A letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda
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Dear family and friends,
Peter writes, “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.” (1 Peter 4:9, New Living Translation) Such hospitality is a cornerstone of our Christian faith, regardless of our country of origin. That has been my experience this summer as I have been in the States and have been the recipient of gracious hospitality everywhere I have gone. I am so grateful for all those who have hosted me, from Pennsylvania to Texas and in between.
This last week I witnessed that hospitality taken to the extreme. My good friends Barb and Jack have been hosting me half of the time I have been in Pittsburgh. They have a wonderful, large six-bedroom house in which they love to entertain and extend hospitality. They believe God has given it to them to share it with others. Barb explained early in the summer that they would also be hosting a couple with Wycliff Bible Translators. The wife’s mother had died in the spring and the family was having the memorial service and burial in Pittsburgh, since they were originally from this area. Ray and Dee would come early, and their children would join them for the weekend services. Then I was scheduled for oral surgery Thursday of that week. I arranged for a friend to escort me, but Barb was emphatic that I should stay with them, even though it was also the beginning of school for Barb, a first-grade teacher, and for their son Jonathan, who was beginning graduate school. All was set for a full and busy house.
Then, early Wednesday morning Jack’s 93-year-old father died in his sleep. That added a deeper layer of activity to the household. Arrangements for the visitation and burial for Jack’s father were set for Friday and Saturday, the same days as Dee’s mother’s services. Again, Barb and Jack were emphatic that nothing should change in hosting arrangements. I had been made a part of Jack’s family for over 20 years, so I was just included with the family. Jack and Barb’s two daughters flew in from Texas. We had 11 people staying at the house and other family members coming and going as preparations were made for two services for two families. A meal at the house was prepared for Jack’s family between afternoon and evening visitations on Friday. Meals after the two services were held at different venues, but Jack’s family came to the house on Saturday evening for a final meal together. Dee’s family came and went freely among Jack’s family, all welcome to share in meals and socializing. It was a blessing to witness and to be a part of the flow of Christian hospitality as friends and neighbors came and went to help with serving, as two grieving families melded together to comfort and serve one another, as God’s grace surrounded and sustained both families. I was blessed to witness this tremendous outpouring of Christian hospitality in action and to know that it was a lifestyle of sharing, not just a onetime act of caring. This is how Christ calls us to live in community.
Just three weeks remain until I return to Rwanda for another two years. Please pray for the many details that go into the preparations to return. During these three weeks, I hope to see many of you to say thanks and farewell. I will be taking back with me the joyful memories of your gracious hospitality to me as we have worshiped and shared together. Thank you for all the hospitality you have extended to me.
Yours in Christ,
Kay (Cathie to the family)
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Tags: community, death, grace, grieving, hospitality
Tags: Kay Day
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