Associate Professor in Global Mission and Leadership Dr. Dioi Cruz and senior librarian assistant Silvia Zapata de Cruz have moved to Lebanon after accepting a call to serve as missionaries at Middle East University (MEU) in Beirut, Lebanon.
Dioi Cruz will fill the role of dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology, and professor of Mission and Applied Theology. Silvia will serve as a library assistant in collection management and development.
Dioi shares that he and his wife received the call from MEU eight months ago. It was prayers and dialogue that illuminated their path. “It became clear that moving to Lebanon is a vital calling for the current phase of our ministry,” said Cruz. “This is not the first time we’ve been approached to serve in that region, and our conviction remains firm that what we have to offer to God in service aligns more profoundly with MEU than with AIIAS at this stage of our lives.”
Dioi pastored three districts of churches in Brasilia, Brazil, from 1995-1999, and served as a district pastor in Jundiai, Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 2009-2010, and in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2011-2015. He accepted an appointment as mission president and ADRA director in Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Guinea Conakry from 1999-2008. He took up academic duties at AIIAS in 2016 as an assistant professor in the AIIAS Seminary. He became the director of the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Missiology programs before being ranked as an associate professor in 2020.
Silvia has served as a senior librarian/patron services assistant at the AIIAS Leslie Hardinge Library. Before that, she served as the department secretary in the Mission office in Niger and Guinea Conakry from 2004-2008, and in the South American Division from 1995-1999.
Dioi remembers teaching biblical leadership to large groups of students where everyone came from a different country. He has served as an elder in the AIIAS church, has enjoyed writing academic articles for several scholarly books, and has been an avid supporter of student mission activities. Over the years at AIIAS, Dioi has been actively involved in many student-led outreach programs as their faculty sponsor. His colleagues have appreciated his dedication at the seminary, where his mentorship has blessed many students.
“I want to express our sincere gratitude for Dr. Cruz’s years of service to the AIIAS Seminary. As someone fully devoted to furthering our mission, he gave his best to ensure the success of our students,” says Ricardo González, dean of the AIIAS Seminary. “It was a privilege to have Dr. Cruz as one of our colleagues; he and Silvia will be missed. As they prepare to embark on their new missionary endeavor, we wish Dr. Cruz and Silvia God’s abundant blessings and the best in their new place of service.”
Silvia voices her appreciation at being given the opportunity to remodel and improve the library’s environment. Working there provided her with a loving and funny team, she says, which became her family. Silvia is noted for her ability to speak four languages; her understanding of cultural differences has allowed students to express themselves freely when asking for assistance at the library. Colleagues will remember her for her love of karaoke and her creativity and skills in interior design, used in making the library a more pleasing and comfortable space for its patrons.
“Silvia, who conquered many continents, is an example of courage and dependence upon God’s leading in her life,” remarks Megumi Flores, director of the Leslie Hardinge Library. “She encourages others through her gift in visual arts. Her crafts and artwork have made the library attractive, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cozy corners she put up during the pandemic gave the library a fresh look and attracted the patrons to stay in the library. This lady with shiny blonde hair and her Argentinian hug will be greatly missed.”
The Cruzes share this parting message to AIIAS: “We stand before everyone with a heart full of gratitude for these amazing years of service at AIIAS and the incredible and loving people we’ve met. Our hearts are also excited about the future God has prepared for us. May our paths cross again on this beautiful journey toward heaven until we meet with Jesus.”
To Dr. Dioi and Silvia, may the grace of God be with you as you venture into this new field. AIIAS is grateful for your season of ministry here.