Asia

The Asia One Team comprises 16 missionaries serving 17 different countries throughout Asia. The team, largely based in Thailand and Hong Kong, partner with God’s people in Asia to equip, encourage, and empower others to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to 1.8 billion unreached souls throughout Asia. The team is made up of missionaries and a stateside administrative committee appointed by the Board for World Missions to help facilitate this work in Asia.

Support mission work in Asia. Give a gift where it’s needed most throughout Asia, or select a specific Asian country from the drop-down menu.

Meet the Team

Rev. Dr. Jon Bare was commissioned as the new president of Asia Lutheran Seminary on January 15, 2023. He previously served as director of the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI), a partnership between Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary and WELS Joint Missions, and as a missionary in East Asia. Bare, his wife Kim, and their two children, Josiah and Elina, reside in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Rev. Tony Barthels accepted the call to permanently serve on the Asia One Team in 2021. He teaches classes both in the classroom at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong and online to students in East Asia. He also heads up recruitment for Asia Lutheran Seminary and serves as Asia One Team liaison to church partners in Taiwan.

Before moving to Hong Kong, Barthels spent 10 years in East Asia where he served as a lay missionary and team leader. He concentrated on building gospel-centered relationships, which often resulted in being able to hold in-home Bible studies. He graduated from Asia Lutheran Seminary in 2020.

Barthels is originally from Green Bay, Wis. He and his wife, Ariel, married in 2023 and welcomed their first child in 2024.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Tom Chaleunsouk was born in a small village in Laos, where he also met his wife Kaysone. He worked security at the American Air Base. Fearing for his life after the regime change, he left his family and home in 1980 and crossed the Mekong River to Thailand where he was detained in a refugee camp. Months later, Kaysone and two of their children escaped Laos and joined him. She had to leave their eldest son behind with her father; he was five years old. It would be three years before they would see their son again. They were introduced to Christ in the refugee camp by a Christian aid worker.

In 1981, Chaleunsouk and his family were brought to Pease, Minn., where they were sponsored by the Christian Reformed Church. The community and church helped to locate and bring their eldest son and Kaysone’s father to the U.S. They were baptized, and that is when Chaleunsouk became interested in becoming a pastor to share Christianity with his people.

In 1998, Chaleunsouk began studying part-time through the WELS Pastoral Studies Institute. By 2000, he became a full-time student and graduated in 2005. After graduating, he was called to serve as a missionary in the Nong Khai province of Thailand and offer pastoral instruction to interested students.

Chaleunsouk and Kaysone have three grown children and one grandson.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Dr. Angus K.F. Cheung serves as an academic dean and professor of historical theology and hermeneutics at Asia Lutheran Seminary (ALS). He also serves as the Asian representatives of Global Theological Education Committee in the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC). As a church member of the South Asia Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM) in Hong Kong, he is currently a deacon chairman at SALEM Yau Oi Congregation.

Cheung received his Ph.D. in civil engineering in 2010 from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He then worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the university and joined Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Ltd. as a senior research engineer before 2014. From 2014-2016 he served as a teaching fellow in the department of civil engineering at Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong. Cheung became a part-time student at ALS in 2008 and received his Master of Divinity in 2016. He received the call from ALS and has served as a professor there since 2016. Cheung is now a Ph.D. candidate in history of exegesis at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

Cheung and his wife, Kaman, married in 2011. Kaman received her Ph.D. degree in design from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2018 and served as a senior lecturer in the Hong Kong Design Institute. She is currently a student in the bachelor’s degree program at ALS.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Dr. Matthew Doebler serves as a professor of missiology, practical theology, professional development, and mentors for Asia Lutheran Seminary. He also serves as Asia One Team liaison to church partners in Hong Kong and oversees exploratory work in New Zealand and Australia. He and his wife Christine live in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Doebler graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1997 and was assigned to serve at St. Peter, Collins, Wis., where he served until 2001. He then served at St. Paul in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., from 2001-2006, and moved to Round Rock Tex., to start and serve Christ the Rock from 2006-2014. In 2014, Doebler moved to Hong Kong to begin serving at Asia Lutheran Seminary.

