Experiencing Jehovah’s Loving-Kindness and Care
AS TOLD BY FAY KING
My parents were kind people, but like so many others, they did not have any use at all for religion. My mother used to say: “There must be a God, otherwise who made the flowers, and who made the trees?” But that was as far as it went.
MY FATHER died in 1939 when I was 11 years old, and I lived with my mother in Stockport, just south of Manchester, England. I had always wanted to know more about my Creator and respected the Bible, although I knew nothing about it. So I decided to go to the Church of England to see what it had to offer.
The services did not mean much to me, but when the Gospels were read, Jesus’ words somehow convinced me that the Bible must be true. Looking back, it does seem strange that I did not read the Bible for myself. Even later, when a family friend gave me a “New Testament” in a modern translation, I never got around to reading it.
The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 really made me think. Would the conflict spread, as World War II had done? If it did, how could I obey Jesus’ command to love my enemies? But then again, could I stand by and see people invade my country and do nothing to stop them? If I did that, I would surely be evading my responsibility. Confused as my thinking was, I remained convinced that the answers to all my questions were in the Bible, though I had no idea how or where to find them.
Searching for Truth in Australia
In 1954 my mother and I decided to immigrate to Australia, where my sister, Jean, was living. A few years later, Jean told me that she had asked Jehovah’s Witnesses to call on me because she knew I was interested in the Bible and went to church. She wanted to find out what I thought about them. “I do not know if their explanations are right or not,” she confided to me, “but at least they have explanations, which is more than the churches do.”
Bill and Linda Schneider, the couple who visited me, were a delightful pair. They were in their late 60’s and had been Witnesses for many years. They had worked at the radio station operated by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Adelaide, and when the preaching work was banned in Australia during World War II, they enrolled as full-time evangelizers. As helpful as Bill and Linda were to me, however, I was still exploring different religions.
A work colleague took me to a meeting of evangelist Billy Graham, after which a number of us met with a clergyman who invited questions. I asked the one that was still bothering me: “How can you be a Christian and love your enemies when you go and kill them in a war?” The whole group immediately broke out in an uproar—that question had evidently worried them all! Eventually, the clergyman said: “I don’t know the answer to that one. I’m still thinking about it.”
Meanwhile, my study of the Bible with Bill and Linda was going on apace, and in September 1958, I was baptized. I set my heart on following the example of my tutors, so by August of the next year, I enrolled as a regular pioneer, a full-time evangelizer. Eight months later I was invited to join the ranks of the special pioneers. How happy I was to learn that my sister, Jean, had progressed in her studies too and had been baptized!
A Door of Opportunity Opened
I was serving with one of the Sydney congregations and conducting a number of home Bible studies. One day I encountered a retired Church of England cleric and asked him what the church said about the end of the world. Although he told me that he had taught church doctrine for 50 years, his answer astounded me: “I’d have to take time to research that because I don’t know the Bible as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses do.”
Soon after this, a call went out for volunteers to serve in Pakistan. I applied, not realizing that single women were not being sent, only single men or married couples. Evidently my application was forwarded to our Brooklyn headquarters because I soon received a letter telling me that there was a vacancy in Bombay (now called Mumbai), India, if I would like to accept it. That was in 1962. I did so and stayed in Bombay for 18 months before moving to Allahabad.
I soon set myself to learn Hindi. This Indian language is generally consistent in both spelling and pronunciation, so it is not too difficult to master. It was often frustrating, however, when householders asked me to speak English rather than to struggle with their language! But this new country presented interesting and stimulating challenges, and I enjoyed the association of fellow Witnesses from Australia.
In my early days, I thought about marriage, but by the time I was baptized, I was too busy serving Jehovah to think more about it. Now, however, I was again beginning to feel the need for a companion in life. I did not want to leave my foreign assignment, of course, so I made it a matter of prayer to Jehovah and then put it out of my mind.
An Unexpected Blessing
Edwin Skinner was overseeing the work of the India branch at that time. He had attended the eighth class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead in 1946 with many other faithful brothers, including Harold King and Stanley Jones, who were assigned to China.* In 1958, Harold and Stanley were put in solitary confinement in prison on account of their preaching activity in Shanghai. When Harold was released in 1963, Edwin wrote to him. Harold replied after he returned to Hong Kong from his travels to the United States and Britain and mentioned that he wished to be married. He told Edwin that he had made this a matter of prayer while in prison, and he asked Edwin if he knew of a Witness who would make a suitable wife.
