Testimonies

Dear Preacher / Pastor Yao:

I would like to greatly express my sincere gratitude for your efforts in helping my son during his 18 month rehabilitation at Operation Dawn, San Jose. Your understanding love and care for others have, and only continue to inspire him since the experience.

Deeply stirring my heart, I still reminisce of your empathetic concern for my son’s exceedingly anguishes situation and major internal conflicts prior to his involvement in the program. Your enduring assistance, love and care to him before and throughout his program experience are evident in the reformed life pattern he has established since. Through quiet self-reflection and self-awareness, my son has revamped his self-concept from the inside out. His once pervasive cynical and dark perspective of life and the world in now filled with hopeful optimism.

A renewed, reformed perspective and mentality towards life, my son has gained, in addition, self-control with overcoming the temptation of drugs, alcohol and other self-destructive outlets. He has become like himself once again after such a long time of prolonged bouts with major depression while living day-to-day in a downward spiral, in which he had no hope in himself for a positive future. He has gained further knowledge and practice in addressing various life responsibilities and initiatives as well, including those among his studies, cooking, cleaning including other household chores and contributions. He has incorporated a more disciplined approach to life, scheduling activities at healthier, more regular hours of the day, often waking normally again as early as 7 a.m. and going to bed as early as 11 p.m. Other apparent area of his growth include a more active attendance and theist for wisdom and self-improvement at his local church fellowship, increased confidence with expressing himself, and an ever-deepening concern for the well-being of others in place of his former reclusive, detached and worldly materialistic goals. Most importantly, my son has found himself among loving and supportive individuals, experiencing God and seeking His wisdom, and a life of meaning and fulfillment by remaining devoted to Him.

Greatly through your patience, kindness, persistence and belief in my son as a pastor, supporting him during the darkest period of his life, he has been able to stand firm in acceptance of himself, with a newfound love and zest for life, influencing a dramatic improvement in all aspects of his being. By this same love and encouragement, we can all look towards the future by reconciling and tackling the past.

I am most grateful for the opportunities afforded to my son through this program to change and refocus his life goals. Since his stay at Operation Dawn, he has switched from his business major, which he previously found stale, to passionately studying psychology, hoping one day to become a distinguished therapist and counselor for those in need, in pursuit of a meaningful purpose of life all for the glory of God. In effect, you have inspired and set for him a great example of living – not only for ourselves, but with earnest compassion and love for others. Thank you again so very much!!

Very truly yours,
JC July 5, 2008

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My name is Danny, I was born in Taiwan and I came to the United States with my family when I was 5 years old. We first lived in Southern California when we first arrived. We’d lived there for only 9 months before my parents decided to move us to Las Vegas. Because of an injury my father had acquired on his ankle, which kept him from standing too long. Because of that, Dad left America to do business back in Taiwan in more familiar surroundings. So you can say growing up it was just the three of us; mom, my sister and I.

During those earlier years I knew it was extremely difficult for my mother being alone in America, not speaking the language, and raising us. So I learned not to trouble my mom with too much. I learned to be responsible at an early age. I’ve always surround myself with a lot of friends and involved myself with school be accepted. In high school I was involved in Student Council and in my senior year was involved Senior Class Vice President. This was a big accomplishment and meant a lot to me. Accomplishing this actually help me overcome some fears. The fear of not being accepted, feelings of insignificance and shyness.

While attending University of Nevada Las Vegas, I was working too at a financial institute. It was during my second year in college that I’d begin using drugs. The transition from High School to College was difficult for me. Many of the friends I had and was used to from High School went to other colleges in different states. So it was starting over again in the department of friends. I began to hang out with people I normally didn’t seem myself hanging out with. I started doing things that I normally wouldn’t do, just to be accepted by them. Things like drinking, smoking, staying out all night, and doing drugs. I’ve always known drugs are bad. I never would have thought I’d be addicted to drugs. Even when I was curious and tried it, I’d always thought I could stop anytime.

