Some called the late Festo Kivengere the “Billy Graham of Africa.”
The Ugandan Anglican bishop connected with a mathematics scholar named John Senyonyi, who had expressed an interest in evangelistic work all over the African continent. He joined Festo’s African Evangelistic Enterprise.
“(Festo) invited me to become one of the evangelists, but at the same time, because I had a desire to do theological studies, he asked me ‘Where do you want to go?’ Dr. Senyonyi recalls. “He said, ‘I want you to have a global mind,” and he made arrangements for me to come to TEDS. He arranged for the scholarship, he arranged for the admissions.”
That moment came in the late 1980s. John went on to earn a Master of Arts in evangelism and theology before returning with his wife Ruth to Uganda after graduation in 1992.
“My education at TEDS was particularly instrumental in sustaining and informing the fire for evangelism in my heart,” Senyonyi told Trinity Magazine during a visit to the Deerfield campus. “God’s call on me now got a better foundation as I understood it better, and my preaching was honed with theological grounding as a result.”
That “global mind” took shape during those years at TEDS.
“Trinity brought me into the fellowship, a larger fellowship, which is exactly what Bishop Festo had said in the very beginning,” Dr. Senyonyi recalls, “that I should have a mind that thinks beyond just Uganda or beyond my little locality.”
Today, Dr. Senyonyi serves as vice chancellor (president) of Uganda Christian University in Mukono, which enrolls more than 7,000 students and operates on five campuses.
But there’s more to this story. Both Ruth and John have had a strong impact on their native country in the years since their return to Uganda.
Senyonyi chaired the Uganda Youth Forum, which brought together many thousands of young people to hear messages of empowerment and encouragement to avoid becoming at risk for AIDS.
While in the United States, Ruth pursued a counseling degree at Northeastern Illinois University and later became the first professional counseling psychologist in Uganda.
In 2017, Trinity recognized these efforts in naming Dr. Senyonyi the TEDS Alumnus of the