Reasons to Rejoice

A Letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

November 2018

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Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from rainy Rwanda. This is the rainy season, so we should have daily rains but have not had any for almost two weeks. We rejoice in the rains because they mean life here for the farmers especially.

Gady explaining a point.

There are many other reasons to rejoice. In addition to the rainy season, it is “dissertation season,” if you will. This is the time when the students in their final year defend their research papers before a jury of the faculty. This year, 23 defenses have been scheduled for theology students in two weeks, or about two defenses a day. A defense involves the student standing before a panel of three faculty members and giving a summary of their research problem, the method of research and the findings from the research they have done. One of the panel is the student’s advisor who has directed the student in the study. One is the chair, who functions like emcee but also may ask questions, and the last is the examiner, whose job it is to ask probing questions of the student to clarify points and to be certain the student can defend his/her findings. This whole process takes about an hour. Then the faculty committee deliberates and offers a final grade. The student must do well to graduate. This process is nerve-wracking for the students and demands intense preparation for the examiner. I have three papers I am examining, eight for which I am chairing the committee and two for which I was the student supervisor. All of this is done in English, which adds another level of tension for some who are not as comfortable with English.

Gady with his faculty panel — Dr. Faith Lugazia, Dr. Gabriel Akimana and Dr. Viateur Habarurema.

Gady Kubwayesu was the first student to defend his work. Gady has housesat for me and has translated for me when I have preached and during conversations. He is bright and capable but was still nervous about his defense. All eyes were on him as many students came to see how the first one went. I went to support him. His father and sister traveled early in the morning to be present. I was so proud of the excellent job he did. He set a high standard for those who follow him, but true to his nature, he has coached and encouraged other students since he finished his presentation. He has fostered a team spirit in what is usually an independent competition. The process will continue for another week and a half. Please pray that the students will perform to the best of their abilities and that the faculty members will maintain their stamina.

In the States, this is also a season for rejoicing as people prepare for Thanksgiving. My greatest prayer is that in the midst of the pressure of many things to do and many tensions in life, we will all find things for which to be thankful and will rejoice in God’s care and provision. I am deeply grateful for each of you and for your support of the ministry here. Without you, it would be impossible for me to be here. Thank you. You are making a difference in my life and in the lives of my students.

Deepest thanks,

Kay (Cathie to the family)


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