Keith and I had the privilege of meeting Ben and Christi Byerly this past July when they were in Columbia visiting our church from Kenya. Christi works closely with the school named Pistis which means “faith” in Greek. She shared with us her heart for the children in Nairobi and the education they are receiving as part of what our children give through Crossing Kids. You can read more about our desire to teach kids about giving on Sunday morning from Rachel’s blog last week.
Crossing Kids began a partnership in 2007 with Pistis School to help educate the children of students working on ministry and theology degrees at NEGST Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya. Our goal with this partnership is to also help children in Crossing Kids gain a heart for the world and learn that their giving and serving can be a part of what God is doing in the world. Over the years, we have helped Pistis with many different needs including the purchase of a photocopier, books for their library, school supplies, and money to create a better learning environment for the children. We have also sent hand written letters, book bags and fleece blankets that were made with love at one of our family events.
Below is a brief overview describing the school. We will have hard copies of this available in the Crossing Kids area starting this Sunday. We would love for you to have conversations with your children at home and pray for what God is doing at Pistis School. I’ll post more updates from Kenya in the coming weeks.
Pistis (Faith) Christian School
Pistis Christian School is for children of parents attending Africa International University/Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. Many of the families are living on tiny student stipends. Some are studying at the seminary with no extra money for food or their children’s tuition. In addition, Pistis offers education to 9 needy children who do not pay fees. This is considered a tithe given by the school.
The seven teachers employed by Pistis receive their salaries exclusively from school fees, which are paid monthly. One huge answer to prayer is that all teacher salaries have been paid on time for almost 2 years running.
Mrs. Jedidah Njuguna is the head teacher. She has been working at Pistis since 1985. She is supported by the school board, which is elected by parents. When there is a budget shortfall, which is nearly every month, Mrs. Njuguna does not take a salary. In addition to Mrs. Njuguna, the school employs seven other teachers.
School Board Function
Christi Byerly, an American, is the chair of the school board. Her three children attend Pistis. She holds monthly meetings with the board, which includes teachers and parents, to ascertain the urgent needs of the school and to develop future direction and strategy.
The policy is that school fees must cover the basic operating costs of the school (such as salaries and rent), to avoid dependency. Christi loves to fund-raise for special projects, such as the school library, the photocopier, new classrooms, and upgrades to the facilities, supplies and curriculum.
Each term, the number of students, and their demographics, changes. Usually, there are between 65-75 students from a range of countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Sudan, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, United States, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Liberia, and Benin.
Each year, the school costs about $25,000 to run. This money is raised through school fees, which range annually from about $200 for the pre-school to about $800 for the Accelerated Christian Education program in elementary and high school. The teachers are paid about $100 a month.