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Dear brothers and sisters,

 

Lent is that season in our lives where we slow down to reimagine the journey with our Lord as He resolutely set His eyes towards Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus gave up His rights and powers on the cross and in that disarmed Satan and saved us, fulfilling His Fathers will.

 

As medical professionals, we are bestowed titles like 'Dr' or 'Medical Student' which are vestiges of power. With this comes the joy of countless medical opportunities to be a friend and express Jesus' compassion. We were gently reminded of this at the rededication service. It will do us well to move from a position of power to powerlessness and serve from a platform of vulnerability.

 

May we experience Jesus in a deep and profound way this season.

 

 

Emmanuel, 
Wei-Leong

 

 

 

chaplain

 

 

chaplain

From The Chapiain's Desk

 

The Right Perspective

 

At the recent CMDF rededication service, I shared a meditation from the story of the Good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10:25 - 37. This is a very familiar story and usually treated as an example story. It seems obvious that Christian doctors and dentists should follow the example of the Good Samaritan and render compassionate care to our patients whatever their race or station in life. Such an interpretation misses a key point of the story. The original hearers of the story were probably all Jews. How would they have heard the story?

 

I am grateful to one of my New Testament lecturers, John Nolland, for pointing out that this parable is told from the perspective of the victim. The original hearers of the parable would have no problem identifying with the victim. People did get robbed on the Jericho road. Robbed and horribly beaten, everyone realized that the victim would die if he didn’t receive any aid. The listeners of the story could identify with the victim’s desperation.

 

However, hopes are raised when two potential heroes walk by. That the priest and the Levite do not help the dying victim only heightens the fact of the victim’s hopeless situation. When all hope is lost, an unlikely hero comes by, a hated Samaritan. At this point the listeners wouldn’t have minded that help comes from someone who, in the eyes of the Jews of the day, was a racial-spiritual bastard. They just wanted the victim to live.

 

Only when we come to the parable from a position of weakness are we ready to answer the question “who is my neighbour”? Which may be why most of us are still flunking Neighbourly Compassion 101. We think we are ok. We approach this parable from a position of strength. We know there are people with needs all around us. I’ll do my best to help them. And they better be gratefu.

 

But it is in embracing the view from the ditch that we understand the true nature of human need – ours and those of our fellow humanity. As doctors and dentists, we need no reminders that all around us people are “dying in ditches,” broken bodies, broken relationships, people dying without God and without hope. Of course we should help. Perhaps our help will be more loving and less condescending, when we realize that we too were picked up from the ditch. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.

 

We shouldn’t be surprised then that periodically the Lord allows things to happen to us to remind us that we are all victims in the ditch. We all had no hope till our divine enemy reached out in grace and saved us. We continue to live each day by His gracious favour. We love because He first loved us.

 

Rev. Dr. Tan Soo Inn

Honourary Chaplain

CMDF

 

 

 

events

 

 

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CMDF Annual Celebration Dinner 2014

FORCEPS, FALCIPARUM AND FAITH

The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF) held its annual celebration dinner on 15 November 2014 at NUS Kent Ridge Guild House.

From its founding in 1973, the CMDF, a doctor-and-dental-surgeon community united around Christ’s call to serve the ill and needy, has passed through seasons of growth and treading water.

Like many para-church groups, human resource is a problem. The CMDF relies heavily on volunteers, most of whom are health professionals with heavy work commitments and church roles. But God’s faithfulness has enabled the CMDF to renew itself in the areas of stewardship, mentoring and leadership. This is seen most manifestly in its outreach to medical and dental students. Beginning nearly a decade ago, CMDF retrained its sights on, and threw open its doors to, emerging health professionals and professionals-in-training. Now it has become commonplace to see at CMDF meetings the faces of young students, interns and residents, eager to hear what their seniors and elders have to say about work and faith.

At the annual dinner on 15 November, the discussion was about the hard, gnarly tracks time makes in medical practice. At first inspection, “Forceps, falciparum and faith” may sound like a strange theme, but not to people familiar with medical conundrums. To these ones, it struck a resounding chord.

By way of explanation, the evening’s host Dr Lee Chung Horn, explained that, as human persons, we are defined by our memories, particularly the ones we create through work, struggle and crisis. When we learn to place our memories in the context of Scripture, seeing them against the narrative of God’s salvation, we become rooted and strong.

