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welcome

 

 

Dear friends,

 

40 M3 students doing their Family Medicine posting embarked on a planned evening of health education to a community of 9,000 foreign workers last week. Instead, a volleyball session with to-be-doctors and the foreign workers proved to be the highlight. Relationships were built while medical advise dispensed.

 

In this issue, we’re challenged to know, love and empathize before getting into solving medical issues. Perhaps, the starting point should be the heart, then the body.

 

Our chaplain Dr Tan Soo Inn talks about loving our patients, not just ‘fixing them’. Dr Joshua Bogunjoko and Dr Paul Choo at different events reminded us of exactly the same!

 

Our patients need to be known and loved first. May our faith and praxis enable us to reach deep into hearts and begin the journey there.

 

 

Emmanuel, 
Wei-Leong

 

 

chaplain

From The Chapiain's Desk

 

Problems to be solved or people to be loved?

 

The young man was referred to the Oral Surgery department. He complained of TMJ pains. I happened to be the dental surgeon attending to him. I could have prescribed analgesics and muscle relaxants and sent him on his way. I guess I was still young and curious and so I took some time to get to know him better. His TMJ pains were caused by bruxism. He didn’t have this before. When I inquired further, I found out that he was about to enter National Service. He was very anxious, and his anxiety caused the bruxism, which led to his TMJ pains. As a Malaysian who had never gone through NS I couldn’t speak from personal experience but I did my best to encourage him.

 

I never forgot the above incident because it was a powerful reminder that we are not just treating pathology. We are caring for people and that means viewing the people we are called to treat, holistically, as they were made by God. I wasn’t just called to fix the young man’s TMJ pains. I was called to care for him as a person. The advance of medical science means we have many more tools to help us in our care for people, be it drugs, medical equipment or procedures. We thank God for all of them but we run into the danger of seeing our patients as “problems to be solved if I had the right tool.” We need to see people as God sees them.

 

Furthermore there are medical conditions that resist quick fixes. Bernice and I are now caring for my mother in Penang and my father in law who lives with us here in Singapore. (My dad and my mother in law have gone back to the Lord.) They are in their 80s’ and struggle with dementia, restricted movement and the loss of meaningful engagement with life. We help them get the medical care they need but what they are going through are not “problems” that can be easily fixed. But they are people to be loved. They are made in the image of God. They are parents who sacrificed so much to raise us.

 

All our patients are people made in the image of God. That alone calls for respect. Because we value them we will use everything in our tool kit to help them. But we all know there are many conditions that take time to heal. And some conditions are beyond the power of medical science. We may not be able to “fix” some of the people who come to us. But we can accord them the dignity that is their due. And we must love them.

 

Rev. Dr. Tan Soo Inn

Honourary Chaplain

CMDF

 

 

 

events

 

 

gcf1

gcf2

Graduates’ Christian Fellowship (GCF)
Sectional Groups Combined Dedication Service 2014

The various Sectional Groups held their first ever combined Dedication Service on Saturday 11 January 2014 at the Grace (SCC) Church. The theme for the Dedication Service was “Can these dry bones live? (Ezekiel 37:4). A total of about 120 members and colleagues attended the service. It was divided into two sessions.

At the first session, which began at 3pm, each Sectional Group held their individual service with members of their professions. The Sectional Groups involved were the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF), Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship (LCF), Teachers’ Christian Fellowship (TCF), Fellowship of Christian Care Professionals (FCCP), Engineering and Science Christian Fellowship (ESCF) and the Business and Finance Christian Fellowship (BECF). At 4pm, the various Sectional Groups got together for the Combined Dedication Service, which was held at the Main Hall. The LCF team led in worship with Prof Lawrence Chia as the main speaker. Holy Communion and a general pledge concluded the service. A high tea reception was then held with members enjoying a time of fellowship. - Mr Simon Chia

At the CMDF rededication service Dr Paul Choo led us in reflection, as a sectional group of doctors and dentists, about the mandate to love God and love others through our every day encounters. The session ended off by joining the congregation of the larger body of GCF for worship, exhortation by Dr Lawrence Chia, and Holy Communion. - Dr Linus Chua

 

tea

Tea & Conversations with Dr Joshua Bogunjoko

CMDF was privileged to welcome Dr Joshua Bogunjoko, the new International Director for SIM (Serving In Mission), who was visiting Singapore for the first time since his appointment. A light-hearted afternoon tea session was held in the home of Dr Goh Wei Leong on 1 Mar 2014 and was attended by a group comprising doctors, dentists, an occupational therapist, medical and nursing students.

