95944_000_011Belle had found something priceless. So naturally she shared it with those closest to her.
Wong Yun Tai has no problem remembering the warm September evening in 1984. Two missionaries were tracting in the Wu Yuet House, a government housing project in the Tuen Mun area of Hong Kong’s New Territories where the Wong family lived. On the 21st floor, 15-year-old Wong Yun Tai, who goes by the English name of Belle, was eating dinner when a knock came at her door. Two strangers wearing ties, white shirts, and curious black name tags were talking to her through the metal gate that remained locked even though the door was open.
Belle was busy eating, so she told her two visitors to come back in an hour. “I was interested in religion, and I really wanted to know what was true. I just didn’t know which church was true. It was just like Joseph Smith. I really wanted to know which church was God’s true church,” recalls Belle.
When the missionaries returned, she listened politely to their message. Afterward, they gave her a Book of Mormon to read, closed with prayer, and then left. It was a simple meeting with powerful results. “When I prayed, I had a very unique, good feeling in my heart,” she says.
A month later, Belle was baptized. Then the real work began. Belle, the second oldest child of Wong Hong Tsuen and Wong Leung Nan Ho, wanted her parents and brothers and sisters to experience the same gospel joy that had become such an important part of her life. Belle began sharing what she had learned. And now, 11 years later, she’s still sharing.
Since those humble beginnings, seven of the eight Wong children have joined the Church, and Mom and Dad were baptized two years ago. Belle served a mission in Hong Kong, and two younger sisters, Angela and May, are currently missionaries in their native country, a British crown colony located near the southern tip of China.
The example Belle, who is now 26, set for her family is not lost on the two remaining teenagers in the Wong home—Belle’s younger sister, Wong Cho Ho, 19, who goes by the English name of Rambo, and 16-year-old Wong Wah Kan (Simon).
“Before I was a member, I’d always notice Belle. She wasn’t lazy. Every Sunday she’d get up and go to church,” says Simon, who was baptized in 1992. “When Belle was a missionary, she was a good example to my family and she helped us.”
Rambo, who adopted her unique English name several years ago, also credits her sister’s influence in her own conversion. “Belle has been a great example to me in my life,” she explains.
Because Rambo is the youngest Wong daughter, her parents were hesitant at first to allow her to join the Church. “When I was younger, I began going to church each Sunday even though I hadn’t been baptized,” she recalls. “At first, my parents didn’t want me to join the Church. So I would go with Belle every Sunday, but I wouldn’t take the sacrament.”
This is where the story takes on an ironic twist.
“A lot of members of the ward would look at me and think I was a member,” she continues. “They would ask me to be a fellowshipper for the missionaries’ investigators even though I was still an investigator myself. As I got older, my testimony began to develop and I learned more about the Church.”
When Rambo was finally baptized in 1990, she joined Belle in teaching gospel principles to older sisters Mandy, May, Angela, and Agnes, as well as to Simon. She also continued “officially” fellowshipping other investigators at church each Sunday. “When I was a kid, I liked to play and have fun. But when I got older, I received a testimony—a true testimony—and I wanted to share it,” Rambo says.
One of the first people Rambo thought of was Agnes. “When I would go to church, at first I was pretty bored. I liked to talk to the missionaries, but I didn’t like to talk about the Church,” says Agnes, who is two years older than Rambo. “Rambo would talk to me and try to help me understand more about the gospel. Finally I decided to investigate the Church because Belle was so serious and made so many sacrifices for the Church, and I could see what the Church was beginning to mean to Rambo.”
Rambo also talked about the gospel with Simon and helped him with his decision to be baptized. Simon’s now a priest in the Tuen Mun Second Ward.
So this is how it works. Two missionaries talk to Belle, Belle joins the Church and begins fellowshipping Rambo. Rambo is baptized and begins talking about the gospel with Agnes and Simon. Agnes and Simon are baptized, as are Mandy, the Wongs’ oldest daughter, and May and Angela. This wasn’t trickle-down fellowshipping. This was a waterfall.
Simon likes to think back to the time when he began seriously investigating the gospel. He remembers praying for the first time. “I really didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to pray or what I should say,” he remembers. “But I always felt good when I prayed.”
Before Simon joined the Church, Sundays were reserved for rest and relaxation. He would generally sleep in, then get up and play soccer with his friends. These days, his friends don’t even bother asking him to play games on the Sabbath. “They know now that I won’t play on Sunday. I’ve already told them I don’t do that, and they understand why I don’t and what I do instead,” he says. Sundays for Simon generally consist of church meetings and scripture reading. “I love studying in the Book of Mormon—especially about Lehi and the faith he had. My own faith isn’t great so it’s good for me to read about someone who was so strong.”
Belle loves to talk about the impact the gospel has had in the lives of her family members, but deflects any credit aimed at her. Instead she acknowledges the role of the Spirit in helping her family grow in the gospel. “I don’t know how much help I’ve been to my family, but I do know Heavenly Father has helped my family a lot.”
Simon disagrees with his big sister’s assessment of her role. “When Belle was a missionary, it brought my family many blessings. I think she was a great missionary, and I know she helped a lot of investigators receive baptism,” he says.
Simon should know. Once upon a time, he was one of those investigators. Now, each night as they sit down to dinner, Mandy, Agnes, Rambo, Simon, and Brother and Sister Wong can look at one another and see living proof of Belle’s gospel-sharing legacy.