Rhema celebrates graduation of 83 students
A total of 83 students graduated from the Rhema Bible Training College at Taufusi on Monday.
The occasion was also used to honour the graduating class of 2019, whose own graduation had to be cancelled late last year due to the measles outbreak.
On Monday, they joined the 2020 class in their red graduation gowns to go through the formalities that formally brought to an end their training.
Rhema Bible Training South Pacific President, Pattie Ah Kui, told the Samoa Observer that the students’ achievements and their calling was celebrated during the graduation which was held indoors and attended by a smaller crowd due to state of emergency [S.O.E.] restrictions.
"Today’s event really seals the training and gives the students that sense of accomplishment, that they’re stepping up into the calling that God has for them, whether they’re in full-time ministry or not in full-time ministry," she said in an interview.
"We postponed the 2019 graduation because of the measles epidemic and so we wanted to get in line with the wishes of the government.
"We usually have over a 1000 people in the parking lot, and they come in with torches and it’s an amazing evening. But this year due to the COVID-19 we decided to make it small and inside and social distance as much as we could."
Resena Tau Asi from Papua New Guinea [P.N.G.] – who was the third-year valedictorian for 2020 – spoke of how she overcame the challenges of losing her father and grandmother during her studies and was honoured to be the top student.
"I am honoured and I give all glory and honour to God because without him I would not have made it this far after losing my dad and my grandma and having the family fall apart,” said the 27-year-old Papua New Guinean.
“But he has the grace to keep me going and I am so honoured but I give all the honour and credit back to God.”
Ms. Asi graduated with a Diploma 5 in Ministry and described her stay in Samoa as “tough”, due to her leaving her family behind in P.N.G. to embark on her studies in Samoa.
"My journey here in Samoa has been tough and has been challenging but I give all the glory to God because he has been so faithful because having to leave home to come to this place,” she added.
“I thought it was going to be difficult leaving family behind and coming here but I get to see God coming through for me over and over again.
“So it’s such an experience to really not only know the facts about God but really have a relationship with him and that’s something that I get to carry with me when I leave this place."
With her graduation now complete, Ms Asi plans to spend one more year in Samoa to undertake an internship program, as she acknowledges she will not be returning home anytime soon due to COVID-19.
Looking back at her life as a Rhema student, said the training including the life on campus taught her so much about the word of God.
"It was the most treasured thing that I have ever obtained in my life because the training here has really taught me that the word of God is applicable to situations that we encounter in life.
“And if it wasn’t for the teachings here, I wouldn’t have made it after losing my dad and my grandma and my family falling apart.
I know that it is the training here that has made me stand strong and keep standing and be an overcomer and keep on winning in this life. I acknowledge the leadership of the school and also my family back home and my mum."
For the 2019 valedictorian 23-year-old Epenesa Bethel Eneliko, who graduated with an advanced ministerial diploma, she said she was just thankful to be able to do it again to complete that chapter of her life.
"It is truly an honourable opportunity to be the valedictorian for 2019. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to have graduation last year but I’m grateful for this opportunity that I get to do it again this year so I’m very honoured to be part of the ceremony today so all praises to God.”
She said she initially thought Rhema was about “biblical stuff and spiritual", but she later learnt that the impact of the training is on both the person’s physical and spiritual lives.
"The four years in Rhema, I have become this better person and every time I look back, I’m just so grateful that I came here, it was the best decision," she added.
"I’m still young and straight out of foundation year, I think this was the best decision because it was the perfect way of building a strong foundation.
“And after this I don’t know, maybe a job or go back to school next year, but I know where I stand.”
Ms Eneliko then encouraged those who are thinking of studying at Rhema to pursue it as they will be able to learn more about themselves in Christ.
"If you’re thinking of coming to Rhema, come! It’s the best decision and as I said, this is the foundation building place where you can just like to build yourself, get to know yourself and what God wants for you.”
The Rhema Bible Training College was established in Samoa in 1992 with the vision to reach out to the uttermost corners of the world with the message of Christ.