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Ann Riggs Update – March/April

Before I left Kenya for Christmas in the US, the new chair of the Friends Theological College Board’s Development and Fundraising Committee, along with a student, a faculty member and a driver, visited our sugarcane plantation. They took a picture of the cane, a picture that appears on the back of the FTC Christmas card. When they returned, they shook my hand and congratulated me on how lush the sugarcane looked. The student, who had himself participated in the early stages of work, planting the seed-canes and weeding, remarked that he had thought as he planted that the work he was doing at the time was a joke and that a good harvest seemed impossible. He and the other students didn’t yet realize how their efforts displayed their capabilities for building a better future for themselves and their meetings.

Income from the sugar will provide a significant funding stream for the college. Through team-work, our graduates and their churches can fund the ministries of hope within their rural communities where so many Friends in Eastern Africa still live. This realization is priceless.

Any nagging questions we might have had about the importance of FTC students learning income-generation skills to serve the needs of the church in East Africa were finally put to rest at the recent FUM General Board meeting held in Kaimosi earlier this year. One of the clearest requests from the yearly meeting representatives to FUM was for leadership training in implementing income-generation programs. Such training is just the beginning of providing adequate salaries for pastors in our East Africa meetings/churches and the beginning of an adequate African funding stream for theological education throughout the country.

At the same meeting Sammy Akifuma, president of Quaker Men International, was confirmed as the new chair of the Friends Theological College Board of Governors.

FTC has been honored to have Florence Machayo as chairperson and is thankful for her service. Her legacy has begun a new era in the life of the college and its board. Leading the board in raising the money now invested in sugarcane and tea, Machayo opened the door to a more secure and well-grounded future for FTC.

In the US, colleges and universities ordinarily enjoy income from endowments, invested funds that provide needed resources. In Kenya such endowments are rare. It is more common for institutions, including many of those that surround us on the Kaimosi Mission, to have production units or departments. Staff members of these units work directly and indirectly to produce income streams for the institution. We are excited by the possibilities of future growth that the recent formation of a production department opens for us. Akifuma and I hope that in the not-too-distant future ordinary operating expenses of the college may be paid for by African income and the majority of North American gifts may be used as resources for the further enrichment and building up of the institution. This would be preferable to the current, overwhelming dependence on North American Friends for ordinary day to day activities and operations.

Our deepest thanks go to all of you whose prayers and gifts have brought us to this stage of growth and maturation as a mission institution and who continue to sustain us as we grow.