I’ll be writing much about what is going on in my life and also what I hope to see in the future. But you really can’t understand today or tomorrow unless you understand your past. I’ll be writing periodically some reflections on my past and I thought I’d start today with a little about my father.
I was born in China. But my family escaped to Hong Kong when the Communist took over China. My mother told us that people would exchange boxes of gold for a ticket at the airport. But when we got there, everybody was running for their lives and no one was willing to trade their ticket for our treasures.
Eventually, the reason we had the opportunity to escape to Hong Kong was because my father was a high ranking officer with the Government of the Republic of China. He was a special agent for grain control in Shanghai. During the Civil War, all the grain was controlled by the government. He worked direct under Chung Ching Kok. I think he got that job because he graduated from a well known university and was well educated academically. But with his connections in the government, we were able to escape the Communist takeover.
After we got to Hong Kong, I was about 4 years old – too young to know what was happening. But I knew my father started a few businesses. He was a lousy businessman – they all failed. In the deepest despair of his life, one night he passed a church where the evangelist preacher was giving a message. He went in and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior that evening. After that night, he didn’t just commit his heart, but he went all the way and committed his whole life. He gave his life to serve Him. Changing all of his life plans, he attended a Baptist Seminary in Hong Kong and then went to serve in a poor area after graduation. We were poor, but they were poorer. During that time, not too many people had money because Hong Kong back then was an undeveloped place and a lot of people fled from China without money.
My father was neither a good preacher nor a politician. You would think that since he worked for the government he must know politics well. It was not true. He could not serve at well established churches because he did not know how to handle the powerful and rich members in the church. So he went and served the very poor.
Because there were no jobs available, people could not make a living for themselves as well as for their family. A lot of them ended up in the hospital for emotional as well as physical problems. My father would often go to the hospital to visit patients at the hospital every morning. When he visited the patients, he told them about God and sang hymns to them; although he never got the tunes right. He often made the doctors and nurses laugh with his off-key singing.
Unfortunately, many of the patients did not make it. After they died, my father would then try to care for these people by helping with the arrangements. The first place he visited was the coffin shop where he negotiated the cheapest price he could. Then he would go to people he thought would or could help to purchase the coffin for the dead because the family did not have the money to buy the coffin or the plot to bury the dead. Next, he would visit the cemetery director to get a free plot for the burial. And then his final stop was to visit the orphanage director on a small island away from Hong Kong’s mainland. He tried to get the children in there because the family couldn’t afford to put food on the table for them. The condition of the orphanage was also very poor. But as I said, people had no money.
My father would arrange the funeral service and make us attend because he said there are not too many people that would attend a poor man’s funeral service and we should show the family our caring. Every time during the service when I saw the family was crying badly with no hope for their future, I had great compassion for them. I wanted to get rich so that I would be able to help them. I also wanted to build a clean and loving place for these orphans that would also provide them the best education so they could just have a chance to survive in the world when they grow up and not to be beat down by society once more. I had this all planned out not knowing I was poor myself. I was in my early teens, but I never felt poor. I think my mother had a way to teach us more the value of life and character than money.