Overseas Missionary Fellowship International(OMF), formerly China Inland Mission, has officially appointed an Asian as the tenth general director. For the first time since CIM was founded, a Chinese Christian is leading the vast missionary network, according to statement released by OMF.
Rev. Dr. Patrick Fung, former OMF international director of mobilization based in Singapore, was appointed as the general director on December 5, 2005. He succeeds Dr. David Harley, who has been General Director since 2001.
Harley says "It is 100 years since James Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, died. It is 140 years since he started the CIM, the first of the so-called "faith" missions. It is significant development that the mission during the next period of its history will be led by Chinese Christian."
Fung became a Christian while studying in Australia as a medical student in the 1970s. After graduating he returned to Hong Kong to work as a doctor and was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians in the UK as well as to the Hong Kong and Singapore Academies of Medicine, according to OMF.
Meanwhile, when Fung was a medical student, he was drawn to the lives of retired Australian missionaries who had served in China with China Inland Mission and went on to work among overseas students in Australia. Independently, Fung's wife also a medical doctor, was challenged to serve in cross-cultural mission.
In 1989, after theological training, Fung and his wife, a consultant gynecologist, joined OMF International and served in a Muslim context. Fung worked as a medical consultant in an Intensive Care Unit and his wife served as a consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Raised in a traditional Chinese family, Fung faced "tough challenges" as he tried to convince his parents of his decision to leave a secure job and good career for missions.
In 1996, Fung was appointed director of OMF Hong Kong and he served for a tenure of five years. These five years were crucial years in Hong Kong's history, according to statement released by OMF. He was involved in the tasks of mobilizing students and graduates for mission, and training church congregations, particularly Chinese churches, for the role they can play.
In addition, Fung served as honorary medical consultant in Haven of Hope Hospital, the adjunct lecturer for the China Graduate School of Theology and an associate pastor of Chaiwan CCC Church in Hong Kong.
In January 2001, Fung was appointed OMF's international director for mobilization based in Singapore and he helped coordinate mission mobilization in different OMF centers. As a graduate of China Graduate School of Theology, Hong Kong, and Fuller Seminary, USA, he is regularly traveling to preach and teach at overseas Chinese Churches and international ministries.
Rev. Dr. James Hudson Taylor III, the seventh general director of OMF and great-grandson of its founder, commented on the appointment of Fung.
"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," said Taylor. "Now, coming full circle, a leader from a vibrant, mission-minded Chinese church and OMF take a step in global partnership in world evangelization."
OMF International was founded by James Hudson Taylor in 1865 as the China Inland Mission. Their goal is to glorify God through the urgent evangelization of East Asia's peoples through church planting, evangelism, university lecturing, publishing, student work and Bible translation through partnership with East Asia's churches. OMF currently has around 1,100 workers from more than 25 countries.
Fung will be commissioned as general director at the induction service in Singapore on Feb. 11, 2006.
The Fungs have two children, Elaine, 13, and Samuel, 6.