Dr Joshua shared candidly about his Christian and professional journey, from the time when, as a young man, he had attempted to reason with God why he was not a suitable candidate for missions, to his eventual acceptance of his calling and journey, up until his current appointment. His sharing from the Bible focused on the unique position of Luke the physician, writer of an account of the Gospel, as well as the book of Acts, where he was a close companion to Paul on his missionary journeys. Dr Joshua also pointed out the unique skillset which healthcare professionals have, grants us special access to areas which might otherwise be difficult to enter, and a trust in those reliant on us for physical, mental and even spiritual needs.

The group was also divided into smaller groups to discuss the perspective each person had towards medical missions and the question of whether it was ethical for healthcare professionals to share the Gospel with their patients. Insights shared included the need to be mindful of how to care for the patient holistically, and addressing their spiritual needs should the opportunity arise. To accomplish this, we would first and foremost need to develop a relationship with our patients, and not see them as merely organs or “cases” to manage. Only then would we be able to share the Gospel in a manner appropriate to their context.

We thank God for having given us the opportunity to learn from Dr Joshua, and pray for God to continue to use him mightily in his new position. - Dr Hanley Ho & Jancie Chng

 

upcoming

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

The following are some of the upcoming events. None of them would be complete without you…

 

HO

 

Student Doctor Gatherings:
HO Welcome – 1 May 2014
Open House – 28 June 2014

 

Annual Fellowship Meeting – 17 July 2014

 

Annual Celebration Dinner – 15 November 2014

 

Date, Time, Venue to be confirmed. For the latest updates on CMDF events, please visit our website at www.cmdf.org.sg.

 

lcf

Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship - “From Death to Life”

 

On 21 April 2014, a member of the legal fraternity will be sharing a powerful testimony of how God brought her back to life. Her sharing will be followed by a brief interview of the speaker by a medical doctor, Dr. Desmond Mao and a legal practitioner, Mr. Gregory Vijayendran.

 

Date: 21 April 2014, Monday
Time: 7.00 pm. (Kindly be seated by 6.50 pm)
Venue: Furama City Centre, 60 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059804

Ballroom 1 (Level 5)

 

Kindly RSVP at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MohtPNS-ErrKdXLgfREUIBdTxW_7yF-IWD1hxypJelE/viewform.

 

The LCF Organising Committee is praying for this event to reach many who do not know the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). We hope that this will be a tremendous opportunity to be able to share the gospel to your pre-believing friends. You are strongly encouraged to invite those you have been praying for and all those whom you have been burdened for.

 

For enquries, please email LCF's Chairman, Gregory Vijayendran

(gregory.vijayendran@rajantann.com) or LCF's Ministry Staff Worker, Charmaine Chua (charmaine.chua@outlook.com).

 

icdma

 

 

ICMDA World Congress 2014

Only 100 days to go before the XVth World Congress of ICMDA! Many of you have experienced it before, and know the value of an amazing event like this: a Students and Juniors Congress (19-22 July), followed by a Main Congress (22-26 July) where Christian doctors and dentists from all over the world are together in the Netherlands, to be inspired by God and each other!

Within the theme Serve Share Shine we will reflect on how to live out our Christian faith in our daily practice. Be inspired by renowned speakers like John Wyatt, Florence Muindi and Lindsay Brown. Specific topics like Sharing faith with patients, Work-life balance, Career choices, Medical missions and many more will be addressed in seminar sessions. The congress brings people together and offers precious opportunities to fellowship. There are over 60 countries united in ICMDA, and each person has his or her own unique story to tell!

Here are 3 reasons why NOT to miss this congress:

1. It is a fantastic unique opportunity to meet Christian colleagues from all over the world at once
2. The congress is finally back in Europe after 20 years
3. Free host families will be be provided with even more opportunities for fellowship.

Find out more at www.icmda2014.org. The Early Bird Discount has been extended to May 1st, so don't hesitate and register today!

If you have questions about registration and payment, email:
registrationICMDA2014@erasmusmc.nl

For questions about accommodation: accommodation@icmda2014.org

All other questions: info@icmda2014.org See you in July!

