Teo Poh Heng, or Poh, as he is affectionately known, has been one of the faces of City Harvest Church (CHC) for the last 18 years. One of the anchor worship leaders, his exuberance and energy inspires the congregation week after week as he leads the people in praise and worship.
On 2 April 2008, Poh was doing what he had always been doing when an extreme accident happened to him on stage, one that caused the congregation to miss seeing him for half a year. Few people knew that Poh had a really close shave with death by electrocution on stage during a mission trip.
“We were at a meeting in Jakarta,” he recalls. “At the end of the meeting, Pastor Kong turned to me and said, ‘Poh, let’s sing a closing song’. I walked to the microphone stand and proclaimed ‘Hallelujah!’ as the musicians started playing. Then I placed my two hands on either side of the microphone to start singing. The moment I did that, I felt a great jolt surge through my hands. I was shocked and took a step backwards.
Then I felt nothing in my arms; I was totally numb from my hands to my shoulders. I knew then that something was wrong with the mircophone and I did not want to touch it anymore. I turned to Ally (worship leader Allison), who was standing next to me and told her to pass me her microphone. I grabbed onto it as tightly as I could as I had lost all sensation by then. As I sang, I slowly began to feel pain stretching from my shoulders to my palms. I finished the song and as the meeting closed, I was rushed to the hospital.”
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When asked why he continued singing instead of going downstage immediately when the accident happened, he replied matter-of-factly, “I had already given the command to sing the song, the music had started, the people were ready to sing. I had to finish the song.” Only a true professional and someone who puts others before himself would have acted this way.
“We are talking courage here. He not only pushed through the pain and persevered that night, he stayed positive and upbeat throughout his recovery and therapy. For someone who almost lost his life on stage, to come back so soon and lead in faith is really something,” says CHC’s music director David Yem.
The moment Poh came back to Singapore, he went straight for an operation as his right shoulder had suffered a linear fracture due to the electric shock. Since then, he has been recuperating and going for his physiotherapy sessions twice a week. Doctors have advised him to swim regularly to strengthen his arm muscles. During this period he also spends time praying and reading the Bible, and as he puts it, encouraging himself in the Lord, “just like David did in the book of Psalms.”
“My orthopedic surgeon is not a Christian, but he was telling me that I am very blessed because I could have easily lost my life as the electric shock actually passed through my heart. Coming away from that with just a linear fracture in the shoulder is a miracle! So every time I go for my appointment at his clinic, he will tell his nurses, the ‘Miracle Man’ is here,” laughs Poh.
Now that he is slowly making a comeback, we will see more of Poh onstage. His first priority is to prepare himself for the coming Asia Conference. Poh is believing that the meetings will make a great impact on the people coming from different parts of the world. He is also currently working on some new songs with the band and getting back into the swing of things in his job as an Assistant Music Director.
As colleague and songwriter KC Gan says, “Poh’s commitment and dedication is exemplary for the music team. I am glad he is back in action.”
The congregation in City Harvest is glad that Poh is back too, many having written to the church office to congratulate him on his speedy recovery. For that, Poh would like to thank everyone who has prayed for him during this time.
The next time you see Poh on stage, let faith arise in your heart as you sing, because this is one “Miracle Man” who is a living testament of God’s power and love!