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My Testimony Revisited

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From Free-Thinker to Faith-Believer

Introduction:

Join me as I revisit a pivotal chapter in my life—a journey that took me from being a free-thinking skeptic to a firm believer in faith. Born and raised in the quaint town of Tanjong Malim, Malaysia, my story is one of transformation, resilience, and the undeniable power of God’s grace.

A Carefree Upbringing

Reflecting on my early years, I recount a life free from religious beliefs, despite my parents’ adherence to Taoist practices and ancestral worship. From my primary school days to my upper six grades, I proudly identified as a “free-thinker,” untouched by the concepts of God or faith-based practices.

A Glimpse of Light

The winds of change began to blow when I entered the University of Malaya in 1972. Through the Varsity Christian Fellowship, I was introduced to Christianity—a faith that was foreign to me until then. Bible studies, Christian fellowships, and church retreats paved the way for a newfound understanding of spirituality.

Embracing the Gospel

In the midst of life’s challenges, I encountered the Gospel once again. The message of Jesus as God in human form and His selfless sacrifice resonated deeply within me. With a heartfelt prayer, I made the life-altering decision to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord—an unwavering commitment that would reshape my life.

A Transformed Life

The transformation that followed was nothing short of miraculous. Christianity brought me an inner peace and purpose I had never experienced before. Gratitude, humility, and contentment became my companions, leading me to focus on God and others. Through the ups and downs, my trust in Jesus grew, guiding me through life’s challenges.

Triumph Over Adversity

In a chilling December of 2019, a life-altering accident left me paralyzed. But through God’s mercy and grace, I defied the odds and fully recovered, confounding expectations. This profound experience solidified my faith in Jesus, igniting a deeper sense of gratitude for His unwavering presence in my life.

Witnesses of His Transformative Power

As I conclude this journey through my testimony, I invite you to witness the transformative power of faith in action. From a skeptical free-thinker to a faithful believer, my story is a testament to the remarkable changes that can occur when we open our hearts to God’s grace. Join me in embracing the journey, and may you find inspiration in the boundless possibilities of faith.

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devotion

Worship in spirit and truth: devotion

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

mock up image

John 4: 19-29

Setting

Jesus ministered to a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He offered her living water and told her to bring her husband. When she said she had no husband, Jesus exposed her life of sin. She had previous 5 husbands  and was now living with a man out of wedlock. She was shocked by this revelation. Here was a man who knew everything about her. 

19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” 27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her water pot, went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

John 4:19-29

Reflection

The woman called Jesus a prophet. The Samaritans worshiped God on Mount Gerizim while the Jews worship God on Mount Zion. She wanted to know where was the right place to worship God. Jesus replied, it was not the where but the who. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. The Samaritans got it wrong. Their theology was wrong. Their Samaritans Bible was incomplete, inaccurate, and adulterated. They only accept the first 5 books of the Bible and they changed the words extensively. Salvation was for the Jews first and then only to the Gentiles, Romans 1:16.

God is spirit and truth. A true worshiper worship God in spirit and truth, with correct doctrine and theology. Jesus revealed His Messianic identity to her i.e. I AM. When the disciples came back, they were shocked to see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman.

She left the bucket at the well with the joy of living water (Holy Spirit) bubbling within her.  She went to town with her testimony.  She invited them to come and see Jesus who knew everything about her. Could this be the Messiah?, she asked. The town people followed her back to the well.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek

Romans 1:16,

 

I AM who I AM

Exodus 3:4

Application

Jesus knows everything about you and me. You cannot hide anything from His omnicient power. If you sinned, you must confess, repent, and come clean, 1 John 1:9.  

Have you ever told anyone what the Lord has done for you in your life? Share out your testimony. Your testimony is very powerful and life saving. No one can dispute your testimony. 