Doebler and his wife Christine have three adult children (Madeline, Samuel, and Caleb) and one grandson (Oliver). Christine volunteers for Thai Village, a non-profit committed to employing low-income people, supporting Christian education, and sharing God’s love in community.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Leon Ehlert serves part-time on the Asia One Team and part-time at Beautiful Savior in Green Bay, Wis. As Diaspora Ministry Facilitator for the team, Ehlert has experience with Asian people groups and helps facilitate connections and outreach between people groups in North America and their home country. He is the Asia One Team liaison to church partners in Pakistan and Bangladesh, oversees exploratory work in the United Arab Emirates, and serves as chairman of the North American Hmong Committee.

Ehlert graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1991 and served St. Stephen in Beaver Dam, Wis., until 1996. He then taught at Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, Wis., for 19 years until beginning his service at Beautiful Savior in 2015.

Ehlert and his wife, Krystie, have been married for over 30 years and live on a farm in Black Creek, Wis. They have four grown children; Julian, Elijah, Colin, and Mary; and three grandsons (Judah, Asher, and Finnigan).

Rev. Peter Janke has served on the Asia One Team since graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2016. His original work included online course development and teaching online classes in conjunction with Asia Lutheran Seminary to equip and train church leaders and pastors throughout Asia. Janke and his family will be relocating to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in summer 2024 to reach out to the native Australian population with the gospel in conjunction with two of WELS’ partner churches and expand outreach to a large Chinese population that has immigrated to the area. He is also the Asia One Team liaison with church partners in Indonesia and Japan.

Janke is married to Alanna, and they have two sons, Marvin and Jonas.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Professor Dan Kingsbury teaches Greek and New Testament studies at Asia Lutheran Seminary while residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his family. His ministry consists mainly of training and mentoring local church leaders. Kingsbury graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2013 and then served as a lay evangelist with Friends Network for six years. While serving with Friends Network, he took classes through Asia Lutheran Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2020.

Kingsbury and his wife Leona were married in East Asia in 2015. They have two boys, Cornelius and Macarius.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Professor Bounkeo Lor serves as Hmong Asia Ministry Coordinator for mission work in Vietnam. He is also involved with teaching other Hmong brothers and sisters throughout Southeast Asia.

Lor previously served as pastor at Grace Hmong Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Kans., from 2003 to 2015. While serving in stateside ministry, Lor also served on the Hmong Asia Committee, which coordinated gospel outreach to Hmong people in the United States and in Southeast Asia.

Lor is married to Fueyseng and together they have seven children: Samuel, Dorothy, Noses, Ruth, Sarah, Tshabmoo, and Tiffany.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Dr. Guy Marquardt serves as the director of the Regional Theological Education Program and as a professor at Asia Lutheran Seminary. He also serves oversees exploratory work for the Asia One Team and is the liaison with partners in Myanmar and the Philippines He and his wife Linda live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as empty nesters.

Marquardt was first assigned from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1994 as a church planter in southern Brazil. Over the next 14 years, he was also asked to train some of the first national pastors of our sister church in Brazil and eventually to serve as field coordinator for the WELS mission. In 2009, the Marquardt and his family moved to Lodi, Calif., where he served at Christ Lutheran Church. In 2015, he began his new work in South Asia where he served as a friendly counselor and principal of a pastor training program until transitioning to his new role on the Asia One Team and moving to Thailand in 2022.

Marquardt is married to Linda, and they have four adult children: David, Holly, Sara, and Jonathan; and four grandchildren. They are grateful for technology that allows them to keep in touch with family.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Timothy Matthies was called to the Asia One Team in 2019 to serve as a professor for Asia Lutheran Seminary. He teaches courses in the areas of Old Testament, Hebrew, and the Lutheran Confessions. He previously served at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Washington, Mich., from 2015-2019.

Matthies married Rachel in 2013, and they have two children: Irene and Zadok. The family resides in Hong Kong.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Professor Joel Nitz began serving the Hmong believers in Vietnam in 2020. When COVID-19 travel restrictions eased, Nitz began teaching trips to Vietnam. He continues to learn the Hmong and Vietnamese languages, write and teach courses for use in rural congregations, and teach classes online to Hmong church leaders. He also serves as the Asia One Team liaison to church partners in Nepal.

