Above: SAMS Missionary Jessica Hughes and her theological student Lovincer Katana at GAFCON 2018 in Jerusalem. Jessica teaches at Uganda Christian University (UCU), and Lovincer serves in the UCU Chaplaincy while continuing her education to serve Christ’s kingdom. Lovincer shares below the impact that UCU has had on her. – Kate Ulrich, SAMS Communications Coordinator
My name is Lovincer Katana, a first-born-child of six children. I was born and raised in Kalerwe, one of the slums on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. My parents loved God and served in the church as wardens, and I came to faith while in Sunday School because our parents faithfully raised us in church.
I grew up and started serving in the youth ministry. Having graduated from university by God’s grace, I was placed as a teacher in one of the best girls’ schools in the country, Gayaza High School. The Lord used me to minister to the girls as I taught and engaged with them through various activities.
I received a call from the Lord to join full-time ministry, which I must confess I wrestled with for two years. I was inspired to study for my Masters of Divinity at Uganda Christian University (UCU) by my priest at St. Nicholas Church, the retired Rev. Kisitu Frederick. He used to talk fondly about Bishop Tucker Theological College, the College from which UCU was launched. I was particularly inspired by the way he taught and engaged the Scripture, and I was certain that I wanted to study where he had.
Having said yes to the Lord’s call, I joined the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology at UCU in 2015. I found the University’s atmosphere calm and enabling in that both students and staff were able, on a daily basis, to know Christ, to grow in faith, and to make Christ known in their different fields of specialty. I don’t remember a single day that any of my lecturers came to class to teach and we did not say an opening prayer, closing prayer, or share in the grace (2 Corinthians 13:14) at the end of class. Of course, even during the lectures themselves one would vividly see faith integrated in whatever we were learning, something which blessed my heart since I got my undergraduate degree from a government university.
There were two days in the week I always looked forward to: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1pm. On these days, all students and faculty members pause whatever they are doing (including classes) and come together at Nkoyoyo Hall for Community Worship, where we are fed on God’s Word. I felt a unique sense of belonging in Christ during this time that transcended class, age, expertise, and our distinct backgrounds. This is the community’s way of paying attention to what God is doing in our lives, and it is an opportunity to study His Word.
The University setting itself makes anyone grow closer to God if only they pay attention to their surroundings. Apart from the time set aside for community worship on Tuesdays and Thursdays, UCU has a beautiful compound which is always green and clean. If you are walking around, you notice Scriptures mounted on almost every building. I remember a time I was feeling so low and discouraged, and as I walked through the compound, I stumbled on this Scripture on a building, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). I had always passed this spot, and I had probably seen the passage many times, but this time I read the Scripture and it came afresh to me and I was encouraged.
I graduated in 2018 with my Masters of Divinity, and in 2019 my bishop placed me in the UCU Chaplaincy to serve. This was a beautiful homecoming for me. The Lord placed on my heart a passion for biblical languages, especially Hebrew, and a desire to help other students through sharing knowledge with them. I enrolled to study at Bishop Tucker again in 2020, this time in the Master of Arts in Theology (Biblical Track). The Bishop Tucker faculty has great men and women (my favourite being a SAMS Missionary, the Rev. Jessica Hughes) who pass on their knowledge of God’s Word, helping us grow in immense ways. I am enjoying my work and my studies tremendously, and I am always looking for ways on how to pour myself out into the lives of students so that we journey and grow together. I am grateful for each day that passes in this community.
God the Alpha and Omega, to Him alone be the Glory!
Rev. Lovincer Katana Kanyike