Q. Please tell us about your family.
A. I have been married to Lulu Tira for thirty-four years. She was a nursing student when we met during our university years and later a university nursing instructor. Since getting married, Lulu has worked in various jobs, including as nurse on board the Operation Mobilization ship MV Logos, supportive seminary wife, and devoted pastor's wife. She now serves along with me as a motivator and mobiliser of diaspora Filipinos. She conducts evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training among Filipino kingdom workers overseas.
Lulu is an incredible leader in her own right. If people think that I can be a “crazy whirlwind” about people on the move, they should meet my wife, who is constantly on her knees for the diaspora people.
Lulu and I have two adult children, two in-laws, and three grandchildren. They are all Canadians, but resemble most closely the “Nowherians” that TIME magazine travel writer Pico Iyer describes in his writings. Nowherians are people who are not exiles, expatriates, nomads, or refugees, but who have fallen between all these categories in a space of “blurred boundaries and global mobility.” We are grateful that our children claim citizenship to heaven—the ultimate security of a “global soul.” It is our family's prayer that our grandchildren will grow to be eloquent ambassadors of our eternal home.
Q. Please give us a brief overview of your work and ministry.
A. Along with serving as the Lausanne senior associate for diasporas, I serve as chairperson for the Global Diaspora Network (GDN), which was formed during Lausanne III: Cape Town 2010. GDN is a catalytic movement that motivates and mobilizes diaspora Christians to partner for global missions. The GDN met for the first time in February 2011 in Paris. The GDN replaces the Cape Town 2010 event-specific Lausanne Diasporas Leadership Team (LDLT), and functions under the umbrella of Lausanne.
The Filipino International Network (FIN), “a catalytic movement of Christians committed to motivate and mobilize Filipinos globally to partner for worldwide mission,” is also very close to my heart and I am blessed to work with Filipino kingdom workers in diaspora.
In the past, I ministered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for over two decades, where I served as founding senior pastor of First Filipino Alliance Church. Before immigrating to Canada, I worked as an engineer with the Operation Mobilization ship M/V Logos.
Q. What is your favorite quote?
A. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life/ministry, and why?
A. I feel that I am “a dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants.” There have been five remarkable persons who have influenced my life and ministry: Vergil Schmidt of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, my first supervising pastor who challenged me to commit to my calling; Enoch Wan of Western Seminary, who prodded me to sharpen my mind and articulate my views on ministry; Jack and Carol Klemke, a Canadian couple who have been gracious and faithful supporters and who prompted me to ask strategic questions about our times; and Ted Yamamori of the Lausanne Movement, who is a staunch advocate of the “people on the move.”
Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
A. “If you don't know, ask. Don't assume that you know everything.”
Q. What one issue do you believe is the greatest barrier or opportunity to evangelism, and why?
A. A lack of vision and laziness are great barriers to evangelism. We need vision to be proactive, and diligence to ask the hard questions and adapt to ever-shifting scenarios. There
Evangelism. On Point.
Q. Please describe a time in which you shared
A. While in Oman in February 2011, GDN
Hassan and Lydia took us for lunch at a
“Tell me why Christians have three gods,” Hassan
are so many opportunities in evangelism right now, but if we lack the vision and will to work hard to question and respond to the times, we miss out.
Q. What book do you most often recommend to others to read, and why?
A. There are many noteworthy books, but two continually inspire me to pray for the diaspora people:
Iyer, Pico. 2000. The Global Soul: Jeg Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home. Toronto: Random House of Canada.
International Organization for Migration. 2010. World Migration Report 2010—The Future of Migration: Building Capacities for Change. Geneva, Switzerland: IOM.
Although neither are “Christian” books, both are outstanding for those in diaspora ministry.
Q. What websites, bloggers, and Tweeters do you regularly follow?
A. I read the news. Thankfully, we now have access to journalism from around the world. Constant awareness of what is happening in the world is required in order to elicit strategic response. In the blogosphere, I follow the blog of J. D. Payne, associate professor of church planting and evangelism at The Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary).
Q. What would you like to be doing in five years?
A. In the next five years I hope to be actively involved in catalyzing the global Church for diaspora missions and seminaries regarding diaspora missiology. This involves a lot of networking, writing, and travel to different regions to convene diaspora missiology and mission consultations.
Q. How can people be praying for you?
A. Please pray for wisdom as I respond to many diasporic issues. Also for vitality and energy as I travel championing the Lausanne Global Diaspora Network partnership between churches and organisations leading to the Global Diaspora Missions Congress in 2015.