(Honest, I'm going to write about the safari, but you've really got to read this first!)
Okay, I've been here nine months -- yes, really, NINE months! Hard to believe isn't it? -- and this is definitely the most exciting news I have gotten to write about.
But wait, you say. More exciting than your very first blog written from Heathrow International Airport on your way to fulfill your heart's desire of serving the Lord overseas? Yep.
More exciting than reporting that you had crossed the equator and had stood on the shores of Lake Victoria? Easily.
More exciting than writing about the joy of worshipping with believers from all over the world? That's a bit of a toughie, but yes, I really think so.
Well, don't keep us in suspense, Mzungu Mama! Give us the scoop!
Here it is: On Friday, 13 February 2009, Phillip Shero had the honor of holding in his hands for all to see the Letter of Interim Authority granted by the Uganda National Council of Higher Education to LivingStone International University. What does that mean? That means -- well, here you go. Read it for yourself. (Hint: Click on the image to bring up a high-resolution version.)
It's true. The flame of the vision of a Christ-centered, Ugandan university, first kindled in the hearts of missionaries here in Mbale, but now spread to Christians across Africa and to the uttermost ends of earth -- yes, even to the far-off land of America -- God has blessed that flame and ignited it into a fire. The NCHE has granted LivingStone International University authority to build a campus, hire faculty and staff, buy computers, desks, pens and pencils, and basically do whatever else is necessary to "further the development of the proposed University to maturity."
Praise God that He has given so many people the vision of what is most assuredly a humanly impossible task. Only God can make LivingStone International University a reality. However, by giving the flame of this vision to his people, God is graciously allowing us, Christ's body, to join him in what he is doing to bring about that reality.
As a final note, I'd like you to close your eyes and mentally fast-forward about ten years. Imagine the day that, dotted all over Africa, are graduates of LIU: Graduates who have the flame of the original vision; graduates who go to work in businesses and banks and schools; graduates who shun corruption, who seek to serve the Lord in their work, who encourage those who work with them to do the same; graduates who "shine like stars in the universe." Think: How blessed would you feel if the Lord allowed you to have even the tiniest part in making that day happen? Exactly. So now you know why I believe this is the most exciting news ever.
Postscript: Those of you with good memories may recall the university originally being referred to as Messiah International University. The first time the university proposal (a twenty-page document that covered every aspect of the university) went before the NCHE, it was turned down, partly on the grounds that the council did not want the name of a deity to be part of the university name. After much prayer and discussion by Phillip Shero and others, the university name was changed to Livingstone International University. This honors David Livingstone, a missionary whose name is still much-revered in Africa and who symbolizes the love western missionaries have for the people of Africa. In addition, check out 1 Peter 2:4-5. "As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
Please pray for God's mighty hand to be on LivingStone International University!