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The Online Bridge: FALL 2005
Issue 12, September 2005

at home and around the world

       
 

Dr. Sadiri “Joy” Tira
by Susan Grenz

       
Dr Tira Book Signing
Dr. Tira at his Book Signing

Dr. Sadiri ‘Joy’ Tira was born in the Philippines in Tupi, South Cotobato, and immigrated to Canada in 1981. He married Lourdes Tira in 1977 and they have two adult children and are expecting their first grandchild in September 2005. Joy was raised by Christian parents whose faith was the result of protestant missionaries to the Philippines. He accepted Jesus Christ as a young boy and rededicated his life to Christ at 16 as a first-year university student in Manila.

Dr. Tira recalls… “I first responded to the call to serve God in full-time service at the Asian Students Missions Conference in Bagiuo City, Philippines in 1973 (a conference similar to URBANA). Soon after graduation from FEATI University, in 1975, I joined Operation Mobilization and sailed on the MV Logos as Senior Marine Engineer until 1977. After our firstborn, Lorajoy, was born we rejoined the ship as a family in 1979. We served with OM until 1981, as Engineer and Lourdes serving as nurse. As a Christian traveler to so many different parts of the world, I came to see the world through the eyes of Christ. OM trained me in areas such as evangelism, and prayer.”

Desiring further training for vocational ministry, Joy applied to several seminaries around the world and was accepted at Canadian Theological Seminary (CTS) in Regina. In 1981 Joy packed up his family and moved to the “wilderness” of Saskatchewan where they stayed until 1984 and he received his Master in Missiology. While Joy studied in Regina, In 1983, Millbourne Alliance Church in Edmonton decided to hire an intern from CTS in order to start a fellowship among the growing community of Filipinos in south Edmonton. Joy was the only Filipino on campus eligible for this internship, so their young family (along with newly born Tonyvic) moved to Edmonton for the summer. Joy connected with a vibrant and growing Filipino community over that summer and then returned to Regina in the fall to finish his last year at CTS.

       
 

In the fall of 1984, he was called back by Millbourne Alliance to be on staff and start the first work of the Christian & Missionary Alliance- Canada among Filipino immigrants. Joy’s congregation became First Filipino Alliance Church (FFAC) and was the first in Canada. This growing congregation not only reaches out to Filipino immigrants but also to other “New-Canadians” like those from Africa and Arab countries. They have an international staff composed of Filipino-Canadian, and Tanzanian and Sudanese immigrants.

Joy writes, “I could not have imagined where I would be today, but I did dedicate my whole life to the cause of my Master, Jesus Christ. I am where I am because of His providence and sovereignty. My personal motto in life is: AAA (not Alcoholics Anonymous Association) but rather – “Always, Anywhere, Anytime” for Jesus. The greatest blessing for me has been watching people understand their purpose in life, and influencing them to expand their minds and hearts to embrace the global cause of Jesus Christ. For example, I have seen Filipino domestic workers, far away from family and homeland, become impassioned for the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and who are not just giving financially to missions, but who are themselves taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to their foreign employers and co-workers. I love to see how God is using Filipinos where they are to accomplish His purpose.”

Joy became Dr. Tira after receiving his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Reformed Theological Seminary ( Jackson, Mississippi Campus). Academically his goal is to finish the Ph.D in Intercultural Studies that he is currently pursuing so he can “further engage in missiological research and discussions of contemporary issues. His education at Taylor was an important stepping stone in his future study and ministry.

       

“When I came to Edmonton in 1984, I was on staff at Millbourne Alliance Church with a mandate of planting a Filipino congregation in Edmonton. My responsibilities were to lead the small groups, lead the Sunday Schools, disciple new believers, conduct visitation, counseling, preach, and raise money for the Filipino congregation’s building project. I realized my need for continuing education and Taylor Seminary was conveniently located. First, I found myself using Taylor’s excellent library resources. Then I started attending the annual WAHL Lectureships and then enrolled in modular courses. I enjoyed taking these courses under outstanding world-renowned scholars like Bruce Waltke, and Moises de Silva (to name a few). Because of this innovative seminary program designed for busy practitioners, I started taking more and more courses to enhance my ministry practice. Since I had not taken any courses for audit, all my credits eventually added up towards a Master of Theological Studies. Ultimately, I enrolled as a part-time student taking courses from the regular Taylor faculty. I finally got my MTS degree in 1992.”

Joy also serves as International Coordinator of the Filipino International Network (FIN). This network is a movement of Christians committed to motivate and mobilize Filipinos globally to partner for world missions. As Senior Pastor, Joy provides vision for the local church, and in his role as International Coordinator he chairs meetings of FIN’s global and regional committees. He also facilitates international FIN consultations and helps find resources for training of Filipino workers around the world. It is through FIN that his book was published and for which we had the book signing on Taylor’s campus.

Scattered by Dr Tira
Scattered, edited by Dr. Tira