It took traveling all the way to Uganda for me to be a student again, at least as it pertains to a traditional classroom setting. It wasn’t on any official agenda, but getting to sit in on class sessions with the students here has proven to be a great surprise and blessing. And as for “agendas”, I am quickly learning that Africa has a much more relaxed definition of the word.

My first class was “Early Childhood Development”, and Nic and I settled in somewhere in the back of the room. Not sure about Nic, but I was taking a strictly observer role. The instructor (and Pastor of a local community church), Samson, was having his students role play counseling sessions between a therapist and a child in trouble. We watched three presentations which covered some diverse issues facing the children of Uganda.

Much to Nic’s and my surprise, Samson came around to the back of the room, tapped us on the shoulder, and asked for us to make comments about what we had been observing. I can’t describe the feeling of comfort that came from how these students received us, our comments, and how much Samson trusted us to speak into their lives. Having watched the students critique each other previously with such understanding and grace, we knew it was safe to just GO FOR IT… and so we did.

It is so encouraging to see that these young leaders know that it will be through themselves and the children they counsel that real change happens in their country. And the best part came when they started talking about how their Christian faith will help them reach these children as well as equip themselves to handle all that they will encounter.

Monday morning I was student in Uganda and I was being taught by Samson, David, Anna, Peace, Peter, Clara, and all the other students in the “Early Childhood Development” class. And directing it all, God.

John Sweatman