Indonesian Alumni’s Recovery from Covid-19

Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the world for over a year and EAST Alumni have been directly affected as well. EAST News caught up with two families from Indonesia, two families from Mongolia and one family from India who have suffered from Covid-19. Below are their brief updates from two families in Indonesia. More updates will follow next week.

Left to Right: Hendra Bagun, Eugenia (4), Lavisha (6), Hanna Sylvia Sitompul

Hendra Bagun, who graduated in 2017 with a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, is currently pursuing an EdD and is currently the President at Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Injili Bethsaida, a seminary in Medan, Indonesia. He suffered from Covid-19 from the first week of January this year, but thankfully his wife and children were spared. He experienced the loss of the sense of taste and smell for about two months. The senses were only fully recovered from March to April. The seminary currently runs all their classes online.

The situation in Medan is still quite serious, under red alert. Hendra shared about a Chinese student named Su Beity who also suffered from Covid-19 and is in a serious condition.. She is taking Master of Christian Education in his seminary and currently is also suffering from fibrosis on her lungs due to Covid-19. Please keep Su Beity in prayers for her recovery.

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“Now, I’m ready to go home and bear fruit.”

(Left) Mr Tan Eng Kwang, EAST Admissions Officer. (Right) Mr Vitou Ngeth, 2021 graduate, Master of Divinity in Christian Ministry.

Ngeth Vitou (Cambodia), MDiv Christian Ministry

“First we clean the land and let the cows soften the soil; then we let the land rest and heal, add in fertilizers and plant rice.”

Vitou, 33, speaks like a pro because from the young age of seven, he was already helping his parents on their three-hectre rice fields.

First, we clean the land

Vitou’s spiritual growth path started at 21 at a Bible School in Sihanoukville (western Cambodia), four hours from his hometown in Takeo. “I wasn’t a believer then,” he says. “I enrolled at the school only because it was free.”

The fifth child of a family of six children confesses that he grew up very angry about being poor. “I dreamed of finding a better life for my family; my father died early and my mother lived a hard life,” says Vitou. “But when I accepted Jesus in my first year at the college, my dreams changed to helping others find eternal life.”

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To Be Like My Father

 

Yataka Gakiya (Japan), Master of Arts in Biblica Studies, 2021

 

Two images of his pastor father stand out for Yutaka Gakiya, 29. “He enjoys preaching God’s Word,” says the Sociology major from Kindai University in Osaka. “and he loves playing with me and my two younger brothers.”

“From young, my dream has been to be like my father.”

Yutaka’s journey to EAST began only after he met a Japanese pastor in a city where he worked. It was also during those three years that God’s call for him into full-time ministry was confirmed. Read more

Wife of a Leader

Rev Liong Kwok Wai and wife Award Recipient Agnes Lim Chiao Minn

 

Agnes Lim, 48, is passionate about winning, building and developing women, especially wives of Christian leaders.

The Singapore Cru staff’s convictions grew from more than 20 years of ministry experience on the National University of Singapore, her alma mater, and the mission field.

As a missionary for ten years with her husband, Rev Liong Kwok Wai (EAST’S Academic Dean), Agnes has ministered to singles, wives of pastors and leaders, professionals as well as homemakers. As a member of the regional women’s team, she helped organize conferences to minister to women missionaries, church-planters, and lay leaders.

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Locked down for good

Thomas Kwok Chuek Hang (Hong Kong), MDiv Teaching & Exposition

 

When Singapore went into ‘Circuit Breaker’ on 7th April 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19, Thomas Kwok’s world was turned upside down and inside out.

“All schools, offices, and eating places were closed,” says the Information Engineering graduate from Chinese University of Hong Kong. “We couldn’t go out except to do basic essentials like getting groceries and doing exercises.”

So, to escape from being cooped up in the dorm, Thomas took to exercising outdoors every day. This developed into a routine that made all the difference to his final days at EAST.

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