Student Fulfills Long-awaited College Dream

By Andrea Graff, Class of 2012

David Rutinduka persevered until his dream of enrolling at ORU came true.
David Rutinduka persevered until his dream of enrolling at ORU came true.

After years of waiting, ORU senior accounting major David Rutinduka is finally realizing one of his dreams. As a 38-year-old nontraditional student, Rutinduka set his sights on the destination he says God called him to in 1999 but that he didn't reach until seven years later. That destination was ORU.

Rutinduka first heard about ORU in 1993 while living in Johannesburg, South Africa. He was only 19 years old when he watched a video of a revival service at which Rodney Howard Brown, another native South African, spoke. He was immediately captivated by the school and by its founding mission. Still, Rutinduka faced doubts about whether or not that dream would materialize.

"When I saw ORU, I was so touched. I thought, 'Wow, this is an amazing university --and a Christian university.' I just said, 'Who knows? Maybe God will allow me to go in the future.'"

In 1999, Rutinduka began to struggle with the call of God upon his life. It was during this time he was reminded of ORU.

"I felt God say, 'This is why you saw ORU. I want you to go there for a time of preparation,'" Rutinduka recalled.

But the task proved much harder than he'd ever imagined. As Rutinduka began to talk to his family, friends, and mentors about his dream, he found that they weren't as convinced.

"People couldn't connect to it. They'd say, 'How are you going to get to ORU? It's like dreaming; it's not real.' But I felt it in my spirit," he said.

Despite his strong conviction to attend ORU, Rutinduka knew very little about the school. His only knowledge came from information he remembered from the revival video he'd watched several years earlier, and it wasn't much.

"I didn't even know where it was. I thought it was in Texas," Rutinduka said.

Finally, Rutinduka came into contact with someone who knew about ORU. He contacted the admissions office, and they sent him a brochure that he used as a point of contact in prayer.

"I'd hold it, pray, and say, 'God, I am confessing over ORU. I am going there,'" he said.

Rutinduka prayed that prayer many times before finally experiencing a breakthrough. One day in 2006, as he was sitting in his office searching the Internet, he came across the Web site for Mark Brazee Ministries, which is also located in Tulsa. Upon discovering that they offered a nine-month Bible school course, he immediately felt in his spirit that he should apply.

"I thought, 'Why not move toward ORU? Then if the Lord wants me to go to ORU, I'll be close by. If not, we'll just get home,'" he explained.

But when Rutinduka revealed his thoughts to his wife, Lydie, whom he married in 2003, she was not in agreement. The couple had a small child, and both had secure jobs at home.

"She said, 'No way. You're dreaming. This cannot happen,'" Rutinduka recalled.

Still, while refusing her husband's urging to move, Rutinduka's wife secretly spent her time researching the city of Tulsa.

"Finally, one day she came to me and said, 'You know, it's as if I've fallen in love with Tulsa.' She'd already found out where they had kindergartens and nurseries," he said.

So the couple decided to take the leap of faith. Both applied to the Bible school, were accepted, and received a prayer of blessing from their pastor and church congregation.

But the day before the move, Rutinduka got a letter that squelched his dream once again. The letter informed him that the school was not accredited for international students and encouraged him to stay home. But Rutinduka knew he'd heard God, so he wasn't going to give up.

"I told my wife, 'Let's not panic; let's just go.' So we did," he said.

The people at Mark Brazee Ministries redirected the couple to Victory Bible Institute, also in Tulsa, where they completed two years of study. During those two years, Rutinduka and his wife connected with Lisa Edwards, who later became ORU's international and expatriate admissions counselor.

"She served as the bridge for me to get here," he said.

Rutinduka started school in the fall of 2010. He'll finish his degree in accounting in May 2012 and will soon begin his MBA as a necessary step toward his goal of becoming a CPA. He, his wife, and their two children -- Joy, 7, and David Jr., 3 -- continue to reside in Tulsa.

Despite the long process, Rutinduka is incredibly grateful for God's fulfilled promise and says the knowledge and experience he's gaining from ORU is invaluable.

"There's a lot I'm learning. ORU has helped me to think spiritually with education. It's expanded my vision. It's made me see big," he said.