WCF and WCIU in Rwanda
We want to study the World Christian Foundations curriculum with WCIU because it will help us discover the roots of our society’s problems in Rwanda and find ways to solve those problems.”—Student in the newly formed WCIU Rwanda group.
Recently a group of Rwandan NGO leaders, pictured with James, was able to officially begin studying together in Rwanda, using the World Christian Foundations (WCF) study program, to work toward an M.A. in International Development with WCIU.
With this group of committed students, WCIU has embarked on an innovative venture of training students as a group, a concept which African students appreciate much more than the usual one student to one mentor approach of WCF.
What are the characteristics of a WCF Group as practiced in Rwanda? The group of students in the picture on the next page meet after an agreed period (WCIU recommends twice a month) with their mentor (see picture of Rev. John Mbishibishi who is also a WCIU PhD student) and go through the mentoring exercise together. This involves discussing Reflection Questions for the lessons and sharing insights recorded in their journals. They have particularly agreed to move at the same pace, roughly covering 10 lessons a month. That has created a great bonding between them and a motivation that is allowing them to support and encourage one another through the course.
As part of their studies, all WCF students do some practical mentoring of their own. Students in this group are required to use what they learn during their WCF course and also to share with people they work with from a book their sponsoring NGO, Cornerstone Vocational Institute (CVI) has translated into Kinyarwanda, Become the Person God Meant You to Be by Dr. Maurice Wagner.
CVI made arrangements for the students to have a reading room, a computer and a common library for the textbooks, funded by generous donors to CVI, and shared by the members of the group.
The following is a recent email message from their representative, Grace Uwisize. “We are enjoying the course. The content is very interesting and meaningful. It is more than just a Masters because we are discovering that God is at work and we can only humble ourselves to listen and do His will.”
We are expecting another group to start in the near future in Cameroon through another associate, Rev. Andre Talla, who is also a WCIU PhD student. Fifteen agency and church leaders have requested and received the application forms and Rev. Talla is ready to mentor them as soon as all the entrance requirements have been met. See picture of Rev. Andre Talla with his main WCIU PhD advisor Dr. Dale Kietzman.
George Mwita, a Coordinator with the Partnership Development Uganda-Tanzania Branch of SIL International had this to say:
You are most welcome to Tanzania. We are really glad to receive news about your intention to launch the WCF Group in the country. Yes, I will be able to find 10 people [to start] the initial program in the country as well as a PhD associate. I will also be happy to receive the packet explaining the mentoring process and … if that is okay I may apply for the mentoring role as that would give me more room for serving my folks in the country. While we have a good number of training programs offered by public and Christian universities in the country an additional distance learning university like WCIU would be of added value to leadership training of our Christian leaders. Effective Leadership is still a need in the Church in Tanzania. For the last few decades we have experienced a rise in church conflicts stemming from internal striving over succession. Conflict management facility is very weak such that matters are mostly settled in courts of law. The idea of having more leadership training programs in Tanzania could prepare future leaders in able leadership.
We expect many more countries in the Global South to benefit from the quality “on the job” education for less than a third of the fees required to enroll in a traditional university. WCIU partners with Non-governmental organizations, such as mission agencies and churches, to identify leaders who are qualified to study at the graduate level and who will enable the agency itself to improve in effectiveness as its leaders receive foundational biblical and cross-cultural education.
The World Christian Foundations study program invades the mainstream curriculum, the legendary “liberal arts” curriculum, and invests it at every point with missions-oriented content and perspective, teaching everything people would normally learn in college and seminary (aside from vocational specialties) and doing so with a broad, 4,000-year global, mission perspective.
Restoring God’s glory is the theme of this 32-semester unit program. God is the Lord of history but we are locked in a cosmic struggle with the powers of darkness. Through their studies, students begin to understand God’s plan for reestablishing His glory through “general” and “special” revelation, partnering with humans in defeating the Evil One and restoring Creation through Jesus Christ.
This unique curriculum can be studied anywhere in the world with a qualified face-to-face mentor. William Carey International University (http://www.wciu.edu) offers the program at the graduate level. Northwestern College ([email protected]) also offers the course at the undergraduate level as a degree completion through their Alternative Education department.