Dr Gerald, Servant-Leader

By July 5th, 2014

Family & Friends,

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Over and over these words have been heard by my wounded heart.  Our principal & academic dean at Africa College of Theology died suddenly a week ago of a massive heart attack.  Gerald Sseruwage was 45 years and bigger than life to everyone in Africa where he was simply “Dr Gerald”.  He went from believer kicked out of his home for his faith to street boy.  He was brilliant more than his PhD revealed.  He was the heart of our growing ACT college.  He became a father to many without fathers among our students and staff.  He knew how to do everything and could get it done in Africa.  He was the best academic supervisor that I have ever had.  I am needed at ACT, but he seemed indispensible.  I needed an African to remind me, “It is Christ’s church and college and He will build it.”

His memorial service in Kigali was six hours long and it was not enough time to talk about his faith and works of faith.  He was my mentor for all things African.  Five minutes with him gave me more cultural understanding than a month of living in Rwanda.  His great knowledge did not lead to pride, but was combined with a compassionate heart to serve others beautifully and effectively.  His greatest trait was humility.  He was the apex of “servant leadership” for me. In Paul’s words, “He poured himself out like a drink offering.”  He also loved humility in others.  The African staff was surprised when my first teaching assignment was as an assistant to one of my former Multnomah students.  Gerald later revealed, “I wanted to see if you were humble enough to serve under your former student.”  When I grow up I want to be just like Dr Gerald.

Rwandan Rookie, G

Gfriesen.ACT@africanewlife.org

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