Before launching into a mentally, emotionally and ethically challenging career, Ethel Avisado knew she needed a strong spiritual grounding. So she came to SPBC.
After completing a law degree in her home country of the Philippines, Ethel knew she was not yet ready to enter the workforce.
With a challenging law career still ahead of her, Ethel traded job applications for study applications and went to New Zealand for another two years of learning, this time at the South Pacific Bible College.
“It was a wonderful experience,” says Ethel.
“At the time, it was a difficult commitment to make, especially coming from so far away – there were many adjustments to be made.
“But it’s a wonderful school – I was able to interact with so many students from so many countries there. And of course the teachers are great: They’re not just teachers, they’re family.”
Ethel used the time to establish a godly foundation for her life, in preparation for the challenges she anticipated in the legal field.
“One of the reasons why I came to the bible college was that I knew I needed a solid grounding in my faith before I went to a career that was full of pitfalls,” she says.
“I was not only trying to learn about my faith, I wanted to be sure I was solid in my faith.”
Now a practicing lawyer at the Centre for International Law in the Philippines, Ethel is primarily concerned with human rights law, litigation law and public interest law.
A regular day could mean going out, presenting witnesses, and arguing a case before the courts, or working from the office, writing pleadings and briefs.
“The ideal outcome of course is always to get justice for the client and that takes on different faces,” says Ethel.
“What you want to achieve in the end is for perpetrators of crimes to get convicted for their crimes, and for reparations to be made for people who have suffered.”
Her education at SPBC has enriched Ethel’s ability to impact people’s lives for the better through her work.
“I work with a lot of people who are vulnerable and marginalised,” she says.
“A lot of them have no hope. Having been to the bible college, I can give them Christian counsel, not just legal counsel.”
It also changed her broader perspective on life.
“We had visiting lecturers coming from wonderful universities in the US, South East Asia, and Australia, so I gained so much knowledge from so many different teachers and classes.
“One was the ‘Drama of Redemption’ class. That whole class ties everything together. It makes you feel so tiny and so special, and makes you understand you are part of a grand scheme.
“That class blew my mind.”