“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes” (1 Samuel 2:8).
In May of 2011, a couple from our hometown of Seattle told us over dinner that God had called them to “concentrate their giving” on something significant — the creation of a university in India for the poorest of the poor. They wanted the project to be led by a visionary leader, Bishop Joab Lohara. They wanted to remain anonymous. They only wanted to give and to pray. “Is there a need?” they asked. “If so, we are ready.”
Unbeknownst to our friends, the vision of a university for the low-caste peoples of India had been brewing as a dream in Lohara’s heart. That dream soon became reality.
By September of 2012, Immanuel University was born. Located 20 miles northeast of Hyderabad, the university began with 10 acres of land. Lohara organized the Indian governing board, secured water, power, Wi-Fi, and a qualified faculty and staff. Accreditation was granted, and the first class of MBA students began their studies.
Today, Immanuel University offers MBA, M.A. Leadership, B.Th., B.A. and B.Com. degrees. We now have 25 acres, an MBA building, the McKenna Center for Leadership, a large chapel, a women’s dorm, a men’s dorm and a two-story guest house, with no debt. We have 241 students enrolled in these programs from all over India and have seen four classes of MBA students graduate with 100 percent job placement.
Neelima Bariya, from a small and impoverished village, was a child sponsored by International Child Care Ministries Director Linda Adams. Neelima said, “I looked to Bishop Joab Lohara as my big daddy. He had always encouraged tribal children like me.” Neelima will graduate with an MBA next year and will be the first person with a management degree in her entire village area. She writes, “I want to be an example to the youth of my tribe and encourage us to dream big like our bishop.”
We are humbled by what God has started through the obedience of a humble couple, a bishop’s vision, and advancement by faithful friends like you. On behalf of the Friends of Immanuel University, we invite you to join this stream of amazing work as God raises the poor from the dust. There are thousands of brilliant young students like Neelima whose lives will be transformed by a Christian education at Immanuel University.
For more information, we invite you to visit our website at friendsofimmanueluniversity.org. There you will find stories, a list of our partners, and more information about how to get involved through going, giving through scholarships, or praying. Will you join us in this incredible kingdom work?
David Goodnight is the chair of Friends of Immanuel University, and Shelly Goodnight serves on the Friends of Immanuel University Board.2