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Dear friends,

 

It's the season of Lent again. Lent, which means springtime, is the six weeks of preparations for Easter; and a wonderful opportunity for us as medical and dental professionals to slow down and learn to be reflective practitioners. It's a time which Henry Nouwen describes as "a season during which winter and spring struggle for dominance". In the light of recent media debate on medical charges, we are called not only to examine the integrity of our motives and clarity of our calling but to work courageously for justice in the society we serve.

 

In this issue, we have the kind permission of Dr Lee Wei Ling and SPH to reproduce a thought provoking article titled ' Medicine is not just a career, but a calling'. This sharpening and revisiting of our calling was earnestly addressed at a recent 'Mission Potentials' meeting. This was a gathering of young doctors preparing for the field and trying to learn what it means to be meaningfully engaged in cross cultural medical missions.

 

May we at Lent have a new openness to the word of God and conversion in all areas of our lives. Do also check out a new podcast devotional resource called 'Doctor's life Support' by ICMDA. Enjoy!

 

Shalom, 
Wei-Leong

 

LASTEST! Linking Hands and CMDF have requests from International and local relief agencies for doctors in Singapore to sign up be on the standby list in response to the massive earthquake that stuck Japan. Email : info@linkinghands.org

 

 

 

 

mp

Missions Potential Night

 

Thanksgiving and Teh Tarik - “things we miss in the mission field and things that the LORD provided”

 

There were 27 of us gathered in the home of Dr Quek Swee Peng on 15 Feb 2011 – for a time of thanksgiving and prayer, with updates from missionary doctors who were back in Singapore for a vacation. It was a time we in CMDF call the “MPs Night “ (Missions Potential Night) – a time for missionaries in the field to share the nuts and bolts of medical missions with younger doctors and medical students. The 27 of us came from or lived or worked in 9 different countries. The youngest was 18 and the most senior doctor was already in retirement.

 

Our host, Dr Quek Swee Peng, shared that 5 generations ago, a Scottish missionary doctor treated his great grand aunt in China for an eye infection and that was the entry of the Good News into his Quek family. The road to be a medical missionary is certainly a long one but by God’s grace – it is one with lasting impact and influence. Dr Soh L.L. shared that she missed the orderliness of medical practice in Singapore. Things don’t always happen as it should and that adds to the workload as well as frustration. A smile always helps. Dr Loh C recounts the incident of a MK ( Missionary Kid). When the MK was asked what he likes to do when he grows up, he replied that he would like to have his own money and to spend it in whatever way he likes. This was a sober reminder that missionaries – being supported by Christians and well wishers – often do not feel that they can spend the money with the same emotional freedom as they did when they were “earning their own wages”. We spent time in prayer – for the work in the mission field as well as for our own hearts and lives as we consider how each of us can be in meaningfully involved in the Lord’s work in cross cultural missions.

 

We also prayed for the Lord’s peace for the Middle East as the current political turmoil is affecting many lives. The simple and informal home fellowship allowed us insights into medical missions. - Dr Tan Lai Yong

 

rededication1

rededication2

CMDF Re-Dedication Service

 

This year's CMDF re-dedication held at Church of our Savior (13 January 2011) was well attended by both medical students and doctors. One of the highlights was the sharing by Dr Ang Hui Kheng, a pathologist who left Singapore in 2003 to work with an NGO in East Asia and Dr Joanna Ngo, a dental surgeon who took 6 months off her government bond to serve in mission hospitals in Nepal. It definitely inspired and challenged many of our young doctors and students to embrace missions as a lifestyle. Rev (Dr) Chua Chung Kai proceeded to deliver the message on finding rest in Christ. He shared three simple steps that we ought to observe - Work, Word and Worship. Work refers to our Christian ministries and our profession as Christ has called us according to His purposes. However, Work needs to be constantly guided by Word. The Word represents the spiritual disciplines we keep to remind us of our dependency on God in all that we do. Most importantly, we remember that we were created to worship Him. Worship is the time when the focus is no longer about us and our needs. It is about surrendering our lives to a holy, righteous, loving and sacrificial God. As busy Christian doctors and dentists, I think it is appropriate that we start the year remembering that it is the surrendering rather than the doing that brings us close to God. - Dr Goh Siew Hor

 

 

 

calendar

 

CMDF Community Calendar

The CMDF Community Calendar is framed by 3 community gatherings.

