From ANN, Feb. 25, 2015:   Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the main campus of Adventist University Africa (AUA) on Sunday (Feb. 22) to support the construction of a new Health Sciences complex.

In a speech to a crowd of nearly 4,000, Kenyatta pledged his financial support for the initiative and commended the Adventist Church for being an “exemplary partner in transforming Kenya.”

“The Adventist Church has been a vital part of uplifting our communities, empowering our citizens and building our nation,” Kenyatta said, referring to the numerous churches and schools throughout the East African nation.

The Adventist University of Africa’s main campus is based at the denomination’s East-Central Africa Division, located in Ongata Rongai, a region on the outskirts of Nairobi.

Though based in Kenya, AUA is directly affiliated with the Adventist Church’s world headquarters. It offers Adventist graduate-level education throughout Africa. Doctoral programs are taught at the main campus, and other programs—such as theology and business—are taught with revolving faculty at other Adventist campuses on the continent.

Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Vice President William Ruto and other officials, additionally highlighted the Adventist university for having a progressive vision while occupying a niche as Kenya’s only university focusing solely on post-graduate studies. He also commended the Adventist Church’s educational system for its caliber and scale of educational services.

Kenyatta concluded his remarks by thanking the Adventist Church for demonstrating exemplary discipleship, compassion and philanthropy. “By touching hearts, improving minds and healing the sick you bring the word of God to life as a light to humankind,” he said.

Blasious Ruguri, president of the Adventist Church’s East-Central Africa Division, thanked the nation’s president for coming to show support for the project. Using the story of Jesus asking the disciples to find two donkeys to untie for use in the triumphal entry, Ruguri encouraged the audience to “untie their donkeys,” meaning to release some of their funds for mission.

President Kenyatta was the first to donate, contributing more than 2 million Kenyan shillings—nearly US$22,000—toward the Health Sciences Building project. Hundreds of government and Church leaders also contributed to the project.

Philanthropist Simeon Nyachae also addressed the crowd. While introducing the President, he praised the Adventist Church for saving the life of his mother through a surgical procedure she received at an Adventist hospital in 1942. Nyachae said she lived to be 102.

NOTE: President Kenyatta’s speech can be accessed on his official website.