Many of the evening’s diners were delighted to find on their tables, not just glasses, plates and forks, but a pathology specimen pot. Pathology pots are preserved human organs. Harvested from post-mortem examinations, they are used to teach medical students about disease. “Oh! This comes from so long ago! This is a femur fracture!” a doctor cried in recognition. “ Yes,” says another, “but there’s more - look, it’s an example of malunion! ”

Dr Louis Sutton was the keynote speaker of the event. Dr Sutton, together with his wife Susan, is international director of Worldwide Evangelization for Christ. Prior to coming to Singapore, Dr Sutton served as a missionary in Chad for 13 years. Dr Sutton talked about faith, what forms it takes, what function it serves, and what end it moves us toward. Chad didn’t always have electricity and running water on offer, but it gave Dr Sutton and his family a grace-charged narrative of God’s action and faithfulness.

The second speaker of the evening, Dr Tan Boon Yeow, spoke about the unique ministry of St Luke’s Hospital. Dr Tan is medical director of the 18-year-old rehabilitation institution located in Bukit Batok. We heard how Dr Tan’s call into community geriatrics led him into his current work helming an institution that finds its redemptive work in restoring lives touched by stroke, injury and disability.

Said medical student Goh Li Ting who sang with the worship team: “‘Forceps, falciparum and faith' was a really apt theme. It reminded me of the need to anchor ourselves in the Lord our Rock. The medical world changes so rapidly!” Fourth year medical student Daniel Lim was reflective: “It’s a struggle for me to not forget God, to put off serving Him when there’s a lot of work. This forgetfulness may mean giving up cell group and teaching Sunday school. But there’s a deeper insidiousness – the casual secularism of life. We need to remember who we are called to be.”

Dr Sutton: “CMDF is an amazing ministry, and I was terribly moved by all the medical students and young doctors. These are critical years and CMDF’s work of encouraging them and rooting them in the faith is so strategic.” - Dr Lee Chung Horn

 

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CMDF Re-Dedication Service 2015

The CMDF Re-dedication Service was held on 29 Jan 2015 at Wesley Methodist Church. The annual event was and has always been a time where the CMDF community gathers to reflect on their role as Christian healthcare professionals and to re-commit themselves to God at the start of the New Year.

 

The evening began with a time of worship led by Dr Tan Teck Tee, and was followed by a reminder of the all-too-familiar parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) by Rev Dr Tan Soo-Inn. The story hit home hard as Rev Dr Tan zoomed in on the attitudes of the two holiest men of that day, the priest and the Levite, who both chose to have nothing to do with the wounded Jew. Instead, it was the most unlikely ostracized Samaritan who treated the dying man as his neighbour and did all he could to save his life. We were challenged to relook our own perspectives of how we treated our “own neighbours” as practising Christian doctors and dentists. Rev Dr Tan then challenged us to rededicate ourselves to God by re-dedicating every aspect of our lives (spiritual, financial, time resource and work), as well as the area of loving our neighbours (including those difficult patients and colleagues) before we can say we truly love God.

 

We had a time of small group prayer before the evening ended with Holy Communion and a time of catching up and bonding with senior and junior members of the fraternity over snacks and drinks. Though we had only a small turnout of 23, the 2015 Rededication Service was, I believe, a truly significant event for us who gathered there that night.. - Dr Jonathan Yeo

 

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GCF Dedication Service 2015

The GCF Dedication Service was held on 10 January 2015 (Saturday) at Bartley Christian Church. Thirty-seven members from various GCF groups attended. The service began at 3.15 pm with a time of worship led by the LCF worship team. Various Heads of Sectional Groups and Ministries then led in prayers for their respective group.

 

GCF President, Dr Chew Wee, shared on the theme “A Matter of Time”. He reflected on the shared vision, privilege, and commitment articulated by the 26 founding members of GCF in 1955 (recounted in “To Whom Much Is Given”), especially how it will serve as the distinctive point of reference for GCF as we move into our 60th year serving God in our churches and society. He also traced the major global happenings in the 1960s to 2000s that influenced Christian witness in Singapore.

