Yesterday was incredible! We started the day with an early breakfast, and a small meeting as a team, just to talk about the day and what our expectations were and the attitude we wanted to take so we would be the most effective in our ministry to these wonderful people.
After eating we boarded the van to go to a group home for Rwanda survivors. These are homes that are set up with extended family members who come together to help one another. This particular home had several young adults and teenagers, cousins who lost all of their immediate family and were helped by having this home provided for them and receiving support to be able to function. These kids were all trying to get their education and were helping each other live. There were children and early teens and young adults. 32 People in this house. It’s better than nothing, but it’s no near enough space. They are still facing difficulties like money for education, transportation for education and work, and money for medical bills.
We met with them as a team, and after the formal introductions and a bit of small talk, we ask them to tell us their story, one 23 year old young man stood up and begin to speak. He was very unassuming and humble and maybe a little intimidated. I will tell you now the story he told is hard to imagine, hard to even think about, never the less he actually lived it.
He was about 9 years old when the genocide came into full effect, and he was in his home with his mother and Dad and his two sisters. The soldiers busted down the door, they came to kill the family. According to his account they chased his mother and father around the house with machetes and killed them. They then proceeded to chase down his two sisters and killed them both. They came back and got the young boy, and built a coffin in front of him, and told him we are going to bury you in that coffin alive, in fear of such a tortuous death he ran for his life. He hid in the woods and waited to see if it was safe. They had a practice of burning the wooded areas and all the refugees would run out of hiding, when they thought they would burn to death. That’s what they did that day. So when it started burning he ran out of hiding and continue to run, until he ran into a lady who said she would help him, she told him not to worry, then she started berating him for his race, she threw him on the ground and said you are worth nothing, I know this is graphic but true, she then proceeded to urinate on him as if to say you are lower than human waste. She then had him beaten and cut and he showed us scars on his arms and legs and head where he was cut with a machete. They then pulled this nine year old boy who had just watched his mom and dad and two sisters massacred, stripped him of his clothes and tied him in the crucifixion position to a tree, and beat him, and left him for dead, to make sure he would die they set him on fire, then left. Amazingly the fire burned through the ropes and he was spared, when the ropes burned and ran to safety.
As we set listening to the young man it was hard to believe he was standing there in front of us even able to communicate such an occurrence. Can you imagine what this must have done to the mind of an impressionable nine year old boy.
They were made to feel like trash, lower than trash, like nothing. Like they didn’t matter, they were referred to as cockroaches.
As we listened the Lord prompted me to tell them the story of Joseph and how he was abused betrayed and was completely innocent, and how God had given him a vision, and I related to them that God has a plan and purpose for their lives as well, and they should hold on to that and move forward. We then prayed for those who were still suffering physically and emotionally from things that happened during that time, three of them had been shot and still suffer physically as a result.
Pastor Jackson, a man of faith and an excellent spirit is a great visionary and he and his church provide for this home and 23 others. The Church is alive and Well in Rwanda.
We then proceeded back to our meeting hall and had a great first day of conference. The people are wonderful, and have a true heart for God. We did worship, several of our team shared, and I spoke on the identity of being a child of God. The one thing that this nation struggles with is identity. We declared, you are Christian this is your identity, which transcends the thoughts or limitations that man puts on us.
We had a great time with the team and some pastors that with us to hang out, we had some great bacon cheeseburgers, yep that’s right, right here in Kigali. Things are going well, our team is awesome, let me say people of harvest are just a different breed and really live to serve.
Today we start the pastor’s portion of the conference and we hope to help them with church growth, reaching out and leadership development.