Doctors can only do so much!- Dr Chew Weng Chee
April 12 2013 by Natasha Kim CM -
Senior Pastor Dr. Chew, 66 years old, is the lead pastor of Sidang Injil Borneo K.L (SIBKL). He was an Obstetrician and Gynecologist (O&G) before he gave up his medical career to serve the Lord full time. He never thought that he would give up being a medical practitioner. His career was at its all time high but little did he know the Lord had big plans for him. Blinded by the riches of the world, it wasn’t until he stumbled upon a horrific yet confusing experience that he was finally able to finally open his eyes to see that God was calling him back to Him.
Reaching out to God
Chew was born and raised in K.L, he grew up in a Christian background but never knew the Lord in a personal way. During his first year as a medical student at University Malaya, he was asked to dissect and study a human body. In front of his eyes laid several corpses. An interesting fact he mentioned is that all the bodies the students had to dissect came from India, in fact India’s biggest export is of human bodies. Many just lay in the streets with no identity.
Continuing the story, he shared, “I remembered cutting up this Indian man and it struck me that at one time this man walked the streets, and here I am cutting up his body and studying him bit by bit” It was then that it hit him that the difference between him and this man that laid there is that something has left him. This started him thinking and searching. There must be something more to life than just living and then dying. That year itself in 1966 through the influence of his peers Chew found the Lord and accepted Him as his personal saviour. He was a brethren and attended Jalan Imbi Chapel. Chew shared that, “I appreciate my brethren roots and my time at the chapel because it taught me to love the Word of God.”
God is with us when we are Faithful
A couple of years later he was faced with a huge family crisis. He recalls the incident very well, he promised God that if the crisis was solved, that he would one day serve Him full time. Sure enough, soon his prayers were answered and the crisis went away. However, Chew being just a normal human being like you and I, he became so busy and forgot the promise he had made. “Over the years I may have forgotten but God hasn’t forgotten” he said.
After he became a doctor he continued on with a specialist course in O&G at Edinburgh. During this period of time he also got closer to his wife Lee Choo who was studying to become a Pediatrician. They got married at Edinburgh.
When all he could see was Blood, Light slowly crept in
Not long later in 1977, they moved to Sabah. Together they opened up a private maternity hospital and pioneered the SIB English Church in Kota Kinabalu. Chew became very successful indeed and was very busy earning money.
One day, a lady came to see him. He found that she had a condition where the placenta was lying very low. This meant that she needed to have a C-section performed in order to get the baby out. Knowing this, they made an appointment for the surgery. She wanted it to be performed at 12 midnight on the dot. “It never crossed my mind why she wanted it at 12 midnight sharp but all I told her was, “It’s going to cost you more” because all I was worried about was money” he said. The lady agreed!
On the appointed date, he started to perform surgery. “As I cut layer by layer, the placenta was not only lying very low, it was eating into the abdominal wall. A very rare condition called placenta accreta where the placenta is stuck to the abdominal wall” he said. So as he continued cutting, he the knife cut into the placenta wall (made up of blood vessels). Within minutes there was so much blood that he couldn’t even see his hand!
The patient died on the table. Her heart had stopped beating. He reacted quickly! Trying his best to revive and jumpstart her heart. “By the time I got the baby out, the patient’s heart stopped three times!” he said. Chew’s wife was also working with him in the surgery room. By the time he had passed the baby to his wife, the baby’s heart flat lined as well and she had to try to revive the baby as fast as possible.
That very day, Chew had to battle for seven hours in order to save that mothers and her baby’s life. It resulted in him having to remove the mother’s uterus so she could survive. When the shock was over and the situation had calmed down, he went to speak to the lady’s husband asking, “Why did you want the baby out at 12 midnight?”
The man answered, “Oh doctor, this baby is dedicated to the idols. They wanted the baby, that’s why they told me on such and such a date the baby must come out on 12 midnight” Chew only then knew that the baby was supposed to be sacrificed to their “Gods.”
After that horrific experience he said, “God is good. He helped me to save that baby.” But he regretted not asking the question why. “I never saw it. I should’ve prayed over it” he said. Thank God no life was taken that day. It was a wakeup call for him as he realized he had drifted away from God. “If the mother and baby had died, it would’ve come out in all the newspapers in Sabah the next day. I would’ve been closed down. In one stroke the devil wanted to kill me off together with the mother and the baby.” he said.
This incident reminded of the promise he had made to God many years ago to serve Him full time. This following verse spoke to him,
Isaiah 43:4-7: Since you are precious and honored in my sight,and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
A Fool for God
In 1991, together with his wife he went on to do his masters degree in theology at a Bible college in Vancouver. Both of them wanted to prepare themselves for full time ministry. In 1993 he came back to K.L. and stayed on until now.
“I left Sabah physically but my heart is still there. I love the natives there, my heart goes out to them because they are poor but they love the Lord” he said.
“SIBKL will be an oasis, a refreshing for the spiritually dry. Not a Church but a movement.”- A prophecy given to SIBKL in 1994
In 1994, he started SIBKL with only 15 people. When he started the Church he continued his love for God’s word. While in K.L he was a doctor and a Medical Director at Tung Shin Hospital, his calling was strong and so in 1999 he gave up everything and started serving the Lord full time. The whole board tried to convince him to stay. They thought it was a ridiculous idea to leave and become a pastor. Chew said, “I remember the chairman of the board came to me during that meeting, put his arms around me and called me a fool!” but Chew answered, “I don’t mind being a fool for God.”
John 21: 15 – 18: 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
When asked what is the difference between a doctors healing and God's healing? He answered “I believe that God works and does healing directly or God can also heal indirectly through medicine. I believe that being a doctor is a calling for me so God will use the skill that I have to heal people but I depend on God. However, there’s a limit to medicine that’s why we pray because I believe God can work miracles.”
As a pastor he has managed to touch the lives of many. Now SIBKL is one of the fastest growing Churches in K.L. Chew utterly believes that everything the church does has to be Christ-centered, Bible-based and Spirit-powered. “I believe that SIBKL is birthed by God, that what I am doing is a calling. God has affirmed me and assured me through the growing of the Church. Many people have come to know the Lord, many families reconciled, many broken lives restored and many have come back to God. I feel very affirmed that God is here.”