Students during First Skype Class
Mike Teaching First Skype Class
Their questions were very tentative in the beginning. The students were a little timid before the computer. But, before too long, they were taking part as if they had grown up their entire lives with this new technology. It really was a historic occasion for the Pastor's Institute of Kikongo.
It started this way ... For the first time since I've been making monthly trips to Kikongo, I was unable to make the flight due to illness. It came at a difficult time because the students are preparing for their final exams. My absence during this time was especially hard for the students and they let their worries be known to missionary Glen Chapman. Glen, who has been enjoying the Internet in Kikongo since we installed the Satellite dish, immediately came up the idea of using Skype to connect me and the students for a class session. It was a novel idea that has never been done in Kikongo. We were even able to get photos of the event on both ends as the class was being taught.
It's hard for most of us to imagine how "outside the box" this idea is in Kikongo. We have become accustomed to cell phones and computers and SMS and Skype. But, most of the students have never even touched a computer before. They don't own phones. In fact, they live in such remote areas that there aren't any cell phone towers. There isn't even any electricity! So, for them to speak to someone in Kinshasa through the computer was a life changing event.
For me this was especially rewarding because our hope in the future is to make computers and the Internet more available to our students. Missionaries have always brought with them new technology to Africa. Whether it is vaccinations or books, hospitals or schools, Bibles or new varieties of crops, missionaries have helped Africa to develop by establishing new technologies that provide services that the country isn't able to provide. Our hope is that this addition of Internet connectivity will help our Congolese brothers and sisters to move forward in every way.
We appreciate your prayers and support.
Please pray for this project that it will be successful and help the church to move forward in its mission in Congo.