Hallo! Goeie dag (good day) from South Africa! We trust this update finds you well.
First of all, thank you for supporting and praying for the Genesis University project! We are grateful to have you on our team. And please know you are needed now more than ever!
The Spencer’s arrived in Johannesburg at the end of August, just in time to celebrate the one-year anniversary (September 1) of Genesis South Africa. Much of these early days comprised of learning how to navigate crowded and crazy highways. People in South Africa drive fast! And a special shout out to the guy who invented Waze!! Thank you Mr. Waze for keeping us on the right road! Friendships are being made, bank accounts opened, traffic registration approved, and all print media has been changed to South African addresses and phone numbers! Our website is up and running (thank you Amy & Bruce!). And folks everywhere are excited to hear about a Christian liberal arts university coming to South Africa!
The response has been wonderful! And now we need to buckle down and concentrate on government approval. The Ministry of Education is made up of three different sectors – The Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET), The Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). If you think that’s a mouthful, just try understanding the numerous qualifications needed for all three different offices! We don’t have a school until we have accreditation.
However, the Lord has raised up local South Africans to help us with different tasks. God continues to bless us with Leon Viljoen, a Christian businessman, and long time friend, from Cape Town who understands the culture, people, language, politics, and how to get things done the right way. We call Leon when we need advice! God brought us Ken Manuel from the University of South Africa. Ken is a believer, former rugby player, his family immigrated from India (he spent 12 years becoming a South African citizen), and is a professor of Economics. Ken is helping us with the challenges of curriculum development leading to accreditation. Ken calls every Monday and asks, “What can I do for Genesis this week!” Wow!
In addition, the Lord answered a prayer that we’ve been praying about for two years! We needed an educational consultant to help us navigate through the various registration and accreditation steps. Here’s how the story was told on our website blog:
I wanted to share with you some wonderful news! Our biggest goal for this trip was to begin the process of accreditation for our first degrees. I phoned up the office of the CEO of the largest branch of the Ministry of Education (SAQA) to book an appointment. The secretary, a woman named Ane, said the CEO couldn’t see me until mid October, but referred me to Jacob (Japie) Nel.
To prepare for our meeting I went through 2 years of emails with the SAQA office. Our correspondence ended in August 2018. My last few emails came from a man named Eddie Brown. Eddie was assigned to our case because one of the persons assisting us fell sick. And Eddie was wonderful. He was excited about Genesis and very helpful.
I started off the meeting by handing Japie an agenda I had printed out. The last discussion point of the meeting was, “Who is Eddie Brown?” When I asked this question Japie got a very surprised look on his face, jumped up from the table and said, “Don’t move!” Leon and I glanced at each other not knowing what to think. Then Japie came back in with an older, white man, and declared, “Here is Eddie Brown!”
Eddie came into the office with a big smile and said, “Dr. Spencer I’m so glad we’re finally meeting each other!” We came to find out that Eddie had retired in August 2018 (the reason our correspondence ended) and just happened to be in the building, on the same floor and in the office next door! Eddie Brown gushed how excited he was about Genesis and asked if he could be helping us with accreditation!!! He asked us!! In fact, that’s what Eddie does in retirement. He assists educational institutions with registration and accreditation. And he kept saying how important Genesis is for the country of South Africa!! He said, “I only work for organizations that I believe in, and I really like Genesis and you guys!”
Isn’t God’s timing perfect! Japie Nel kept saying to us, “I can’t believe how fortunate that you came right now at the same time Eddie was here!” And I said, “It’s not fortune; it’s providence!!!”
This week was a epic rockpile (Joshua 4:19-24) for Genesis University. I will remember this story for as long as I live! When we are having the first Genesis University graduation I will tell the students the story of Eddie Brown!
To read more of this blog, please go to the below link.
https://www.genesissouthafrica.org/the-story-of-the-beginning-days-of-genesis-university-with-the-spencers/Please pray for us as we engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Pray that our Business Plan, biblical objectives, and Christian worldviews, will be advanced, approved, and accredited by the government of South Africa. Pray that all we do will bring glory and honor to His Great Name. And please continue to pray that God would raise up financial partners! In the midst of digging the trenches and building the foundations for Genesis, we still need to raise the remaining funds for start up!
Thank you for joining us on this amazing Genesis journey!
The Genesis Team, RSA