyonya dumplings brought back precious memories of their childhood. My father quitted his job and now runs the business with my mother, taking up the responsibility for cooking up the delicious filling of the dumplings.

Barnabas cooking Ponteh for students in his first mission trip to Sabah. We learn cooking and we cook lunch and dinner for our family every day. Because we have the skills and knowledge of cooking dishes, we are able to serve on mission trips! Here is a Bamabas cooking Ponteh for students in his first mission trip to Sabah!

As the money came in, we learned to be stewards of God’s blessing. We realized that the money that we worked so hard for wasn’t ours but God’s because God gave us the ability to produce wealth. “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth….” Deuteronomy 8:18 ESV.

God is the source of every good and perfect thing. He is the One who opens doors of opportunities and gives us our talents, skills, and abilities. This is why, without God, we can do nothing! “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5 ESV

My father would encourage us to use our God-given skills to produce our own income. His encouragement led me to bake stringed pineapple tarts for sale and to run Kampung Kids Camps, held every December.*   Earning my own income allows me to apply the promises of God, such as tithing and giving, and to exercise my faith!

Kampung Kids Camp in Melaka

Whenever I make pineapple tarts, I would take Deuteronomy 28:8 ESV to heart, firmly believing that God will bless everything I put my hand to. I do the same thing when I paint my artworks and anything that requires the use of my hand.

When I earn something, the first thing I do is to put away 10% of my earnings for tithe and a large amount for giving. The rest would then be saved in investments or for holidays! In my home-schooling family, we could not go on holidays unless we pay for all our own expenses. Yup, and not just the flight tickets – but also hotel accommodation, shopping, and all those other kinds of stuff too! Of course, however, sometimes the younger ones get to tag along for free.

For many people, when they first get their paycheck, most of it immediately goes to pay the bills and to spend. The leftovers will then be given to God. God doesn’t need our money. God wants us to give because He wants us to learn to trust Him. He wants us to give so that He can multiply what we gave to Him! God wants to bless us. He actually says, “Prove me! If I will not open up the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be enough room to receive it.” Malachi 3:9 ESV.

I have learnt to fully trust God with my finances. The end result is too good to refuse! 

About the Writer

Annabelle and her family live in Melaka and attend Gateway Bahasa Church.  Her parents David and Michelle home-school all her siblings.  

The Bong family produces these products:

The Bongs’ main bestseller is Nyonya Dumpling Pork @ RM7 (thin glutinous rice with a largely generous amount of delicious pork filling. Variations of the Nyonya dumpling fillings range from chicken, salted egg yolk, to vegetarian.)

Other products the family sells are pineapple tarts, Ponteh paste, Sambal Udang Kering, Kaya, and Pulut Tekan. These items must be pre-ordered.

To order, you can call or WhatsApp +6017-699 5750, Waze for Authentic Nyonya Chang, or visit them in Malacca. The Bongs also cook authentic Nyonya dishes in Malacca for dine-in customers (WhatsApp or call +6017-699 5750 to enquire details and to book).

*Annabelle’s note about KAMPUNG KIDS Camps

Our Kampung Kids Camp is held annually every first weekend of December. If we have more than 15 kids per camp, we will hold another camp the following weekend.

We have outdoor Kampung themed game activities, as well as awesome home-cooked meals!

The age group for participants is from 7 to 12 years old. We accept volunteers that are 15 to 19 years old. However, we only need at least 1 volunteer per camp, so if you’d like to experience Kampung life, quickly contact +6017-699 5750!

To register as a participant or volunteer and ask for further details, please contact +6017-699 5750 TWO MONTHS before every December! Camps are held every December.