Newest Faculty: Derek Atkins

L to R: Derek Atkins, Caleb (14), Lai Kein

At the previous East Chapel, Mr Derek Atkins shared a message from Psalms 121 and reminded us to turn to God and fix our eyes on Jesus Christ in times of trouble and uncertainties. He and his wife Lai Kein did just that when the Covid-19 pandemic started. Back then, they had returned from the mission field to visit Lai Kein’s family for Chinese New Year. That short visit has since ballooned into an entire re-evaluation of God’s plans in their lives. Now, Derek teaches at EAST, and Lai Kein serves in a local Methodist Church. Meanwhile, their teenage son Caleb is transitioning to a home-schooling lifestyle in Singapore, while attending a ministry for third culture kids.

Derek has obtained his MDiv and ThM from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently co-teaching Theology with Dr Lewis Winkler and Church History with Dr Raymundo Go. He has years of field experience in East Asia, ministering with his wife Lai Kein, while teaching English, and he had also been in pastoral ministry in Chicago, USA.

Derek has a rather unusual testimony. An avid Star Wars fan, eleven-year-old Derek was reading, “The Force of the Star Wars” when he came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At sixteen years old, when he was considering what to do with his life and career, pondering his future while standing on the upper deck of his father’s house under the stars, a thought came to his mind, “What amazing opportunities we have in our generation to tell the world about the gospel!”

Then he heard a still small voice, “Derek, that is what I want you to do.”

Wanting to confirm that it was from the Lord, he asked aloud, “Is that what you want me to do?” and the answer came back, “Yes.” That was how God called him to ministry.

Lai Kein first heard the gospel mentioned through Salvation Army during childhood, but it was through a youth camp that she attended after A levels that she was touched by God’s Holy Spirit.

Growing up in a non-Christian family, her parents persecuted her for going to church at the start and it was not easy for them to understand her decision to become a full-time staff with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru S’pore) after graduating from university.

By God’s grace, her father received Christ and was baptised in his eighties. Her mum is not yet a believer. Do pray for her salvation as the Lord leads. Lai Kein has received theological education in Trinity Theological College and after serving with Cru as a missionary in East Asia, she was also a Youth Pastor in Singapore.

Both Derek and Lai Kein met each other through the introduction of a mutual friend by email correspondence. At the time, Derek was in East Asia and Lai Kein was in Singapore. Both loved the Lord and had a common vision of serving God. When they got married, Lai Kein moved to East Asia to fulfill the call of serving God in missions once again.

Now that Derek and Lai Kein are back in Singapore, God is still helping them to fulfill their call to serve Him though their circumstances have changed. Our God is faithful and true.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for Derek as he adjusts to his role of being a faculty at EAST and settles his family transition back to Singapore for a longer term.
  2. Pray for Lai Kein’s pastoral work to be truly beneficial for the Chinese congregation she leads in the local Methodist Church.
  3. Pray for Caleb that he will grow academically and develop more friendships.

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