A letter from Kay Day in Malawi
As I am recovering from surgery, upheld by your prayers and encouragement, I have experienced Christ’s presence in powerful ways. In church circles we talk a lot about the body of Christ, but usually we don’t expect to see much evidence of it in our lives — to see the hands and feet of Christ minister in our homes, to see the heart of Christ displayed in the actions of those who greet us, or to feel the warmth and comfort of Christ’s embrace through the arms of those who hold us. Yet, that is what I have experienced in the days since my surgery. The church here in Malawi and in the United States has been the body of Christ in the most tangible ways.
Monday, the day of my surgery, my son Charles and his wife were with me. Later in the day, as I was recovering from the effects of the spinal anesthetic, the senior pastor of the Limbe congregation, the church I am serving as associate pastor and the session clerks came to pray with me. They said the church didn’t want to overwhelm me by coming all at once, but that they were representing the congregation. A bit later, the general secretary of the synod came to pray with me. What overwhelmed me is what began on Tuesday. The church began to come, first the women’s guild, only nine of them representing the group of over 500; then two groups of nine each of elders from the various “zones”; the divisions of the congregation for prayers and small group ministry. Each brought a gift of food — fruit juices, fruit, cookies. When they realized that Alinafe was staying with me all day and that I was served food but she had to go out of the hospital to get hers, they organized people to bring her lunch each day. She is not a member of the church, but she was caring for me on their behalf and their desire was to care for her. Group visitations like this continued the whole time I was in the hospital.
Once at home, the pattern changed. On Sunday, they brought worship to me, first with a group from the English service coming to conduct a miniservice in English and then a group from the Chichewa service to do the same. Worship included singing and an offering. The difference was the offering was given to me — food and money to provide for my needs while at home. The generosity was overwhelming — everything from meat and rice to toothpaste and toilet paper. Each day at least one individual from the congregation comes to see what I might need. Please understand that “Manse 2,” as they call my home, is about seven miles from the church and at present we are experiencing a severe fuel shortage. Many people have abandoned driving until fuel is available again. The last group that came to visit hired a minibus to bring them, since none of them had fuel to drive. Each visit includes praise and prayers as well as their presents of love. I am humbled by their caring and comfort. I am experiencing the functioning body of Christ.
Yesterday, a package arrived that had been sent from the United States weeks before my surgery, containing all sorts of American comfort goodies: chocolate, diet Pepsi, favorite cookies, a portable DVD player for convalescent movie watching and a packet of cards of encouragement from longtime friends. I have received over 60 e-mails from many of you encouraging me and reminding me of your prayers and caring. I know there are church groups that are praying as well as individuals. Thank you for being the body of Christ in this way.
I invite you to praise God with me for this incredible outpouring of God’s grace and care through the hands and feet of his people. Praise God with me for the healing he is doing. I am able to walk a short distance past my gate, with an escort. I am getting stronger each day and am able to work from my home. Pray, please, for continued healing and strength and for the ability to follow the doctor’s instructions completely.
Yours in Christ,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 67