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.”