Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Harding Academy Ugandan style

Today I went out to the village of Nawangoma with Ben, Spencer and Grace Nyanga. Nawangoma was one of the first and remains one of the strongest village churches of the 67 village churches in Busoga, where our team has focused our efforts. Nawangoma is also now home to Harding Christian Academy.

HCA is a dream created by several Ugandan church leaders that has received great financial help from Dr. Ganus at Harding University, hence the name. They wanted a secondary school that would be Christ-centered. The school inspires me for several reasons. First, it is 100% a dream envisioned by Ugandan church leaders rather than missionaries. Second, the headmaster is Ricky Kahudu who is a great example of a poor child taking advantage of great opportunities. Third, they are executing the dream in a very good way.

I first met Ricky when he himself was in high school. His parents in the village had no way to pay for his school fees and he approached Briley and I for help. He came with a good reference from a fellow missionary so we agreed to let him stay in a room on our property and to pay for his school fees. We watched him study hard and perform well in school for two years to complete secondary school. He wanted to go on to the University level to study how to be a Christian secondary teacher. We felt he deserved the opportunity so we gave him a scholarship for full tuition and board at the main university in Kampala. With pleasure we watched him excel at University and he graduated with an Secondary Education degree just after we moved back to the States. He then gained the opportunity to become the headmaster at this new Christian school.

As I sat in his office and heard his presentation on the state of the school I sat with pride and full of thankfulness for how God has put Ricky in such a great and influential position. He has six teachers and 87 students under his direction and he is very well qualified for the job. And he knows that his qualifications do not come from his own power but from God's power.

One specific struggle he mentioned was the difficulty in getting both qualified and Christian teachers. Little did I know that God was getting ready to move powerfully.

Ricky asked me to speak to and encourage the teachers to be great Christian educators and then he asked me to encourage the students to be dutiful in learning about God as well as science, math, language, etc. After the students same some songs for us Ricky's Deputy Headmaster informed Ricky and those in our group of some exciting news. Willy said he has been considering committing his life to Christ for quite some time now and that he was now ready to be baptized. He requested that I baptize him. A few hours later and a long walk to the nearest creek, I baptized Willy Mupere into Christ and Harding Christian Academy is on its way to even better influence the lives of many youth for Christ.


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