In a period of 5 years, my life went on a downward spiral. I was beginning to show up late to work, calling in sick, skipping work just to get high. I was beginning to lose interest and focus at school. The minute I’d arrived in class I would sit there in anxiety hoping for class to get out so I can get high. I was spending a majority of my money on drugs. Eventually because of my poor performance at work I lost my job. It was devastating to me. I worked so hard at this job. I worked my way up from a Teller to a CSR. I was difficult to let my family know and of course I lied to them about the real reason I was let go. I never forgave myself for that. I turned to the drugs as my comfort and used it to cope and as my escape from reality.

Pretty soon my family caught on to my drug use. They found out about my drug habits when I was arrested in 2002. I will never forget the look on my mother’s face as I was brought out in court in a chained and shackled up with other criminal offenders. There I saw in the first row was my mother and sister crying. When the courts called my name, my mom in her broken English stood up and pleading to the judge to give me another chance. The judge had pity on me and gave me a chance to prove myself. On that day I’d vowed to myself I would change and never touch drugs again. But I’d couldn’t, the addiction was so strong, even after staying clean for 9 months I went back to doing drugs. I’ve tried a lot of ways and my family tried helping me and I just couldn’t quit. My mom helped me out tremendously. Even though I lied, stole and cheated from her she never gave up on me. On several occasions it seem like I was starting life over with a good job, but the minute I’d had money in my pockets I turn to go buy drugs.

No matter what I tried I couldn’t quit. I wasn’t successful until I came here to Operation Dawn where I became a Christian.

In January of 2006 my mom, dad and I flew to San Jose to check out this place called Operation Dawn. It was at Operation Dawn that I came to accept Christ in my life. From the Bible teaching and experiences sharing given by the workers in Operation Dawn, I came to understand that drug addiction is a bondage of sin, and by their teaching and their guiding and the instructed program, I gradually clean from drugs. Now I am studying in West Valley College, in interior design. I also work in school, and join the Associated Students Org. Now I enjoy life, and always look forward for the school’s break time, so that I can spend time with family, in the past. For a long time now I couldn’t forgive myself for the things that I’ve done, but now I can.

Danny

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I was 20 years old when I first took cocaine and became a drug addict and alcoholic. For the next 20 years, my life was completely ruined and I could not maintain a normal life.

In November 2005, I was accepted into the rehab program provided by Operation Dawn in San Jose, California where I met Pastor Hung-chi YAO and his wife who taught me how to break the bondage of drug and alcohol. Through their patience and loving care, I was able to restore my self-dignity and felt being loved.

I completed the rehab treatment program in May 2007, 3 months after the death of Mrs. Yao who was killed in a car accident while she was paying a visit to a drug addict in prison. I was deeply touched by the love and patience both Mr. and Mrs. Yao has shown us, a group of drug addicts who were all going through the rehab program at Operation Dawn in San Jose.

I remember that Rev. Yao was always the first person to wake up in the morning at the facility to make sure that everything was ready for training for that day. When we were having our routine breaks from our regular programs, Rev. Yao would often chat with us and encourage us to stay strong physically and mentally, no matter what the future holds. Even after his wife died because of their love to our drug addicts, Rev. Yao still keep showing his loving care and sincere concern for us helped to take away much of our frustration and anxiety while being at the facility.

Staying in the Operation Dawn over 18 months, the staff there, under the leadership of Rev. Yao, I experienced a total different life style demonstrated by someone who used to be like me, heavily on drug, but now is an honest man and always willing to sacrifice for others.

Most importantly, the staffs there understand our pain for they had gone through what we went through. I thank God for Rev. Yao and the staffs of Operation Dawn because they gave us hope and love that enhanced our rehabilitation.

