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July Prayer Letter, Update from Rwanda

A Letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

July 2020

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Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from Rwanda. Even with all that has happened in the world in the last month, I am doing what I believe God is calling me to do, and that is to continue to function in the role to which he has called me here in Rwanda and trust the rest of his creation to his care.

I have been called to teach and that is what I am doing—in an entirely new format, as are many other teachers around the world. For the first time in more than 30 years, I am teaching without being able to see my students’ faces, to judge their understanding of the material by their expressions or body language, or to be able to easily interact with them. Schools here are closed until September, and we are teaching online. The Higher Education Council of Rwanda has presented a wonderful platform called Moodle for this, that offers a Zoom-like feature to create a virtual classroom. The platform includes easy methods for teachers to share resources, for students to submit assignments and get feedback, and for teachers to track and record attendance and grades.

The new way to conduct class.

The problem is that for the students to access this platform, they must have a computer, internet access and a steady supply of electricity. Only about a third of our students have all of these essentials. That means that we, of necessity, must “jury-rig” a system that works. We are a resourceful group and have come up with a modified system. It is not ideal, but it works. We are using Moodle for sharing resources and collecting and marking assignments. Those students who do not have access to Moodle are sending their assignments to fellow students who do, and their classmates submit their assignments for them. The actual “teaching” is taking place on WhatsApp, since most students have smartphones and are able to access the internet for short periods of time. I send my lecture PowerPoints via WhatsApp along with a recorded introduction. The students read the notes and then type their questions via text messages, to which I respond. They can respond too, for a short discussion. This is challenging with complex topics like the doctrine of sin or the free will of humans within the providence of God, but it provides the opportunity to give clear, concise explanations and opens the way for further questions. It is working. There are still a few students who have no way of accessing the class and I grieve for that, but they will be able to do a face-to-face type makeup in September when classes are to resume. We are trying to be faithful to do what God has called us to do in the face of challenges, to not lose sight of the reality that God still calls us to be faithful in the midst of difficulties.

My prayer is that you are able to do the same in the midst of the chaos and confusion of life at present. These are challenging times for so many reasons, and our systems and institutions are being tested to respond to “new norms.” I pray we are all faithful to the God of all creation.

Thank you for your continued support. I could not be here without you. You are partnering with me in difficult times. I praise God for you.

Yours in Christ,

Kay (Cathie to the family)

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