East Asia

For more than ten years WELS has been sharing the gospel in East Asia. In light of tightening security, some members of the East Asia missions team relocated to a nearby country in late 2019. However, the East Asia missions team is moving forward with a renewed emphasis on training servant leaders with godly character and a passion to reach the lost. More than 45 national leaders, trained through Asia Lutheran Seminary, remain in East Asia sharing the gospel message with more than 900 people each week. The East Asia missions team continues to instruct, mentor, and coach these servant leaders through the Internet. Asia Lutheran Seminary, located in Hong Kong, continues to play an important role in recruiting and training new national Christian leaders for service in East Asia. They currently serve 209 students in four different program levels (leadership certificate, associate, bachelor, master). There are about 38 Asia Lutheran Seminary graduates who are working full-time in the public ministry in East Asia.

Fast Facts

  • Nine WELS missionaries serve on the East Asia missions team.
  • There are currently 20 congregations comprised of 55 different groups in East Asia and an additional 15 groups in other locations.
  • 900 people are served with the gospel each week in East Asia.
  • In 2019, 109 people were baptized in East Asia.
  • There are 10 national pastors and 48 current Asia Lutheran Seminary students serving in East Asia.
  • There are about 38 Asia Lutheran Seminary graduates who are working full-time in the public ministry in East Asia.

Support mission work in East Asia. Your gift supports church planting, theological education, national pastors and evangelists, and other general support of mission work in East Asia. Select the East Asia special project fund (for a more general gift) or a specific country you’d like to support from the drop-down menu.

Meet the Team

Missionary Matthew Doebler graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1997 and was assigned to serve at St. Peter, Collins, Wis. In 2001, Matthew and his wife Christine moved to Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., to serve at St. Paul. In 2006, they moved down to Round Rock, Tex., to help start Christ the Rock Lutheran Church, where Matt served until 2014. From Texas, the Doeblers moved to Hong Kong where Matt served as a professor at Asia Lutheran Seminary. Their three teenage children—Madeline, Samuel, and Caleb began expat life as high schoolers. After two and a half years in Hong Kong, the family moved “up north,” all except Samuel who returned to the U.S. to attend Wisconsin Lutheran College. In 2019, the Doeblers again relocated, this time to Chiang Mai, Thailand, as empty nesters. Their daughter Madeline lives in China with her two-year-old son Oliver, and Caleb will graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran College in May 2022.

Matt serves as team leader for the East Asia team, a professor for Asia Lutheran Seminary, and oversees the East Asia team mentoring program. 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.

Missionary Paul Janke serves on the East Asia mission team. He currently serves the team by writing curriculum and teaching classes online to equip and train church leaders and pastors.

This is Missionary Janke’s first call since being assigned from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 2016. He completed his vicar year at Holy Word in Austin, Tex., under Rev. Don Patterson.

Missionary Janke is married to Alanna nee Habben. Alanna studies Thai and helps with social media for Thai Village, a nonprofit that trains and employs Thai people in handicraft trade work. She is also studying marketing. They have two dogs, Mono and Dingo. Dingo hunts snakes and Mono hunts mosquitos and spiders.

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

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Praying for East Asia

Please pray for Lutherans in East Asia, as they continue to reach out with the gospel in a country that is looking to restrict Christian activities. May God bless them as they gather with fellow believers in hiding to learn more about the precious truths of Jesus Christ.


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Browse through and share pictures of Hong Kong, taken by WELS missionaries and national workers.