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!