“This is the first time in my life I have truly felt overwhelmed with all the good things: your love, love from God,” Apirak Detwinya, pastor of the Los Angeles Thai company, said at his ordination ceremony this spring. “To God be the glory.” 

Detwinya grew up in Thailand, a country with a predominantly Buddhist population, yet he was brought up in an Adventist home where both parents served the church. As such, he grew up mingling with Adventist missionaries from Russia, Australia, the United States, England, Africa, and Finland. Apirak holds degrees in theology, teaching, religion, and philosophy. He is an author, has worked as a chaplain, university lecturer, and pastor, and served in the Thai Royal Army in intelligence. Throughout his life, his exposure to different cultures has helped him understand and connect with people. He has brought all his diverse experiences into his ministry and has learned to adapt and evolve whenever necessary.

Friends and family traveled near and far from Arizona, New York, and Thailand for Detwinya’s ordination. Tor Saralambra, Thai Consul-General of Los Angeles, was in attendance in support of the Los Angeles Thai community. In a special moment, Detwinya’s dad, Songrit Detwinya, pastor of Bangkok Adventist Chinese church in Thailand, welcomed him to the ministry.

Detwinya has served the Thai community in Los Angeles for two years. Shortly after his ordination, he was also installed as a district pastor at the El Monte Vietnamese church to serve in the English ministry.

“There’s no competition,” Detwinya said. “When the water goes up, every boat goes up. When the water goes down, every boat goes down. When we support each other in ministry, we all go up, and the Lord is exalted.”