Peter
March 1, 2011

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My name is Peter Chen, and I am an incredibly, overwhelmingly, grateful recovering addict. I have been clean from drugs for 6 years, alcohol and cigarettes for 2, and sexually sober for almost three months. It is through the journey of recovery that I also recovered my relationship with God. I am forever grateful to Operation Dawn for changing my trajectory of rebellion to a trajectory towards God. This is the story of my experience, strength, and hope:

I hit bottom in 2010. Up until that point, I had been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, depression, porn and dependency relationships, and a slew of bad habits that accompanied my addictive patterns. Through my own insistence on self-will and refusal to admit my powerlessness over my addiction, I hit bottom after bottom until I was kicked out of my mom’s house, rejected by family and friends, dropped out of college, and left out on the streets with no money, no job, and nowhere left to run. It was at that point that I was finally able to admit that my life had become unmanageable, and that I needed help. Providentially, right at that time, my mother heard about Operation Dawn through a friend of hers. After contacting Pastor Yao, we set up a time to meet face to face and check out the Rehab Center. When we got there, to my surprise, the place did not look like the typical rehab center I had in my mind. I was thinking of a huge facility much like a clinic. What I came to was a two story house, with a front lawn and two-car garage. Another surprise was that there was only one other student there. I heard Pastor Yao’s story about how he was addicted to heroin for over a decade and had been in and out of jail several times. Finally, after coming to Operation Dawn in Taiwan, he not only recovered from his addiction, but also became a follower of Jesus. Subsequently, he became a Pastor and now helps minister to drug addicts. I was blown away by his testimony. Even though at the time, I knew little about the Gospel or God, there was no denying God’s power to change broken men through this man’s testimony. I made the decision to come to Operation Dawn and commit to staying the entire length of 18 months. I ended up staying for two years in the program, and throughout my stay I was constantly confronted with difficult people, emotions, and circumstances. I have to admit, I did not change immediately. The self-justifying part of me wanted to blame my problems on others, and I sharpened my focus on the flaws of others to keep from looking within myself and facing my own junk. However, I was treated with grace by the staff, who bore with my grumbling and treated me with compassion. I graduated the program with a spiritual foundation and a newfound recovery community that has since been vital to my ongoing recovery. One big takeaway I have learned from being in Operation Dawn has been that you cannot do recovery alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and recovery only works in community. There are vital elements of recovery that can only be experienced in community with other fellow addicts and brothers/sisters: working through difficult emotions, exposing faulty core beliefs, learning how to love, forgive, reconcile, and confront, and celebrating signs of growth together. We are addicts not just because of our addictions but because of our unhealthy addictive patterns of coping with life. Until I came to grips with the reality of what’s going on inside me, I was deceiving myself. However, if I stopped there, I would be left in despair. What I also needed was unconditional acceptance and affirmation in spite of the baggage I carried. And that’s what Operation Dawn provided for me: a people and a place where I could learn to face myself in all my flaws and still feel safe and loved. Through Operation Dawn I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin, and to look at the world for what it really is, and still have hope in God’s redemptive plan for me and humanity. Since then I have learned that although I am an addict, and always will be one, my primary identity is a beloved Child of God. As such, I am no longer primarily a sinner, I am a saint and a new creation. This critical change in identity has helped me to acknowledge my sin without self-flagellation, speak truth to others without condemning them, and learn to celebrate growth in myself and others. I strongly believe in Operation Dawn’s ministry of recovery of the addict, not just from bondage of addiction, but into a vibrant relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ. And it is because of this ministry that I am now free from drugs & alcohol, a follower of Jesus, and able to take responsibility for my life. Praise God that even though I have been faithless, He is forever faithful to His children (2 Timothy 2:13)!

Peter

I am extremely grateful to Rev. Yao and Operation Dawn.

My name is Wang-Chuen. I am now 28 years old. I was 22 years old when I came to Operation Dawn in San Jose and at the time, I had a major issue with drugs. I was addicted to methamphetamine and had been for 8 years. Operation Dawn’s drug rehab program was directed by a Rev. Yao.

