Our EMI design team arrived back into Kampala on last week, but it was not rest time quite yet. More on the design trip in separate post, but last Tuesday, our team’s lead architect, Tony McBurney was able to speak into the lives of Ugandan engineers and architects in a powerful way. Tony is the head of an architecture firm in Australia called IDG and comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge. In Australia, Tony had a chance to give a talk in various places about the connection between architecture and the Christian faith. This was a powerful topic there in the lives of several people including some of EMI’s former Australian interns. The chance to give such a talk to Ugandan design professionals was a opportunity that Tony and EMI did not want to pass up.
Because our office has members of the Ugandan Society of Architects and the Ugandan Institute of Professional Engineers, we used our connections to reach out to all of the local design professionals in the area. We reserved the sanctuary of a local church located downtown and prayed that God would bring people eager to hear his message.
Using the language of “Architecture 101”, Tony shared how the story began at a point in space – the Garden, with the Centerpoint being the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and how their consequences led to a line where Adam and Eve were cast out, in part for their own protection. As he continued (talking about space, volume, and the God of geometry), it was fascinating for me (as a non-architect) so see the faces of the Ugandan architects seeing the Gospel in the form of their professional language.
The numbers were not huge – we had 15-20 come apart from EMI people, but the response during Q&A was incredibly edifying. These professionals were ecstatic to consider how they can use their professional skills in a way that lives out God’s calling on their lives. They were challenged to think about how to integrate their faith and vocation (something very lacking both in Uganda and in the West). As I spoke with one of the attendees before the conference, he was excited to hear about EMI and asked, “I just really want to spend time with you guys and learn from you. Is there a way that I can volunteer and participate in some of the work that you are doing so that I can use my skills to serve others?” YES! YES! YES!
We praise God for orchestrating this event and ask for your prayers for the architects and engineers of Uganda – that they would see God in the details and in the overall nature of their work – and that they would live their lives as professionals in a way that brings glory and honor to their Maker.