“If diaspora Christians take mission seriously, they can be a really powerful force”
It’s ten years since the launch of Lausanne’s Global Diaspora Network, which was celebrated by a Global Diaspora Virtual Summit. See the report below, from TV Thomas, Chair of Lausanne’s Global Diaspora Network. We took the opportunity to find out more about his involvement in Diaspora mission.
It’s always exciting to be in touch with TV – we first partnered in 1993 when Ram Gidoomal attended the founding gathering of NACSAC (North American Council of South Asian Christians), of which TV was the Chair. Since then he has been involved in a number of South Asian Diaspora networks.
“We realised that there is no single group that can hold all South Asians together,” he said. “At that time people found it difficult to identify as ‘South Asian’: they were Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Pakistani… Among Indians they thought first of their own regional and language identity. Yet there was a sense of being together as South Asians. We were a trigger to help them think more widely, beyond just their country of origin or local ministry.”
At present he is excited about the Telugu Christian diaspora: “They are vibrant and committed to mission. They take the initiative to reach out. There are several Telugu fellowships in South Africa, for example, and increasing numbers in New Zealand, Australia and USA.”
A recent initiative of the Lausanne Global Diaspora Network supports a new network for reaching Sikhs (see Concern, April 2020 – www.lausanneswg.ca/global-sikhconsultation- 2019/blog). Thomas Hieber, SAC partner in Germany, is part of the Working Group, along with Onkar Singh from the UK.
Together with Sam George, TV is co-editing the Indian Diaspora Series. The Malayali and Tamil volumes have been published. Telugu is scheduled for September 2021 and others will follow. He also chairs the WEA’s Global Mobilisation Network: “People from all countries want to engage in world mission. Not all of them have money, but they have people and other resources. This network is looking for new ways to pool these different resources. We meet every two years.”
TV spends much of his time travelling, linking individuals and groups, preaching, negotiating, encouraging: “If diaspora Christians take mission seriously, they can be a really powerful force.”
He and his wife Mary live in Regina, Canada, where he directs the Centre for World Mission & Evangelism. They are delighted that their daughter Molly, a TV journalist, has recently been appointed a presenter for ‘W5’, Canada’s oldest and prestigious programme of investigative journalism. She is the first non-white and the youngest by far. Their son Victor has just become CEO of the Canada-India Business Council and their other daughter Melanie, a lawyer, is chief negotiator for funding for the Community Foundations of Canada. All three love Jesus and they are public about their faith. So, the family is making an impact for Christ in their different spheres.