At first, as any person would, I was skeptical of going into the program, or any program for that matter. Me and the Rev Yao did an interview and assessment first. It was during that time, I came to feel good about entering the program. Rev. and Mrs. Yao talked to me about my problems, but not only that, he related to them and understood where I was at, something that was very important to me at the time because no one, including my own mother, could do that at the time. The program was for one year and a half, but I stayed for two years.

Later on, I realized that they were originally from Taiwan, and I was the first person they ministered to and they have been the people spending 24/7 to encourage me. Through the program Rev. and Mrs. Yao really helped me to quit drugs by helping me to face my root problems that led to drugs.

There is much of his philosophy that he has shared and taught me, probably too much to fit in this testimony, but one thing is that he taught me to take ownership of my problems, be responsible for them, face them and learn how to deal with them.

This took a long time, but is another reason why I Operation Dawn for my success. For in Operation Dawn, Rev. and Mrs. Yao gave the time, resources, encouragement and care that I needed to help me deal with my issues. I have been off drugs for 6 years now. I am currently a student at San Jose State University. My major is Social Work and I am on track to graduate this May of 2011.

I am extremely grateful to Rev. Yao and Operation Dawn. They are still helping me as I am still connected with them through living at a half-way house they have. I attend the monthly Operation Dawn meetings, weekly Bible studies ran by Operation Dawn, and I frequently go the House of Dawn to spend time with the guys and staff there, doing many sorts of activities like joining their classes, sharing some of my experiences, playing sports, etc. on a weekly basis. All of that has served as support for me to continue my school and obtain my degree, as well as staying sober.

Wang-Chuen
March 07, 2011

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I am the youngest boy in the family. I have two sisters who are much older than I. I became much dependent in character and developed a promiscuous lifestyle. My father was very strict in rearing us. His methods were usually spanking or yelling. I didn’t enjoy talking to him. Since my sisters are much older, my “friends” became the most important people around me. After I was in 8th grade, I started to stay at my friend’s till very late before I would go home.

There was this one time when we were hanging out in a karaoke, a friend showed us a pack of white powder and said, “This is number 4, anybody wants to try?” I knew it was heroin, but out of curiosity and also I wanted acknowledgement from my peers, I tried it for the first time. I felt it could help me to avoid facing a lot of unpleasant things in life. Since then, my friends and I would get together and just do drugs. Before long, we all got hooked. During those years, that was all we did. I became more and more secluded. My grades were getting bad, and my relationship with my family was becoming more and more distant. My drug habit began to influence my sleep, my eating habit, and my whole lifestyle. Due to the need to support my drug habit, I began borrowing money from others, exceeding the limits on my credit cards, and even stealing from home. In the end, my family couldn’t stand me anymore and wanted me to leave.

Doing drugs finally got me parted from my family. When I was with my “friends” who did drugs, I started to experiment other drugs like amphetamines, marijuana, and speed. To support these drug habits, I followed directions from my friends to do illegal things to get more money. I didn’t like what I did but I had no control of myself. I hated myself for what I did. I went to different rehabs but none of them were able to help me.

Eight years ago, I went to get help from Operation Dawn. They took me in for free. The people from Operation Dawn were all Christians. They did not use medications. They only used scriptures and prayers. They only used a grateful heart that comes from being freed from the binding of doing drugs. They helped me experienced acceptance, love, care, and hope. I have now once again found my family, freedom, and the goal of life.

Because I didn’t relate well with my family, I got myself a group of friends. In order to be “in” the group, I tried doing drugs for the first time. The result was that I lost my family, health, education, and conscience. It is through the love of God and the ministry of Operation Dawn that I have once again found my family, freedom, and the goal of life.

Up till today, I have been drug-free for more than 8 years. I was able to finish my seminary study in Christian Witness Bible Seminary, got married with my lovely wife, we have one son and going to have another son coming in June 2012. I am currently working as a Bible teacher in Operation Dawn helping others to overcome drug addiction with the word of God.

Wang Teng

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