The Reward at the End of the (Muddy) Road

A letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

November 2017

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Dear Friends and Family,

Reformation greetings from Rwanda. As the world celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Protestant Institute of Art and Social Science (PIASS) joined in the commemorations with a symposium on Tuesday, Oct. 31 to mark the anniversary. I presented a paper on the influence of the Reformation on the United States. It has been both an educational and enjoyable exercise, but I think that the greatest preparation that I have had for the celebration was preaching on Reformation¬¬¬ Sunday at a local chapel just outside Huye.

I have taken some challenging and rewarding trips to preach, but this one ranks among the top two or three. The chapel (a kind of satellite worship location) is only about six miles from my home. The challenge was the road and the transportation. My translator and I were traveling on motorcycles. The rains came heavily on Saturday, and, even around my house, there were standing pools of water. It rained again early Sunday morning, just to renew the mud. The dirt road to the chapel is through a low-lying valley that routinely floods. Our first challenge was that the “motos” on which we were riding not slide down the steep mud-slicked hill to the valley. The second was to pass through about 20 yards of two to three inches of water that rested over three to four inches of mud. The trick was to go slowly, but not too slowly to get stuck. A moto makes one much more vulnerable than riding in a car. We only slid once. The third challenge was to climb out of the valley on the muddy incline to the top of the ridge. A moderate speed had to be maintained. We had excellent drivers and succeeded. We then maneuvered across the ridge, dodging pools of water to reach the remote chapel. We stopped twice to confirm directions. Just as we arrived, the rains began again.

Gideon and his wife.

The reward came when we arrived. The chapel is a small, mud-brick building about the size of my living room, with a deteriorating tile roof. The floor is constructed of pieces of bricks left over from the construction of the building. As people arrived, they brought benches with them for seating. When we arrived, there were only five people present. By the time the service began, there were 12, but by the time we finished, there were 35. This is a new congregation of just 53 people that has been meeting together since May. They are led by an evangelist, Gideon, one of my mature students. He and his wife have seven children, three grown. three still in school and the youngest just three years old. They have lived in this remote area since January, gathering and nurturing the congregation. He travels through that valley every week day to come to PIASS to study, to return and apply what he is learning to lead this small group of faithful people, about 15 families who are becoming a community of faith.

The congregation.

I was the first ordained pastor to worship with them. I was deeply touched. The joy of their intergenerational choir of seven set the tone for the worship. I had the privilege of sharing a Reformation message with them and to witness the reality of the transforming power of the gospel in their lives. After worship, we shared a simple meal of bananas and bread. We visitors were given hard boiled eggs, too. Their generosity was overwhelming. The moto ride back through the muddy valley did not seem so arduous after the warm fellowship. The conditions hadn’t changed. My perspective had. I was filled with joy. What a blessed way to spend the 500th Reformation Sunday.

All of this was possible because of you and your faithful support of my ministry through the PC(USA). Thank you. I could not be here were it not for your financial support. You are enabling me to be a part of the training of faithful men and women like Gideon. That is why, as we approach the end of 2017, I ask that you prayerfully consider, if you have not yet given financially, to please do so. If you have given, thank you and please continue. Please share with others what God is doing here, that they might join us. Above all, please continue your prayer support. This sustains me. You are part of this ministry in all your forms of support. Thank you.

Yours in Christ’s love,
Kay (Cathie to the family)


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