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Reconciliation and Reality

A letter from Kay Day Serving in Rwanda

February 2016

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Dear Family and Friends,

What is involved in reconciliation, pardon and reconstruction? How does that relate to our call as Christians and our struggles within the world?  What role can or does the church play in all of this? These were some of the topics of “Winter School” this past week at PIASS (Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences). It was a “winter break” for 20 students and 4 faculty from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) who came to participate, but a welcoming summer for those hosting the event at PIASS for 20 of our own students and theology faculty along with 4 students and 2 faculty from ULPGL of Goma and Bukavu (DR Congo. I had the privilege of preaching two of the five mornings for devotions. The presentations and discussions were more than academic for the African students who have lived with and through violent conflicts. This was made clear in the presentations the African students and faculty gave. These were powerful testimonies to the reality of reconciliation for individuals and for nations. It was eye-opening for the Geneva students to realize that these young theology students were living out peacebuilding, even as they studied, since they come from different ethnic backgrounds and had very different experiences during the Genocide of 1994. They are all personally committed to reconciliation. Together all the students visited the Murambi Genocide Memorial site, one of the most overwhelming of the memorials, where the skeletal remains of many of the more than 50,000 victims rest in open sight. It gave a new face to the importance of reconciliation, combining academics, theology and reality.

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19).

This was made even more personal for me when, in the middle of the week, I had a visit from 10 of our international students from DR Congo and Burundi. The discussion turned to Winter School and then to the conflict playing out currently in Burundi. Three of the five students from Burundi cannot return home right now because it is unsafe in their regions, with fighting and killings happening outside their homes, friends being killed and families endangered. Each of the international students is studying Peacebuilding here at PIASS. Peace and reconciliation is not academic for them, but the academics gives them a foundation for living productively in their home countries when they return.

The verse from 2 Corinthians is powerfully real to us here at PIASS, through Winter School, in the Peacebuilding program of Development Studies, in the theological training that we give our pastors-to-be. You are a part of the reconciliation that is happening here as you support me. I thank you for that support.  With your ongoing support—prayer and financial—my role in this reconciliation ministry can continue.  If you are not supporting me, I invite you to begin a journey of accompaniment.  You can see how on my webpage.  If you are already supporting me, prayerfully consider increasing that support.  Again, I am grateful for all you do to hold me up in this ministry.

In about two months I will return to the States to share more of these stories with you personally and in more detail. I look forward to that opportunity. In the meantime, I ask for your prayers for the details of preparing for that time with you all, as I finalize a schedule for the traveling and as I complete all my teaching responsibilities at PIASS before I leave. If your church is not on my schedule yet, please feel free to contact me and we will arrange a time to share. In the meantime, I pray that you join in the ministry of reconciliation as God leads you where you are. It is part of our calling. As ambassadors for Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. May we live that reality wherever we are.

Yours in Christ,
Kay (Cathie to the family)

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