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A letter from Kay Day in Malawi

September 30, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Women in white shirts, headscarves and long black skirts standing and singing with others sitting behind in pews; one woman puts several items on a rug.

Mvano singing and dancing to make contributions to the Hostel project.

Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa is so much more than a catchy phrase or tourist promotion. It is a lifestyle of gracious hospitality. I learn that more each day I’m here. This last month has been humbling, living that reality.

One of the challenges of Chigodi Women’s Center is an incomplete dormitory (here called a hostel), which was funded by an international partner, but the funds were mismanaged, So when I inherited the position of administrator, I inherited the hostel, only two-thirds completed and without finances. By any standard, but especially by Malawian standards, this is a disgrace. The problem was how to finish the job and remove the disgrace. We followed Nehemiah’s pattern (Neh. 1 and 2) and prayed, gathered available resources, carefully mapped a plan, and then went to the people who will live with the rebuilding, asking them to work together for this project. For us these people are the women of Blantyre Synod, who will be trained at the Center in the future, the Mvano (women’s guild). The program director and I set a schedule to visit each of the 18 presbyteries and present the problem and plan to the women of the presbyteries. There are 1,500 women’s groups in the Synod, one in each of the churches and prayer houses. If each one were able to contribute MK4,000 (about $27), we could complete the hostel. For some this is a simple request, but for some in the remote areas it is a large request. We are visiting them to ask them to prayerfully consider joining with us in completing the hostel and rebuilding Chigodi’s reputation.

We are asking for their help. What has been humbling is their response to us. First, they are eager to contribute to the project because of what Chigodi has been to them in the past, and they want to help rebuild it. That is what we were hoping for. But second, they have offered us grace and hospitality beyond measure. It is only politeness that they would offer us something to eat and drink—tea and bread for mid-morning or lunch at midday, but they have gone far beyond that. In most of the meetings congregations have presented us with gifts to show their appreciation for our coming—beautiful pieces of cloth, baskets of tomatoes, bags of cabbages or potatoes or egg plant, sticks of sugarcane. This is in addition to the meals they have prepared for us. We have come asking for money for the Center and they have sent us away with some money and the promise of more, AND with gifts of thanks for coming to include them in the program of Chigodi. That is humbling.

I have seen the example of God’s giving to us in the giving of these women. This is what humbles me. I’m living my favorite benediction, Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

I am humbly living this reality by the example of my Malawian friends. May that be your experience in the circumstances of your life as well.

Yours in Christ’s love,

Kay (Cathie to the family)

The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 59

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