God is spirit and truth. You must worship God in spirit and truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. Speaking of Himself as truth, Jesus said that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. Jesus is I AM, YHWH, the pre-existing, self-existing, eternal, and only true God. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

1 John 1:9

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray that You will open our hearts to hear, feel, touch, and understand what You are saying to us. We asked for the presence of the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, comfort, convict, rebuke, and train us in righteousness. You came to seek and save the lost, the weak, the poor, the rejected, and the marginalized. May we never walk away from You unchanged after every encounter with You, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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testimony

Testimony

by Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing a fireworks display on a dark night with a setting sun over a mountain
Fireworks, sunset

Spinal shock

On 26/12/2019, I attended a post-Christmas, pre-New Year celebration dinner with my cardiologist colleagues in a hotel in Ipoh. After dinner, when I was leaving the restaurant, I tripped and fell. I could not remember how I fall. I must have lost consciousness, and when I came to myself, I saw my friends looking at me and calling me.

I could see and hear them but I had a strange feeling. I could not feel my body below the neck and this was frightening! It was as though my head was cut off from the rest of my body from below my neck. I could not move my hands and feet, and there were no feelings below my neck. Then it dawned on me that I was tetraplegic, and the fall had resulted in a neck injury and spinal shock.

Prolapsed intervertebral disc

My colleagues called for an ambulance and transferred me to KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital. The paramedics were very careful not to move my neck and protected my neck with a cervical collar. I was immediately taken for an emergency MRI brain and neck scan and subsequently admitted to the ICU. The MRI scan showed no head trauma, but there was a prolapsed intervertebral at the C3/C4 level causing a 90 % compression of the spinal cord, confirming the diagnosis of a prolapsed intervertebral disc with cervical myelopathy at the C3/C4 level. By then, it was already past midnight.

Spastic tetraplegia

The next morning, I was taken for a CT scan of the neck to delineate the prolapse intervertebral disc in more detail. By then, the spinal shock had resolved but I was tetraplegic. The spinal surgeon who attended to me advised urgent spinal cord decompression surgery to remove the prolapsed intervertebral disc and to decompress the spinal cord. He explained that this was a delicate and precise operation, and there was a risk of permanent spastic tetraplegia in the event of complications arising during the operation.

Spinal Surgery

At 8 pm on 27/12/2019, I was wheeled to the operation theatre for the scheduled operation. I heard the anaesthetists in attendance saying that they were giving me pure oxygen, and will be putting me to sleep. The next thing, that I remembered was the doctors calling my name, asking me to wake up, and saying that the operation was over. When I opened my eyes, I saw the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and the clock in the operation theatre, and it was 11 pm. I was wheeled back to the ICU.

Rehabilitation

After 8 days in the hospital, I was well enough to be discharged and was able to walk with great difficulty using a walking frame. After 6 more weeks of outpatient physiotherapy and rehabilitation, I finally recovered and was discharged from physiotherapy. At that time, the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in, and the whole country was under lockdown. It took me another 3 months before I became ambulant. It is now almost 3 years post operation and I am fully ambulant but still requires the assistance of a walking stick.

Thanks for the support

I thank all my cardiologist colleagues for calling the ambulance and protecting my neck during the ambulance transfer.

I thank my wife, sons, daughters-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, niece, relatives, in-laws, friends, pastors, church members, ex-school, and ex-university classmates, for their prayers, support, care, visitation, encouragement, and reassurance.

I thank the spinal surgeon, neurosurgeon, neurologist, anaesthetists, radiologists, staff nurses, nursing aides, paramedical staff, radiographers, physiotherapists, KPJ ISH hospital directors, and all the hospital staff, who had attended to me during my hospitalization.

Miracle

According to one of my cardiologist friends who was an eyewitness to the accident, I fell head facing downwards hitting the floor, and was lifeless for about 5 minutes. He said that at that moment, he thought I have died and was so worried for me. When I woke up again, it was a miracle. According to one of my sons, who is an anaesthetist in New Zealand, he said that such an injury almost always results in permanent tetraplegia, and my recovery in such a short time was indeed a miracle.

