The following article was adapted from The Navigators Singapore’s 50th Anniversary publication, With Eyes Singled to His Glory.
Feel Jim Chew’s heartbeat as you watch his interview – https://youtu.be/4GD_BIOBw4Y
In the 1950s, Jim Chew was already a deeply committed Christian interested in evangelism and missions. Joe Weatherly arrived in Singapore in 1956, bringing with him the ministry of Youth For Christ (YFC). After both gentlemen met at the Bethesda Katong brethren assembly, Joe got Jim memorising Scripture and shared with him about Dawson Trotman and his vision for disciplemaking. Increasingly, God put in Jim’s heart a burden for the lost, beginning with his high school friends and the young gangsters who came to his church.
Jim spent his undergraduate days at the University of Malaya deeply involved with evangelism and discipling. He spent time particularly with Philip Tan, who proved to be a fruitful disciple, producing generations of faithful men for God’s work. He also brought S. Dhanabalan to Christ, and they both conducted evangelistic Bible studies in their hostel. Within a year, they saw more than 20 people come to Christ.
Jim was doing extensive follow-up work under YFC and later saw an opportunity to receive training with The Navigators. He spent five months in training under Warren Myers in Vietnam. From 1960 to 1963, he served YFC full-time as follow-up director. In 1963, Jim and his wife, Selene, received an invitation to spend a year in training at Glen Eyrie, The Navigators Headquarters in Colorado Springs. The couple would become the first Asian Navigators staff in December 1963.
Jim and Selene returned to Singapore to co-labour with Roy and Phyllis Robertson for a while before being sent to Malaysia where they started a Navigator work. Thereafter, the couple went to New Zealand where Jim served as National Director. In 1980, he led the Singapore Navigator work as the second National Director, taking the reins from Dave Dawson.
Jim and Selene Chew are now serving in The Navigators of New Zealand as Asia-Pacific Missions Mentors. Jim published a book When You Cross Cultures in 1990 and later updated it in 2009 to aid church leaders, prospective mission candidates and tentmakers.