Ng Kat Hing: Hong Kong Pioneer

    “Ng Kat Hing: Hong Kong Pioneer,” Ensign, Aug. 1992, 51

    Ng Kat Hing:

    Hong Kong Pioneer

    “Brother Ng,” the man’s voice began. Being addressed as “Brother” by a gwailouh (foreigner) caught Ng Kat Hing’s attention. The clean-cut group of Americans wearing dark suits had wandered into the furniture store where he was employed, and their unusual appearance fascinated the 25-year-old Hong Kong native. But he was even more intrigued by being called “brother.”

    “Do you not believe there is one Father in Heaven?” asked one of the Americans, who wore a name tag identifying him as President Heaton.

    When Ng Kat Hing nodded an answer, the man continued, “So we are brothers, and I will call you that.”

    Thirty-six years later, Brother Ng still recalls the feelings that filled his heart. “I was touched, and I was moved. In that moment, a little bit of the restored gospel was manifest to me. I wondered about it all that day and through the night. Four days later when the man called back to confirm the furniture order, I knew I wanted to know more.”

    Although Grant Heaton, president of the newly opened Southern Far East Mission, was merely looking for advice about teakwood furniture on that August day in 1955, he found much more than that in Ng Kat Hing. He found a language teacher, a convert, a missionary, a Church leader—a true Chinese pioneer.

    “Brother Ng and his family are real pioneers of the Church in the Hong Kong area,” remarks Elder Jacob de Jager of the Seventy, who, while serving as president of the Asia Area, worked closely with Brother Ng. In fact, Brother Ng was Elder de Jager’s Cantonese teacher. “He has great experience and wisdom and reaches out to people in a natural way. This was especially evident when Brother and Sister Ng were serving as temple missionaries in the Taipei Taiwan Temple, where they were of great help to the Cantonese-speaking members.”

    Reaching out to people has always been a talent of Brother Ng. In fact, it was his willingness to serve others that put him into even closer contact with the missionaries. After ordering furniture for the mission home, Brother Ng agreed to help President Heaton find someone to teach Cantonese Chinese to the missionaries. He talked to several friends who had studied with him at the Pooi Sun English College and the World Electrical Engineering College, but none of them could help. So he quit his job at the furniture store and taught the missionaries himself. Married and the father of four young children, Brother Ng took a cut in salary with the job change. But he believed it was worth every penny.

    “I learned the truth,” Brother Ng states simply. “That was a good deal, right? Nothing is more important than that.”

    The men took turns learning and teaching. Brother Ng presented basic language lessons, and then the missionaries taught gospel discussions. At that time, investigators heard a total of eighteen discussions, so Brother Ng went through several sets of missionaries before hearing all the lessons.

    “It took quite a while,” he acknowledges, “but by the time I was baptized, all my questions were answered. I had a strong foundation and a strong testimony.”

    Brother Ng was baptized on 31 May 1956 in a swimming pool used as a baptismal font at the mission home. He was one of the first converts to join the Church in Hong Kong after missionary work resumed there following the Korean War.

    But Brother Ng’s search for truth had started years previously. His grandmother, a practicing Buddhist, had begun attending Christian churches shortly before her death, and Brother Ng often accompanied her. “I was looking for a god who was different than the one I’d been taught about while growing up,” he remembers. “But the pastors and preachers at those meetings were difficult to approach, and they were more concerned with donations than with answering my questions.”

    So Brother Ng’s questions went unanswered until he met the missionaries. “From the beginning, I learned about our Father in Heaven and his son, Jesus Christ. The missionaries taught of our relationship to these beings. And they continually talked of being children of God.”

    The gospel changed Brother Ng’s life. “My wife tells me I was entirely different after joining the Church,” he says, laughing. “My temper was smooth. I became a gentleman. The managing of my finances went better because I paid my tenth to the Lord. I didn’t worry about food or shelter because I kept the commandments. A happy life followed.”

    After seeing the difference the gospel made in her husband’s life, Sister Ng Pang Lai Har also started investigating the gospel. Missionaries often visited their home, first teaching her husband one of the “after-baptism” lessons, then teaching her one of the eighteen discussions.

    Ten months after her husband’s baptism, Sister Ng was baptized. And as each of their seven children has reached eight years of age, Brother Ng has had the privilege of baptizing them.

    Brother Ng’s family is important to him. His dark eyes sparkle as he speaks of the joys of being a husband, father, and grandfather. His seven children are all married and are “scattered all over the world,” Brother Ng reports. “Only three are still living in Hong Kong. We have one in Canada, one in Holland, and two living in the United States.” Highlights of Brother Ng’s life include the temple marriages of all seven children as well as the sealings of each of these children to him and his wife.

    “We were not sealed to all of our children at once,” he explains. “Traveling to the temples, either in Tokyo or in the United States, was very expensive.” After saving for years, Brother and Sister Ng were sealed in the Provo Temple in 1974. Subsequent temple trips have strengthened the couple’s dedication and commitment to temple work. From 1986 to 1987, they served as temple missionaries in the Taipei temple.

    Brother Ng’s service in the Church began even before his baptism. In addition to teaching the missionaries, he helped translate Church materials from English, and he was serving as an assistant in the branch Sunday School superintendency when he was baptized. Since his baptism, he has served at various times as branch president, district president, stake president, stake patriarch, and counselor to the mission president. He now serves as a regional representative.

    To each calling, Brother Ng has brought a lively wit and loving warmth. Individuals matter to this leader, who hopes to see vast Church growth in Hong Kong in the future.

    “There is much pressure and stress in life,” observes Brother Ng. In Hong Kong, the thriving British colony located on the coast of China, materialism is a challenge that members must deal with daily. “Everyone is working so hard for money. We often spend so much time worrying about temporal things. The gospel brings a balance.”

    Brother and Sister Ng worked together to establish the balance in their home. Education was a high priority. “We must pay attention to our children’s education so that the next generation will be better off,” Brother Ng notes.

    He and his wife worked out a plan and followed it closely. They emphasized wise use of financial resources, family unity, and Church activity. “We made time for our children, for each other, and for Church callings,” he continues. “People say they have no time, but that is just an excuse. They have the time for the things that are important in their lives.”

    Another thing Brother Ng has always made time for is missionary work and watching the gospel affect others’ lives the way it has his own. He knows of the impact of the knowledge we have of a loving Father and a worldwide family.

    “We are all brothers and sisters,” testifies Brother Ng. “We need to share that knowledge with others so they can join our family, so that we can welcome them home.”

    Above: Brother Ng still recalls the feelings that filled his heart the day he first met the missionaries. “I was touched, and I was moved.” (Illustrated by Wilson Ong.) [photo] Right, Ng Kat Hing with one of his four children, Alan, who is now married and living in the United States.

    Baptized more than thirty years ago, Brother and Sister Ng enjoy sharing the gospel. (Photo by Kellene Ricks.)