All in the Family


Wong Yun Tai remembers the warm September evening in 1984 when her life changed. The Wong family live on the 21st floor of the Wu Yuet House, a government housing project in the Tuen Mun area of Hong Kong’s New Territories. That evening, 15-year-old Wong Yun Tai, who goes by the English name Belle, was eating dinner when a knock came at her door. Two strangers wearing white shirts, ties, and curious black name tags were at the door. They talked 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 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, said a prayer, and then left. It was a simple meeting, but it had a powerful effect on Belle. “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. She began sharing what she had learned.

Now, more than a decade later, she’s still sharing. Since those humble beginnings, seven of the eight Wong children have joined the Church, as have Mom and Dad. Belle served a mission in Hong Kong. So did two younger sisters, Angela and May.

The example Belle set for her family has made a big impression on her youngest sister, Wong Cho Ho—who goes by the English name of Rambo—and her younger brother, Wong Wah Kan (Simon), both of whom are now teenagers.

“Before I was a member, I’d always notice Belle,” says Simon, who was baptized in 1992. “She wasn’t lazy. Every Sunday she’d get up and go to church. 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. “When I was younger, I began going to church with Belle each Sunday, even though I hadn’t been baptized,” she recalls, “but I wouldn’t take the sacrament.”

This is where the story takes 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 their other 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 wanted to share the gospel with was her sister Agnes. She invited Agnes to church. “When I first went to church,” says Agnes, who is two years older than Rambo, “I was pretty bored. I liked to talk to the missionaries, but I didn’t like to talk about the Church. But Rambo would 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.

And so the sharing went: Two missionaries talked to Belle. Belle joined the Church and began fellowshipping Rambo. Rambo was baptized and began talking about the gospel with Agnes and Simon. Agnes and Simon were baptized, and they were followed by Mandy, the Wongs’ oldest daughter, and May, Angela, and their parents.

Simon likes to think back to the time when he began seriously investigating the gospel. He remembers praying for the first time. “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. “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 attending church meetings and reading the scriptures. “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 positive impact the gospel has had on her family, but she deflects any credit given to her. Instead, she says, “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.”

Her family disagrees with Belle’s assessment of her role. Each night as they sit down to dinner, they look at one another and see living proof of Belle’s gospel-sharing legacy.

[photos] Photography by Laury Livsey, Richard Romney, and courtesy of the Wong Family

[photos] After being baptized, Belle, left, shared the gospel with her family. Upper left: Belle (middle front) and sisters Agnes (left), Rambo, and Mandy (right). Above: Belle’s brother, Simon, and sister, Rambo.

[photos] Top right: Brother and Sister Wong. Their daughter Agnes, right, says “I decided to investigate the Church because Belle was so serious and made so many sacrifices for the Church.” Below: Brother and Sister Wong and seven of their eight children have been baptized, thanks to Belle’s example.