God blesses a pastor’s call even during a pandemic. Stanley Sihotang, associate pastor at Indonesian-American church, is proof of that. This June, he was ordained to the gospel ministry in a pre-recorded ceremony broadcast live.
Although Sihotang grew up in a pastor’s home, he knew at a young age that he did not want to be a pastor. He continued to participate in ministry and went on to work as a nurse for years.
One day, though, he told his wife, Joyce, that the Lord had been tugging on his heart, calling him to be a pastor. He knew he needed to answer this call. He moved through a few states on the east coast before settling at the Indonesian-American church in Azusa.
In his homily, Southern California Conference (SCC) President Velino A. Salazar affirmed Sihotang’s calling. “The Lord calls at His own discretion,” Salazar said. “When God calls, He wants us to respond.”
Colleagues shared encouraging words, and friends and family from as far away as Indonesia spoke through video messages. “I know that we are all called by Jesus Christ,” Sihotang said in his response. “I pray that you will respond to the calling that the Lord has given each of you, so that we may finish His work.”
Through this new method, SCC Executive Secretary John Cress acknowledged that “the holy calling to the gospel ministry is still powerfully recognized by the church—even in this virtual form.”