Friday, December 6, 2013

Inter-University Games Coming


DSCF4470Not only are the UCU students busy in study groups all over the campus preparing for end of semester exams,


….but in the late afternoons the sports fields are full of action as they prepare for the upcoming Inter-University Games.


From December 15 – 21, Uganda Christian University will have the privilege of hosting this event, and our students want to make a good showing on their home turf!  It is fun to watch the young ladies and men having a great time enjoying some vigorous exercise after hard days of studying.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Retreating to Move Forward

DSCF4455This past weekend the Faculty of Social Sciences at UCU had a staff retreat to assess their programs, and make plans for improvement.  I was privileged to be able to take part on Sunday, joining them for their worship service and then presenting a session on the integration of faith and teaching in the social sciences.  It still amazes me that the basic principles we began teaching in our village school in Rakai, and then in our teacher training course at Timothy Centre are applicable at any level of education.  The staff members showed keen interest in learning more about how to practically bring biblical teaching to bear in their courses. This retreat was a good starting point for many more discussions and workshops... as we all do some hard thinking about faith-teaching integration. We plan to continue with professional development workshops throughout next year.  It seems that many lecturers are aware that the Bible has much to say about human nature, social relationships, public administration, counseling, community development, etc., and that this godly wisdom needs to find its way into their course planning... and into the hearts and minds of the students.

Educated Chicken


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It was a rather strange sight to find a chicken walking to the university library yesterday.  It is exam week, so maybe he has some studying to do as well!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Visit from the Archbishop


On Thursday it was a privilege to meet the newly elected  Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, who is also the Chancellor of the university.  It was his first visit to UCU in this leadership capacity. As he addressed the students in the community worship hour, they were encouraged to hear his story.  A humble man, he began serving as a teacher and also spent several years as a young man in missionary work amongst the Karamojong people, a nomadic tribe in the extreme northeastern part of Uganda related to the famous Masaai tribe.  His main message to the students was a simple challenge to focus on Jesus and follow Him uncompromisingly so they can be a blessing to the nation. 


It is refreshing to hear university students encouraged to become servant leaders, rather than to pursue ‘education’ selfishly as a means of personal advancement alone.  There is much hope for the youth of Uganda and for the country as a whole if this vision is taken to heart!



Celebration of Culture

I think we arrived at UCU at a time when celebration is at its height…as there seem to be so many interesting events happening this semester—centenary celebrations for the theological college and university, student graduation, student guild elections and a cultural extravaganza that took place last weekend.  Even though it was pouring rain for much of the day, students representing different cultural groups in Uganda were practicing and preparing for a very colourful event that started late afternoon and went on with drumming, dancing and singing well into the night.  Each group had opportunity to showcase some of the music and dance typical of their culture.  What a show!

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Ant Battles

We have been very happy in our house here, but nevertheless one always expects challenges with insects of some sort in Uganda.  We obviously had a lot of sugar ant colonies somewhere just outside the house and any of you who have fought with sugar ants knows that is seems like a losing battle.  They are so tiny they can squeeze their way into sealed containers and will search for water even inside closed kettles.  We were determined to win this one, though, and Karl found a solution online that works like a charm!  We simply mixed boric acid with jam and left small blobs of the solution on cards around the house. Within minutes trails of ants appeared out of nowhere and hundreds of them gathered around the jam like pigs at a trough!  They ingested it and took it back to their colony and effectively got rid of their unsuspecting friends.  WE WON!!  Haven’t seen any ants for several days now….so you might want to try this the next time you want to pull your hair out because of ant infestations. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ugandan Thanksgiving

This is the season for thanksgiving!  DSCF4177 (800x600)We celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving with new friends here at Uganda Christian University in October, have been invited to join others for the upcoming American Thanksgiving later this month….and UCU just had a huge thanksgiving service this past week at the historic Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala.  This is the 100th year anniversary of Bishop Tucker Theological College, the institution that became Uganda Christian University in 1997, so the thanksgiving service was in celebration of God’s faithfulness for all these years.  We are learning much about the work of the Church of Uganda since we have been at UCU and are so thankful that the work of the kingdom of God is thriving in many different church groups….and that there is more and more unity in love and purpose.  It is easy to feel rather isolated when one works in smaller rural area (as we have done for many years), so it is wonderful to see the interconnectedness in all that God is doing in Uganda.
President Museveni was invited to be the guest speaker at the 100th anniversary thanksgiving service.  He was not personally able to attend, but his speech was read by the vice-president and it was encouraging to hear his support of what UCU is doing in the field of Christian education.  Not only did he express appreciation for UCU’s diligence in providing quality education, he took note of the distinctively Christian approach to learning and teaching, saying it has been instrumental in fighting moral decay and other attendant vices.  He added a comment referring specifically to the Institute of Faith, Learning and Service:  “I am informed that there is a deliberate strategy of integrating learning, faith and service in the production graduates of high skills, knowledge and integrity”.  Dr. Senyonyi, the Vice-Chancelor, told me on Friday that now we even have the president advertising IFLS!  Please pray that the Lord will give daily wisdom and strength to help this program of training faculty in biblical worldview integration move ahead effectively. 
  We are thankful for the godly, competent   leadership in the university. On Independence Day (Oct. 9) Dr. Senyonyi was honored with an award from the government for his contributions to higher education in Uganda. He is greatly loved and respected by both students and staff and was the primary person behind the initiation of the IFLS program.

