East Asia

For more than fifty years WELS has been sharing the gospel in East Asia. Though the team is located throughout East Asia, the East Asia mission team continues to seek and train servant leaders with godly character and a passion to reach the lost. More than 30 national leaders, trained through Asia Lutheran Seminary, remain in East Asia sharing the gospel message with more than 2,300 people each week. The East Asia mission team continues to recruit, train, and mentor these servant leaders through the Internet. Asia Lutheran Seminary, located in Hong Kong, continues to play an important role in recruiting and training new Christian leaders for service in East Asia. Our missionaries and national leaders regularly mentor 23 church leaders and leaders in training. 27 people have completed mentor training to be able to mentor even more leaders.

The East Asia mission team continues to recruit, train, and mentor leaders while meeting challenges. The recruitment team uses a variety of strategies to reach students on the internet and through social media. Instructors and professors have tailored their classes for an online environment so students can learn while serving where they live. Mentors meet online with students located throughout East Asia. And through every step of the way, the East Asia mission team trains and collaborates with a national Christian so that the work can continue, and the people of East Asia can be empowered to serve.

Fast Facts

  • Nine WELS missionaries serve on the East Asia mission team.
  • There are currently 20 congregations comprised of 57 different groups in East Asia.
  • 2,300 people are served with the gospel each week in East Asia.
  • In 2022, 64 people were baptized 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 Peter 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

We thank God that he has remained with the East Asia mission team despite many challenges, and that he continually blesses the work in East Asia. Please pray that the work would continue in the face of tightening restrictions to the spread of the gospel. Pray for the national leaders, who give so much of themselves to learn and serve while they maintain other jobs and vocations.


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