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The Ng family says there are no coincidences, just tender mercies

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Left, Kim and Ying Ng, parents, stand with their family in 2001 before their son, Joseph, center, left on his LDS mission to Singapore.

Family Photo

REXBURG, Idaho — Kim Ng has pondered life’s unexpected twists, turns, options and opportunities for many years. It’s left her with an interesting idea.

“I think the Lord is the best chess player,” the woman said with a sweet English accent. “He knows where people are needed, where they can progress the most, where they can be of service to others and where they might touch lives. He engineers things in such a way to fulfill his purposes. Time and time again, that’s been confirmed to me.”

Ng figures that events in her life could not be explained any other way. Her husband was born in China and made his way to England, where they met. Both are converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More unique circumstances eventually led the family to a southeastern Idaho college town, where they found one of the missionaries who taught her family the gospel decades earlier.

For the Ngs, these happenings are not coincidences, just tender mercies.

“If we are willing to listen and follow the directions of the Spirit, without us trying too hard, we can end up in places where we can be a great service to the Lord and to other people, and in a place where we can be most happy,” she said. “The Lord has a much better perspective than we do.”

Ying’s journey

Ying Ng was born in Xinhui, a city in the Guangdong province of southern China. A Communist takeover motivated his family to leave when he was 3 years old.

“I remember very little,” Ying Ng said. “It was late at night and somebody was carrying me on their back. I was ill. We were going through a field. I remember we were in a boat … ”

The family eventually reached Hong Kong, where they had to compete for employment. Somehow they survived.

One day the family met Mormon missionaries in the street and listened to the gospel. To the dismay of one grandmother, Ng’s father and older brother joined the church in 1965. More family members converted with time, including Ying Ng, who was baptized in 1968.

To find better work opportunities, Ng’s father emigrated to England. He traveled there first, opened a restaurant and paid the passage for his family members as the funds became available. Ying Ng landed in England in 1971. He worked at the family restaurant and attended school part-time to learn English.

Despite the language barrier, Ying Ng’s testimony continued to grow. When he was in his 20s, he wanted to serve a mission. His father was strongly opposed because he wanted his son to continue with the family business. Ying said it was hard to go against his father’s will, but he decided to be a missionary and was called to the England London South Mission.

Ying Ng served an honorable mission and finally learned English. But when he returned to Manchester, England, he found his father had sold the business with plans to emigrate to the United States. Ying decided to stay, although he had no job or money. For a time, he struggled with what to do. At one point, he filled out an application to attend Ricks College but couldn’t bring himself to mail it because he knew he couldn’t go.

He found work at a warehouse making LDS temple clothing. Later, he developed his skills in the catering and restaurant business. He also used his English to help other Chinese immigrants start their own businesses.

The Turners

Shortly before Ying Ng was baptized in Hong Kong, another family was about to join the church in Stains, England — a city southeast of London.

Kim Turner’s mother was taking down Christmas decorations after celebrating Christmas in 1966 when she came across a plastic nativity set and felt guilty.

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