 

 

 

missions

 

cc1

cc2

 

Community Clinic

Joshua Tan (M3) had the opportunity to introduce Dr Manaen Ma to the work of the Healthserve’s community clinic at Penjuru serving migrant workers.

 

Following this, Dr Manaen Ma, a doctor from China serving on board the Logos Hope observed and wrote this:

 

With the sick and poor constantly on their minds, some doctors and medical students volunteers began a low-charge health services for migrant workers in HealthServe Community Clinic. Besides providing a better medical care from dedicated medical personnel, the volunteers are also on duty to care for and comfort the migrant workers so as to let them feel being loved and respected. One of the aims of establishing the Community Clinic is to provide local medical practitioners with the opportunity to serve the less privileged members of the community and experience the joy of unconditional love. In so doing, the clinic hopes to foster a more personal approach to medicine within the medical community in Singapore.

 

Some of the major health issues identified were:

 

· Lack of access to medical/health services: Due to the removal of subsidized medical care for migrant workers since 2007, many are denied medical insurance/treatment by errant employers, contrary to official policy, and due to inconsistent enforcement. In worst cases, workers seeking potentially costly medical treatment due to serious injury are repatriated by errant employers

 

· Living conditions: Some workers are housed in cramped, poorly equipped and ventilated and/or unhygienic living quarters, with inadequate nutrition.

 

· Long hours: It is not uncommon for many construction, marine and service sector workers to work 12 – 16 hours a day, breaching legislation on maximum hours of work.

 

· Psycho-social health: Well-being violations include inadequate food or accommodation, psychological abuse and non-payment of salary.

 

 

 

call

 

healthserve

Be A Volunteer!

HealthServe is a NGO and charity that reaches out to foreign workers, local poor and commercial sex workers in Singapore.

HealthServe owes its growth to each and every one of our intrepid volunteers. We continue to earnestly seek for doctors and other medical personnel who are keen to serve in our clinic and experience the blessing and fellowship of this community.

If you are interested to volunteer your service, please contact Magdalene at:
magdalene@healthserve.org.sg
or visit our website for more information: www.healthserve.org.sg

 

wanted

Return To Bantayan - Medical Mission May 13-17 2014

CMDF responded by sending medical teams in December ’13 and January ’14 and some 3,500 medical and dental patients were ministered to.

A follow up mission is planned for 13-17th May. The program will be similar to the first mission with medical/dental teams ministering to all 3 municipalities in Bantayan Island over 2 days. Most of the extra days needed are for travelling as getting to Bantayan is a little difficult since it is remote. (indicated as little red dot on the map)

rerurn

Please pray and respond to pagpalain@gmail.com latest by end April.

 

 

reflections

 

dental

Dental Prayer Fellowship

Work in Faith and Faith in Work – My Life as a Periodontist in Private Practice
By Dr Chung Kong Mun

My work in dentistry, in my opinion has been a wonderful journey since my graduation in 1983. Some of you may share the sentiment that it almost seem like we ‘stumbled’ into dentistry, but regardless of how I made “the cut” to join this profession, I am certain that it was no accident. I fast forward my sharing to the time when I made the decision to leave the public sector to enter private practice leaving the “prequel” to be shared on another occasion. After serving almost a decade in the Ministry of Health and National Dental Centre, I joined the private sector in April 1998. Then the region’s economy was in doldrums after the Asian Financial Crisis that began with the collapse of the Thai Baht in July 1997. This quickly resulted in a domino effect to affect all the economies of the ASEAN countries and beyond.

WORK IN FAITH
How did dental work intertwine with my faith? Well, this was a gradual process. It started with a decision to commit to a treatment philosophy and patient management approach that was aligned to my faith. Next, I intentionally left clear reminders for myself in my operatory in the event when I suffer a “memory lapse” or felt tempted by fleeting thoughts. There was indeed a constant temptation to focus on or only present pricier and/or more elaborate treatment options to patients. Thankfully, those little reminders of mounted posters of God’s promises or extra copies of Our Daily Bread left on the worktop were quite effective. I would ‘remind’ myself through an exercise of placing myself in the shoes of my patients then asking how I want to be treated or managed.

