His dream was to study abroad. So he applied for a scholarship, finished filling out the form, and placed the envelope carefully in the mail. With the posting of that letter, in ways he could not imagine, he was about to become the leading figure in the East Africa Revival, a 40-year awakening that changed the spiritual map of Eastern Africa.

Simeon Nsibambi was born in Uganda in 1897 to Walusimbi Kimanje, a chief of Uganda's most dominant tribe, the Buganda. He received his formal schooling at Mengo High School and King's College Budo. During World War I he joined the African Native Medical Corps and was decorated for his distinguished service. After the war, in 1920, he was made Chief Health Officer in the Bugandan king's government. He excelled as an athlete in both football and wrestling, and as a singer and artist. But it was his natural leadership abilities that would loom largest in the future.

Nsibambi became a Christian in 1922, three years before his marriage to Eva Bakaluba, with whom he would have 12 children. But education—the one thing necessary to cement his status as one of Uganda's elite—seemed to occupy this young rising star more than the gospel. Study abroad, in his mind, was essential.

The reply to his application finally came. He was turned down. His best hope for advancement had been dashed.

Deeply frustrated, Nsibambi turned to God for answers. A vision came. God spoke to him and asked him a troubling question. What value did a scholarship to study abroad have compared to what he already had been given, that pearl of great price, the gospel of salvation? Nsibambi was disturbed by this vision. Ashamed and repentant, Nsibambi began to preach on tree-studded Namirembe Hill, overlooking the busy center of ...

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