The Stuff of Life

A Letter from Kay Day, serving in Rwanda

January 2019

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Dear friends and family,

Happy New Year from Rwanda. As 2018 ends and 2019 begins, it is a time for reflection and appreciation — reflection on all that has happened in the last year and on the hopes for the new, and appreciation for all that God has done and is doing.

Ministry in 2018 was full ranged, from teaching and marking papers to preaching sermons and doing weddings and funerals — the stuff of life. It is a blessing to be able to walk with people through the events of life, to share in joys and to carry the sorrows together. God allowed me to be with students as they refined and then defended their final papers and completed the requirements for graduation. There were 29 theology students this year, and that presented a great deal of editing for me. I even corrected papers while I was traveling in the States from July to September, then sat on 19 defense panels for these dissertations. As soon as those were finished, I began teaching new students — 204 in one English class. Giving them all opportunities to speak and write in another language, for many of them, their fourth language, was a challenge. The grading took much more time than the teaching. But the large group proved to be the brightest group I have had so far, an encouragement that the “new” language of English is taking root in the education system here.

The congregation at the Christmas service — eleven countries were represented.

In 2018, I was blessed to preach, not only in our International English Chapel, but also in 10 different churches in Rwanda and 12 in the States. I also spoke at another 26 churches and other events in the States in the three months I was there. In Rwanda, I participated in eight weddings of my students and hosted international dinners for more than 30 people after Easter and Christmas services.

But ministry is not all joy. I also preached at two funerals, each hard in its own way. One was for a still-born infant of a student whose marriage I blessed in 2017. The young couple was heartbroken, but God, in his grace, has blessed them with another pregnancy, and we are praying for God’s blessing for them in 2019. The other funeral was just two days before Christmas. Angelique, the wife of my faithful gardener and watchman, Jean Baptiste, was only 31. I had preached at the baptism of their four children on November 4, and just six weeks later, Angelique was gone, suddenly and, as yet, unexplained. As is common in Rwanda, when something like this happens, people want to blame poison or other evil intents. That is not proven, but the reality is that four young children are motherless and one young man is now widowed and the sole parent of those children. My prayers are for the comfort of time and God’s grace for them. I and others who are close to them will be walking with them through this time of grieving in 2019. That is part of the function of the body of Christ.

My appreciation runs deep. God has seen me through all of this and has brought blessings amidst all the joy and the pain. He has brought people to share with me and support me and people for me to share with and support. You are a major part of that support, and I am so grateful for you throughout this year. I look forward to us partnering together in 2019 as well. Thank you for being part of my 2018, and I am grateful I was part of yours. May God bless us and use us to his glory in 2019 as we minister where God calls us.

In Christ,

Kay (Cathie to the family)

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