Kigumba, Uganda

Greetings to our dear friends, partners, and encouragers;

My primary objective is to share news of our current activity here in Kigumba, Uganda. However, the pre-story of events prior to our arrival was also quite dramatic. Filling you in with those details is worth its own epistle.

Our last time in Kigumba was in November 2018. At that time, Evelyn taught two one-week courses on foundations of counseling and the theories and techniques of counseling. This was the first official credit-granting offering by the Kigumba Christian Mosaic Counseling School. My role was classroom assistant, a step up from my role in August 2018 when I served as GO-FER for the one hundred forty Ugandan students and the fifteen volunteer instructors who had joined us from the USA, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Planning started even before completion of the time in August for GMI to return to Kigumba for this time in May. Our goal is to provide courses at least three times each year for the students of KCMCS. Currently, we are still depending on volunteer instructors and teachers from outside of Uganda. The future goal, as always when we have done this in other locations, is to train and stand along beside locals from each country. We want to be able to step back and take ourselves out of the picture as they take on more independent roles.

Our counselor training is based upon a Christian worldview and understanding of concepts. We identified three essential needs for the development of the students toward the goal of becoming effective and competent counselors or people helpers. They first need to have a clear and strong grasp of their Christian faith and an understanding of other worldviews within their community. The second essential factor was to help them on a path toward Spiritual maturity based on in-depth growth in their personal walk of faith and understanding. A third need is to be able to raise the bar for their learning process to a degree granting, college level expectation.

May 6-10, I was honored to teach a course titled “Worldview and Christian Apologetics.” Through lecture, discussion, and group learning we added to our knowledge base the definition of worldview, the differences between them, and how they have an impact in the counseling process. We also emphasized two major foundations of Christian apologetics, the existence of God and the authority of the scriptures. Our week completed with student presentations of various topics within systematic theology.

To begin this second week of class Dr. Robert and Becky Wong from Kuala Lumpur have joined us. Today they have started to lead the “Spiritual Formation” course with background assistance from Evelyn. Next week, once Dr. Irene Tan arrives, she will teach the Fundamentals of Learning course while the Wongs repeat the Spiritual Formation course, opening it up also to Audit students. This Saturday, the four of us will start giving tutorials on how to use a computer and hopefully get them to where they can draft a paper in MS Word.

The 30 (give or take) students are very delighted to be receiving these courses and have become quite engaged after the initial shyness. They have had a severe drought throughout the land since we last saw them; crops failed, jobs dried up, food prices shot up, and morale was low. Most could not pay the meager tuition charged, so your “substantial sponsorship” is greatly appreciated. They keep repeating how grateful they are to their friends who enable them to study.

Please pray for the students to set their minds on becoming adult learners. Pray that what they learn will translate into life changes. Their burdens are heavy and they press us for answers to specific cases, which we cannot give.

Please pray for each of us teachers – for energy to last the day, for refreshing sleep each night, for wisdom to present in a culturally sensitive manner. Other obstacles abound, but the joys we find in being with the Ugandan family outweighs the challenges. Internet is too weak to send pictures so will do so when Steve returns to the USA

With our gratitude,

Steve & Evelyn Biles