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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

“She realized, to her horror, that we hadn’t stopped to celebrate Christmas as the birth of the Savior. This really concerned my mum,” Turner said. “She got down in the decorations and offered a sincere prayer of apology for letting this slip and said hopefully we will do better next year.”

A couple of weeks later, two missionaries knocked on the Turners’ door. The Christmas experience had softened their hearts and they were receptive to the message. Within two months (February 1967), Elders Leon Christensen and Melvin Parker baptized every member of the family but Kim, who was only 6. She was disappointed, but Parker came back at the end of his mission to baptize her. The family was grateful for their newfound faith and held firm to the gospel.

Ying and Kim

In 1980, Kim Turner’s brother was serving a full-time mission in Manchester when he met 26-year-old Ying Ng, then the ward mission leader. One day Ying informed the missionaries that he had just been called to serve in the bishopric, which had him thinking about getting married. As they talked, Ying shared a list of qualities he was looking for in a wife. Elder Turner jokingly suggested Ying date his little sister, Kim.

A short time later, Turner’s companion completed his mission. Ying was in the habit of taking returning missionaries to London, showing them some sites and dropping them off at the airport. As part of the trip, they hooked up with Turner’s family. That’s how Kim Turner met Ying Ng.

“I was nervous because he had a name we couldn’t pronounce,” Kim said. “But as soon as I saw him, I thought, ‘Oh, he’s not too bad.’ We got on really well from the beginning.”

Ying and Kim dated and got engaged. They married on July 4, 1981, in the London Temple.

Rexburg reunions

About a decade ago, the Ngs’ daughter, Ruth, attended Ricks College and married an American. She encouraged her parents to move to Rexburg and open a restaurant.

In October 2008, the Ngs took their daughter’s advice, came to Rexburg and opened Ying Yang Oriental Kitchen. The move has been a blessing. In addition to the restaurant, the last four years have allowed Kim to embrace opportunities to play the violin with the Rexburg Tabernacle Orchestra and sing in the Upper Valley women’s choir.

“It felt right to come here so we did,” she said. “We love Rexburg. We feel really at home here.”

But that’s not even the best part. Being in Rexburg has allowed Ying and Kim to reconnect with some dear old friends.

A few years before they moved to the U.S., they made contact with Elder Leon Christensen for the first time in 35 years, via email. Christensen lost his mission journal, slides and address book when the Teton Dam broke and flooded the area in 1976 and was excited to find a member of the Turner family. The former missionary assisted the family by directing them to the right people in admissions so their daughter could attend Ricks College. As an added bonus, when the Ngs bought a home in Rexburg, it happened to fall within the same LDS ward boundaries (Rexburg 12th Ward) as Christensen. Eventually, Kim also tracked down the missionary who baptized her, Elder Melvin Parker, who now lives in West Jordan, Utah. The family has been able to spend time with both missionaries and their families, and the reunions have been special. Kim Ng often wonders where she might be today if Christensen and Parker hadn’t brought the gospel to her family in 1967.

“We are so grateful … it’s one of the tender mercies of the Lord,” said Kim Ng, who now serves as her ward’s Relief Society president. “We could have lived without meeting our missionaries again, but it’s been so nice to be able to thank them for what has been the best blessing we could ever have. Their efforts have made such a difference for so many people.”

Parker was able to be with the Ng family for a baby blessing and marveled at how missionary work had altered the course of their lives.

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