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. A group of clean-cut 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.”

When Ng Kat Hing questioned them about the title, one of the Americans, who wore a name tag identifying him as President Heaton, asked, “Do you believe there is one Father in Heaven?”

When he nodded, the man continued, “Then we are brothers, and I will call you that.”

Forty-three years later, Brother Ng still recalls his response. “I was touched, and 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 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 pioneer.

“Brother Ng and his family are real pioneers of the Church in the Hong Kong area,” remarks Elder Jacob de Jager an emeritus member of the Seventy, who, while 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 one of Brother Ng’s talents. In fact, it was his willingness to serve others that put him in 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 to the missionaries. He talked to several friends, 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 believes it was well worth it.

“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 the missionaries taught gospel discussions. At that time, investigators were taught a total of 18 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. He was one of the first converts after missionary work resumed in Hong Kong following the Korean War.

But Brother Ng’s search for truth had started years earlier. His grandmother, a 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.”

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,” he remembers.

The gospel changed Brother Ng’s life. “My wife tells me I was entirely different after joining the Church,” he says, laughing. “My temper became smooth. My finances were better because I paid tithing. 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 investigated the gospel. Missionaries often visited their home, teaching her husband one of the new member lessons, then teaching her one of the 18 discussions.

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

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. Highlights of Brother Ng’s life include the temple marriages of all seven children as well as the sealings of each of the children to him and his wife.

“We were not sealed to all our children at once,” he explains. “Traveling to the temple, 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 missionaries in the Taipei Taiwan Temple.

The high point of their temple service is their most recent calling—president and matron of the Hong Kong Temple, dedicated in May 1996.

“My wife and I were thrilled with the announcement of the temple. We were planning on becoming temple workers, maybe even working three or four times a week,” President Ng says. “We’ll work more than that now!

“I was frightened with the calling at first and very humbled. I had feelings of unworthiness. But after praying, I felt confident that Heavenly Father would give us the spiritual strength and guidance we need to fulfill this calling. We are so grateful for this opportunity.”

President Ng’s service in the Church actually began before his baptism. In addition to teaching the missionaries, he helped translate Church materials, 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, counselor to the mission president, and regional representative.

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

“There is much pressure and stress in life,” observes President Ng. Concerns about the future, coupled with materialism, which often exists in a growing economy, are challenges that members 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,” President Ng explains.

President and Sister Ng worked together to establish balance in their home. They 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 President Ng has always made time for is missionary work and watching the gospel affect others’ lives the way it has his own. He knows the impact of our knowledge of a loving Father and a worldwide family.

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

[illustration] Brother Ng still recalls the feelings of his heart the day he first met the missionaries: “I was touched. I knew I wanted to know more.” (Illustrated by Wilson Ong.)

[photos] Photography courtesy of the Ng family

[photo] Ng Kat Hing with Alan, one of his seven children.

[photo] Baptized more than 40 years ago, Brother and Sister Ng now serve as president and matron of the Hong Kong Temple.