New UCU guesthouse is ‘light on the hill for Jesus’

By Pauline Luba
Uganda Christian University (UCU) has added a new guesthouse to its collection of hospitality facilities. The Kingdom View Guest House, located on Besania Hill, Mukono, was acquired as a ministry donation from The Rock Kingdom LTD (UG), funded by The Rock Outreach (USA) late 2022. The guesthouse, completed in 2016, becomes the university’s fifth hospitality facility, but the first outside the precincts of UCU’s main campus. The other four guesthouses — Eunice, Garry, Missionary House and Tech Park Units — are within the university. 

Kingdom View Guest House, whose architecture was inspired by the shape of an African hut, offers catering services, high-speed internet, laundry services, free parking and airport transportation access for international travelers. The architectural design was done by American Mike Reid, who is also credited with drawing the plans of UCU’s gate, as well as other buildings within the university, including the Hamu Mukasa library.

A beautiful stone walkway leads to the storied house and a multipurpose pavilion used for catered events, fellowships and meetings. Strategically located, it is near popular restaurants, such as Café Bruni, Café Para and Dibbles Leisure Centre. 

A view of the restaurant at Kingdom View
A view of the restaurant at Kingdom View

The upper level, with a dramatic view of Mukono and Lake Victoria in the distance, has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms are queen rooms, while the third has a custom designed inbuilt bunk bed. The en suite bathroom consists of a shower and a bathtub. Pets are not allowed on the premises. The house also has a balcony, terrace, housekeeping and kitchen essentials, such as a refrigerator, toaster and kettle.

A Texas-based couple – Margaret and Mark Noblin – are integral to the Kingdom View story. Writing from Texas, during an email interview with Uganda Partners, Margaret described the facility, which the Rock Kingdom LTD donated to UCU, as not just a guesthouse. The compound is a “holistic ministry of discipleship and practical Christian leadership training.”

UCU’s Vice Chancellor Aaron Mushengyezi, Deputy Vice Chancellor David Mugawe and other managers and guests after acquiring the Kingdom View Guest House in late 2022.
UCU’s Vice Chancellor Aaron Mushengyezi, Deputy Vice Chancellor David Mugawe and other managers and guests after acquiring the Kingdom View Guest House in late 2022.

She said the guesthouse was designed for visiting lecturers, missionaries and pastoral care, to generate income to help Kingdom View be sustainable economically. 

“By doing this, the guesthouse would assist with funding resources and materials for spiritual development of UCU students,” Margaret explained.

How did The Rock Kingdom LTD come to donate such an investment to UCU? 

As founders of the ministry, “Our calling from the beginning was to empower practically Ugandans so we could transition Kingdom View over to a local organization. Three years ago, we began praying and inquiring of the Lord about it, with all board members. We considered other NGOs, churches and UCU,” Margaret explained. 

As part of the transition, in 2019, the Noblins hired a UCU graduate of Bachelor of Business Administration, who they had mentored. As they spent less time in Uganda he was trusted with the management of the facility and leadership of discipleship activities.

“As we prayed about a potential handover, we kept coming back to UCU due to the relationships, proximity to campus and hundreds of students we have mentored. My husband came home one day and said, ‘I truly believe God wants us to give Kingdom View to UCU under the management of the chaplaincy.’ That was in the spring of 2022,” Margaret wrote.

The members of the UCU executive board and other guests praying at the guesthouse
The members of the UCU executive board and other guests praying at the guesthouse

According to her, by donating the facility to UCU, they intended to “honor” the Lord and the former owner of the property, Bishop Kamanyire. “Kingdom View belongs to God and we wanted to pass the stewardship on to serious people, so it would continue to honor God and be a bright light on the hill.”

The Noblins have been married for 52 years. They have a daughter, a son-in-law and eight grandchildren who all live in Texas.

UCU’s guesthouses are run by the university hospitality services. Students, such as those pursuing courses in the field of tourism and hospitality, carry out their practical lessons at Eunice Guest House, aided by the facility’s staff. 

The staff of the hospitality services also cater for executive meetings within the university, such providing meals for participants during Senate and Board meetings. The guesthouse is perfect for small meetings while the Kingdom View Pavilion is ideal for larger functions.

Despite the excellent services at Kingdom View, and other guesthouses in the university, little is known about them by the students and residents of Mukono. Many students hardly have an idea where the guesthouses are located.  Even those who know are not aware that the services are open to students.

“We are working with the communications team of UCU to advertise the guesthouses in a more aggressive way to both students and other members of the public,” Vanessa Ngango, the head of hospitality services at UCU, said. 

There are plans to create short videos and fliers, detailing the services offered at the guesthouses, so that more awareness is created. The facilities are good relaxation centers for pastors and the students, especially as a place to relax and refresh their spirits.

Now that the Noblins have retreated back to Texas, when asked how they would want the UCU community to remember them, Margaret said as “people who always point students to Jesus.” She said for them, they choose to say “yes to God.” 

“Mark and I choose to submit to Jesus, which comes with biblical freedom and a Christian worldview,” she said. “Our desire is that Kingdom View will forever be a light on the hill for Jesus.”