Jacob (ThM, 2013) and Josephine (MABS, 2013) Li

Alumni Spotlight

In 2009, Jacob and Josephine left their home, families, and promising careers in real estate development and interior design in Canada to begin their study at DTS, unaware of what lay ahead.

Fourteen years later, they serve as faculty at the East Asia School of Theology (EAST) based in Singapore, with extension centres across Asia. This year marks their eighth anniversary teaching at EAST, but they are continually thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to equip students from over fifteen Asian countries, many of them from regions hostile to the Christian faith.

Jacob enjoys imparting to his undergraduate and graduate students what he learned from DTS, particularly in the areas of hermeneutics and homiletics. He desire to be an effective “Fedex guy” who can deliver God’s truth faithfully, from one generation to the next, in a timely manner, and in a contextualized form most relevant to the audience.

Similarly, Josephine is passionate about encouraging and equipping sisters through EAST’s Partner-In-Ministry program as well as the online Sisters in Ministry (SIM) Toolbox that she started during the pandemic. Because of her training and her involvement in SWIM at DTS, Josephine feels confident and equipped to present solid biblical teaching with creativity—using arts, crafts, and even beauty make-overs! SIM Toolbox offers free online ministry and discipleship skills trainings for the women all over Asia who cannot afford formal theological education. Josephine is encouraged to see how her students would attend her workshops and the teach what they’ve learned with other women in various villages the next day. There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing God’s truth being passed on faithfully, from one person to the next, to the remotest parts of world!

Jacob and Josephine spend much of their time outside of class interacting with their students, inviting them to their house for a home-cooked meal and games with their two children. (Actually, this was something they learned from DTS professors who blessed them with delicious home-cooked meals during their years at DTS.) Some of life’s most precious lessons are passed on through these informal conversations. Students learned what it means to be an authentic minister of Christ, with real day-to-day challenges. For Jacob and Josephine, they learned from their students what it means to “carry the cross,” as many of them faced imprisonment, abuse, and even death because of their faith, yet they still serve the Lord with unwavering passion. Through interacting with students from different countries, Jacob and Josephine learn to appreciate the many beautiful cultures God has created. This, in turn, enabled them to contextualize their teachings to meet the students’ unique needs.

Jacob and Josephine would often reminisce about their time at DTS, even though it’s been almost a decade. Some of their fondest memories include the following:

  • Josephine getting pregnant during her first semester, and pregnant again during her last semester! In a way, Josiah (now 13) was the welcome gift, and Jesse (now 8) was the farewell gift the couple received from DTS! Indeed, Josiah and Jesse are miracle children, since Jacob and Josephine had been married for ten years without children, until God enabled them when they stepped onto the DTS campus 
  • Being reassured by Dr. Pocock that, thanks to globalization, you don’t have to live in a jungle and wear animal skins to become missionaries (“Something we were seriously concerned about at the time!” Josephine says.)
  • Having dim sum with Dr. Toussaint who took the initiative to reach out to us outside of the classroom
  • Spending quality time with Dr. Andy and Dr. Gail Seidel at their home, laughing together and gleaning from their wisdom
  • Learning from Dr. Joy Baker and Dr. Sue Edwards on how to equip sisters in ministry (This planted the seed for the Sisters in Ministry Toolbox Josephine later started!)
  • Seeing Christlikeness being lived out among the professors who not only knew God’s truth well but also carried it out
  • Strengthening their marriage by setting God-honoring priorities and obeying His command to love one another sacrificially—a feat possible only by God’s grace
  • Experiencing daily grace from God as they wrestled with the demands of being full-time students, full-time spouses, full-time ministers, and full-time parents

Jacob and Josephine agree that their time at DTS was both inspirational and transformational. The biblical teaching and mentoring they received shaped their head, heart, and hands such that they are now able to serve those in Asia with confidence and conviction. It is their genuine desire to pass on what has been entrusted to them to equip leaders to the glory of God.