In India most marriages are arranged, and Edwin was constantly being asked to make such arrangements, but he always chose not to do so. He therefore handed Harold’s letter to Ruth McKay, whose husband, Homer, was a traveling overseer. Eventually, Ruth wrote to me to say that a missionary who had been in the truth for many years was looking for a wife, and she asked if I would be interested in writing to him. She did not tell me who the brother was or anything more about him.
Nobody knew about my prayer for companionship, except Jehovah, of course, and my initial reaction was to reject the idea. Still, the more I thought about it, the more I was drawn to the conclusion that Jehovah rarely answers our prayers in a way we may think he will. So I wrote back to Ruth and said that as long as there was no obligation, she could ask the brother to write again. The second letter from Harold King was to me.
Photographs of Harold and his story had appeared in various newspapers and magazines following his release from prison in China. By this time, he was well-known throughout the world, but it was his record of faithful theocratic service that impressed me. So we corresponded for five months, and then I went to Hong Kong. We were married on October 5, 1965.
We both wanted to be married and to stay in full-time service, and as we were getting older, we felt the need for companionship more than anything else. I grew to love Harold, and as I saw the kind and considerate manner in which he dealt with people and with problems that arose in connection with our service, he earned my deep respect. For 27 years we enjoyed a very happy marriage and received many blessings at Jehovah’s hand.
The Chinese are an industrious people, and I like them very much. In Hong Kong the language spoken is Cantonese, a Chinese dialect that has many more tones, or inflections, than Mandarin and is therefore quite hard to learn. Harold and I started off in the missionary home at the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then we served in assignments in various parts of the territory. Yes, we were very happy, but in 1976 my health presented a serious problem.
Coping With Health Problems
I had been hemorrhaging for a few months, and my blood count had dropped dramatically. I needed surgery, but the doctors at the hospital told me that they would not perform the operation without blood because if they did, I would probably die from shock. One day when the doctors were discussing my case, nurses tried to make me change my mind, saying that I had no right to throw my life away. There were 12 operations scheduled for that day, 10 of them abortions, but I noticed that not one word was spoken to the pregnant women about taking their babies’ life.
Finally, Harold wrote a letter relieving the hospital of any responsibility should I die, and the doctors agreed to perform the necessary surgery. I was taken to the operating room and prepared for the anesthetic. At the last moment, however, the anesthetist refused to proceed, and the hospital had to discharge me.
We then consulted an independent gynecologist. Realizing the seriousness of my condition, he offered to perform the operation at a low price—as long as we did not tell anybody how much he charged us. He operated successfully—and without the use of any blood at all. Jehovah’s loving-kindness and care were very evident to Harold and me at this particular time.
In 1992, Harold became terminally ill. We moved to the branch office and were both lovingly cared for there. My dear husband finished his earthly course in 1993 at the age of 81.
Return to England
I was happy to be a member of the Hong Kong Bethel family, but I was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the heat and humidity. Then came a surprise letter from Brooklyn headquarters, asking if, in view of my health, I would consider moving to a branch with more facilities. So in the year 2000, I moved back to England and joined the Bethel family in London. What a loving provision this has proved to be! I was warmly welcomed, and I greatly enjoy my different work assignments, which include helping to care for the Bethel family library and its 2,000 volumes.
I also associate with the Chinese congregation that meets in London, yet here things have changed. Nowadays, very few people come from Hong Kong but, rather, from the mainland of China. They speak Mandarin, and that presents a new challenge in the preaching work. Across the country there are reports of many interesting Bible studies being conducted with postgraduate students from China. They are hardworking and appreciate the Bible truth they are learning. It is a joy to help them.
In the quietness of my new home, I often reflect on my happy life and continue to marvel at Jehovah’s loving-kindness. It permeates all things pertaining to his purpose, and his care for his servants as individuals is so apparent. I have every reason to be grateful for all his loving care of me.—1 Peter 5:6, 7.
[Picture on page 24]
Serving in India
[Pictures on page 25]
Harold King in 1963 and serving in China in the 1950’s
[Pictures on page 26]
Our wedding day in Hong Kong, October 5, 1965
[Picture on page 26]
With members of Hong Kong Bethel, the Liangs in the middle, the Gannaways on the right