Carry the Spices-Singaporean Doctors in Medical Missions and Pastoral Ministry

Carry the Spices-Singaporean Doctors in Medical Missions and Pastoral Ministry

Editors: Chua Choon Lan and Tan Lai Yong (Medical Missions Foundation, Singapore, 2007)

This book is a collection of 28 essays by 24 Singaporean medical doctors and dental surgeons whom the Lord has called to carry “spices” to the communities both locally and beyond. These professionals learnt that the obstacles and challenges in healthcare in poverty-stricken regions are immense and the issues complex but found that God asked them only to be faithful and obedient – to carry the “spices” and He will remove the obstacles. So they went to serve in Africa, East Asia, Central and South Asia, South-East Asia and Singapore.

The professionals included many GCF members such as Tan Lai Yong, Andrew Ng, Robert Solomon, Richard Hui, Moses Tay, Chua Chung Kai and Soh Ling Ling.

Their stories and testimonies are inspiring as they struggled with new languages, professional and family preparation, cultural adaptation, conflicts and poor equipment, but with their faith shining true. It was interesting to hear of pioneers such as Andrew Ng, who served as a missionary doctor with SIM in Niger for 12 years since 1977, as East Asia Director of SIM from 1990-2005 and now as Deputy International Director for Asia-Pacific SIM from 2006 till present.

Testimonies by a younger generation of medical and dental professionals were heart-warming and oftentimes, moving. Richard Hui, who works with a non-government organisation in rural community health care in Central Asia, shared on his professional, spiritual and family preparation, and adjustments to a new language, culture and water-shortage environment. He said: “The greatest challenge at work is not the lack of resources or opportunities, or the three hours (two-way) spent in commuting three times a week. It is trying to change the hearts and minds of the people who have followed their traditions for hundreds of years.” Soh Ling Ling reflected on her eight-month stint at the Mukinge Hospital in Zambia, which was a “dream-come-true” experience for her despite some initial discomfort over the hygiene level. “Clinical medicine came alive! It was no longer theory but real-life practice,” she enthused.

It is insightful to read of the calling of Bishop Robert Solomon, retired Bishop Moses Tay, Associate Vicar Louis Tay and Chua Chung Kai as they served the Singapore church and Christian community. Moses Tay pointed out: “This is the day of unprecedented opportunities and urgency. Let the medics arise in obedience to the Lord we serve.”

I am glad that we now have a record of these Singaporeans who have and are still serving faithfully in Africa, Asia and Singapore. This 259-page book with coloured photographs is a must-read for those interested in and support missions

.Retail Price: $30 per copy from HealthServe Ltd (tel: 67439774 or or selected Christian bookshops. Discounted price of $25 per copy for GCF/CMDF’s/FES members.