Sasquia Antunez Pineda, MTSD Student
Sep 18, 2018
Sasquia Antunez Pineda is in her first year of studies in the MTSD program at Wycliffe College. Sasquia agreed to share a little about her family, her goals for her studies, and her early impressions of Wycliffe.
Tell us a little about your family.
I was born and raised in Honduras, Central America in a family of four children. My father has a workshop in Honduras where he does upholstery design and repairs, and my mom stays at home or helps my younger sister care for my niece. I immigrated to Canada when I was 21 years old. I met the man who is now my husband, Jeremy Mullin, at the University of British Columbia. We married after completing our bachelor’s degrees. We are the proud parents of two wonderful daughters – Sofía who is 7 years old, and Simona who will turn 3 in October. We are a very close family. My husband and I were both raised Catholic, so the church is an important part of our lives. Besides that, we like to travel, and we try to visit Honduras at least once every two years.
Why the MTSD program?
After working for seven years as a high school teacher at two private schools, I came to the realization that even though I loved the academic side of teaching, and the relationships with students, parents and staff, I really needed to incorporate a spiritual aspect within my career. Beyond that, I always had a desire to help people in need.
Growing up in a developing country, I witnessed lots of suffering that generated in me a deep desire to help others. After living in Canada for 17 years, and having been blessed with so many great things – from creating a loving family and a stable home, finding a successful career path, and making wonderful friendships – my desire to share those blessings with people in need has just grown stronger.
When I decided to go ahead with this calling, I faced the dilemma of whether to study theology (because of my love of the subject) and to further the understanding of my own faith, or to do a Master’s program in international development or international relations (as my strong desire was to work in international and humanitarian aid). After careful research on the different theology programs, to my surprise, I found the MTSD program at Wycliffe that combined theological studies with community development courses. I was thrilled by the possibility of not having to leave out one passion for the other, but instead, could combine my two academic interests in one program.
Why did you decide to study at Wycliffe?
Because of the connection Wycliffe is making between theological studies and community and international development. I think this can be such a powerful base to start a career in humanitarian and community service.
When I started researching about Wycliffe's values and mission, I started to wonder whether being a Catholic and attending an evangelical theological school would represent a spiritual conflict. However, as I started to read further I realized that Wycliffe is a College that is open to all denominations, and open to engaging in interfaith dialogue. This reassured me that Wycliffe is a community where I would love to belong.
I also attended one of the classes as a visitor, and I was so impressed by professor Ann Jervis’s lecture. Besides that, the administrative staff was so helpful and patient clarifying all my questions and presenting the program in such a clear manner that helped me to make an informed decision.
The other thing that influenced my decision was the fact that there was a placement opportunity as part of the MTSD program. Recognizing all the partner organizations I could connect with through that placement was a very attractive component of the program that fit so well my career goals.
What are your hopes for your learning here?
I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the Scriptures that can lead me to further studies in theology in the future, however, more immediately, I hope to gain a solid base on international development theories and practices, so I can in the future coordinate a project at the NGO level.
It’s early days, but what are your impressions of Wycliffe so far?
I am as excited to study at Wycliffe as I was when I first got my letter of admission, and it is because I have found that after the orientation and my first week of class, I had the feeling of “This is exactly what I imagined it would be.” I remember coming home after my first week of class, and telling my husband “It feels like I made the right decision!” I found the professors incredibly knowledgeable and caring. The way in which they conduct their lectures and seminars is engaging and compelling. I also felt “heard” in class right from the start, and I feel safe to speak my mind – even at this early stage. After attending the retreat, I also felt a sense of community that was reassuring. These first two weeks at Wycliffe have been fantastic and inspiring. Although I know there is a heavy workload ahead, I feel a sense of comfort when I see how much support the professors and the staff are willing to provide to help the students succeed. I feel very hopeful and eager.
The Master of Theological Studies in Development program at Wycliffe College is designed for development practitioners, community leaders, street-level innovators, social entrepreneurs, justice and peace advocates, NGO managers and faith-based urban visionaries.