OM appoints new international leader

 Lawrence and Susan Tong: On 7 March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, OM appointed a new international director, only the third in its nearly 56-year history. Lawrence Tong, from Singapore, takes over the OM leadership from Peter Maiden, from the UK, on 1 September 2013.Bangkok, Thailand – On 7 March 2013, OM appointed a new international director, only the third in its nearly 56-year history.

The celebration was marked with song and dance from the Logos Hope African choir, greetings from other global mission organisations, and an expectation of God’s future blessing on the ministry, which began in 1957. In addition to prayers in Korean, Hindi, Chinese and Portuguese by OM and other mission leaders, George Verwer, OM’s founder and first international director, prayed inspiringly for incoming leader, Lawrence Tong.

Lawrence Tong, from Singapore, takes over the OM leadership from Peter Maiden, from the UK, who has served and led in the role since 2003. Lawrence, who has served as director of OM’s ship Logos II, and pioneered and led the work of OM in China, will assume responsibility on 1 September 2013. “Tonight has been an amazing evening,” said an emotional Tong. “I have many questions about the journey we are about to begin, but we serve the One who has the answers.”

“I will be delighted to hand over the reins to Lawrence Tong. I think this is the right time for an individual who has the necessary gifts and is from the Global South to take the helm of the movement,” said Maiden. “Lawrence is highly respected throughout Operation Mobilisation and has a long and varied history with us, and I have every confidence in him and Susan as they take on this role.”

Peter Maiden’s career with OM spans nearly 40 years. He and his wife, Win, joined OM in 1974, leading the work of OM UK until 1985, when he became the first associate international director. Peter has also served as a trustee of Keswick Ministries and on many global boards. He is a highly respected international Bible teacher and author.

The Maidens have three married children and eight grandchildren, with whom they now look forward to spending more time. Peter will continue to be in demand as a Bible teacher and author and will continue to have valuable input in the global work of OM.

“It has been an enormous honour and joy for Win and I to serve in this capacity. We’ve had a brilliant team around us and we owe a great debt to them,” said Maiden.

Lawrence Tong combines an infectious enthusiasm both for the mission of OM and for the wellbeing of its members around the world. He met his American wife, Susan, while serving on the Doulos and married in 1989. They have two adult sons of whom they are “extraordinarily proud”.

Lawrence’s spiritual journey began with a commitment to Jesus Christ at an evangelistic meeting in Singapore in 1973. He visited the Logos when it came to Singapore in 1974 and joined the ministry team on Doulos in 1978. Susan joined OM in 1979 and over the next 10 years served in several OM fields, including on board Doulos and with teams in India, Bangladesh and the US.

Lawrence’s leadership journey has included serving on the Board of OM Singapore from 1995–2001; as OM country leader for Taiwan from 1999–2001; as director of Logos II, 2001-2005; and in financial development with the OM Ships USA office in Florence, South Carolina. Since 2006, Lawrence has led the fast-growing work of OM in China with a significant focus on welfare and agricultural programmes, which he and a team of local partners established in the Sichuan region following the earthquake of 2008.

“I am a debtor to an OM heritage that has shaped my life and ministry. The servant leadership of so many of you here, past and present OM colleagues, that still inspires me,” noted Tong. “My heartbeat is to encourage OM to remain true, both to the Gospel and to our core values, as we seek with passion to bring hope to the lives of men and women and boys and girls in almost every part of the world. For my part, I will continue to strive to give back to OM what the Lord has given to me, so that I, and we together, our generation of OMers, may be even more worthy of His calling.”

OM’s role in the Church is to mobilise people to share the knowledge of Jesus and His love with every generation in every nation. OM pioneers and leads initiatives to redeem lives, rebuild communities and restore hope in over 110 countries.

Gallery

International :: “My favourite part of being on Logos Hope is knowing that we all are one family. Although we are 60 different nationalities, we have one mind and one vision: serving people and showing them God’s love. OM is different from other mission agencies, because we have a way of working together. OM gives me the freedom to use my gifts and talents for edifying and building others, and I’m so thankful for that.” - Vonette from Haiti, Logos Hope
International :: “Pay attention to your life with God, insist in living in some sort of community, and understand that you are made for mission in one form or another. You have to live outside of yourself. Then ask three questions: (1) Who am I? (2) What road(s) am I on? (3) How do I connect with God?”- Viv from UK
International :: “I look around post-modern Europe, and I see millions and millions of good people with a propensity for spiritual things not even considering Jesus as a spiritual option, simply because no one has been present in their lives that accurately reflect who Jesus is. In Porto, our city in Portugal, there are thousands and thousands of young people that have absolutely no interest at all in church or religion but are searching for that spiritual thing to fill the voids in their souls. I believe with my whole heart that Jesus is the answer!” - Troy from USA, OM Portugal
International :: “I think very highly of short-term mission trips. In fact, I went on six or seven before [my family] went on our first longer-term mission. It is of vital importance to subject yourself to many of the things that you will face with long-term missions. It’s important to smell the air, eat the food, see the people, and feel the shock of new lands and cultures. I believe this played a major role in God shaping the vision and calling of our lives for long-term missions, and long-term missions is where I believe a lot of sustainable ministry occurs. But it goes without saying that God can do, has done, and is doing very sustainable work through short-term missions, as well.” - Troy from USA, OM Portugal
International :: “One ‘victory’ moment that I have experienced while in missions was in Bangkok, Thailand. I had the opportunity to go and do eyeglass ministry in one of the slums in the city. I grew up in Thailand and am able to speak the language, so straight away, I was able to use that in speaking with the people as I was doing eyeglass ministry. I was testing an elderly lady’s eyes, and as I got the right glasses, I could see from her face that she could finally read and she was so happy. She told me that it was like the light had been turned on. This touched my heart to see that I could be a part of helping somebody in their life.” - Suvi, OM Ships
International :: “One of the best experiences [I’ve had in missions] was to be praying through a small village in a North African country, walking with my partner, praying and asking God to bless this town, only to find that another pair had met two young men who gave their hearts to the Lord at the end of a whole afternoon talking together. That was 13 years ago; God is till at work in the lives of these two men. What crazy experiences are these for a woman from a nice, middle-class city in Canada, who never looked for experiences that were so far out of her comfort zone? How crazy is it to see God answering prayer in situations that would have seemed impossible from my limited experience of Him at one point in my life?” - Sue from Canada
International :: “A significant part of my growth as a Christian was shaped by missions. I matured in my walk with the Lord as a result of my involvement in missions. My hope is that my walk with Jesus would be more close and intimate, and that many around me would respond to His love and develop this relationship that He so desires.” - Seelan from South Africa, OM Ships
International :: esteeming the church, and this is something I’ve learned in OM—to love our community and to support each other in partnership and love, inspiring and praying that God’s will be done and not our own.” - Nazareth from Spain, with OM Ships

The nomads of our world
09-Jun-2016

Stephan Bauer discusses what it means to establish "vibrant local communities of Jesus followers" among nomadic people groups.

Thousands of vibrant local communities
11-May-2016

Julyan Lidstone stresses the importance of modelling the Gospel through communities of love and grace.

From doodle to Google as solar power brings light to Africa
05-May-2016

Zimbabwean Simon Marijani shares how solar power could be the tool that will help to reach “the back of beyond” with the good news.