Dr. John Senyonyi (Vice-Chancellor)

We also pray that many of the students from the Kibaale Community Schools and Timothy Girls' High School will be able to eventually complete their university education here in this great environment.

Some of you may be interested in a ‘virtual tour’ of UCU, so here a few photos of the beautiful campus:
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Bishop Tucker Hall (built 1922)

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This building houses the ‘Save the Mothers’ program focusing on improving maternal health, a program initiated and administered by Dr. Jean Chamberlain-Froese, a fellow Canadian.

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Dining Hall

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(It is not only in the primary schools where mango trees are raided by the students, obviously!)
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Nkoyoyo Hall is used for the community worship chapel services and for lectures.

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The Uganda Studies Program for overseas students is housed in this building.  Students some for a term to study Ugandan history, cultural issues, etc. and to visit missions projects in various parts of the country.

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Our house

We are blessed to be a part of the work here and to have so many people praying and supporting us.  Thanksgiving season!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hockey, Monkeys and Mangabeys

There are a few things we found here at Uganda Christian University that we didn’t expect to see!  On Thanksgiving weekend we were invited for a hockey game and dinner at the home of another Canadian family living on campus.  They are great hockey fans and love to play, so they have actually built a paved ball hockey court behind their house (complete with stone stands as seating for fans).  It is the best they can do in the tropics where there is no ice!  Karl has played goal in the past for ice hockey teams, so he was conscripted and did a great job---their team won!
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Now, of course, monkeys are more what you would expect to find in Uganda…but we were surprised to find so many living right in our yard at the university!  In fact, we have seen many more here in the last couple of weeks than we normally see in a game park!  And these are not the usual vervet monkeys that can be quite annoying, stealing food and hanging around houses.  We have a whole extended family of red-tailed monkeys that are amazing acrobats… jumping and swinging in the trees in our yard and onto our roof.  Sometimes it is actually hard to concentrate in my office with all their banging around up there!  Then we have the mangabeys (which are supposedly rarely seen) grunting and whooping and ‘gobbling’ in the trees and eating the leaves off our papaya tree.  They are a kind of monkey closely related to a baboon.  These must be what the little Ugandan neigbour girl told us about when we first came.  She told us there are gorillas in the trees here!
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Red-tailed monkey

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thirsty Hearts: UCU Mission Week


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As the Mission Week continues here at Uganda Christian University, students are responding to the Word of God as it is being shared by Dr. Benjamin Kwashi. 


Today’s message in the community worship gathering focused on Jesus’s invitation John 7 to come and drink of the living water that He offers freely to satisfy our deepest thirst for love and truth in our hearts.  You could have heard a pin drop in the large gathering as students related to the message, and several responded to indicating that wanted to commit their lives to Christ and find their satisfaction in Him.     



After the community gathering, there was a session in which Dr. Kwashi addressed the staff and challenged us to understand the importance of Christian education in the transformation of Africa.  He stressed, “Only Christian teachers who know the gospel are able to transform Africa” and referred specifically to the need to model and teach integrity in the battle against corruption that plagues many countries.  This is what the work of the Institute of Faith, Learning and Service will focus on—equipping faculty members to teach from a Christ-centred perspective in all disciplines.  God is already at work laying the foundation for what He wants to do!


Some of the faculty members

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Run the Race!

On Saturday, just a few days after moving to Uganda Christian University in Mukono, we were able to take part in a fund raising event (proceeds towards the building of a student centre on campus.)  It was a great way to get some exercise and also get to know more of the staff and students.  The Vice Chancellor addressed the participants and encouraged us all to support the expansion of the university facilities.  He also reported that at a recent meeting of several  university vice chancellors in Kampala,  UCU was looked to as a model in many of their programs, so we are encouraged to be a part of the Christ-centred education of university students in this place. 
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On Sunday we attended a special church service launching the Mission Week  at UCU with an excellent speaker, a bishop from Nigeria.  Last night it was beautiful to walk around the campus and hear groups of students singing in the chapel and in the open air. We pray that many will respond to the challenge and invitation to walk faithfully with the Lord and find His will for their lives and careers so they can be  most effective in bringing positive change in Ugandan society.  Our prayer is that many of our Kibaale students  and Timothy Girls High School students will be able to continue their education here. Again we are grateful for godly, humble, inspiring leadership here and are looking forward to growing in our own walk with the Lord as we work shoulder to shoulder with the Ugandan staff who have dedicated their lives to God’s work in higher education.