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Overcoming Challenges

A letter from Kay Day serving in Rwanda

November 2016

Write to Kay Day

Individuals: Give to E200502 for Kay Day’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507524 for Kay Day’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from Butare. This is the beginning of my second month back in Rwanda and we are in full swing in the new academic year. The classes are progressing well, but there were a few surprises when I returned. The faculty council made the decision to combine all the first-year English students into one class instead of three different classes. This meant that I would be teaching all the students at one time—all 240 of them! This presented two challenges. The first was the classroom. The only one available was the old lecture hall, which is long and narrow, and the sidewalls are mostly windows or doors. The students who sit in the back are too far away from the screen to see the slides clearly. In addition, the room is only designed to hold 200. We could crowd more chairs in, but that would make seeing the screen even more difficult. The other challenge was making speaking exercises available to such a large number of students. Most English learning classes are considered too large if they have over 75 students because of reduced opportunities for participation.

But challenges are meant to be overcome.

Large class preparing for small group work

Large class preparing for small group work

Brainstorming with one of my Rwandan colleagues provided the solution to the configuration of the room. We found two white boards to place in front of two windows in the middle of the long side of the room with no doors. This provided a screen for the projector. My colleague loaned me a large-screen projector that made the projection much larger and more easily seen. Then we turned the chairs a quarter turn, to the “new” front, reconfiguring the layout of the classroom. This made it possible to bring everyone closer to the front and better able to see. My colleague also loaned me his portable microphone system so everyone could hear more easily, and I didn’t have to shout to be heard. With this assistance from him, I was able to see my way clear to teach while being heard and seen by everyone in the class, and I am grateful for the spirit of innovation and cooperation that we have as colleagues.

Amy teaching about prepositions

Amy teaching about prepositions

The participation challenge was partially solved with the presence of a young volunteer, Amy, from the Lutheran Church, who is here to teach English with me this year. By restructuring some of the lessons, we are both able to circulate among the students as they work in small groups. In addition, the room configuration makes oral participation easier, since everyone is closer to the front of the room. The students have adapted quickly to this new configuration of the classroom, and they seem eager to participate and to learn.

Flexibility is a key to successful ministry, especially in mission work. Just a few days before the class was to begin, the chair of the Education Department asked me if it would be possible to add another first-year English class one day a week. This meant that about 60 of the students who were to be in the weekend class would be in that class instead, reducing the number of weekend students. I quickly agreed. This solved the overcrowding problem and some of the class participation challenge. I was delighted to teach another section. It benefited everyone. So Amy and I are sharing the teaching of these two classes. We are grateful for some creative thinking and some last-minute changes in scheduling that have made all of this work well.

Thank you for your prayers that have enabled us to work through these challenges in good spirits. Thank you, too, for your financial support. Without that I could not be here. As it comes near to the end of the year, many of you are planning for year-end giving and for 2017 budgets. I ask that you please include me as your mission co-worker, serving together with you in Rwanda. My position here is not fully funded, despite the support that many of you gave during the time I was in the States with you. About 50 percent of my support is still sought on an annual basis. I humbly ask that you prayerfully consider continuing or increasing your contributions, if possible, and please encourage others to join you. Amy and I are the only native English speakers here at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences in a country that has only used English as its international language for the past six years. There is a great need for teaching both written and spoken English as we continue to train pastors and community leaders in Rwanda. You can make the difference with your support.

Thank you,

Kay (Cathie to the family)

Please read this important message from Tony De La Rosa, Interim Executive Director, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:1b-2, NRSV)

Dear Friend of the Presbyterian Mission Agency:

Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support of Kay Day this year, and any previous year. We hear from our mission co-workers how much your prayerful financial support has meant to them. Please know that you are a vital part of ministries throughout Rwanda.

Even as I thank you, I want to let you know that this is a critical time for our congregations and all people of faith to commit themselves to support mission co-workers like Kay. Our global church partners greatly value her service, and you well know how important this ministry is in building connections between the body of Christ in the U.S. and Rwanda.

We have historically relied on endowment interest and the general offering from congregations to sustain the vital work of all of our mission workers. Those sources of funding have greatly diminished. It is only through the gifts of individuals and congregations that we are able to keep Kay doing the life-giving work God called her to do. A year ago, in May 2015, we had to recall some mission workers due to a lack of funding. World Mission communicated the challenge to you, and you responded decisively and generously. Through your response, we heard the Spirit remind us, “Fear not!”

Today, I’m asking you to consider an additional gift for this year, and to increase the gift you may consider for 2017. Sending and support costs include not only salary but also health insurance and retirement contributions, orientation, language training, housing, travel to the country of service, children’s education, emergency evacuation costs, and visa/passport costs.

My heartfelt thanks for your prayers and support of our Presbyterian mission co-workers. In the coming season, we will celebrate God’s sending of the Christ child, the source of the good news we share. May you experience anew the hope, peace, joy, and love that are ours because “perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18).

Thank you for saying “yes” to love.

With you in Christ,

Tony De La Rosa
Interim Executive Director, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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