For One of the Least of These: Update

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Stories

In January we told you a little bit about a girl who had been brought to our school who’d had a very difficult life so far. We are so grateful to the “Lydia’s Ladies” at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis for deciding to sponsor Risper so that she can stay at Heritage Academy and be one of the first residents of our new dorm!

 Here is a recap of Risper’s story: 

Risper A.Risper Anyona is now 14 years old and her story is the story of a survivor.  She was born in 1997, and her mother died when she was very young–she doesn’t even remember her mother.  In 2008, her father also died, leaving her in the care of her stepmother.  To put it politely, this was not a good situation.  Risper had been 10 years old before she was permitted to start school.  She made it through class 4 before her stepmother refused to allow her to continue any longer.  The stepmother continually harassed Risper and made life extremely difficult before she was finally thrown out of the house. 

 She moved from place to place struggling for life.  Thankfully, a well-wisher took her in temporarily.  In January of this year, Heritage Academy opened classes through grade 4, and one of the mothers at Heritage brought Risper to try to get her admitted.  When Risper was given the admission test to determine her grade level, everyone was surprised at her ability.  She was very bright!  Although she had to repeat class 4 to be at Heritage, this seemed like the very best option for Risper.  After the first exam, she was number 1 in the class.  We asked her how she had performed at the government school and she shyly replied, “I was either number 1 or number 2 in the class after every exam.” 

Sadly, after all of this, the neighbor where Risper was living could no longer care for
her and asked her to leave.  The mother who brought her to our school desperately
tried to find one of Risper’s relatives to take her, but seemingly Risper was all alone
with no relatives. 

 We are pleased that we had a place for Risper to live and are able to provide for her daily bread.  Soon a dorm will be finished and she will live with other girls from Heritage under the care of the matron.  Risper is a polite, delightful child.  She is in the Heritage Choir and plays sports with the other children.  When she grows up she would like to be a teacher and then help the needy.  We are so happy to have her in our midst and blessed for the opportunity that we have to help her grow into the likeness of Christ and to dream big dreams for the future! Please continue to pray for Risper and the other girls who will be moving into our dorm! 

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Although school is out, we are staying busy in the village. We continue to feed local children who are hungry, and many of our projects are still moving forward. Janet's posho mill is now installed and working. Posho mills are important in everyday village life - villagers use these mills to grind corn into the food they eat. We are so thankful to be able to provide the posho mill for Janet, who in turn can serve her neighborhood. Work on the apartment building to house our teachers continues, as does construction of mud homes for widows. Our goal is to get most of the outside construction work completed before the rains come.

In the midst of continued progress on our projects, this is still a very difficult time for our children and families and teachers. Many are feeling discouraged and depressed as the future seems so uncertain right now, yet we know we are in God's loving hands and we will get through. We know, too, that we are not alone in our experiences. It is a difficult time for most everyone everywhere. You are all in our hearts and prayers, and we ask for your continued prayers through this time.
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We hope this message finds you and your families well. The world has certainly changed, and we are feeling it in Kenya too. Many of you have asked what is happening here, and we are so thankful for your care and your prayers.

While Kenya so far has only a small number of coronavirus cases compared to other countries and there are no reported cases in our region, the Kenyan government is being proactive and ordered all schools in the country to close. As you know, many of our children get most or all of their meals at our school - so our biggest concern has been ensuring that they still have food to eat. While we are not holding classes for an indefinite period of time, we are continuing to provide meals to our students. We are so grateful to be able to do this, and the children are grateful too! Thank you!

Please know that our hearts are with you all through this shared experience.
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We are preparing Heritage graduates for successful futures!!

Our recent high school graduates just completed a computer class through the Kenya Institute of Management. When asked what they thought about the class, the students said “WOW!” They loved learning computer skills! Nixon, the KIM teacher, presented certificates to the students and a mug to symbolize Heritage Secondary School’s partnership with KIM. He will return to speak to current students about career opportunities. We are so thankful to a VPA donor for making this program possible!
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Cabbage!! We have cabbage!! Our first harvest from the greenhouse and irrigated land. We have plenty of cabbage to feed our 1,000+ students at the elementary and high schools, and we are thankful! ... See MoreSee Less

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