STE Family Plans Mission to Africa


In the summer of 2019, Michelle and David Graves spent a month on a mission trip with the Rafiki Foundation helping at a Christian Classical School and Teachers College in Nairobi, Kenya.

Now God has called them to long term service at Rafiki’s village near Kampala, Uganda.

They are working to be ready to leave on July 1, 2021.

This is the first time in St. Thomas’ history that we have sent members of our congregation into the long-term mission field. We are excited about this opportunity that God has given us to share the gospel and the benefits of classical education not just in Houston but around the world.


David and Michelle invite you to partner with them in bringing Christian classical education to Africa. There are several ways to do this.

  1. PRAYER: Please pray with us for the success of this mission and for living out the gospel in Uganda. If you’d like to join a prayer group that gathers once a month to pray specifically for the Rafiki missions, please email Michelle at
  2. FINANCIAL: If you feel called to do so, financial support is vital to keeping missionaries in the field. A regular monthly pledge is helpful in ensuring that adequate funds are available and can be set to start at whatever time you prefer. You may also make a one-time contribution. You can donate online at You may also mail a check (be sure to reference Graves #252 in the memo line) to Rafiki Foundation, P.O. Box 1988, Eustis, FL 32727. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
  3. SHORT TERM MISSIONS: Rafiki offers outstanding training and opportunities for short term missions of two weeks to three months at one of its villages in Africa. You’ll work hard – and be amazed at the impact your short time there will make. Many people combine a mission trip with a safari at the beginning or end. For more information, talk to Michelle or David.


The Rafiki Foundation exists to help Africans know God and to train Africans to transform Africa for Christ. Founded in 1985 by Rosemary Jensen, Rafiki operates 10 villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The villages provide living and educational facilities that support an orphanage, a daily Bible study program, a PreK-12 classical Christian school, the Rafiki Institute of Classical Education (RICE), and a widow’s training program.

The villages are constructed on 26-73 acres of donated land, containing residential cottages, school buildings, playing fields, and vegetable gardens. An African Rafiki Mother lives in a cottage with up to 10 orphan children, with as many as 100 children in each village. These children, together with day students from the surrounding area, receive an excellent PreK-12th grade education from African Christian teachers using a Christian classical curriculum written by Rafiki and specifically developed for use in Africa.

In addition, the Rafiki Institute of Classical Education trains African high school graduates to become excellent, godly teachers using the Christian classical curriculum. Providing a good Christian education is the best way to effect long lasting change to address the physical and spiritual needs of Africa — Rafiki’s goal is to train enough teachers to start 1,000 Christian classical schools in the next 10 years.

In Uganda, Michelle will be the Dean of RICE, the teacher’s college. She will be responsible for the three-year training program and co-ordinating accreditation with the government and associated universities.

David will be the Village Administrator in overall charge of all the programs at the village as well as finances and relationships with partner churches, other non-governmental organizations, and the local and national government.

Rafiki is a missionary organization. They raise money to provide for the orphans at the villages (including college tuition for high school graduates), to subsidize most of the tuition paid by day students, to pay national staff, to maintain the physical plant, and to pay all of Rafiki’s administrative costs.

Missionaries (including David and Michelle) are responsible for raising support to cover the cost of sending them into the field – this way all of the funds raised by Rafiki itself go directly to support the orphans and students.