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Rafiki Foundation  |  God's Word at Work
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Graves September 2022

Your support is helping amazing things happen here.

Our school has started its third and final term of the first year back from the two-year COVID closure. As I sit here writing this newsletter, the sounds of primary school children practicing hymns, phonics, and math drift in through my open office window. Our RICE Teacher Training Program is finishing its third quarter and will be starting its fourth one in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow, several of our widows groups will be delivering handcrafts to the Village here in Uganda to be sent back to the U.S. and sold both in the Rafiki Exchange in Florida, and online at store.RafikiFoundation.org. Rafiki purchasing hand-crafted items from the widows allows them to support themselves and put their children through school.


Sunrise at Rafiki Uganda

God has richly blessed the school. Enrollment is over 400 students, more than 30% more than before COVID, and we have waiting lists for most grades. The chess club sent a dozen competitors to its first outside tournament and came back with a third place in the under 10 category, a second in the under 16, and a first in the under 18. Our debate team took on St. Mary’s Senior Secondary School and narrowly won a spirited contest on the topic “Should Nationals Be Allowed into Game Parks for Free?” Our homestay reading club read and discussed Pride and Prejudice between Terms 1 and 2 and has just finished a lively discussion of Frankenstein.

Since May, we have had a wealth of short-term missionaries leading and modeling discussion techniques, introducing residents to the joys of birdwatching (more than 30 species identified in one week on our 50 acres and inspiring a new birdwatching club with the aid of binoculars and books generously donated by John and Lindsey Scholl and families at Trinity Classical School in Houston), directing musicals, leading physical education, model teaching, helping organize our libraries, tutoring, and consulting on goat tending, fish farming, rabbit housing, and chicken rearing—not to mention spending time in Bible studies, evening devotions, and long talks with our students and residents.


Short-term missionary talks about producing year-long senior thesis


Kelly Fore talks with students at term 2 recitation

(click on printer friendly version below to see more great pictures of the children)

School is not all. Between January and May we distributed our entire inventory of more than 500 Sunday School Studies to our partner denominations the Church of Uganda and the Presbyterian Church of Uganda as well as other churches as far north as Apac, where we had never distributed Rafiki materials before. Fortunately, we received a container this summer with 500 sets of the Rafiki Acts Sunday School materials and have just sold 60 for distribution to new pastors studying at the Trinity Bible Institute in Kaporchwa. Click on printer friendly version below to see a picture of meeting with Doug McNutt and John Ssali of Trinity Bible Institute about Sunday school studies.

We continue to work with the National Curriculum Development Centre on finalizing adjustments to our school curriculum to finish up the formal approval process. Meanwhile interest in using this outstanding classical Christian education system is exploding, and we have schools visiting us every month to find out more. We provide training with the curriculum and will be hosting ten teachers from a school in Luwero over two weeks in late September.


Kelly Fore delivers Rafiki Curriculum to Headteacher Michael of Legacy Christian Academy

These are just a few of the many ways God is working through Rafiki here in Uganda. But the real fruit of classical Christian education is our students. Let me tell about two of them.

Alex and Deo are resident students in Senior 5. They have grown up with classical education and share an interest in gardening. In January 2023, they will start their final year, so earlier this year they were discussing ways that they could help support themselves while they are at university and beyond. They had learned that passion fruit is a profitable crop. They researched methods of cultivation. Passion fruit grows on vines: Alex and Deo scavenged branches from trimmed trees and used them to support a network of supports made from the strings of worn-out soccer goal nets. Seeds came from passion fruit used in the dining hall kitchen, mulch from grass clippings after mowing. The result is a carefully tended quarter acre of passion fruit that is now helping to supply the kitchen and is a testament to how these young men have applied the thinking skills the Rafiki Education System has nurtured in them.

What’s coming

We have been here 14 months now, and it feels like we have barely gotten started. We are in the middle of developing our RICE degree programs and helping our partner university in its chartering process. Rafiki is also planning a Classical Christian Education Conference in Kampala for October 2023 with distinguished speakers from the U.S. and Africa.

So, we have committed to at least another two years here in the field, if God is willing.

How you can support Rafiki’s mission—and ours!

Your support is what has made this possible. We are planning on being in the U.S. next April. We would like to come visit as many of you as possible and report in person on all that is going on. Please let us know by email if you will be available then. Of course, we would also love the opportunity to talk to others about the mission while we are there.

  • We appreciate your direct support for us. All of our expenses are paid by folks like you and you are truly our partners in this work. By supporting us, you allow Rafiki to use all of its donations for student sponsorships and scholarships and other programs for the people who need it most. You can donate by visiting our missionary page at https://RafikiFoundation.org/missionary/michelle-and-david-graves-252. You can make a one-time or a recurring contribution.
  • Sponsor a Rafiki resident or day student. Go to: https://RafikiFoundation.org/child-pages/child-summary.
  • Support African widows and their families by purchasing a beautiful handcrafted item from our online store at: https://store.RafikiFoundation.org. Remember Christmas is just around the corner!
  • Study the Bible, or start your own Rafiki Bible Study Group using the Rafiki Bible Study. You can view available Books of the Bible at https://www.RafikiBibleStudy.org.
  • Join us in Africa as a short- or long-term missionary! Whatever your skills, background, or age, God can use you here. It will be life-changing and one of the most rewarding things you have ever done. There is also still time to join the next missionary training. Visit https://RafikiFoundation.org/opportunities for current openings and dates for upcoming trainings.

Pray

Lastly, we ask that you continue to pray for our mission here. Please pray:

  • that God will raise the resources we need to continue working in Africa.
  • that God will guide us as we work to spread His word in Uganda, and train the next generation of Africa’s leaders.
  • for the completion of the accreditation process for the Rafiki Education System by the end of the year.
  • for God’s help as we develop degree programs that can be accredited by the National Council of Higher Education that will train local teachers to follow the classical Christian model.
  • for qualified student applicants for our teacher training college.
  • for the success of the Uganda Classical Christian Education Conference, October 5-6, 2023.

Thank you once again for your generous support and your prayers. We hope to see each of you soon.

Please also pray that the Lord will provide more Rafiki Missionaries and more day student sponsors so that we can bring Bible study and classical Christian education to more needy children. Perhaps He is calling you to be the answer to one of those prayers? Visit www.RafikiFoundation.org to learn more.

Please click here for a printer friendly version of this newsletter.