The founder of Beacon Hospital, Mary Chen: I have a willing heart
In 2010, Madam Mary Chen officially took over the former Wijaya International Medical Centre from her friend, and with the help of her elder brother Aaron and primary school classmate Victor Chia, changed the hospital’s name to ‘Beacon Hospital’.
‘I was completely clueless about running a hospital back then, and I couldn’t speak fluent English. I knew not a single thing about medical devices and equipment, let alone managing a group of healthcare professionals. The idea was just pie in the sky!’ Recalling the days when she first took the helm of the hospital, it indeed seemed unthinkable to Madam Mary Chen, who is without any medical background. Various reasons discouraged her from taking any step forward, and she had even thought of giving up. Much to her surprise, she later had a couple of sleepless nights over the hospital. Once again, she sought her brother's advice, and believing that it was God's will, she readily accepted the challenge.
1 Corinthians 1:27 says, ‘God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.’ Being convinced that God chose her to manage this hospital, Madam Mary Chen started her service for the hospital with childlike faith. She sees managing the hospital not as a profession, but as a ministry because profit-making is never the top priority of Beacon Hospital, but it exists to help those in need. Now Beacon Hospital is well-known for cancer treatment, aiming to offer cancer patients treatment at an affordable cost.
An inferno that brought everything to nothing
In her first two years of taking charge of the hospital, Madam Mary Chen used whatever equipment that was left behind at the hospital, including a RM 100 million high-tech equipment invested by her friend, for cancer treatment. At the same time, she also made use of the means and network gained from the business she previously ran to expand the scale of the hospital bit by bit. Thanks to her endeavour, the hospital revenue has begun to see an upswing, but it was still not enough to cover the losses accumulated over the past few years.
In 2015, Madam Mary Chen invested a huge sum of money once more for the hospital expansion, including renovation and bringing in more medical equipment. Just as the renovation work was about to be completed, a fire raged through and engulfed everything. As a result, the plan of expanding the hospital was forced to a halt, and the hospital suffered massive financial losses, undoubtedly putting Madam Mary Chen's life in hot water.
Little did she know that all these challenges turned out to be God's blessings in disguise. It was at this lowest point in her life, that her sister invited her to attend a short-term Bible equipping course, and she agreed. On the first day of class, God sent a pastor from Taiwan to speak his Word to her, urging her to seek God in prayer and wait for him in all her ways.
Learning to patiently wait for a fresh start
Madam Mary Chen admitted that she had high animal spirits and found it hard to sit still. Since God now wanted her to learn to wait upon him, she simply obeyed. After going through the course in just a few months, she decided to submit the authority over the hospital into God’s sovereign hands before starting afresh.
In addition to reorganising the management of the hospital, she insisted on worshipping God in songs, prayer and Bible reading in the office an hour before work daily for the next two or three months. She also got a few of her classmates to join the team in setting up prayer altars and Bible study groups in the hospital. Not only that, once every week she would invite pastors to the hospital to share the message of the gospel with fellow medical staff and pray for the sick. This continued non-stop for two years. In 2018, she witnessed the fruits of God being truly at work before her very eyes when God provided the hospital with a significant pickup.
The blessing of five loaves and two fish
Ever since she took over the hospital in 2010, Madam Mary Chen began the implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programmes to reach out to more people. For as best as the equipment the hospital can provide, it will be of no use at all to those who are unable to afford it. Through these programmes, the hospital provides free treatment services for low-income cancer patients, so that all who are in need may be equally benefited from the hospital’s top-notch treatment.
Despite the financial losses the hospital experienced over the past ten years, Madam Mary Chen still tries her best to give bonuses and salary increments to all employees. Because of her sincerity and obedience to God, God continued to bless her by providing her with enough funds each year to keep the hospital running. Over the years, Madam Mary Chen has always believed that as long as she puts God first and follows him faithfully while carrying out her duty well at every moment, God shall make ways and open doors for the hospital.
‘The idea of a private hospital providing free treatment may not be recognized by everyone; some doctors may also not believe in the miracles of God healing the sick through prayers, but all these did happen in our hospital. Countless incurable cases identified in other hospitals saw recovery or improvement when they were treated in this hospital. Miracles as such happen here every now and then!’ Madam Mary Chen further said, giving all glory to God.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe in 2019, the hospital was again in a crisis. With the joint efforts of all parties, the operation of the hospital has finally improved a little, but it was then hit hard by the nationwide lockdown. In the first few months of the national Movement Control Order (MCO), the hospital was almost empty of patients. Now that they had free time to spare, Madam Mary Chen led her team and staff to come together worshipping God and sharing God’s Word – starting with just a group of a few, it has now grown to four groups. What surprised her most was that as patients began to return and the hospital resumed normal operations following the relaxation of MCO in the second half of 2021, the hospital not only did not suffer a deficit, but its income doubled throughout the year. Once again, what an incredible miracle!
Opening up the food industry as a side business for the sake of patients
Inpatients often encounter Madam Mary Chen as she will be on the ward round after work every day, chatting with the patients and comforting them. That was how she started to care about their diets and wanted them to have nutritious and healthy meals during their stay in the hospital. With such an intention, the hospital began to get involved in the food industry and ultimately ‘Beacon Mart’ was established under Beacon Hospital, offering its signature product, the 100% natural, antibiotic-free and hormone-free ‘Beacon Chicken’.
At the same time, the hospital also sells ‘Beacon Chicken’ to the public through Beacon Mart. Part of the profit made on the sale is channelled to the Beacon CSR Welfare Fund which provides financial assistance to underprivileged patients in getting timely treatments.
With regard to the vision of Beacon Hospital, Madam Mary Chen stressed that this is God’s hospital, through the people and services provided in which, everyone will know that this is a Christian hospital and by this, all people may know God.
Moreover, since the establishment of Beacon Mart has successfully gathered a group of young entrepreneurs, she made the effort to lead these youngsters to know God through the hospitals’ daily morning prayer meeting in the hope that their lives will be transformed. Madam Mary Chen was pleased to see their lives changed and character built by the message of God shared, bearing the fruit for God’s kingdom, tenfold and a hundredfold.
God accomplishes the impossibilities in his people
Amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, Madam Mary Chen, who is the hospital executive director, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a frontline worker, would also like to take this opportunity to encourage all medical frontliners and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are still in the fight against the virus to be strong and courageous for God, to stand firm in the faith, to do our best in the execution of our respective duties, to be sincere and professional, and to pray without ceasing, while facing the sick with a joyful heart, seizing every opportunity to care for the sick and sharing God’s Word with them as we get through this tumultuous time together.
God’s use of people has nothing to do with their intelligence, ability or background but the point is whether people are willing to be used by God. Our backgrounds, circumstances or conditions do not limit how God is at work in our lives, because what God cares about is our hearts, just as 1 Samuel 16:7b puts it, ‘For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’ So long as we are willing to live according to Bible’s values, God is able to search us out from among many and accomplish the impossibilities in us.