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May Prayer Letter, Update from Rwanda

A Letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

May 2020

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Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from Rwanda, as the world continues to wrestle with the fallout of the coronavirus. In Rwanda, this past month has presented challenges and opportunities. April is always an emotional time as the country commemorates the genocide of 1994, but that has been compounded this year with the lockdown of the country that prevented gatherings for remembrance or travel to memorial sites. Our lockdown has been strictly enforced and honored by the people, but that has come at a cost, both emotionally and economically. People have not been able to gather to remember. We are not allowed outside our homes, except to buy essentials for life, and there has been no travel outside our city or village. This has had a great economic impact on people, since most live from the daily income of selling their products in small businesses. With shops and street vendors closed, there has been no income for many. These are the poorest in the country, and they are the most significantly affected.

Beyond gathering together, another element to the Rwandan remembrance is giving aid to the survivors, especially widows and orphans. This is usually in the form of helping with housing, or school fees and the like. This year, however, it has taken a different focus. The government and the churches have combined efforts to provide food for the neediest in the communities, regardless of genocide status. Instead of being given to just survivors, cooking oil, rice and beans have been distributed to all in need. The churches have been at the center of this action. Even though Christians have not been allowed to gather for worship, they have contributed money, and the elders and pastors have purchased the food, then organized distribution according to need. All of this has been done honoring social distancing. Those who gathered, kept their distance and waited patiently to receive what would be life-sustaining supplies. So even in the midst of lockdown, ministry has been happening. The love of Christ has been extended. Commemoration has taken a new direction, uniting people in a new way. God has brought good out of difficulty.

My ministry has taken on new directions as well. I can be in touch with my “scattered” congregation, mostly students who have gone to their homes around the country. While many do not have the home internet connections to support virtual worship, they have some limited service on their phones. I have written spiritual encouragements for them twice a week. These, I have discovered, have been shared beyond our congregation to several others and even internationally. In addition, I have been able to take on some English editing projects that I would not have had time for otherwise, and this past Sunday I preached, via WhatsApp conference call, to a congregation of one of my former students. There were technical challenges, as the call dropped twice, but we reconnected and continued. I even recorded a sermon for use by a congregation in the States, so I was with them virtually. So, just as is happening with all of you, ministry is taking on new forms. God is using us in the midst of, and because of, this pandemic.

The hardest decision for me was to cancel all my plans for a trip to the States this year. Hopefully, in 2021, when churches are open again and travel is safe, I can be with you in person. In the meantime, I thank you for your continued support, financially and spiritually, and as you pray for me, I assure you I am praying for you. I am safe and well and being used by God. I pray that is true for all of you, as well.

Yours in Christ,

Kay (Cathie to the family)

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