So many people prayed for me, through whats-app messenger and in person. My wife and sister were very supportive throughout my hospital stay and postoperatively. My in-laws were also very supportive throughout my ordeal. They drove me to various places outside Ipoh during the Chinese New Year of 2020 for food and recreation, just to cheer me up.

Thank God

I thank God for saving my life, rescuing me from spinal shock, rescuing me from spastic tetraplegia, successful spinal surgery, and successful rehabilitation

I thank God for preserving my life so that I can serve Him in the church. For the past 3 years, He had enabled me to write and publish 38 books. God is good, He loved me, had compassion, mercy, and grace on me, and His eyes were on me throughout my ordeal. I had experienced such amazing grace.

Testimony

I was once paralysed but now I can walk! I hope this testimony will be an encouragement for you as it had been for me.

a photo of my business card
business card
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General others

Reflections of a blogger

never a dull moment

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

a photo showing fireworks on a dark sky with a sunset over a mountain
Fireworks over a setting sun, captured on iPhone 11 plus pro

I retired from medical practice almost three years ago due to an accident that paralysed me from below my neck. I thank God for miraculously healing my paralysis. The simultaneous onset of the Covid 19 pandemic back to back with my accident gave me no choice but to retire for good.

Ever since then, I had no regrets and did not look back. I took up blogging, photography, writing, and book publishing to occupy my time. These are the things that I have wanted to do but never had the time to do when I was working.

Retirement was very challenging initially because I have so much time on my hands and don’t have enough things to do. Overnight, my circle of friends was drastically reduced. Suddenly, I do not have to do ward rounds. Suddenly, my phone stopped ringing except for scammers. I felt alienated, isolated, secluded, and cut off from the world. I felt that nobody was interested or wanted to know whether I am existing or not. Fortunately, I had a church family where I could serve full time, teaching, preaching, interceding, counselling, visitation, and so on.

But retirement was not all doom and gloom. There were more positives than negatives. I have freed myself from the tyranny of the urgent. I have freed myself from chains of the Goliath of medical practice that tied me down twenty hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a quarter of a century. I have freed myself from the responsibility of patient care, running a practice and on call.

My stress level was drastically reduced. I have better control over my time. I could do things out of interest in my own time and leisure. I could take a long holiday and be away from home for as long as I want without worrying about patients, clinics, and hospitals.

The burden of running a practice is forever behind me. I have finally earned the rest that I longed for. I became an author, publisher, blogger, and amateur photographer. There was never a dull moment.

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books

Memoirs of a Doctor: chapter 8

a photo showing a mock-up image of the book cover
Mock-up image

By Dr. Andrew C S Koh

The Accident

On 26th December 2019, I attended a post-Christmas, pre-New Year celebration dinner with my cardiologist colleagues in a hotel in Ipoh.

After dinner, when I was leaving the restaurant, I tripped and fell. I cannot quite remember how I fell. I must have momentarily lost consciousness, and when I came to myself, I saw my friends looking at me and calling out to me.

I could see and hear them, but I had a strange feeling. I could not feel my body from below the neck, and this was frightening! It was as though my head was cut off from the rest of my body. I could not move my hands and feet. I had no sensation whatsoever below my neck. It dawned on me then that I was a tetraplegic – the fall must have resulted in neck injury and spinal shock.

My colleagues called for an ambulance and transferred me to KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital. The paramedics were very careful not to move my neck and protected it with a cervical collar. I was immediately taken for an emergency MRI brain and neck scan and subsequently admitted to the ICU.

The MRI scan showed no head trauma, but there was a prolapsed intervertebral at the C3/C4 level causing a 90% compression of the spinal cord, confirming the diagnosis of a prolapsed intervertebral disc with cervical myelopathy at the C3/C4 level. By then, it was already past midnight.

