Graduate swapped law for theology studies

A recent graduate of the Apia Harvest Centre Bible College had to put off her law degree studies to take on theology.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer last Friday of her four-year journey, Tuiloma Sina Retzlaff said she thought about enrolling in the Bachelor of Law programme at the University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus but opted to enroll at the bible college in Apia.

“But I came to my church and they were in their third year of starting up a bible college and it was just placed in me to come and study and learn more about the word of God.

“In my development work it is really important because the bible is used as an excuse to justify bad behavior in terms of things like gender equity, violence against women.

“In that sense it has been a real great journey because you can now understand what God is really saying,” she said.

Tuiloma said now that she has graduated with bachelors in theology, she will enroll at the U.S.P. Campus Alafua for the law degree program. 

“It was my seek God first which was why I did this and hopefully enroll next year for my law degree. It was not about getting this as a degree, for us it was a four-year journey to learn more about the word of God.

“It does not stop here, there is a whole lot more to learn and I think that this Bachelor of Theology just touch the edges about the bible have to offer,” she said.

Speaking of her four-years studying theology, Tuiloma said that it was a journey which has placed in her the desire to learn more about the Word of God.

“Apostolic discipleship with Pastor Inu Pouoa was an eye opener for me. The study of being followers of Jesus poses the reflective question, ‘Are we really following Jesus, do we really do as Jesus had done during his earthly ministry?’

“It was Jesus, who reached out to the weak, the ashamed and the outcasts of society, Jesus, who washed the feet of his followers. The Rapture taught by Pastor Faafetai Fata got me from ‘eye-opener’ to really being challenged about the realities of this concept that not many Christians talk about,” she added. 

She said one of the last topics she studied was “apologetics” which was taught by Ollomabel Toilolo. 

“She challenged us, ‘do you know how to defend your faith, if you debated a non-believer, how would you put forth your arguments?’

Tuiloma added that she and her fellow graduates feel blessed to have experienced the grace of God, through the various interactions and intercessions over the course of the four-year theology study program. 

“I am aware of my accountabilities more so than ever and that is what changed in me after four years,” she added.

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