Graduands’ Testimonies

Left: Japheth Chew, Right: Lee Poh Chin (EAST Graduands 2023)


EAST News (EN) had an opportunity to have a chat with both Japheth Chew (JC) and Lee Poh Chin (PC), both of whom will graduate on 20 May 2023. Japheth came to EAST in December 2021 from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, to pursue a Graduate Diploma. During his studies, he has also served as the EAST Student Council Vice President and worshipped at Cornerstone Community Church. Poh Chin, a Singaporean, has served in the education sector for a few decades, both locally and overseas, before starting an EAST Master of Arts program in July 2020. She currently worships at Covenant Evangelical Free Church and was a core-team leader of the Hillington Green Covenant Group (CG) before it went back to on-site meetings.

Below is an extract of the short interview done with both of them by Tan Eng Kwang (Associate Dean of Advancement) regarding their experiences at EAST.

EN: What did you like, enjoy and appreciate about EAST during your time here?

JC: I really appreciate the community here at EAST. It is one of my favourite things about being at EAST. The lecturers are really intentional with the way that they bond with the students, the way they spend time and have meals with us. I have never heard of a campus or university that has such intentional mentorship by the lecturers.

PC: I agree with Japheth. What is very crucial and important in the last days as we talk about Jesus coming back is the community. The holistic community of interaction between the students, instructors, and even our admin staff. I’m very impressed with the posture, the generosity in giving their time and kindness. It is like asking for a simple thing like changing units, and the advisor is willing to go through the extent of explaining why certain things are supposed to be certain ways. I made a lot of errors in application and change of units but the advisor was always patient. The administrator was always very generous with her time and advice as well. From the top, the President, down to the very bottom, even the person who helps to clean this building, there is a family atmosphere that I don’t think you’ll get in another institution. This is not an institution, this is a community of learning and of interactive knowledge, with head, heart, hands, and the Holy Spirit’s presence.

JC: When I first came to EAST, I really sensed a very homey atmosphere and I was comfortable and felt at peace here. Another aspect I really appreciate and love about EAST is that it’s very missions focused. There is a real emphasis and it’s not just head knowledge. It’s really practical, evangelistic, focuses on discipleship and it’s really hands-on.

PC: I also enjoyed the fact that it didn’t compromise on the intellectual part because many people think why do you need to acquire intellectual knowledge? But without the intellectual knowledge, you can’t really interact with the heart and hence they all go together. EAST helps to tap into real Kingdom loving – authenticity is there. The instructors don’t pretend, they are vulnerable. They share from their experiences and they have rich experiences in the field. The students as well, because they are from different cultures, and I appreciated a lot of their insights.

EN: Japheth, could you share about your collaborative experience when you brought your Mentoring Group (MG) to Sawarak last year?

JC: One of the things I really enjoy about EAST is the fact that it is very intercultural. Most of the students and faculty here are from all over the world, all over Southeast Asia and especially Asia. In terms of leading a multi-cultural team to Sarawak last year, that was a very good experience. It really helped to grow me as an individual and a leader. I learnt to tap on different people’s gifting, knowledge and strengths and to see everything come together and flow well. People were blessed and that was the biggest thing for me – to go cross-culturally and see people get blessed.

EN: What are your takeaways from the interaction with your Mentoring Groups?

JC: I appreciate the fact that we lunch together, pray for one another and we are able to share what our needs are. We also have our faculty and staff with us who are also very open and transparent with what they are going through. I appreciate the intentionality of our lecturers wanting to journey with each of the students, and not just leave us to study and get our degree.

PC: I think it’s a very great platform for building trust and relationship especially in this broken world, and we are all going through different stages in our lives. At some point in time, we need to communicate and communication is along a lot of levels and EAST has provided a critical space for not just the pursuit of knowledge at a very high, academic level but interaction at the ground level. How can we then at every point in our assignments, outreaches or MG bring that knowledge down and contextualise it and make it available to the locals? At the end of the day, we are amongst people, it’s the here and now that people are struggling with, not what’s going to happen in the future. They are fearful of that but they can’t cope with the here and now. As an EAST student, the here and now is equally important as much as I am pursuing a lot of information, and a lot of interaction with God as well. But with the people (in the MG), you know that someone is there – your mentors and leaders are there to pray and journey with you.


The brief interview above gave a snapshot of the experiences of these two graduands whilst being equipped at the EAST Mission Hub. Do pray for them as they are in the final lap of their academic journeys, completing various assignments and preparing for final exams. They will participate in the 29th EAST Commencement Service where all graduands will be receiving their hard earned degrees. Some graduands know where they are headed for next in terms of calling and ministry, but there are others who continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and direction. Do cover them all in your prayers.

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