On the move
I have to share a story about my friend, Gilbert. Gilbert Bagaya, a loving husband and father, will graduate in 2024 through the Community Development program. Gilbert exhibits special and unique gifts that enable him to dream of community improvement through church planting, farming enhancements, entrepreneurship for youth, as well as the gift of music.
Gilbert grew up in a small village where his family faced the challenges of economic hardships. His home was filled with love and support, but while his parents worked hard at farming- difficulties arose such as food insecurity and educating eight children. Growing up, Gilbert didn’t have the things other students had like nice clothes and shoes or multiple options when it came to what his family would eat.
GILBERT GROWING UP
GILBERT ASPIRED TO SOMETHING MORE
Once he finished primary school, Gilbert was on his own. This meant job hopping from low-wage farming jobs feeding animals, to selling goods at market, to a stint as a watchman and house assistant. Gilbert wanted more. Thankfully, a group of his church peers told him about Wesley College. This marks the start of Gilbert’s transformation.
When Gilbert heard about Wesley College and was accepted, he says it was “a really big miracle…”
“Wesley College… It's not just a college. It’s a place where people are being created, where people are being renewed.”
GILBERT BEGINS AT WESLEY COLLEGE
He began his theology studies in earnest and committed to becoming a servant leader in his community. He graduated from the dual-enrollment program to get his high school diploma and Diploma in Theology. This enabled him to begin studies in Community Development, where he will graduate in 2024.
GILBERT IN THE COMMUNITY
The “in between” represents something even more transformative about Gilbert. After graduating, he put the education and ideas formed at Wesley College into practice at the Wesley House. From his studies and time at the Wesley House, he saw how leadership was not about control–but about the empowerment of others. The ability to learn and commune with others after formal education is transformational to so many- and allowed Gilbert to have a vision of servant leadership for his community that didn’t previously exist before Wesley College.
Here’s the simple truth: donors like you transformed Gilbert’s life, the life of his family, and the life of his neighbors. You made the difference.
GILBERT AS A LEADER
When Gilbert goes into the community- he is no longer a youth seeking conflict or get rich quick schemes –he is a respected leader whose voice is heard and valued. Rather than being self-seeking, other leaders see Gilbert as mature, educated, and community-driven. Even though this community is 5 hours from his home village- he seeks improvements that will span across multiple communities. He went from barely being able to support himself to being able to monetize a small farm and provide for his wife and daughter while attending Wesley College. He knows the value of what he learns and can see the direct impact on his life and what that means for others.
Gilbert sees himself as part of a “new generation who will change the community.” Wesley College and its supporters spurred a change in Gilbert that will have a lasting impact on his entire community.
Will you create more experiences of transformation for more students at Wesley College? By offering a donation of $50, $100, $250 or more, we’ll see more students who have similar experiences to the one Gilbert had.
You can watch and listen to Gilbert's story below to see all the ways he was On The Move to a better future and how Wesley College played a role.