Orbelina Eguizabal spent 20 years teaching Christian education and serving in administrative roles at Central American Theological Seminary (CATS/SETECA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala. She has been active in training leaders and promoting the development of educational ministries in growing churches in the Latin American context.

Q: Share briefly about your upbringing, family, education, and place you grew up.
I was born in Guatemala, where I lived for about two-thirds of my life before relocating to Southern California. I was born in a Catholic family and I have four brothers and four sisters, who still live in Guatemala. My mother became a Christian when I was 3 years old, and she shared the gospel with me and my siblings. I invited Jesus into my life when I was 13 years old, as I understood Jesus' redemptive work for us. I went to the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala City (CATS/ SETECA) for my undergraduate and master’s studies and obtained a B.A. in Theology and an M.A. in Christian Ministries. I joined the faculty at SETECA in 1987 and served in teaching and administrative roles including associate dean and dean of the seminary, after obtaining my Ph.D.

Q: How did you hear about Talbot/Biola? What led you to come to the school?
It all goes back to 1997, as I was serving at my former school in Guatemala City. I was already teaching at the seminary undergraduate programs, and I felt the need to pursue doctoral studies that would equip me to teach at the seminary master’s and doctoral programs. I was going through the application process at three other schools, because I had been advised to do it when applying for a Ph.D. program. That same year the president of my school, Dr. Paul Sywulka, came to Southern California and his brother-in-law, who at the time was working at the IT department at Biola, introduced him to Dr. Dennis Dirks, former dean at Talbot, who gave him a Talbot catalog. When my institution’s president returned to Guatemala, he handed the catalog to me saying, “perhaps this might interest you.” It was exactly what I was looking for and the information about the program and its curriculum immediately got my interest. I applied to the programs, and came to Biola as a student in August of 1999. My main goal was to obtain the Ph.D. training to return to Latin America and continue to train leaders for the church and theological education institutions. After completing my studies in 2003, I returned to Guatemala and was trying to fulfill my commitment to my school and people in Latin America, when the Lord called me back to join the faculty at Biola University.

Q: What other ministries are you involved with outside of Talbot?
Outside Talbot, I have served on the Board of Trustees at Moody Bible Institute and Seminary since 2016. I am involved in global theological education, as I have been collaborating with the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE) since 2008 as part of the Spanish-speaking teaching team for the Seminars forAcademic Leaders in Latin America. I served as co-editor and author for the ICETE series on Academic Leadership in Theological Education, and oversaw the Spanish translation of the series.

I serve as deputy director, supporting the ICETE-ATS collaboration initiatives and overseeing the Affiliates’ and Associates’ application process among other responsibilities. I am a committee Member on the ATS – Faculty Development Advisory Committee and a visiting professor in seminaries in Latin American countries supporting theological education efforts in the training of academic and church leaders. I also serve on the Missions Committee and Sermon Advisory Team at my church, Granada Heights Friends Church.

Q: What makes Talbot a special place for you?
This year, I am celebrating 16 years of service on the faculty at Talbot, which I consider a sacred ministry. Sixteen years on the faculty means that I have been able to not only fulfill the institution’s expectations as its employee in the different roles and functions, it also means that I continue to live as a disciple of Jesus, committed to make disciples of Jesus, as I serve in Christian higher education.

Serving on the faculty at Talbot has provided me with the opportunity to use my administration and teaching gifts. I co-led the Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs for 12 years and served as director of the programs for one year. I stepped down from my administrative responsibilities in August 2020 to return to teaching and dissertations supervising. Discovering new ways to be effective in my teaching is exciting and keeps me loving and wanting to continue to do what I do.

Q: What advice would you give to current Talbot students?
Continue to live in obedience to God’s calling, serve people with compassion and creativity, and continue to make an impact where God has placed them for his kingdom. The task of making disciples conveys suffering in a convulsed world, but they are not alone, because Jesus assures us that he has overcome the world (John 16:33).

- Interview by Ben Shin