The Spinal Surgery

The next morning, I was taken for a CT scan of the neck to delineate the prolapse intervertebral disc in more detail. By then, the spinal shock had resolved but I was still tetraplegic. The spinal surgeon who attended to me advised urgent spinal cord decompression surgery to remove the prolapsed intervertebral disc and to decompress the spinal cord.

He explained that this was a delicate and precise operation, and indicated that there was a risk of permanent spastic tetraplegia in the event of complications arising during the operation. At 8pm on 27th December 2019, I was wheeled into the operating theatre for my scheduled operation. I heard the anesthetists in attendance saying that they were giving me pure oxygen, and will be putting me to sleep.

Rehabilitation and Recuperation

The next thing that I remember was the doctors calling my name, asking me to wake up, saying that the operation was over. When I opened my eyes, I saw the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and the clock in the operation theatre – indicating that it was 11pm.

I was wheeled back to the ICU. After eight days in the hospital, I was well enough to be discharged on a wheel chair. After six more weeks of outpatient physiotherapy and rehabilitation, I finally recovered and was discharged from physiotherapy.

At that time, the Covid-19 pandemic kicked in, and the whole country was under lockdown. It took me another two months more before I became fully ambulant. It is now 12 months after my operation, and I am fully ambulant.

Thanks from a grateful heart

I truly want to thank God for saving my life. He rescued me from spinal shock and spastic tetraplegia. God also saw me through the successful spinal surgery and post-operation rehabilitation. My gratitude to all my cardiologist colleagues for calling the ambulance and protecting my neck during the ambulance transfer.

I also want to thank my wife, my sons, my daughters-in-law, my sister, my nephew, my relatives, my in-laws, my friends, my colleagues, my pastors, my church members, my school classmates, and my university classmates for their support. And I am very grateful for all those who prayed for me, cared for me, visited me, cooked for me, bought food for me, supported me, encouraged me, and reassured me.

And finally, I want to thank the spinal surgeon, neurosurgeon, neurologist, anesthetists, radiologists, staff nurses, nursing aides, paramedical staffs, radiographers, physiotherapists, KPJ ISH hospital directors, and all the other hospital staff, who attended to me during my hospitalization.

Nothing short of a miracle

According to one of my cardiologist friends who was with me during the dinner, and who was an eye witness to the accident, I fell with my head facing downwards hitting the floor, and I seemed lifeless for about 2 to 3 minutes. He said that at that moment, he thought I had died and was very worried for me. Fortunately, I revived spontaneously.

According to my eldest son, who is an anesthetist in New Zealand, injuries such as this almost always result in permanent tetraplegia. He is convinced that my complete recovery in such a short time is indeed a miracle.

Living in the goodness of God

So many people prayed for me, through WhatsApp messenger and in person. My wife and sister were very supportive throughout my hospital stay and post-operation. My in-laws were also very supportive throughout my ordeal. They drove me to various places outside Ipoh during the Chinese New Year of 2020 for food and recreation, just to cheer me up.

I thank God for preserving my life so that I can continue to serve Him. God is good! His love, compassion, mercy, and grace were lavished on me. God’s eyes were on me throughout my ordeal – I experienced such amazing grace. Once I could not walk but now can walk! I hope this testimony will be an encouragement for you as it has been and continues to be for me.

Retired and refired

On 11th January 2020, I celebrated my 68th birthday. It also marked the day I hung up my stethoscope for good and promoted it into a museum piece, after 48 years of practicing medicine. I resigned from my position in Perak Community Specialist Hospital and KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital and officially retired from medical practice for good.

After retirement, I began serving the Lord in St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Pengkalan, Ipoh, as a lay preacher, bible teacher, worship leader, and bass guitarist. I also became an author and self-published several books. Retirement gave me the time that I needed to do the things I previously could not do.

Over the past 12 months, I have authored 8 books including Expository Commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Acts of the Apostles and Romans, Expository Preaching, Daily Devotions from the Gospel of Mark, and Memoirs of a Doctor.

I wish to praise My God for His abundant blessings that He has bestowed upon me and my family.