Most of the books in the library at Kasulu Bible College, Kasulu, Tanzania.
Photo provided by Fr. Shaw Mudge.
Every once in a while, when I tell someone what I am doing, it occurs to me that the person may not appreciate the impact that online education can have on people in a country such as Belize or Tanzania.
This may be for one of two general reasons.
The person wonders, a) "Why can't education be done the way it has always been done? Just send a missionary."
or b) "Anybody can do online education. Why is this special?"
In response to the first question: online education is filling educational gaps that have appeared recently. Providing on-the- ground-teachers has become too costly or too dangerous for traditional methods in some areas, especially on the massive scale that is needed. Sometimes, traditional approaches are too limited because of geography. The cost of traditional education favors those who can travel away from home, usually for an overall time period of 3 years, and who can afford the expense of traditional curriculum at theological college.
In response to the second question: our methods are helpful and creative. Not everyone can access audio files or video files in other countries. Those formats may take too much bandwidth. But, as we discovered: many people text, and we took advantage of this opportunity. Interactive texting makes our program special to participants.
What makes the program special, as well, is: a) participants learn important skills; b) there is something prestigious about working with people from the United States; c) participants learn from the courses; and d) online theological education is like liturgy: God is involved with the words and through our presence.
Online education is not just about technology or words or ideas, as good and important as these may be. An additional perspective is needed. Like the Gutenberg Bible, our online education program is a way of coming into contact with God through our text.
Ways to support us.
Your prayers and financial partnering with us help make our ministry happen.
Please make checks out to: "SAMS", and put "Mudge" in the memo space. The mailing address is: SAMS, P. O. Box 399, Ambridge, PA 15003-0399.
God bless you in Jesus' Name,
The Revs. Shaw and Julie Mudge Missionaries of SAMS and Albany.