In June, Jon Halverson, Daystar U.S. Board Vice Chair, attended Daystar University’s 2016 graduation ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya. This was his first visit to Daystar University, but not his first visit to Africa. Jon travels to Africa frequently as the Vice President for Land O’Lakes’ International Development Division and he and his family lived in Tanzania for four years when he worked for the United States African Development Foundation. These are his thoughts and reflections on his trip to Daystar University.
It’s well worth visiting Daystar University to fully understand the significant impact this institution is having on Kenya and beyond. Having served on the U.S. board for nearly two years now, I had the privilege of attending the commencement ceremony and Chancellor’s meeting a few weeks ago in Kenya. The commencement ceremony far surpassed anything I’ve seen in the U.S.!
In particular I was struck by the symbolic towel given to all graduates--to go forth and “wash the feet” of colleagues and leaders in all spheres of society. In addition, Afrizo sang a number of worship songs; the speeches were more like sermons; and due to the outdoor natural amphitheater, family members of the graduates surrounded the festivities in great numbers, fully decked out in their best clothes and commencement bling.
Perhaps the most poignant for me was the hope these graduates represent to their immediate and extended families. For many, the Daystar graduate is likely the first in their extended families. Many of these families sacrificed considerable savings to realize this moment. It was amazing to see the joy and pride on their faces after the ceremony as they walked around campus. For these families, their Daystar graduate represents hope for a better future, both economically and spiritually.
We need to be in prayer for the leaders and students at Daystar. I’ve found in life that when a person or organization is truly making a difference for Christ and His Kingdom, spiritual warfare is usually a palpable outcome. Daystar is not immune to this! Please pray that Godly leaders would continue to emerge from the student body, that temptations would diminish or move away from the students/campus and that the leaders and faculty at Daystar would be strong spiritual leaders.
If you’re interested in transforming lives and an entire society, then giving to Daystar University and students is incredibly strategic. I had the privilege of meeting students who came from very, very underprivileged backgrounds, who attend Daystar only because of the generosity of donors. Trust me, they are incredibly grateful! They want to give back to society in the name of Jesus just like the donor that supported them.