One year ago, a group of us who are on the national committee for Christian Schools Association (Uganda) felt we should set aside a day to pray for the Christian schooling movement here. We had begun the association after the Africa Roundtable on Christian Education in Johannesburg in 2007, where delegates from 32 countries committed ourselves before God to the cause of quality Christian education in our respective countries. In Uganda we had seen some progress in training Christian teachers and organising a network of schools for mutual support, but were also experiencing some discouragements and set-backs. So we set ourselves to prayer, asking God to show the way forward. Our meeting place was a peaceful retreat centre on the top of a hill just outside of Masaka town, known as “Kako Prayer Mountain”.
It is interesting that this week, on the same site, we hosted an Association of Christian Schools International teacher training conference. It was attended by teachers throughout Uganda (and some representatives from South Sudan and Tanzania) who are passionate about helping children find their full potential in Christ and living with integrity through Christian education. We have not seen this level of commitment at any of our previous workshops, and were excited to hear their stories as to how God has stirred their hearts and prepared them to receive this training. We feel this has been part of the answer to our prayers and look forward to seeing what God will do this coming year in Christian schools here.
One of the main presenters was Dr. Samson Makhado, the ACSI Director for Africa, an amazing educator who reflects the love and wisdom of God and challenges teachers to do the same.
Samson has been through some of worst apartheid experiences in South Africa and was close to death after being shot in a home invasion, but has come through these with a forgiving heart and a Christ-like spirit. He carries an authority displayed only by those who have survived deep suffering through the grace of God.
One of the teachers who attended this conference was a lady who left the government school system after 10 years teaching secondary school History.
She had a growing sense that she needed to be involved in changing students lives and that she was not doing that in her teaching. She was asked to head a Christian primary school and took up this challenge, but needed training to lead her teachers in teaching from a Christian perspective. This past month she began searching for resource people to help, and came across our PAOS website and information on the Association of Christian Schools International. Last week she emailed me, surprised to find that others shared her heart for Christian schooling:
“I cannot believe that you have been in Uganda for this long. It is shocking for me. I am a great great advocate of Christian Education and particularly with the Ugandan Curriculum. I am Head Teacher who runs a school that meets the very needs of your Kibaale Project and Timothy Project Schools. I was wondering whether there is anyone in Uganda who I can directly coordinate with. I would like to visit the projects and also find a way that you could help me train my teachers as well. Thank you for all the work you are doing in Uganda. “
When we arrived at Kako Prayer Mountain, we met each other (neither knowing the other would be there). God is definitely at work in all of this!
We also had several teachers at this conference express interest in taking the Diploma in Christian Education course we hope to offer at Timothy Centre next year, so we have our work cut out for us as we prepare these programs for January.