 

Wee ended his sharing by sharing three ongoing activities that GCF Council is undertaking: Conversations, Contemplations and Consolidations. These activities will be extended to the larger GCF community during 2015. Though the Singapore societal scene has radically shifted since the founding days of GCF, Wee quoted Dr Bobby Sng in his book “To Whom Much Is Given” as encouragement as we move onwards: “The progress of the Graduates’ Christian Fellowship has not always been smooth. Times of self-doubt and disagreement there have been. But God has been faithful all through the years. And in every decade since 1955, there have been those who kept their eyes focused on Him. If there is one thing that this history can teach us, it is: what the Fellowship needs is not numbers, but people with vision and commitment.” Challenging times like ours will raise new opportunities for all groups under GCF to rise up to God’s call for sharing His love and grace. We only need to trust and obey the Spirit’s leading.

 

The dedication service ended with Holy Communion conducted by Rev Dr Tan Soo Inn, Chaplain of CMDF. After the service, members gathered for a time of fellowship. - Simon Chia

 

events

Upcoming Events

 

Please visit our website www.cmdf.org.sg for updates and coming events:

 

Open House – April, September
HOs Welcome – May, June
Annual Fellowship Meeting – July
MMF Fund-Raising Golf Tournament & Dinner - July
Annual Celebration Dinner – November

 

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

 

 

 

missions

 

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News From PNG

Dear family and friends,

Thank you for your prayers! It has now been 1 month since I left Singapore for PNG and each day has brought many new experiences, relationships forged and lessons from God and people here. It has been amazing seeing God at work each day from the time you wake up to the sound of birds singing till the time you lay your head down to the sound of crickets chirping.

 

I shared some of my experiences and prayer pointers last month, that God would help me grow in the understanding of the difficult realities of life here in PNG, as well as the different standards of care and facilities compared to what I may have been comfortable/familiar with. I also shared my apprehension of doing my 2nd night call/duty the next day.

That night, I had 3 children dying on me. God sure had an accelerated schedule. I struggled with God and the “unfairness/injustice” of life here in PNG. How these 3 children had been called home at such a young age when their diseases would have had a very different and probably non-fatal course if they were in a developed country. A child dying always evokes a different and difficult response in all of us. It is something I had often thought about as a medical student and Paediatrics House Officer; Yet, seeing these 3 children die before me within the span of 6 hours that night as our resuscitative efforts failed (when I only faced 2 deaths indirectly over my 4 months in KK Hospital) and seeing their parents grieving and weeping raised the questions again on an entirely different emotional and personal level. It was beyond mere intellectual and hypothetical thoughts. It was a painfully slow and difficult walk back home from the hospital that night after the death of the 3rd child. Tears streamed down my face as question after question was flung at God.

 

But where was I when God laid the foundations of the earth? Have I commanded the morning and beautiful dawn, which greets me each day here? Have I cleft channels for thunderbolt and torrents of rain, which so often pelt my zinc roof at night? Do I know when goats and deer (or humans) give birth and can I number the months each new life will fulfill? Have the gates of death been revealed to me? (Paraphrases from Job 38/39)

 

And so I will rest assured in the knowledge that God Almighty holds all things together. That no purpose of His can be thwarted. That His counsel and knowledge are beyond my understanding. (Job 42) I will rest assured in the knowledge that He who is above all cares deeply for each life, which is worth far greater than many sparrows (Luke 12:6).

 

As I groan and eagerly wait and hope for His redemption, I know that He searches my mind and heart, that The Spirit Himself intercedes for us and that He is working all things for His glory and for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:22-28)

 

Prayer Pointers:

 

1. I have just sent off my passport for my visa extension application. (It costs ~SGD200 to renew it for a further 30 days when the initial 60 day visa-on-arrival only cost $50!) Do pray for successful clearance of a visa extension.

 

2. Thanksgivin

 

i) For the hospitality of the locals and families who had me over for meals, shared their experiences and life journeys in faith and mission calling, and even simply a friendly face or some bananas from a recently harvested comb.

 

ii) For the work of those who've ploughed this tough ground and pioneered the work years ago. I am learning Tok Pisin off a book written in 1969 by 3 missionaries who worked for the Summer Institute of Linguistics (Kok Family: Sounds familiar? ;) ) . Their work is still being used by God for His Kingdom here today after 45 years!

