Mission Spotlight: Racefield School in Kenya

DSC03667The Crossing and Crossing Kids have partnered with Racefield School since 2006 when members of The Crossing living in Kenya began visiting and sharing resources with their ministry. Racefield School serves children in the Mwingi area of Kenya that are preschool through 8th grade.

These children come from an area of Kenya where cyclic drought routinely leads to hunger and deep poverty putting children’s lives much less their education at great risk. When we first partnered with Sammy and Felistus who run Racefield School, they had left prosperous jobs and a comfortable life in the capitol, Nairobi, to return to their home area to start the school. They were living in very humble circumstances and sacrificing to meet the needs of these children. We were introduced to them by other Kenyans who had observed their sacrifice. They were an example of faithful Kenyan living sacrificially to meet the needs of their communities. These friends just wanted us to see what God was doing through their lives and witness. They didn’t even ask for money or resources. They just shared their story.

The students were getting an education simply because Sammy and Felistus had started this school. Otherwise, none of their families had the resources to send them for schooling. They were amazingly grateful for the chance to study. Many of the kids were wearing worn out uniforms. The school had no electricity so they were studying by kerosene lanterns in the evening. Many of them didn’t have shoes and were sleeping on the floor in the classrooms. Students in Kenya sometimes live on the grounds of their school because it is unsafe for them to walk the many kilometers to and from their homes in the dark. But, often families do not have the resources to pay for their kids education, uniforms, text books, much less additional fees for room and board. Racefield School was allowing the students to live in the school during the week without charging them. Again, the students were so grateful for the chance to study. Many of the older boys would help provide overnight security and all the kids had chores to help keep the school running. The school itself was under construction in the early days. It was being built of sun dried bricks made from locally dug clay. The students helped to form these bricks and joined men from the community to help build the school. There weren’t even any doors or window panes only openings where those would one day go. And the kids carried water from a muddy hole in the dry river bed nearby to supply the school for drinking, cooking and bathing purposes. And still, they were grateful for a chance to study.

DSC03659These conditions were especially difficult on the 8th graders who were preparing for their nationally standardized tests. These tests are much like the ACT and SAT in the US. Their results determine whether a student gets access to more education. Good test results allow students to go on to government approved high schools. Otherwise, their education ends at 8th grade. Despite facing such difficult odds, the students of Racefield School continue to set a high bar for education by consistently scoring in the top 3 of their entire region on their 8th grade tests. This photo shows the school in the early days.

Over the past 10 years The Crossing and Crossing Kids have helped Racefield grow their ministry and sustainability in many ways:

  • We’ve provided food relief in the form of rice, beans and other grains during seasons when the drought was especially bad and famine was threatening the school.
  • We’ve installed drip irrigation for the school to grow their own vegetables. They also sell vegetables in the nearby market to help pay for text books.
  • We’ve provided a milk cow to enrich the nutrition of the children. The cow delivered a calf that was sold to provide food staples for the children.
  • We’ve provided hens to give eggs that increase the protein in the children’s diets.
  • We’ve helped to build dormitories so the kids have safe and secure living quarters during the school term.
  • We’ve helped to install and upgrade solar panels so the kids can study and have extra tutoring in the evenings, especially the 8th grade kids.

Here are some photos of the hens and drip irrigation as well as other improvements. You can see the school has been painted and now has windows and doors. The kids also enjoy celebrating good test results.

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Recently, we helped Racefield refurbish and expand their solar system and batteries. Here is a note and photos they sent.

Dear Crossings,

We glorify God so much for his continued blessings this year. We also thank God so much for you for all the support you have been giving to this work of God. 2015 good news! We took the lead academically in our district out of 88 schools. We performed so well than ever before, our highest candidate scored 404 marks and the lowest scored 301 marks out of 500 marks and attained a miniscore of 360.72.  This was very good and we have glorified God for the wonderful results. And all our supporters May God really bless you, it’s through your prayers and financial support we have managed these excellent results. Despite the challenges of lights our teachers put extra efforts and God has really blessed their efforts. We thank you so much for all the support. We have sent you several photos of the school and pupils celebrating good results just for you to see the work you have been supporting, you have made the school grow from one level to another and we continue promising you of our faithfulness in this work that the name of the Lord will continue being gloried. We will keep on updating you.

Love & prayers.

Sammy & Felistus

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Prayer requests:

  • The rains are scheduled to start in March. These rains must come in the right amount at the right time to keep the crops from failing. Pray that the El Nino effects on weather will not cause loss of life again as they did at the end of 2015.
  • Pray for the students, teachers and staff at Racefield. The school year runs with the calendar year in Kenya so everyone is in new classes as of Jan 2016. Pray for those who have gone off to high school and are at much distance from their families and community. Pray for those who are 8th graders and even this early in the year are facing the stress of preparing for their national tests.
  • Pray for God grace and wisdom for Sammy and Felistus as they lead the school and decide how to spend limited resources.
  • Pray for God to bring other partners to the school. A few years ago other donors were able to help dig a deep well so the school has more secure water supply. There are still many needs for books, curriculum support, food staples, protein, medical care. The list is long. Pray for God’s provision in all things.
  • Pray for all those at Racefield to grow in grace. For God to draw their hearts to him and pour out the gospel into their lives that they might walk in faith.

Source:
Letters and photos from Racefield

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