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How BEU Came to Be

How BEU Came to Be

The Best of the Story: Miraculous Answers to Prayer (published 1993, reprinted 2001) was written by WGM retiree Burnis Bushong. The purpose of the book is to share miraculous answers to prayer experienced by WGM missionaries over the years. We hope these stories inspire you to pray for missions activities around the world. A new story is posted each month.

God gave the late Meredythe Scheflen a dream to start an evangelical university in Bolivia, and government red tape was not going to stand in her way. She prayed, collected a team of staff and teachers, and prepared curriculum for what was to become Bolivian Evangelical University.

In 1980—after the first victory of obtaining permission to start classes at Evangelical University of Bolivia was secured from the Ministry of Education—Meredythe and her associates continued their step-by-step procedure through interminable offices and to multiple government authorities in quest of incorporation papers and the final presidential decree of approval. According to Bolivian law, it is the government that gives degrees; therefore, all degree-granting institutions must have government approval. They started the process under an elected government, but a military coup followed, and they had to restart the legal process from the beginning.

When all papers were ready, the documents lacked only the president’s signature. The president, however, was politically left-leaning and not sympathetic to bringing about a private university with an evangelical focus. He did not sign because the new university represented the factors his government opposed. He gave four reasons for not signing:

  1. It was a private institution.
  2. It was evangelical.
  3. It was in Santa Cruz, which was a rival city with La Paz (where many government offices are located).
  4. It was supported by U.S. missionary organizations.

It appeared that there was no possible way presidential approval would be granted. Divine intervention was needed, and Meredythe and her team prayed.

Shortly thereafter, the president left Bolivia to attend the presidential inauguration of a neighboring country. During his absence, the vice president was legally in control for a few days. The vice president happened to find the unsigned documents of the evangelical university on his desk. He examined the papers, and everything seemed to be in order; only a signature was needed. So, the acting president signed the supreme presidential decree for legal recognition of the evangelical university.

There was great rejoicing in Santa Cruz when they learned the papers had been signed in La Paz, giving full legal incorporation and recognition for Bolivian Evangelical University. Today, over 2,300 students are studying at BEU in 18 fields of study. Meredythe passed away in 2011 at the age of 85 after having served in Bolivia for almost 60 years. Her dream of seeing Bolivians come to Christ and be educated in a Christian environment is still alive in Santa Cruz.

“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” Jeremiah 32:17

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