NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) — In early August, Martin Gunawan was not searching for a new job. But by Sept. 20, he had begun his first day with Mennonite Mission Network as senior executive of Operations.
That quick turnaround happened when his wife, Chika, saw an advertisement for the job in the newsletter of College Mennonite Church, their congregation, in Goshen, Indiana, and suggested that he check it out. He applied and was hired three weeks later, Gunawan said in a recent interview.
"I am very grateful for this opportunity, for I have always longed to be able to serve God in what I do on a daily basis," he said.
Gunawan said his early formation impacted his desire to more directly serve Christ. He was born and raised in Indonesia to a Mennonite family that was highly committed to God's work.
Gunawan grew up in the Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia (GKMI) Mennonite Church in Pati, Indonesia, and his late grandfather, Pdt Em Lemuel Prayogianto, was a pastor there for 31 years, he said. His parents, Paul and Ratna Gunawan, are deeply engaged in all facets of a congregation they helped plant as an offshoot of his grandfather's congregation.
"My most formative memories of growing up are of much time spent in Sunday school, church services, Bible school and church camps," Gunawan said. "Because my family was so involved, I was privileged to spend much of my young life in that setting."
Gunawan launched on his own spiritual pilgrimage when he left Indonesia in 2000, at age 17, to attend Hesston (Kansas) College. He continued his studies at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. He then secured a master's degree in business administration and finance at Indiana University South Bend.
Though their parents knew each other in Indonesia, Gunawan said he did not meet Chika Sunoto until they were at Hesston College together. They married and, now, live in Goshen, where they are raising three children: Matthew, 11; Caleb, 9; and Maura, 4.
Because of God's providential serendipity, Gunawan is grateful to use his gifts in finance as the head of day-to-day operations for the mission agency, he said. He also embraces the new challenges of learning the functions of human resources and information technology. He came to the agency from a longtime position as a financial/business analyst at a local warehouse and distribution company in Elkhart, Indiana.
"I am so humbled and excited that I get to be a servant of Christ in this capacity," he said. "When I was offered the new job, there were a lot of unknowns and, of course, some anxiety. But three weeks into the job, a lot of those early jitters have melted away because of all the welcome and support I've received. I couldn't be happier, since I knew this is where I need to be."
Even with the challenges of realignment, Gunawan said what he has learned about God so far in his life has taught him to trust God for the future. His experience of God's faithfulness during a family medical crisis helped build that trust. At 5 years old, his son, Caleb, was diagnosed with cancer; he is now 9 years old and doing very well.
"One of my life verses that is lifting me up during my learning curve on the job is Joshua 1:9, which encourages me to be strong and courageous and unafraid, because the Lord goes with me wherever I go," Gunawan said. "That is Caleb's favorite verse as well."
The models that his parents and grandparents set for him was also key. Gunawan's grandfather, for example, modeled for his young grandson what it means to remain calm in the storms and uncertainties of life and the future.
"He always retained a calm presence, no matter what was going on, and exuded an attitude of 'God's got this,'" Gunawan said. "God has always got a plan, whether for my family, or in the middle of realignment in my new job at Mission Network."