Jesus is not called The Greatest Physician for nothing
by Dr Oui Siew Kim
Small town girl
Growing up in Saratok, a small town in the rural areas of Sarawak in East Malaysia, I helped out in my family’s pepper farm every day after school and during the school holidays. I attended a local Chinese school for my primary education and excelled in my studies. Because of my results, I was one of the selected few from Sarawak to further my studies in West Malaysia. Under the sponsorship of Yayasan Sarawak, I was sent to continue my secondary education in a boarding school in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.
Our family was of chinese ‘teochew’ descent and hence, we worshipped different deities as well as our ancestors. We were ignorant about Christianity and were even against it. When my father heard news that I was given the opportunity to further my studies in West Malaysia, he was both excited and worried that I was leaving home at such a young age. Seeing that I was heading to somewhere far away , he got me an amulet from his native friend. I was told to wear it at all times for protection as he believed that it would protect me from bad spirits, danger and harm. I wore the amulet dutifully while I was away in Seremban, until one day it fell into the toilet bowl and I just didn’t bother to pick it up.
Having completed my secondary education in Seremban, I moved to Kuala Lumpur to complete my pre-university matriculation. I was then accepted into the local university to study medicine.
All was well until my health took a bad turn. In my second last year of medical education, I was posted to a district in Selangor to study public health in rural areas. It was then I started experiencing frequent headaches.
What happened subsequently I can’t recall except what I gathered from my sister. According to her who was also studying in Kuala Lumpur at that time, I was complaining to her that I was feeling tired all the time. She noticed that I slept a lot and later on, was acting abnormally and unable to recognise her. She was very worried and couldn’t figure out what had caused my unusual behaviour.
At the hospital where she took me, various tests and brain scans were done. The results showed that everything was normal. In the meantime, the consulting doctor saw that I was bloating abnormally in the
abdominal area. He later detected that I had bilateral ovarian cysts and I had to go under the surgical knife to remove them. After the surgery, I was warded for three months. My sister told me that the extended hospital stay was due to my inability in recognising the people and things around me. Doctors were unable to find the cause and simply diagnosed me with psychological illness and gave me anti-psychotic treatment. Going through the surgery, hospital admission, tests and scans, I have no recollection whatsoever of what happened in those three months.
Grasping at straws
Seeing that the medical professionals were unable to ‘fix’ my problem, my parents decided to bring me home to Saratok. Believing it could be a spiritual problem, they sought help from various mediums including the native witch doctors and various religious miracle workers. All efforts were of no avail, until one day I suddenly just ‘woke up’. That day, as I somehow remembered, I regained my consciousness and realised that I was at home instead of in school.
Later I was told what happened. A nurse, who was a close friend of my aunt, had asked my father whether my family would allow a pastor to pray for me. At that time, since they had already tried various methods to cure me of my illness, they were open to any suggestions that might make me better. My family accepted the nurse’s suggestion and invited a Christian pastor to visit our house.
At his first visit, he prayed for me and advised my parents to get rid of all the religious and traditional idols that were in the house. He also shared the good news of Christ and it was then that my family and I accepted Christ into our lives. The pastor together with his church members continued praying for me week after week. Each time they prayed for me, I felt nauseated and wanted to vomit. They taught us how to pray and call on the name of Jesus. Soon my condition showed improvement. All the idols that my father got from Thailand and from his native friends were thrown away.
The university granted me a one-year leave to recover from my illness and after almost a year’s break, I was well enough to return to varsity and continue my studies in Kuala Lumpur. Back in university, I joined the Varsity Christian Fellowship to learn more about my faith. At the same time, many of my relatives back home, my uncles and aunts who saw the miraculous recovery in me, were also convinced of the power of God and accepted Jesus into their lives. For many years after my recovery, my father opened our home in Saratok for Sunday worship until a church building was built.
Siew Kim after her voluntary retirement from government continues to serve God in partnership with her husband Dr Lim Khwang Thong, a paediatrics specialist and a church elder of BEM Lighthouse in Kuching, Sarawak. The Lims have three daughters