- Annual Re-Dedication Service which is about Growing the Reflective Practitioner
- Annual Fellowship Meeting which is about Engaging Current Issues
- Annual Celebration Dinner which is about Celebrating Community

Throughout the year, various small group gatherings serve as platforms for doctor-student interaction and community engagement. These gatherings (usually over a good meal!) encourage student talks and mentoring, medical missions mentoring as well as prayer meetings. Venues include homes, hospitals/workplace and cafes. A monthly 'Lunch with the Chaplain' is a new initiative in 2011.

 

golf

MMF Golf Tournament & Fund-Raising Dinner 2011

The Medical Missions Foundation (MMF) is organizing its 7th Golf Tournament and Dinner on 25 May 2011. MMF raises funds for Singaporean doctors and dentists who serve full-time as medical/dental missionaries to 3rd world countries, delivering much needed medical care, hope and the gospel to the poor and needy.

If you would like to participate in the golf tournament, buy or sponsor a dinner table, please contact Eric Yeoh at tel: 68325155, fax: 64767633 or e-mail:
mmf.singapore@gmail.com.

 

david choo

Finance Christian Fellowship Talk

Christians differ in their attitude towards insurance. While some do not see any contradiction between insurance and faith in God, others are not so sure and some believe strongly that they should not insure at all. Does the Bible throw any light on the subject even though the word “insurance” does not appear in its pages? What is insurance anyway and how should Christians decided whether to insure, what to insure and against what events or risks?

David Choo, the founder, Chairman and MD of PromiseLand Independent Pte Ltd, is the speaker at this public talk organized by the Finance Christian Fellowship. There will be a Q&A session after the presentation. Admissionis free. Light refreshments will be provided. For registration, please call Simon Chia, GCF at 6338 6283.

Date: Friday 18 March 2011
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Venue: GCF Centre, #05-04 North Bridge Centre, 420 North Bridge Road
Speaker: David Choo

 

hcfi

 

HCFI World conference, Manila (4 to 9 September 2011)

HCFI has planned a global conference in Manila this year in September (Jubilee celebration) and has invited their partner organisations to join in and have a conference at the same venue. The partners include ICMDA, International Health Services, PRIME and NCFI (Nurses Christian Fellowship International). ICMDA has decided to exploit this opportunity to have a multi-regional conference of their membership; the regions would include East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia, Oceania, and hopefully East Africa.

 

For more information, please email Han Gie Kim, 2011 conference coordinator: khg1011@gmail.com.

 

The World Conference Diamond Anniversary of HCFI Theme: Jesus Christ, Lord of Healthcare Celebrating 75 years of His faithfulness; Called to share His wholeness (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

 

Date: 4-9 September 2011

Venue: Crowne Plaza/Holiday Inn Hotel, Manila, Philippines

Registration Fee: US$150 (Payable in US$ only, at the time of registration, and not refundable)

Accommodation: Holiday Inn / Crowne Plaza (Cost range from US$419-800

Register at: www.hcfi75.org

Closing date for registration: 15 July 2011

 

 

 

reflections

medicine1

medicine2

 

 

Medicine Is Not Just A Career, But A Calling

We have the kind permission of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to re-publish Dr Lee Wei Ling's article that first came out in December 2008 titled "Medicine Is Not Just A Career, But A Calling":

I have always felt keenly the suffering of animals. Since I was a child, I had wanted to be a vet. My parents persuaded me to abandon that idea by using the example of a vet whose university education was funded by the Public Service Commission. When he returned to Singapore , he was posted to serve his bond at the abattoirs. That was enough to persuade me to select my second career choice – a doctor. I have never regretted that decision.

There are still many diseases for which medical science has no cure, and this is especially true of neurological diseases because nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord do not usually regenerate. Hence, a significant percentage of patients seeing neurologists, of which I am one, cannot be cured. But as in all areas of medicine, we still try our best for the patient, ‘to cure, sometimes; to relieve, often; to comfort, always’.