Nitz previously served at Northland Lutheran High School in Merrill, Wis., and Fox Valley Lutheran High School in Appleton, Wis., for one year each. He was also a mission explorer and pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Olympia, Wash., from 1988-2020.

Nitz married Kathryn in 1990, and they have five adult children: Iver (Mackenzie), Ruth (Conifer), Iraina, Faith, and Talitha; and two grandchildren.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Mr. Jeremy Seeger accepted the call in 2023 to serve on the Asia One Team as a tech missionary, a role that includes coordinating and developing the in-person and online technology used by the team to spread the gospel throughout Asia. He also teaches online courses.

Seeger grew up in Manitowoc, Wis., and graduated with a teaching degree from Martin Luther College in 2009. He later earned his master’s degree in education through Martin Luther College in 2019. He previously served as a teacher at HOPE Christian School: Prima in Milwaukee, Wis. (2009-2012); Rising Eagles Academy in Beijing (2012-2013); Martin Luther in Oshkosh, Wis. (2013-2017); and Divine Savior Academy in Doral, Fla. (2017-2023). He has also been serving as an online math instructor for Amazing Grace Virtual Academy since 2018.

He and his wife Grace were married in 2010. They have been blessed with two daughters, Liliana and Aurelia, and reside in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Justin Steinke was assigned to the Asia One Team from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2023. He, his wife Laura, and son Elijah live in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, where he is spending a full year devoted to language acquisition of Tagalog and cultural exploration of the Philippines.

After marrying his wife, Laura, in 2018, the two spent a year together in East Asia teaching English in universities and God’s Word in homes. Steinke’s vicar year was spent in Queens, New York, where he served as a vicar to the English and Spanish speaking congregations at Sure Foundation Lutheran Church.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Dr. Steve Witte currently serves as team leader for the Asia One Team. He is responsible for organizing the team as they partner with God’s people in Asia to equip, encourage, and empower others to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the 1.8 billion unreached souls throughout Asia.

Witte previously served as president of Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong from 2009-2023. Before starting service in Hong Kong, he was a parish pastor at Beautiful Savior in Green Bay, Wis., from 2001 to 2009 and Emanuel in New London, Wis., from 1985 to 2001.

Witte is married to Mary, and God has blessed them with five adult children: Hannah (Karl), Charis (Stephen), Seth (Katelyn), Lydia, and Micah; and 11 grandchildren.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Rev. Mark Zondag was assigned to serve the Asia One Team after his graduation from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2021. He completed his vicar year in College Station, Tex., at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. As the vicar, Mark preached, taught, and worked the campus ministry associated with Texas A&M University. Much of Zondag’s mission work is standing alongside and helping the preexisting, local congregations with their mission to reach the lost in Thailand and Laos.

Zondag and his wife Sarah have been married since 2016. They met while teaching English at a WELS’ sister church in Russia. The Lord has blessed them with three children: Esther, Anastasia, and Elianna.

Download and read more biographies at wels.net/missionarybios.

Asia Mission Partners

Exploratory Mission Work

Bangladesh

A Christian young man from Bangladesh who recently became a member of a WELS congregation is now studying to be a pastor through the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI). When his father passed away, this man inherited two Bible schools in Bangladesh. He is now working with WELS to provide solid scriptural training to those two schools and is partnering with WELS in his outreach in his hometown in the Midwest.

Latest News

Beautiful feet

Dear Friend,

God has given us great promises in his Word:…

Other Mission Partners

WELS Missions also partners with sister synods and independent churches in fellowship with WELS throughout Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. This partnership and support can come in the form of financial assistance, theological training or continuing education through the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI), visits and assistance from other World Missions representatives or missionaries, as well as the sharing of outreach ideas. A church in South Korea and another Lutheran synod in India are directly connected with our partners in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS). Visit the ELS world outreach page to learn more about that work.

Many of these mission partners are a part of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC), a worldwide fellowship of confessional Lutherans. To learn more about the CELC and these mission partners, visit celc.info.

PICTURES OF ASIA

Browse through and share pictures of Asia taken by WELS missionaries and national workers.