By working this way, I felt my faith growing gradually as my resistance to “temptation” strengthened. My next step was installing background music in my operatory. The initial idea was using music to help soothe the nerves of nervous and anxious patients. I was “led” towards using a compilation of instrumental hymns and songs of praise in a complimentary CD from RBC ministries, the publisher of Our Daily Bread. This was a God-send! Listening to such music throughout each day, I found myself regularly and quietly humming the tune. This was particularly helpful during times when I faced life’s trials and difficulties. And when I was struggling with difficult patients or challenging procedures, the words of the songs would gently speak to me, inviting me to pray which led to an assuring sense of peace coming over me.

I vividly recall the first time a patient picked up a copy of Our Daily Bread. To me it was an unexpected blessing as that patient shared having a stirring in the heart which prompted the request for a copy. This particular patient had drifted from God for some time. Wow! I didn’t think I could help a fellow believer by merely displaying RBC literature in my operatory. Subsequently, other patients would simply ask for additional copies when they could not get theirs or wanted to give a copy to others. It felt that God was orchestrating these things which would affirm my belief of His presence in my practice. On other occasions, I would even share my faith with the curious non-believing patient asking about the RBC booklets with catchy titles. In “return” God would grant a variety of blessings. Some difficult patients would become wonderfully cooperative and appreciative, whilst complex conditions healed displaying excellent treatment results. These events had “worked” collectively to help grow my faith.

FAITH IN WORK
Interestingly, it wasn’t just my dental work helping my faith but it was a 2-way process. There were times when my faith helped my dental practice. We know that the private sector is more vulnerable to wild swings in revenue as a reflection of the economic health compared to the relative stable salaries in the public sector. Just as I began to breathe a sigh of relief when my revenue increased after the initial 2 years of belt tightening, then the financial disaster struck with the DOT.COM bust causing the NASDAQ to plunge 400 points in March 2000. The picture wasn’t pretty. And as we recovered from the DOT.COM bust, the next catastrophe came with SARS and from Nov 2002 to July 2003 patient loads plunged precipitously. I recall the many days when there were barely a couple of patients to treat. There was a foreboding fear in our clinic simply because no one knew how long this would last and what would happen next? Then other shocks came in quick succession with the Sub-Prime Housing bubble burst in 2007 and followed by Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 sparking a global recession with financial shockwaves across the globe.

As I looked back on those years with 20/20 hindsight, it was amazing to note that despite the almost “regular” barrage of adverse events, my practice continued to grow slowly but steadily. I recall the times of anxious prayers as each negative event struck. Yet, each time after praying, I felt a subtle but palpable sense of comfort and peace filling my heart. Consciously, I allowed my faith to progressively be incorporated into my dental practice. This resulted in a slow process of becoming aware that God is my “practice manager” all this time. And the more at peace I was in my practice, the more I was able to notice God working in a variety of small but significant ways. My original involvement in church had begun with serving in Sunday School, teaching upper primary children and in time this changed towards mission work through involvement in short dental mission trips. The involvement in dental missions slowly became a witnessing tool in my dental practice as questions on my absence opened avenues for me to share with patients my experiences of such trips. Now in a maturing dental practice, I found many of my regular patients beginning to ask regularly about my mission trips. But one particular encounter with a referred patient stood out. I had shared with this patient over the treatment visits my involvement in dental missions. Although this patient confessed to being a nominal believer yet at our last visit, this patient insisted on giving me a sum of money towards my mission trip. I originally felt awkward accepting this gift but a solution was worked out where he placed the gift in a sealed and marked envelope which I gladly delivered to the mission team treasurer. The gift served as an added blessing and encouragement to the mission team.

Today, after more than 15 years in private practice, I am very thankful to be able to reflect on the goodness and numerous blessings God had given. I can only share that we have an AWESOME God, for my private dental practice experience has certainly been a marvellous and amazing adventure for me. To those who think that there should be a separation between secular work and spiritual things I beg to differ. I firmly believe we cannot separate our vocation from our identity as redeemed children of God because our lives must always reflect our being a witness in the world but not of the world. And we have confidence in what Christ said in John17:15-1, "I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world". As for me, I will continue working in my vocation as a dentist, doing my best for God with a committed focus on Jesus and waiting expectantly for my next learning and life transforming event. May I conclude with the title of my sharing about my job – Work in Faith and Faith in Work.