An example is a 70-year-old woman who sees me for her epilepsy. Her husband has taken a China mistress whom he has brought back to his marital home. He wants my patient to sell her 50 per cent ownership of their HDB flat and move out. Her children side with the husband because he is the one with the money and assets to will to them.

When this patient comes, I always greet her with a big smile and compliment her on her cheongsam. She will tell me she sewed it herself, and I will praise her for her skill. Then I ask her whether she has had any seizures since the last time she saw me. She sees me at yearly intervals, and usually, she will have had none.

Next, I ask her how she is coping at home. She would say she just ignores her husband and his mistress. I would give her a thumbs-up in reply, then ask her whether she still goes to watch Chinese operas. She would say yes.

By then, I would have prepared her prescription. I hand it to her, pat her on her back and she would walk out with a smile on her face, back straight and a spring in her step.

It takes me only five minutes to do the above. I can control but not cure her epilepsy. But I have cheered her up for the day.

One very special patient, Jac, has idiopathic severe generalised torsion dystonia. By the age of 11, she was as twisted as a pretzel and barely able to speak intelligibly. She did well in the Primary School Leaving Examination, but was a few points short of the score needed for an external student to be accepted by Methodist Girls’ School (MGS).

I had done fund-raising for MGS prior to this and knew the principal. I phoned her and explained Jac’s disease as well as her determination and diligence.

I told the principal that the nurturing environment of MGS would be good for Jac, and that it would be a good lesson for the other students in MGS to learn to interact with a peer with disability.

At the end of Secondary 2, Jac mailed me a book and a typed letter. The book was a collection of Chinese essays by students in MGS.

There were two essays by Jac. In addition, she had topped the entire Secondary 1 and, subsequently, Secondary 2 in Chinese. She was second in the entire Secondary 2 for Chemistry. She was happy at MGS, and her peers accepted her and helped wheel her around in her wheelchair.

Medication merely gave Jac some degree of pain relief from her dystonia. Being admitted to MGS gave her the opportunity to enjoy school and thrive in it.

I was walking on clouds for the next few hours after I received the book and letter. Jac showed that an indomitable human spirit can triumph over a severe physical disability. As a doctor, I am not just handling a medical problem but the entire patient, including her education and social life.

I have been practising medicine for 30 years now. Over this period, medical science has advanced tremendously, but the values held by the medical community seem to have changed for the worse.

Yearning and working for money is more widely and openly practised; and sometimes this is perceived as acceptable behaviour, though our moral instinct tells us otherwise.

Most normal humans have a moral instinct that can clearly distinguish between right and wrong. But we are more likely to excuse our own wrongdoing if there are others who are doing the same and getting away with it.

These doctors who profit unfairly from their patients know they are doing wrong. But if A, B and C are doing wrong – and X, Y and Z too – then I need not be ashamed of doing the same. Medical students who see this behaviour being tacitly condoned will tend to lower their own moral standards. Instead of putting patients’ welfare first, they will enrich themselves first.

The most important trait a doctor needs is empathy. If we can feel our patient’s pain and suffering, we would certainly do our best by our patients and their welfare would override everything else.

Medicine is not just a prestigious, profitable career – it is a calling. Being a doctor will guarantee almost anyone a decent standard of living. How much money we need for a decent standard of living varies from individual to individual.

My needs are simple and I live a spartan life. I choose to practise in the public sector because I want to serve all patients without needing to consider whether they can pay my fees.

I try not to judge others who demand an expensive lifestyle and treat patients mainly as a source of income. But when the greed is too overwhelming, I cannot help but point out that such behaviour is unethical.

The biggest challenge facing medicine in Singapore today is the struggle between two incentives that drive doctors in opposite directions: the humanitarian, ethical, compassionate drive to do the best by all patients versus the cold, calculating attitude that seeks to profit from as many patients as possible. Hopefully, the first will triumph.

Doctors do have families to support. Needing and wanting money is not wrong. But doctors must never allow greed to determine their actions.

