This article was originally published by The Mennonite

My kind of faith heroes

Aldo Siahaan is pastor of Philadelphia Praise Center, and on staff at Franconia Conference as a LEADership Minister.

Every Thursday, I attend a Bible study among pastors and leaders of the Anabaptist Network in Philadelphia, commonly called the Kingdom Builders Network. In November, around 25 leaders discussed the scripture from Hebrew 11:32 -12:3. It talks about faith.

One of the questions in the discussion that morning was, “Who are your faith heroes?” I heard someone say “My mom and my grandma are my faith heroes.” “One of the leaders in my church. He was a quiet person but had a strong faith, regardless of all the struggles he was facing.” “Mother Teresa. I worked with her for a couple of months and I saw her faith.”

Someone from the group asked, “How about you Aldo? Who are your faith heroes?”

My journey of Christianity started with my parents. My parents were the ones who introduced Jesus into my life, and not only that, they really put their faith in Jesus. As a family, we would have our regular prayer meetings; my dad had his personal time with God in his room, where my mom always had her time with God at our dinner table. Sometimes I would see my mom’s prayer list that she would put in her Bible. When our family had difficult situations and struggled, my parents always used their “powerful weapon”: prayer. So I can say that my parents are my faith heroes.

On the way back home from the Bible Study, God reminded me of another person that I have learned so much about faith from. He’s name is Stefanus Santoso, HT # 2769. The last four digits are not the last four digits of his social security number; this is his inmate number. Yes, Stefanus is in Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Pa.

During the eight years he has been in prison, if we talk over the phone or meet in the prison, he has a positive attitude most of the time. Not only that, but he has given testimony to me and his cell mates on how God has worked in many situations in his life, especially during his imprisonment.

Every day is a busy day for Stefanus. He works taking care of those who are incarcerated and disabled; he does school work for his International Business major from Ohio University; he helps with the church service every Wednesday and Sunday; he helps others with their problems. Many young and old cellmates like to share their problems with Stefanus.  They feel comfortable with him and trust him. He is also an artist and keeps busy with the drawing orders he has from others who are incarcerated.

Stefanus has shared many stories that encourage my faith. I can say Stefanus Santoso is my faith hero. I will continue to pray for him so that he can be released soon, and if God has another plan, I believe He will strengthen Stefanus for another 12 years.

Our faith heroes come into our lives in many different ways and from many different places. Who are your faith heroes? And are you living out your faith that you may be someone’s faith hero, too?


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