Written by Samson Hutagalung
Calling to the Ministry
I am thankful to the Lord for saving me in my teens while I was still in high school. I realise that I was a destitute sinner, deserving nothing but judgment. Though I was brought up in a Christian family and lived in a Christian community, that did not make me a Christian. It was the Word of God preached, that caused me to realise that I was a condemned sinner who needed God’s mercy and grace for all my sins to be forgiven me.
Upon completion of my high school, I came to Batam to search for a job. For several months, I was searching for a church which could help me to grow spiritually. I attended different churches for that purpose. By God’s providence, in the midst of searching for a room to stay, I met a brother who was also searching for a place like me, and we rented a room together. He subsequently invited me to join him for an evening Bible study in the shipyard dormitory, which I did – though reluctantly at first, as it was quite a distance away, and travelling there would require passing through a rural area in the night. There I met a FEBC graduate conducting the Bible Study.
When I attended the Bible study, I loved the way the Word of God was expounded and felt being blessed and encouraged to follow and love the Lord. I continued to join the meeting and the church in town. After some time, I got involved in various ministries of the church. Joining the preacher in various ministries every Sunday, from morning to evening, was a joy for me!
As I continued to worship and serve the Lord in whatever area I could, I felt the call of the Lord when I first heard Matthew 9:37-38 preached during a Sunday service. I continued to meditate on that passage when I got home. I felt the call and a burden to serve the Lord, and to preach the Gospel to unsaved ones. “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
Then, Romans 10:14-15 was another passage that spoke to me in the same period of time. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
I knew that the Lord had called me and laid a burden in my heart to serve Him, but I dared not speak to anyone. I felt that I was unworthy for such a holy ministry. Often, I tried to forget the burden by telling myself that I still had to fulfil my responsibility towards my parents and to support my siblings’ education. In my heart was a great struggle, and at the same time I lost interest to continue my job in a company as I was thinking about serving the Lord.
It took me more than a year to finally make a decision. Matthew 6:33 was used by the Lord to comfort and strengthen me in making a decision when the Lord said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I entrusted all things unto God, trusting that the Lord would help my parents in their needs.
With the strength and comfort from the Lord, on October 1994, I resigned from my work and stayed in the church in preparation for my theological study. On 2nd January 1995, I came to Far Eastern Bible College.
I thank the Lord for His grace and mercy in seeing me through my studies. After 5½ years, I completed my studies and went back to serve the Lord at Calvary Batam as a preacher, as well as a librarian and academic dean in the Bible College there. What a joy I had, as at last I could serve the Lord and God’s people! I was grateful to the Lord for His enabling grace in all the ministries I had for 6 years in serving the Lord in the church and Bible College.
In July 2006, I came back to FEBC for further studies, which I completed in 2007 (pending completion of my thesis). Upon my return, however, I felt that I did not have a place to serve. So, I started a service in my home, attended by my family, a maid, a friend and his wife. In 2009, upon the invitation of Gethsemane BPC (Batam), I joined the church – until November 2012.
In December 2012, my family and I came over to Singapore for the purpose of my daughter’s primary school education. We started attending Gethsemane BPC (Singapore) for the first time. In August 2013, by the grace of God, Pastor Koshy, together with the Board of Elders, accepted me as a missionary preacher, designated with the main task of establishing GBI Online.
Gethsemane Bible Institute Online
It has been 7 years since I have become part of the ministry of Gethsemane BPC. During this period of time, the Lord has been so good and gracious in guiding me to serve Him in GBI Online. Being new to the Learning Management System, and without any background or pre-knowledge and experience in the internet field, I leaned upon the Lord’s guidance. I believed the Lord has directed me to this ministry and He would help me through all the challenges.
Day and night, I came to the Lord and surrendered everything to Him, that He might direct me to the right source and information as I tried to learn everything needed to start GBI Online. He guided me step by step to learn MOODLE (the platform which is used to run GBI Online), to the end that GBI Online may be a useful ministry for His kingdom (cf. Psalm 32:8). He granted me patience to learn, and wisdom to understand things that were needed.
Setting up a course in the GBI Online website and framing up quizzes for every subject is challenging. Praise be to God, GBI Online has been running well since we launched it on January 2015. My heart is thankful and joyful when I see God’s people from different parts of the world learning God’s Word through GBI Online! To date, 166 students are learning God’s Word online, and more would join us when we let the world know about this ministry (cf. Matthew 28:19).
Editing Video Lectures
In June 2015, I was involved for the first time in the editing of video lectures taught by Pastor Koshy. The aim was to enhance the presentation of the video lectures for students’ greater spiritual enjoyment. It took hours to edit each lecture. However, it is a double blessing for me as I listened to each lecture again and again. It gave me a better understanding when I spent time in editing all the video lectures.
On Friday, 13th May 2016, I had my first ministry to Calvary Kuching, attended by Bro. Jeremy Teo and family. It was basically a Bible Study on a Friday evening. In December 2016, I spent (for the first time) two weeks ministering in Kuching – for prayer meeting, Sunday service, Christmas Eve service and New Year service. Since then, I have been staying there for about two weeks every time I was scheduled to go there – until the disruption caused by the global pandemic.
During this global pandemic, I was given an opportunity to serve the Lord at Calvary Kuching via Skype for prayer meeting, youth fellowship and Sunday service. By God’s grace, our services were never interrupted hitherto.
Truly, the Lord is gracious and merciful to His people. May the Lord continue to help and use me for the ministry. All praise be to the Lord. Amen.