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“We are beckoned to embrace our role as missional beings” – Prof Berdine van den Toren Lekkerkerker, Dean of Asia Gateway Training

The Asia Gateway Training (AGT) programme equips missionaries, especially those within a pluralistic context in Asia, to effectively live and serve in the mission field. Their flagship one-month residential training was held from 4-30 June 2023 at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM). 

In June 2023, the Asia Gateway Residential Training was held at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM) where participants from across Asia lived and learned together for a month. 

The programme is curated for missionaries in a pluralistic context in Asia, teaching them how to understand, embrace and navigate living in diverse communities throughout the region. Here, we ask a few participants to share their learnings. 

Transforming local capacities without taking a condescending approach – S John, Pakistan

Through my time at Asia Gateway Training, I gleaned examples of how we can transform local capacities rather than taking a condescending approach to other religions and cultures. And fellowship with the trainers has also strengthened my resolve to give myself wholeheartedly to God’s mission.

God’s purpose has never been and probably will never be one size fits all – D Varghese, India 

The classes themselves were often focused on the practical application of the concepts discussed in our contexts. This, though not always easy to think through hypothetically, helped make the theory understandable and adaptable. It allowed for and reminded us to be creative because God’s purpose has never been and probably will never be ‘one size fits all’.

The strengthened bond between fellow believers and different countries – J Padan, Brunei Darussalam

A meaningful lesson from the training was the friendship and bonding between all participants. This relationship not only strengthened the bond between fellow believers but also built friendship between countries, especially about the mission. This opens the way for all of us to help each other, share our thoughts, cooperate, and strengthen each other. A valuable experience.

I believe all this is the goodness of Jesus; without His miraculous design, none of this would have been possible. I pray that all the learning, testimonies, and knowledge that have been given in this AGT will bring something new to my ministry.

Learning to see cultural ground realities with empathy – S Subedi, Nepal

Beyond my expectations, AGT provided me with the context to explore cross-cultural ministry as the embodiment of the nature of Jesus in unfamiliar situations with people unlike myself. The training helped me see cultural ground realities with empathetic eyes and has given me tools to see biblical faith rooted in a contextually relevant and significant manner. 

I felt more relaxed and at rest, and I enjoyed the generous hospitality of our generous hosts at STM. In a nutshell, AGT has helped me integrally see my mission with sensitivity towards others while translating my life mission in the contexts that I encounter.

An opportunity to pause, reflect and delve into our divine calling

Rev. Dr Joseph Deva Komar, STM missiology lecturer and Asia Gateway Training executive director described this year’s program as holistic, contextual and engaging. 

The training’s lecturers this year were:

  • Deaconess Dr. Tan Swee Bee, Faculty in Missions at Malaysia Theological Seminary
  • Rev Dr. Victor Lee Tat Yan, President of Bible College of Malaysia
  • Dr. Berdine Van Den Toren-Lekkerkerker, CMS Mission Partner for mission education in Africa and Asia
  • Rev. Dr Joseph Deva Komar, Missiology lecturer, Malaysia Theological Seminary, Executive Director Asia Gateway Training
  • Rev. Dr Chan Nam Chen, Executive Director of Asia CMS

AGT dean Prof Berdine van den Toren Lekkerkerker of UK Church Mission Society charged the participants to remember that mission is not just an endeavour but encompasses our spirituality and existence. 

She hails from the Netherlands but spends much of her time in Asia and Africa, training missionaries and Christian leaders. 

“Wherever we find ourselves, we are beckoned to embrace our role as missional beings… AGT has become a catalyst for this mission-focused lifestyle. It offers a unique opportunity to pause, reflect, and delve into the depths of our divine calling as beloved children of God,” she said. 

Photos from AGT.

Next year’s Asia Gateway Training will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal. For more information, please send an email to

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