African Spirit and Unity

A Letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

March 2020

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Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from Rwanda. God has blessed me with so many opportunities. Every month I receive requests from students and former students to visit their churches. As I am preparing to be gone for a few months, the requests have increased. This month I was out twice in two entirely different settings, but both had wonderful similarities. Both were interdenominational, international and to students’ home areas. At the beginning of the month, I went to a former student’s parish in the north. Ernest is Methodist, so this was an interdenominational call from the outset, as I took several of Ernest’s friend with me to see where he is now assigned as a pastoral intern. Our delegation of Presbyterians, Anglicans and Pentecostals from Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and the U.S. made the four-hour trek and were warmly welcomed when we arrived. Since this is his home area, Ernest’s mother, several brothers and a sister were present to welcome us, along with his supervising pastor. Worship across Rwanda is much the same, regardless of the denomination, so we felt at home as we sang and danced and heard the Word of God. I was blessed to be given the task of sharing the Word. After, we shared a meal with conversation and laughter. We felt the strong bond of Christ that binds us together across all differences.

This past weekend we took a longer trip to the extreme east. We left Butare late Saturday afternoon, spent the night in Kigali, three hours from Butare, and left again at 5 a.m. for a 9 a.m. service. My student Alphonse wanted me to visit the chapel he had served before coming to study theology. It had been closed by the government two years ago, as not meeting government standards of safety. I had helped them put a roof in place, and they wanted to thank me. Since the building is not yet finished, we had to worship at a neighboring chapel of the parish. He wanted some of his friends to experience the church, so again we were a cross-section of Presbyterians, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Rwandans, a Burundian and an American. Because of the distance from PIASS, Alphonse had not been home in over six months, so this was a homecoming. His parents, brothers and sister were there to greet him and us, as was his former congregation. The worship was lively and spirit-filled. After a wonderful meal and fellowship, we went to the chapel he had served to see the building. A small congregation was waiting for us, singing as we arrived. They were taking a risk since the chapel has not yet been opened by the government, but they wanted us to see the progress. They had prepared gifts for Alphonse and me, to thank us. They escorted us in and out with singing. They understood that we only had a short time since we faced a seven-hour trip to get home. That did not stop the warmth and generosity of spirit that greeted us.

This is part of the building of unity that is happening in the body of Christ here, and it is contagious. My hope is to bring some of this spirit of unity back with me to share with all of you as I visit in your congregations and with you individually over the three months I will be in the States for my Interpretation Assignment (IA). I ask that you pray for the final preparations for the trip and for my small congregation here as they prepare to carry on ministry without their pastor. Looking forward to seeing many of you in April, May and June.

Blessings,

Kay (Cathie to the family)


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