In memory of Ning Ching March 26, 1920 - January 16, 2017

A Soldier, and Army Officer

My father was born in the city of Liuyang, Hunan Province, China 湖南瀏陽; the only child in his family. At age 17, after his mother died, he enlisted in the army.... courageously fought in many combat missions defending the country against the Japanese aggression. Subsequently, his superior encouraged and nominated him to enroll at the Whampoa Military Officers Academy「黃埔軍官學校」for a twenty-month training program.

A Father

When the war [lasted eight years]was over, the young officer had earned the rank of a Colonel in the Nationalists Army. The following year, he married a young and beautiful nurse who worked at a military hospital 「國民黨陸軍醫院」. Ten months later they had a son.

Due to the Nationalist and Communist parties' political conflicts and interests, peace and stability in the land ended rather quickly, a full-scale civil war was erupted.... And for the next few years, my father and his armies forced to engage in fighting an unconventional warfare. At the end, the Communist Party toppled the Nationalist, the new government was established as the People’s Republic of China (PLC) on October 1, 1949 with its capital at Beijing.

A Refugee

My dear mother at age three loss her mother; at fourteen her widowed-father died, left her with no siblings and no family; at 21, married to my father. Wen the new regime took control of China, fearing for his and his family’s safety – my father fled to Hong Kong, a British Controlled Colony. In winter 1950, accompanying by a cousin my mom safely arrived in Hong Kong with her 2-year-old son reunited with my father. Beginning a new life far from home – three of them found themselves mixed-in with a large number of homeless refugees – sleeping and begging for food in the streets. They eventually relocated to a refugee camp「調景嶺難民營」on a remote island; for the next several years, the family received some welfare assistance offered by local Christian groups.

A Door-to-Door Street Vendor

By now, the Nings had three boys and a girl. I was the youngest boy in the family. In 1955, we moved into a Methodist Church housing project. In terms of the living space, it was approximately 250 sq. ft. – no indoor plumbing and no bathroom but public water-faucet and outhouse only. My father was unable to find any promising employment regardless of his twelve-year military background. To make ends meet, he became a street vendor – selling homemade-bread, handmade bamboo-products and kerosene in the neighboring villages.

1991 my first-trip-home to #25 Wesley Village

A Mormon Family

One evening in February 1958 while strolling passed by a high school on their way home, my parents noticed two white-shirted missionaries, out of curiosity they approached the young Elders in the street and exchanged contact information. Within the next six months of six months, despite the intimidation and harassment from the pastor-landlord and neighbors, my family regularly receiving visits and lessons at our home from Elders Joel L. Durrant and F. Grant Allen, James W. Roberts and Thomas Opfar. To avoid drawing unnecessary attention from neighbors, door was closed and windows were covered whenever the elders were at our house. Our neighbors and the Wesley Church pastor were infuriated.... And before long the Elders and my family became targets of verbal abuses, some even poured water on the missionaries and started name-calling.

Elders Joel L. Durrant and F. Grant Allen teaching the NINGs

In spite of unfavorable economic circumstances and great opposition among their neighbors and friends, my parents, along with their four small children happily accepted the missionaries’ messages. The NINGs joined the church. We now the only Mormons in our neighborhoods. At first, it was difficult attending church alone, but we learned to accept that we were peculiar in the minds of others.

After joining the Mormons, welfare assistance was immediately terminated by the Protestant church with which my parents had previous affiliated. The NING's membership in the Mormon Church angered the Wesley Church pastor and their neighbors; the pressure became increasingly intolerable. My father determined not to give in or to compromise – at the end, his suicide attempt to protest against eviction stopped the bullying from the pastor-landlord. Simply, because of the bad publicity for their church so he backed-off, and swiftly left my father alone when the newspaper's report of the ex-Colonel's infamous ordeal generated outpouring of sympathy and support to the NING family.

A Noodle Man

As a result of a discussion with President H. Grant Heaton at the mission home helped President Grant better understood the NING family situation. He approved my father's business pan and offered him a small loan. Prior to Grant's passing in 2011 we had a phone conversation, and I took the liberty to clarify an inaccurate account of my father's ordeal that Grant had written and published in1999. Also I reminded him of his kindness act, and I thanked him.... And he claimed that the loan to my father was his "Perpetual Fund'' program so to speak. In the coming years, the home-based noodle business enabled my father to be self-reliant and independent. He had kept the noodle business for twenty-six years until his retirement.

Yet the family business demanded a heavy workload for everyone, we all had to do our shares such as noodle packing and delivering to grocery stores in the cities. My mom worried about her sons education. In September 1965, my older brother and I were sent to a Catholic boarding school located where the old refugee camp had been, only now there were more houses and people. Sadly, mom passed away at the hospital during the Chinese New Year 1967 spring-break, and we had to withdraw from school moving back home.

Our boarding school at Tiu King Ling Refugee Camp

A Widower

My mom was a stalwart faithful church member. Due to her suffering chronic heart disease, depression, stressful and undesirable living condition, which causing her health gradually deteriorated and succumbed to illness.

Ultimately, she gave up the fight for her life, died in the hospital on February 17, 1967. She was 41-years-old. As a family, coping with the loss of a mother and a wife was extremely difficult and painful but through the Lord’s tender mercy, our sorrow and suffering in time filled with comfort and hope.

Mom's Funeral Service At Kam Tong Hall

In 1979 my mom was sealed to my father; and 1981 she was sealed to her parents by proxies at the Provo Temple. I was at the sealing in both occasions and witnessed that scared temple ceremony.

Two missionary-sons serving in 1974

"He can't speak English"

I recall prior to the Hong Kong Stake was established the local priesthood leaders were asked to meet with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve at the mission home. Only a few short months ago, I and several elders were here had our final testimony meeting and breakfast on the last day of our two-year mission. Here I was having been invited for an interview, I sat across from Elder Hinckley and Elder Adney Komatsu of the Assistant to the Twelve; they asked whom would I nominate to be the Stake President, so I gave them some names. After written down the names on his notebook, in a sincere gesture but rather curious manner, Elder Hinckley asked, “What about your father?” I politely replied, “He can’t speak English.” I think they obviously felt that my answer had merit to it and agreed it was a legitimate reason as to why I omitted my father’s name.

On April 15, 1976, Elder Hinckley organized the Hong Kong Stake as the Church’s First Stake in Asia. At the end of the Conference, my father and I took a taxi to the mission home to be set-apart for our new assignments. But a few months later I left Hong Kong to study abroad and my father filled my vacant spot in the Stake Seventy Quorum Presidency. Before my father immigrated to Bellevue, Washington in 1986, he had faithfully served in various capacities in the branch, district, ward and stake levels and, the last position that he held was a Bishop.

Hong Kong Island Stake Presidency
1976 my farewell at Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport

A New Immigrant

1986 my father's farewell at Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport

In 1940, my father had involved in updating and compiling the Hunan Liaoyang and Xiaoyang family names with his uncle. He later learned that his elderly uncle's son buried the family records in the ground during the 60's Cultural Revolution to avoid possible destruction by the red guards.

In the early 1990s, a copy of my father’s written personal history and his family-pedigree and subsequent telephone conversations, which had sparked the interest of his nephew’s son to begin a project by gathering and compiling more names and family histories including other Ning families within Hunan and nearby provinces. Word got out quickly and the work was in motion.

At age 73, Grandpa Ning was struck by a car at the crosswalk nearby the Washington Seattle Temple. He could not walk for months. After priesthood-blessings had been administered to him, my father slowly but fully recovered and returned to work at the temple cafeteria.

Created By
Simeon Ning
Appreciate

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