03 May 2009

Guest blogger Matt Hickman

Time to spice things up a bit…

Please welcome guest blogger… Matt Hickman… fellow NMSI missionary and friend to the stonesinuganda

Rules for guest bloggers:
1. Bad punctuation and mizpelling don’t count against you…
2. Exaggerated stories must be at least 95% true... 

Hey Friends of the Atherstones,

As Jeff said, I'm Matt, and I've spent the past week serving at GBI as a guest professor. Below you'll see my thoughts and experiences over the past 7 days. I hope you enjoy!

Teaching...Week 1
I had no idea what to expect for my first day teaching...

As I had suggested to others over the past few weeks, I really felt unqualified to teach at this level. I had visions of disaster running through my mind...students being totally confused, their minds wrecked by my southern accent and lack of seminary training.

Alas, none of that happened...so far.

I began, like any class, by calling roll. Now, I always try my best to pronounce everyone's name the correct way. My biggest pet peeve is someone mispronouncing Appalachian. For real. Don't get me started. Especially if they're from somewhere else and tell me how to say it (the correct way is App-uh-LATCH-un)...ok so I guess I got started...back to today...

So yea, I try my best in this department, but looking down at the roster, I saw names like: Tukacungurwa, Twijukye, Muwanguzi, and Ndayirajige. Um...not exactly Smith and Jones. I made my apologies before opening my mouth, and thankfully, the Ugandans were gracious and understood that this white dude didn't have any idea.

Past that first bit of awkwardness, we jumped right in. Acts is about as straight forward as any book of the Bible can be, but that didn't stop the students from going into predestination, spiritual gifts, and the end times. How we got from Peter healing a crippled man in chapter 3 to the second coming of Christ is a mystery to me...

All in all, 2 hrs and 50 minutes later we finished for the day after covering 3 chapters and discussing plenty of tangents. I feel so blessed to be able to do this, and look forward to another busy day of study and teaching. More to come later!

Days 2-4

Throughout my career as a student, I always thought that the amount of homework a teacher assigned was directly proportional to the amount of contempt said teacher felt for his or her students. Now that I see from the teacher's side, it isn't the case.

In the hours that preceded class today, I heard several times (and from a variety of sources) that I had assigned too much homework for one night. At one point, I had a student come up to me and say "Professor Matt, this is so much...you are killing us!"
First of all...until recently, I never expected to be teaching in this, or any other context. Secondly, I certainly couldn't have imagined being the teacher that gives too much homework! After some review with Jeff, the academic dean, it turns out that I'm not giving too much...a good amount, but not too much.

Turns out the work wasn't so bad...

Over half of the class made a 100 on the first quiz I assigned. Turns out that repeating information is no problem for Ugandans...critical thinking is much more difficult. So for the next exam, we'll have more essays.

Currently the college here has 2 guest professors. I teach the afternoon Acts class, and in the morning, a gentleman named Evan Turley teaches the Church History class. Evan, happens to be Irish...and he's about as Irish as a shamrock! There are several students who have Evan's morning class and my afternoon class. These poor people are subjected to a sharp Irish accent in the morning and a deep southern drawl in the afternoon. Again...English is not their first language. I'm amazed at their linguistic skills.

One of the best students came to Jeff, and said "Brother Jeff, my white professor in the afternoon doesn't speak so fast, but I don't understand him sometimes...and my white professor in the morning...I don't even know where he comes from!"

I love Evan's accent...it's great to hear him speak...maybe the students are amused with our respective takes on the English language. The student who objected didn't seem too bothered...he was one of those that made a 100!

Day 5

Friday afternoon as class began, I asked the class to pray for Chris Morgan. Chris is my best friend...I've known him my whole life, and though he's just 27, he's in a ferocious battle with brain cancer. Thanks to frequent emails with Chris' wife Emily, I've learned that this has been a really hard week for him. There are so many side effects of chemo that I never could have imagined.

Stepping before the class at 2 PM, my heart was heavy...burdened for Chris and Emily. I told the class what was going on, and every eye that met mine was filled with compassion, concern, and care. After asking them to pray, every student did so aloud fervently and passionately...my ears and heart heard a concert...asking God to heal Chris. Roughly two minutes later, voices quiet and my eyes no longer dry, I said thank you and amen. 8000 miles away, Emily found some peace and Chris some strength.

People who have never met Chris, and will never meet Chris care about him and prayed. How many times have I promised to pray only to forget? How often do I forget to pray at all? Perhaps we should all be so moved to care for one another...

1 comment:

marcie said...

Well done, guest blogger! I laughed and cried! Ugandans are truly beautiful people.