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Kate Cheah
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Sweet Memories, Sweet Success (06) : Jonathan and David Cheah

21 May 2020
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Last week, we heard how true love developed only after Dick and Kate got married.

Their two sons, Jonathan and David Cheah now in their forties, are testament of God’s favour and grace.

For Kate, the possibility of bearing children was slim. Medical tests showed that she had only 1 ovary. She also had severe endometriosis – a condition when the tissue lining of the womb which is supposed to grow inside the womb, grows outside it. This can cause trouble to conceive. These 2 conditions made her more than 90% barren.

She was also 37 years old when she married. The odds for conceiving were not in her favour.

But Dick always believed,  “Nothing is impossible with the Lord if He really wants us to have children.”

Of course, she and Dick were overjoyed when they were told that she was pregnant with Jonathan.

Jonathan

Jonathan means “Jehovah has given’ in Hebrew. He was delivered by Caesarian section as Kate had a slim pelvis and he was a big baby weighing a healthy 8 pounds 3 ounces. But 3 days after giving birth, Kate developed thrombosis – a blood clot – in the calf of her left leg which became swollen. And if the clot travelled to her heart or brain, it could be fatal. What bad news for a new mother! Kate prayed to God and days later after medical treatment and testing of her blood, she was healed totally.

God protected Jonathan’s life. One day, he was sleeping in his playpen. Suddenly, crash! A light shade made of glass fell. It hit the corner of his playpen and broke into pieces! The shattered glass was everywhere but not even a small piece of glass touched Jonathan, who slept peacefully right through the incident.

Jonathan went to the same school that Kate was teaching in. He gave no trouble and was an average student. However, having a mother in the same school was sometimes not an advantage as Kate got to hear from fellow teachers that Jonathan didn’t do well in this test or that examination.

After the GCE ‘O’ Levels, he studied for a diploma in Electronic and Computer Engineering at a local polytechnic. His studies took off. He went on to a degree course in Singapore at the Nanyang Technological University. After his degree, he was offered a PhD scholarship to study Microelectronics. He obtained his doctorate within the minimum time for a thesis. Then he worked in Singapore as a Senior Research Fellow for the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) for a year. After that, he managed the Polar company for about 6 years. Today, he continues to help Polar as director and manages his own food technology and manufacturing company. He also has a keen interest in studying birds, is an avid photographer and contributes articles for nature magazines.

Kate says, “I believe that Jonathan whom the Lord has given, will by his life return the glory to God as a rich blessing to many others. I give all praise and glory to Jesus, in whom all things are possible.”

David

‘David’ means ‘beloved’ in Hebrew. Three years after the birth of Jonathan, Kate conceived David. When she was 7 months pregnant, she was warded for threatened abortion. The placenta, which is the tube that carries food and oxygen to the baby in the womb, was partially blocking the neck of the uterus. This can cause severe bleeding during labour and birth. Kate had to stay in hospital for almost 2 months to ensure complete bed rest. She knew that God wanted her to rest in Him and not be caught up in work. She underwent her second caesarian section and David was born at 7 pounds 6 ounces.

David went to a good school in their neighbourhood. In the same year, Kate join the Polar company full-time. As she was relatively new to managing the business, she grew very busy. She received complaints about David from the Principal twice. At the end of Primary 5, David was asked to leave the school. He went to another school. But he felt utterly demoralized and totally defeated. Kate felt no better. He moved to another school again but had to repeat Primary 5. He passed Singapore’s national examinations at Primary 6. In secondary school, he did not do well and was going for so much tuition that he didn’t like to study any more. After his ‘O’ levels, he took a course in hotel management and enjoyed this very much! He excelled and felt a sense of achievement after so many years of academic disappointment.

One day he surprised Kate – he wanted to go to Australia and further his studies! Kate was thrilled but a bit apprehensive – this boy hadn’t been the ‘studying sort’. But David made good his promise. A few years later, he graduated from RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) in Business (Marketing). Being overseas, he learnt to be independent and came to know the Lord in a closer way. And a bonus: David met his wife at RMIT.  

God’s grace restored to David, His beloved, all the lost ground that the enemy had tried to steal from him during David’s earlier years in school.

In Death’s Shadow

When David was 16 years old, the family went to Hong Kong where Kate’s brother and his family lived. One night, they met up for a home-cooked dinner at her brother’s house.

During dinner, David felt pain in his head and was dizzy. He needed to lie down. Then he vomited; his eyeballs rolled; he went into fits and then lapsed in a coma. Immediately, David was rushed to Emergency at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Dick was a nursing officer for some thirty years and knew his son was in a critical condition.  David could die. They were in a foreign country in winter. What were they to do? They felt so helpless and desperate.

Many questions assailed Kate: what if David becomes retarded after coming out of a coma? Will he be blind? Can he function normally after this ordeal? Amidst these fears, Kate realised that she should be seeking the Lord instead.

The she remembered Psalm 46:10,

Be still and know that I am God.

Then Kate submitted to the Lord that His will be done and sensed a peace that surpassed all understanding.

 

Recovery

At the hospital, they met Dr Keith Goh, a paediatric neurosurgeon. He ‘happened’ to be a Singaporean, who ‘happened’ to be working there and he ‘happened’ to be a Christian too!

After about 2 hours after admission, David came out of his coma, but the next few days were difficult. David was still dizzy and nauseous. CT scans revealed a bleeding in the part of brain that was further back. This had a 40% rate of mortality. There were many tests: lumbar puncture, angiograms. EEG, ECG, MRI, cardiogram, scans and many, many blood tests. What could be wrong with David? How did this happen? Over and over, Kate committed David to the Lord. “Dear Lord, I am not looking at the difficulties and complexities of David’s illness, I am looking at You, my living God, who controls every circumstance in our lives. If it is Your will, please remove this illness from David. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

The MRI revealed lesions in the brain due to viral infection. Many brain and heart specialists diagnosed it as viral encephalitis. A new antiviral drug was just made available in Hong Kong. But nobody knew if it would work on David.

David responded very well and both his white platelets and heartbeat which were highly abnormal returned to normal. The doctors were baffled.

When they finally returned to Singapore, David was brought for a series of re-examinations and reviews at the National University Hospital. The lesions in his brain had healed and no abnormalities were detected.

How did David feel while he was in a coma? Was he just asleep? Join us in the next episode of Sweet Memories, Sweet Success to find out what he experienced.