The Kingdom I Came to Love
Fernando G. Ting
Christian Faith Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Views (11/2021)
Fernando G. Ting wrote, “The Kingdom I Came to Love” with a specific purpose in mind. He wanted his time in Saudi Arabia to be recorded for his family. Ting felt it important that his children and grandchildren knew what he did in Saudi Arabia and why he went there to begin with. The memoir Ting has created will be a treasured piece for his family and a testament to his legacy.
The author was born in the Philippines, the son of immigrants. His father was Chinese, and his mother was a native Filipino that moved from her home on the island of Leyte to Manila. The immigrant blood Ting felt in his veins made him desire a life full of travel and unknown lands. His ticket to the world outside Manila was to take an overseas job.
Ting explains the process of applying for jobs, getting the right paperwork, and what it meant to leave his family. On his first trip to Saudi Arabia, Ting left behind his immediate family and sweetheart. This trip would be under a one-year contract. He was ecstatic and ready to meet the world. Upon returning to the Philippines, Ting marries and realizes that he would need to work overseas again to support his growing family. He shares throughout the rest of his story what life was like in Saudi Arabia and what his job and coworkers meant to him.
I commend the author for wanting to record this time in his life. In his introduction Ting states, “Ultimately, all these priceless memories become an integral part of you.” His statement is a profound truth that most of us don’t understand. I look back on my journeys and realize that without the experiences I had, I would not be who I am. I would not be able to pass on a legacy to my children and grandchildren.
My favorite part of Ting’s story was when he wrote about his coworkers. The brotherhood that developed among workers from different parts of the world was wonderful. When he wrote about the job they did together, the memories they made together, and the sorrow they felt together, you could almost feel what he was feeling.
“The Kingdom I Came to Love” did not get five stars from me for a few reasons. First, I felt the author wrote this story with only his family in mind. To the larger audience, it could be confusing at times. More background information would be helpful. Secondly, I personally would have like to have more insight into what Saudi Arabia was like. The reader learns exactly what Ting does in Saudi Arabia, but why he came to love this land is more obscure.
Overall, this piece is a wonderful story of sacrifice and commitment. It has a moral to the story. Ting has crafted a story that his family will cherish for years to come. I think this work has a place on the bookshelves of those who want to know what true love and sacrifice looks like.