The first Asian general director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship International (OMF) was commissioned at an induction service in Singapore on Feb. 11.
Rev. Dr. Patrick Fung is now officially installed as the tenth general director of the 140-year-old organization following his appointment last December. Held at the Grace Singapore Chinese Christian (S.C.C.) Church at 2:30 p.m., last Saturday’s induction service was attended by top OMF leaders as well as the Rev. Dr. James Hudson Taylor III, the seventh general director of OMF and great-grandson of its founder.
Fung is humbled to receive the torch from the former general director David Harley, who has been serving at the position since 2001. The theme of the speech delivered by Fung during the induction service was about grace. First of all, Fung quoted Apostle Paul’s words to Corinthians to explain that his appointment is solely by the great grace of God:
"Who is equal to such a task? Indeed no one is if not by the grace of God. I think of the words of Paul, ‘But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.’ (1 Cor 15: 10)"
Fung also expressed his gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Norgate, a retried missionary couple from China Inland Mission (CIM)- the former name of OMF- in Australia. The couple has played an important role in guiding Fung to commit his life to God’s service in OMF, shaping him as who he is today.
"Who would give time and energy and invest in the life of a young Christian who knew so little about world mission? Yet, by the grace of God, a retired missionary couple from the China Inland Mission did," said Fung.
"Their passion for the lost, their love for the Chinese, and their submission to Christ’s lordship truly inspired me. What motivated them to give their lives to the Chinese in the inlands of China? Just as Christ’s love compelled them to mission service, Christ’s love compelled me," Fung testified.
In addition, Fung was amazed at how God has brought OMF (formerly CIM) to develop from a group focusing on China mission to a truly international mission organization serving in more than 20 countries around the world today.
"Who would imagine after CIM left China, there was still a future for the mission? … God gave us a fresh vision for the urgent evangelization of East Asia’s millions. God has allowed CIM/OMF to become a new instrument for His purpose, that is, to become a truly international mission," he stated.
Fung stressed on "diversity in unity" or "unity in diversity"- one of the core values of OMF. One third of the 20 countries that OMF serves are in Asia, which has a very complicated cultural mix.
Towards the end of his speech, Fung gave tribute to the very supportive team of "gifted and dedicated colleagues who not only are competent, but more importantly, exemplify the model of servanthood."
"Our focus should be on Christ, not us," Fung declared, inheriting the spirit of the founder of OMF Hudson Taylor. Fung promised to "pray more fervently, to proclaim His Word faithfully, and most important of all to have faith in God, in Christ our Savior."
Finally, Fung took the opportunity to thank the previous four general directors, who have shaped him and his wife Jennie "to be more like Christ." They include Dr and Mrs Michael Griffiths, Dr and Mrs Taylor, David and Sue Pickard, as well as Dr David and Rosemary Harley.
Originally from Hong Kong, Fung became a Christian while studying in Australia as a medical student in the 1970s, and that was when he met OMF. After receiving theological training from the China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong and Fuller Seminary in the U.S., Fung and his wife started serving in OMF in 1989. In 1996, Fung was appointed director of OMF Hong Kong and he served for a period of five years. Then, he became the OMF international director of mobilization based in Singapore until his latest appointment.
"In the providence of our sovereign God, it is marvelous to see His hand raising up within OMF a godly leader from the Chinese church. One hundred and forty years ago God brought the China Inland Mission into being to share the gospel with the un-reached peoples of China," commented Dr. Taylor on the appointment of Fung. "Now, coming full circle, a leader from a vibrant, mission-minded Chinese church and OMF take a step in global partnership in world evangelization."