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A letter from Kay Day in Rwanda

Summer, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

July greetings from Rwanda. In one respect, it is hard to believe that I have been here three months already and in another, not so, when I see how God is moving and how he has enabled me to join in the life of the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS). I praise him that I got a glimpse of that this Sunday.

The English service of the local congregation here had begun only a month before I arrived. Prior to that it had been in French. Since English has only been the international language of Rwanda since 2008, this was a big step for this little congregation that is made up of PIASS students and faculty and a few community folks who work with local NGOs (nongovernment organizations). This was the first attempt for the worship leaders, mostly students, to lead a service in English. It was a valiant attempt, if not always smooth. The pastor of this small congregation of about 60, Pastor Juvenal, is the Dean of Students at PIASS and one of the regular worshippers, Pastor Celestin, is the Secretary of the Faculty, like an academic dean. They are both my colleagues and are becoming my friends. They asked if I would be willing to work with the students to help them become more comfortable in leading in English. I assured them I would be. Pastor Celestin made it easy for me when he assigned me to teach Preaching and Liturgy to the first- and second-year students. Over the last six weeks in class the students have learned to understand my American English and my “funny” accent. Together we have worked on skills in reading the Scriptures in English, on the content and flow of a worship service, on the selection of music, and on various types of sermons. We have practiced sermon delivery and worship leadership. They are overcoming their fear of speaking in English. We have talked about a “blended worship service,” not in the American sense of traditional and contemporary, but in the language and cultures of Rwanda and English. The school term is about to end and I was feeling as if I were just beginning to communicate with them. On Sunday they proved me wrong.

One of my students led worship and another preached. Pastor Juvenal and I assisted with the elements that the ordained clergy are to do. I rejoiced as we worshiped. The service flowed smoothly. The preaching was clear and strong. Both students demonstrated comfort in speaking English. The worship leader was comfortable enough to embrace the multinational dimension of the congregation by inviting us to sing “We Are Marching in the Light of God” in the language in which we were most comfortable. Pastor Juvenal passed the microphone around as he called out languages and invited various people to lead the singing—in English, Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili, Korean and even Chichewa (for me). The Spirit was moving. My participation was to dedicate to the Lord a newborn of one of the third-year students. Innocent is 2 weeks old. Her parents wanted her to become a part of the family of faith. What a joy to be a part of that faith community in this way. What a blessing to see my students taking leadership and doing it with confidence and joy.

Thank you for partnering with me. You are a part of all of this because you enable me to be here with your prayer support and with your financial support. Thank you. I covet your prayers for the end of the term as the students take exams. To do so in English is still a struggle for many of them and they are fearful that their lack of the language will affect their ability to communicate the depth of their learning. Please pray for me as I work during the term break to learn more Kinyarwanda and to prepare for next term’s teaching. I pray that your summer will give you a time of refreshing and a time to draw closer to Jesus, that you will find Spirit-filled worship as we experienced this Sunday in Butare.

God bless you,
Kay (Cathie to the family)

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, Rwanda, p  102
Read more about Kay Day
Blog: Day's Diary

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