Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Story from UCBC in Beni DR Congo - "UCBC has Given Us a New Way of Defining Ourselves"

Jimmy Tsongo (pictured right with Dr. David Kasali) is a winsome, charming young man--one of UCBC's brightest. He is personable, self-confident, intelligent, and entrepeneurial. If you met Jimmy today, you would probably find it hard to believe that he began his studies at UCBC 6 years ago unable to speak or understand any English! Recently, Jimmy and some of his fellow graduates of UCBC gave testimony of how UCBC has changed their lives. As you read what Jimmy had to say, think about what it would have been like to come to a brand new university that barely had a building, no track record, no history, no tenured professors . . .and in a post-conflict zone, no less! An improbable project, in the most improbable of places. Yet that's exactly what Jimmy did when he audaciously agreed to be part of the first class of students at UCBC. They were trail blazers in the truest sense. Here's what Jimmy had to say:
I came to UCBC from another university considered to be one of the best in all of Congo. I've recognized one big difference from that university and UCBC. I could fill my head with a lot of theories; I had very good teachers. But coming here to UCBC has let me find out that it is not only academics that will help young people to change the situation in our communities. For my fellow graduates and myself, our time at UCBC changed all dimensions of our lives - spiritual, social, and intellectual. Our Christian faith has been sharpened. We have learned a whole new way of seeing the world. We have come to believe that even simple people can effect change. We will be the change.

We learn here that a successful person is the one who has not only developed his own life, but has been blessed enough to bless people around him. When we get out of this school, we are equipped not to improve our personal lives [only], but to work as agents of development. When we choose our jobs, we [always] have that in mind. There is a way to develop our individual lives [as] we are serving others. 

I came to UCBC not able to speak a word in English. Now, without fear I am addressing this assembly. The way was long and we faced many challenges, but as a community, we overcame all of them. Our lives have been marked for good. UCBC has given us a new way of defining ourselves. If we had the means, we would like the whole world to know that if all Congolese schools were like UCBC, in not more than five years Congo would be a different place.
I have a special message for any person interested in supporting this school: I came here 6 years ago. And today when I am leaving, I am thankful, and I ask you to not stop supporting [UCBC]. More men and women like me will be transformed and impacted by this philosophy. Today we might be [few]. Tomorrow, with your help, we will be hundreds. And hundreds more will be changed through us. Thank you for everything!

Jimmy plans to continue developing his entrepeneurial passion through business ventures grounded in Christian ethical practices. Jimmy's story is but one of many, of lives transformed from timidity and lack of purpose to men and women equipped to live out their full potential in service to a nation crying out for healing and restoration. You can be part of this story! Your pledge of support enables students just like Jimmy to be nurtured intellectually, morally, and relationally. Your decision to be part of the change happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a commitment not merely to a charity or project, but to a community and its way of life, where Congolese men and women discover "a new way of defining" themselves. To donate to UCBC click here. Thank you!

This is your investment. This is your joy.

Mark Szymanski

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