The country of Rwanda is a small nation located in East Africa. A beautiful nation, known as “The land of a thousand hills” experienced a very dark moment in 1994. In April of that year, a very tragic genocide began which lasted roughly 4 months and resulted in more than 1 million deaths.
Now in 2012 as I prepare for my sixth trip to Rwanda, I’ve seen and heard firsthand how people have found healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
On my first visit to Rwanda I visited a prison and was amazed at what I saw as I was escorted inside. At the front of the prison courtyard was platform were two bands were leading their fellow inmates in singing songs to Jesus Christ. It was inspiring to see the incredible joy on the faces of these men as a result of following Jesus. I couldn’t help but wonder about their role in the genocide, but that only served to increase my amazement at the depth, power, love and mercy of Jesus Christ, who offers all people everywhere the opportunity to find peace with God. It reminded me of my favorite words from Jesus, “All those who come to me, I will never drive away.” And, through Jesus, people in Rwanda are not only experiencing reconciliation with God, but in many cases reconciliation with one another.
The prison visit was amazing, but there is one person I met my first time in Rwanda, whom I will never forget. He survived the genocide as a small boy and in an e-mail he sent to me over two years ago, summed up some of his feelings. “…JESUS is my only real shelter and refuge and my relief in this lonely life.” He then shared something else he’s learned over the many years of healing since 1994. “When you dwell on the past you can lose the future, but when you remember the past just as something that happened and left you with a lesson, you can inevitably save the future.”
Jesus said He is “the resurrection and the life”, something that is very evident in the rebuilding of Rwanda. This “new life” was summarized quite eloquently by a Rwandan Pastor who shared the following with me, as I prepared to leave for home at the conclusion of my visit to this country in 2010.
As he stood up, he looked at me and said, “Tell people in America it’s safe to come to Rwanda” Then as he reached his right hand toward the ground he slowly began raising his hand upward, and finished his statement…. “God has reached into the pit, and lifted Rwanda up, and made her a nation of peace.”
This same God who’s at work in Rwanda is the same One who can reach into any nation and any life. with his amazing love and grace.
Taking The Field Ministries