I think if a fair system of pricing medical fees – such that doctors can earn what they deserve but not profit too much from patients – can be implemented, this problem will be much reduced. The Guideline of Fees, which previously was in effect, was dropped last year. I am trying to revive it as soon as possible.

 

siew hor

Reflections from the Dental Prayer Fellowship

Recently, I came across the use of the word "rebuilding" in two different instances. In the first instance, it was used to describe a church redevelopment project. The old church building could not longer comfortably hold the growing congregation and hence had to be replaced by a new one. The second instance was used to describe a family trying to piece their lives back together. The family was torn apart by one spouse's unfaithfulness. At a glance, it seemed that the former was a result of doing something right while the latter was a result of a mistake.

In some way, this mirrors the rebuilding we need in our Christian lives. There are areas where we have remained faithful and the Lord has prospered. However, the old wineskins would no longer hold the new wine. We are told to leave what we have been so accustomed to doing and go forth in obedience. Then, there are the vain ambitions we have hidden in our hearts. We hold tight to worldly fame and possessions hoping for security but discovering that they only reveal our vulnerabilities and loneliness. Our unfaithfulness has broken our fellowship with Christ. It is a time for inner healing. I draw three simple lessons from the book of Nehemiah about the process of rebuilding.

Firstly, we need to first let God take away the old things from us. Be it the good or the bad, we need to give it to God. We need to learn to be like the Apostle Paul, who counted all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:8).

Secondly, we need to rebuild the walls and reclaim our godly inheritance despite resistance and opposition.

"And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king's words that he had spoken to me. So they said, "Let us rise up and build." But when Sanbel'lat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammorite official and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us saying, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the King?" So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of Heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we HIs servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem" (Nehimiah 2:18 - 20) .

These are the things that God has called us to do in the past, that we have put aside for various reasons. Or it could be the seemingly difficult task he has set ahead of us. This is work meant to prosper us, meant only to be build by those whose inheritance is in Christ.

Thirdly, we need to restore proper worship of God in our lives. "And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God." (Nehemiah 9:3). We need to continually allow the Word of God to convict and transform us.

I believe that most of us need to be involved in both kinds of rebuilding. We need to continually look at our lifestyle, our ministries and our practice of dentistry to see if there are walls that prevent us from growing or hinder us from entering into the abundant life. May we find the courage and faith to let God tear them down and rebuild it so that we can move from captivity to liberty. - Dr Goh Siew Hor

 

 

callfordocs

nepal

Humanitarian Mission Trip to Nepal

Roger Teo, a third-year medical student from NUS Yong Loo Lin, is looking for doctors/nurses who would like to guide a small team of medical students to Nepal in June.

The village in Nepal is called Sama Gaun in the district of Gorhkra (under Mount Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world), and is one of the poorest, least accessible place in Nepal. To access the village, the only route is a 7-day trek, or by helicopter.

The main objective is to raise healthcare awareness among the villagers, conduct health screenings, document their needs, survey the common diseases and illnesses of the people. How that can be achieved is up to the team's creativity and planning.

Interested to find out more, please email Roger at: rogerteo88@gmail.com

 

 

seen and heard

doctor life support

Doctors Life Support 2 Podcast

ICMDA has started putting out regular podcast of the devotional resource, Doctors Life Support 2. This is a free podcast that can be downloaded to your computer or MP3 player. Listeners will hear voices from around the world reading each devotion. Use the following links to sign up for the podcast:

DLS 2 as RSS Audio Podcast: http://icmdaresources.net/dls/podcast.ashx
DLS 2 Audio Podcast in iTunes: itpc://icmdaresources.net/dls/podcast.ashx

The 1st edition of the Doctors Life Support is also available as an HTML and RSS feed: http://icmdaresources.net/dls

The Doctors Life Support is just one resource available on icmda.net/resources. Also available in our resources section are MP3 recordings from the Europe-Eurasia regional conference in 2008 including Bible Readings on Genesis chapters 1 to 3 and the conference key note addresses as well as the Open House Starter Pack a guide for fellowship groups.