Stu and Linda Ross
Stu and Linda Ross are The Outreach Foundation’s East African mission staff, based in Kikuyu, Kenya. They have a covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) which covers Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. They also have a relationship with the Eglise Presbyterienne du Rwanda (EPR). Their ministry includes building churches, schools, and orphanages, managing water projects, and training church leaders through these relationships. PCEA ministers have an average of six churches each, and the church is growing at a rate of 10% per year. Both of these factors have left a critical shortage of church leaders and churches in East Africa.
In partnership with these African churches, the Rosses are involved in mission projects ranging from large church building construction to orphanage building to water projects, particularly in Maasai land. U.S. congregations might consider including funding for a large church project as a mission tithe in their capital improvement campaigns. These projects offer a wonderful way to know that you are helping spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ by assisting Christians and adding capacity to their churches and ministry. A large stone church costs about $60,000 to build, in addition to the African congregation’s own contributions.
For small congregations, church buildings serve as churches on Sunday and schools during the week. These small churches seat around 250 to 500 people and can be completed in about a month, with the final work being done by a visiting work team from a U.S. congregation. These churches cost $7,000 to $10,000.
The Rosses work in close collaboration with the PCEA in their education work. Educating children is a centerpiece for the PCEA, and more schools are needed in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Congregations are encouraged to start nursery schools in their church buildings. Stu and Linda come alongside these congregations and build two classrooms at a time. The congregation is responsible for providing the land and building the foundation. Visiting work groups from the U.S. are invited to help complete these classrooms. Churches can also form long-term relationships and build two classrooms every two years until a complete primary school is completed. It costs $7,000-8,000 for two classrooms and $1,000 for furniture including desks.
One of these schools, Kimuka Girls’ School which opened in 2008, currently has 300 girls. In 2012, the first class of girls will graduate, move all over Maasai land, and impact the area. More buildings are needed at Kimuka so that it may accommodate 400 girls. The total spending for the construction at Kimuka over five years is $100,000.
Water is the most precious commodity in East Africa, and it is getting to be a very difficult commodity to find. On average women spend 40% of their waking hours collecting and carrying water to their homes. Women and children are frequently seen carrying 20 liter water cans on their backs. Many children miss school because they have to help collect water. A water borehole is very difficult and expensive to develop. The water table is between 300 to 600 feet. The cost of a borehole is $30,000, but one borehole will supply clean drinking water for a medium size village.
Karai Orphanage and Primary School
Karai Orphanage and Primary School is located not far from Kikuyu, Kenya. In December 2007, the Sugoi children’s home and school was destroyed during fighting following elections. The 140 boys living at Sugoi were moved to Karai to join the 35 children already living there. There are currently 160 resident boys and girls at Karai. The primary school at Karai is one of the best schools in the area and has an enrollment of 312 children. There is also a vocational school at Karai which helps prepare the children for the work force with job skills.
There are many programs in place to help make Karai self-sufficient including vegetable gardens, cows for milk supply, chickens for eggs and meat, pigs for meat and revenues, and a borehole. However, until it is fully self- sufficient, annual scholarships for children in the amount of $150 per child are needed for a total of $22,500 per year.