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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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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