The number seven (7) has status. It signifies completion and owes its eminence to God completing His creative activity in six days, resting from them on the seventh day and blessing that day (Ge 1-2:3). The number seven (7) also speaks for Liberia International Christian College (LICC) in one regard. From its opening in 2009 to this year, 2016, seven years have passed. That is, LICC has lived through seven years by God’s grace which alone has kept it going.
It should have died prematurely in stillbirth as its first significant encounter with national educational authorities was quite an experience. But it survived the shock and moved on with even more determination to succeed. From 2009 till date, LICC has had other birth and growing pains through which it has grown and is maturing. Seven years after it first opened its doors to the public, the college is rising slowly but beautifully as a showcase for excellent local initiatives in Liberia’s higher education industry. LICC has had seven years that one could in some ways liken to its famine season just because of the raw sacrifices the many people who attended, birthed and catered to this vision made and continue to make. LICC’s first seven years have seen God at work in spite of the different experiences the college has had. Truly, they have been years through which one can say the Lord has redeemed LICC, being with it as it passed through the waters without letting the rivers overwhelm it. And though LICC walked through fire, it was not burned and the flame did not consume it because the Holy One of Israel whose name and honor the college seeks to magnify was its Savior (Isa 43:2, 3).
Seven years of difficult planning and working in often adverse circumstances involving finance, land, personnel and status have only strengthened our resolves to move forward with the Lord’s business as He handles the details. The United Liberia Inland Church (ULIC), United Liberia Inland Church Associates and Friends (ULICAF) and the Government of Liberia have played and continue to play crucial roles in the institution’s existence and ministry through the last seven years. We praise God for the people and situations God has used to establish, groom and nurture LICC to this point as we count each experience, whether of joy and bliss, of pain and tears or disappointment and expectation as essential to legitimizing LICC’s legacy as an enduring Christian liberal arts college in the heart of Liberia.
No, we are not going for sabbatical after seven years of rugged service. Rather, we have just begun our trek on Restoration Boulevard. We have a vision to bear and a mission to achieve, a vision and mission from which we cannot now shrink because by God’s special grace, we have stepped into the waters and we have only one choice—to move forward and cross over because the Lord is with us.
After seven years of casting a vision, establishing an institution and making a presence, we now can see more clearly than we first did and know for certain that now is our time of visitation (Lk 19:44). The Lord is visiting LICC and we want to poise in a way to welcome Him the best way we know. News of His visitation raises our expectations, strengthens our resolves and challenges our commitments. On account of His visitation, we at LICC are trusting Him to “be gracious to us” (Isa 33:2), make us glad and rejoice in our wilderness and dry land because He will make us “blossom abundantly” (Isa 35:1-2) all because of His own Name’s sake.
This wonderful time of the Lord’s visitation will require the LICC family to put itself together properly so that we get the most of the visitation. This is why we prefer to trust in our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, who is our God and who teaches us to profit because He is also the One who leads us in the way we should go (Isa 48:17).
Therefore, for the next seven or so years, I call on the LICC family (ULIC, ULICAF, GoL, etc.), to assemble and hang on to our Lord and Redeemer who is visiting us. In this time of visitation, we call on all our students, faculty, staff, partners, sponsors and well wishers to brace up and step up to the challenges so we can turn each into an opportunity on which to propel and thrust LICC further and farther on its trajectory to progress and prosper. We will turn over every leaf, look under every rock and plant strong accountability and transparency pegs along our trajectory to uphold the gracious vision of our founders and perpetrate a legacy of pride to those who come after us. After seven years, we have not completed our work, but we have rested from one aspect of our work and begun another. There will be challenges no doubt, but our hope is to grasp each moment diligently and use it for our advantage. We will do some outside the box thinking, talking and working not to leave anyone out in the cold but to optimize our opportunities.
Like Joseph in Egypt, I step up to the challenges not because I have any solutions, but because I am trusting the One who assures me that He is the one who helps me as He did with ancient Israel (Isa 41:14). He has promised to answer our prayers when we pray to Him. So, pray we will do like we’ve never done before. I have no idea what the Lord will do or not do in this time of our visitation, but I am assured that He will lead us all in the direction of obeying Him and striving to please Him and accomplish His will for LICC. That is the single focus all members of LICC’s family have and on which we must concentrate hard.
A very big and loud “thank you” goes to all who have sacrificed all kinds of resources to get LICC to this point. I can only hope that we will not stop there, but strive on harder to keep this great work you started going the way God directs. LICC students, faculty, staff, ULIC, ULICAF, GoL and all our supporters and well-wishers have a stake in this venture and so should do all they can to keep it going.
The year 2016 marks seven years of start-up operations at LICC. We have started and have done fine though we can do better. Beginning 2017, by God’s grace, LICC launches into another period in which we must do better. We need God’s favor especially with our National Commission on Higher Education, the government’s agency for accrediting all higher education institutions operating in the country. It is by far easy to start up and operate many ventures in Liberia than to do higher education. But LICC has come too far to flop, we can only fly high. This is our moment for renewing our strength and mounting up with wings like eagles, of running and not being weary and of walking and not fainting (Isa 40:30, 31).
In Christ's Service,