In 1999, I studied in the Laidlaw Bible College, Auckland, previously known as the Bible College of New Zealand for a 1-year Diploma of Graduate in Theology course. After graduating, I took continued to study Post Graduate Diploma in Theological Studies. My wife also studied Diploma of Counseling and Diploma of Graduate in Laidlaw College. My youngest son studied in the Glendene Primary School, my eldest son and second son both studied in Mt. Albert Grammar School.
Studying in the bible college was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I felt so blessed to be able to offer my body as a living sacrifice for God, Romans 12:1. I remembered on the first day, one lecturer told the class, ”for the next one year, do not think of any other thing. Devote your time fully to God. Give all that you have to God. He will honour you if you honour Him”.
In the Bible college, I learned how to write academic essays with bibliography and foot notes. I learned how to write research papers. I learned how to utilise the library resources for self learning, and how to search books and journals to do the assignments. I learned how to think critically, theologically, and logically. I had to attend lectures and had to pass examinations for every module. I had the opportunity to make friends and build meaningful relationships with other students. With lectures, seminars, workshops, assignments, assessments, examinations and date lines to keep, time passed very fast. After three years, I graduated with a Diploma of Graduate and a Post Graduate Diploma of Theological Studies and attended two graduation ceremonies, one for each Diploma.
Life is short and unpredictable. Jesus said in Matthew 6:29-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
I remembered two heart wrenching incidents that happened in Laidlaw College. There was a Kiwi student who committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. He went inside his car, started his car engine, and locked himself inside a closed garage. He was suffering from depression. Everyone in the college was shocked and many students required counseling to help them cope and come to terms with the situation. And then, there was the unexpected and untimely death of the late Brian Harthaway, who was the principal of Laidlaw College at that time. One morning, he went out for his usual morning jog, collapsed due to a heart attack, and did not return home alive. He went home to be with the Lord that day. May his soul rest in peace.