 

iii) For being so blessed and privileged growing up in Singapore. That with the resources, wealth, education and skills which God has blessed me with, I might be a voice of hope and channel of His mercy working each day to relieve suffering and boldly point towards His ultimate redemption and future restoration of all things to their intended order.

 

iv) For the many things I am learning and practicing each day. This goes beyond medical knowledge, procedural skills and techniques. The importance of language and communication and inter-personal interactions. I thank God for wisdom in the appreciation of the thought processes of the hospital administrators in their policies and decisions, man of which may seem ironic and foolish at times but are actually a difficult yet sound call to make in the eyes of the world (e.g. Rejecting repeated offers to donate CT-scan machines worth millions to the hospital) .

 

v) For being able to experience the English Lotu (Worship) which was held on 2nd November. This is where many expatriate missionaries serving in the region from various missions’ organisations gather to conduct an English Service and worship together every 2 months. It was a good time of praise, learning (from a sermon that I could finally understand), sharing each ministry's direction and ongoing work as well as praying for each other’s needs and burdens. (Also, having an awesome potluck lunch with a smorgasbord of food brought by so many people as well as hearing the happy squeals and laughter of all the children running around!)

 

3. Prayer

 

i) For Steven, a member of a local Evangelical Brethren Church who owns a plot of land with a house that the EBC uses for their ministries. A family has started squatting on his land, has taken over the building used for church services and even started erecting their own buildings. He shared with the EBC missionaries how his old self would have burned their illegally erected buildings and chased them off his land with his bush-knife, as is the way locals in PNG would handle things. But praise God that he now knows the fear of the Lord, knows His grace and wants to handle the situation in a Godly way instead of resorting to violence. Pray for his anguish towards reclaiming his property and the building used for church ministry. Uphold him in prayer that God may grant him wisdom and that His greatness and mercy be made known through Steven.

 

ii) For God's intervention and healing, amidst the brokenness and multiple social/family problems. 3 days ago, I saw a 16-year-old girl who was raped by her adoptive father. The day before, I saw a man with a large open fracture, hacked with a bush-knife by his own father after a quarrel. Yesterday, we saved a young man with bowel eventration (literally, guts spilling out of his abdomen) after his brother slashed him with a bush-knife while they were fighting over bananas. Bananas!


Today, I had to stitch up an 8-year old boy that was slashed with a kitchen knife by his YOUNGER brother.

 

iii) Pray that the PNG Christians may model God's desire for loving families to their neighbours who will notice their differenceand testimony. May the fear and love of God come to dwell in every household and may man love each other, as He first loved us!

 

Thanks for reading and praying. God bless! - Dr Jaryl Koh

 

 

 

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mercy

 

New Opportunity for CMDF volunteers to serve with Singapore Red Cross

In a new development, and very sensible as well, CMDF volunteers can join with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) in both disaster and non disaster medical missions. There are many benefits to such an arrangement such as:

1. Costs will be covered by the SRC
2. Access to places normally denied to NGOs and especially faith based organisations.
3. Official recognition and protection as the mission will be on National Red Cross (NRC) to NRC basis.

Currently the SRC is sending medical teams to Vanuatu which has been devastated by the supertyphoon Pam (similar to Haiyan) and the first team leaves on Monday 23rd March which I will be leading to assess the medical needs and to treat cases as necessary. A second team focusing on Water and sanitation is also being deployed and I will be treporting back should a repeat medical team be needed.

Please check with CMDF for updates if you are interested to serve.

For a head start, send a copy of your SMC registration card and basic degree and name card and passport to CMDF so we can process your recruitment into the team ASAP. There will be future non disaster missions as well to places such as Batam and Myanmar which I will post on our website when it’s due. - Dr Tan Hun Hoe, Mercy Ministries

 

healthserve

Be A Volunteer!

HealthServe is a non-profit community development organization dedicated to serving the interests of the migrants, disadvantaged and poor in the local community.

We are looking for Dermatologist who are willing to extend a hand for our migrant workers once a month in our clinic.

For volunteering enquiries, please email: janna@healthserve.org.sg or call us during office hours at 6743-9774.

HEALTHSERVE COMMUNITY CLINIC
1 Lorong 23 Geylang #01-07 Building 4 Singapore 388352.