It is only by HIS grace

Maclaurin Hutagalung, BE, M.Sc, Ph.D | Tuesday, 17/06/2014 16:23 WIB

I’m Maclaurin Hutagalung, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Systems and Electrical Engineering, Institut Teknologi Harapan Bangsa. My students here call me Pak Mac. I graduated from Electrical Engineering Department at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) as one of the best graduates. By encouragement and support from my parents, I continued my study in Applied Mathematics with specialization in Signals, Systems, and Control, University of Twente (UT), Netherlands. Shortly after I got my master’s degree, I continued my doctoral study in Nonlinear Control of Dynamical Systems, Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT), Japan. Because of His wonderful grace, both of my graduate studies were respectively funded by Dutch and Japanese government.

However, my journey was not going very smooth. There was a part of me wanting to pursue career in industry while the other part wished for career in academia. Job offers from PT. Freeport Indonesia and McKinsey & Company after I graduated from ITB made it was even harder to decide. After all, my parents, especially my Dad, convinced me to pursue masters and doctoral degrees before going into the world of work.

Soon after I got my Ph.D., I found myself at a crossroads again. Besides the two choices I got beforehand, I faced the choices of going back home or staying abroad. It was only by His grace that I met two reverends from Indonesia and Japan. The Indonesian pastor told me that if I was confronted with many options, I should choose the one with the heaviest burden. Then, the Japanese pastor gave another perspective. He suggested that if I was confronted with many opportunities, I should choose the one with the greatest impact. I kept those sayings in my heart and returned to Indonesia for a while.

My Creator has amazingly prepared the best plan for me. By His sovereignty, two old friends—a Japanese missionary and the chairman of an education foundation—were reunited at a mission conference. The chairman is now my spiritual father and he entrusts me with the ministries at ITHB.

Looking back to the two advices I received years before, I believe that God wants me to do the ministries at ITHB, which are the heaviest burden that I may bear right now. To educate and to transform students are indeed a big responsibility. Here, at ITHB, I have a lot of chances to influence many students with biblical thinking and practices. Sooner or later, the students will take over the leadership roles from their previous generation. Becoming a lecturer means having a chance to shape the students so that they will give good impacts to the nation. It is only by His grace that He trusts me to do this work.