Berdine van den Toren-Lekkerkerker, Netherlands

Berdine van den Toren-Lekkerkerker, Netherlands

Living a life of mission, both locally in our community and globally as I support Christian leaders in Africa and Asia to resource others.

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Living a life of mission, both locally and globally…

This is my passion. But what does this mean? Locally, it means that with my husband Benno, we are part of a core team of a church community in a neighbourhood of Groningen where social cohesion is strong but where people face many challenges. Globally, it means that I draw on many years of cross-cultural mission and theological understanding to help support emerging church leaders in places where they are acutely needed but face insecurity and risk.

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  • UK: community garden in Liskeard

    Festo and Grace Kanungha write that Festo has been working on preparing a community garden, including restoring some donated benches. Soil testing has now revealed that the soil is contaminated and not suitable for growing fruit or vegetables, although it is fine for trees and flowers. Raised beds were already a part of the plan […] Read more

  • Ukraine: offering aid

    Please continue to pray for Alison Giblett and local partners Valery Alymov and Anya Manchuliak and their church in Kyiv. They are reaching out with aid and encouragement to areas in the east and south that have been liberated from Russia. This is difficult, demanding and potentially dangerous work: pray for safety and stamina, for […] Read more

Berdine’s story

In many parts of the world, the church is growing, sometimes in the face of violence, threats and war. In other places, Christians remain a tiny minority in the shadow of other religions and growing fundamentalism. This is why raising up well-equipped Christian leaders is vital to help Christians hold onto their faith and live out the gospel despite the challenges.

I spend a good portion of my time travelling to places like these in Africa and Asia and spending time at schools for mission and theology where teachers are doing a great job but are often overwhelmed, overstretched and isolated. In addition to some training and teaching, I get alongside these teachers, listening to them, encouraging them and helping them feel less alone and vulnerable.

I have great empathy for these educators, as I spent many years teaching at a theological school in Bangui, in the Central African Republic (CAR). I return to the CAR for a few weeks every year to help raise up Christian leaders despite the volatile context.

Back in the Netherlands, my husband Benno is professor of intercultural theology at the Protestant Theological University in Groningen, where the world often comes to him; part of his role includes being responsible for international students.

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