Sitting under the square hole in the mud wall, a window without glass or screen, I prop my voice recorder on the meager table and begin asking questions. I’m unprepared to hear the answers. How does one describe the horror of seeing their entire family mutilated and then go on to forgive their perpetrators?
Young Rwandans take turns on the couch across from me. Sit next to an interpreter and describe being orphaned, captured, beaten, raped, pillaged and wandering during the 1994 genocide. Then they share the redemption, how living in Hope Village changes their lives.
A five year effort fund raising for this child-headed village of 80 children brought me here. I can’t swallow their suffering stuck in my throat. I barely hold the recorder steady for the trembling emotion ready to tumble out.
I’ve never known this kind of suffering. Their stories cast light on the shadows of my own experience. Yet how do I feel more at home with my Rwandan friends than those in my own seaside southern community?
Please join me at Thorns and Gold to finish the story. I’m Tanya Marlow’s guest today on her series God and Suffering: Our Story and would be honored to see you there in the comments. I have a board on Pinterest called I live in England, in my heart and she’s one of the reasons I do.
Good Morning Shelly…Thank you for introducing me to Tanya Marlow!
Your post was thought-provoking, as usual. It is just astounding what God is doing in Rwanda! That they are finding forgiveness in their hearts toward those who committed such atrocities against their people. I have a book called ‘Left to Tell’ by Emaculee Iliabagiza—the amazing story of her 4-month hiding out in a tiny backroom bathroom with 11 other women, in her pastor’s house, until their harrowing escape to a safe camp. She now raises awareness and seeks support for orphans still in Rwanda.
When we think of their horrible experience, our problems seem to pale in comparison, and yet our troubles and sufferings are just as real to us as theirs are to them. And yet, in it all, God is always good and God always loves us. That never changes. And He redeems all things. Even the most horrendous. Forgiveness is the only way to full healing and freedom.
I read that book too Jillie and loved it. It changed the way I think about so many things now. And the country of Rwanda is making huge strides in the past couple of years. Every time I go back much has changed and people are finding healing and hope as time puts distance between the genocide and their future. Whenever I go through something difficult now, I often compare it to my friends who have overcome so much and it give me perspective. Thanks for coming back here to comment, appreciate you.
What a beautiful reflection on those who have suffered such sorrows of genocide. While serving in missions in Nicaragua, I often heard of similar horrors depending on who was in rule over the nation. The realities of the poverty and hardships like starvation and lack of medical care gave me an awakening to the disparities between lives depending upon where the person happened to be born. My relationship to God regarding thankfulness and prayer has taken a new turn. I can no longer live life as if I have not personally seen the spiritual, emotional and physical poverty, suffering and emptiness in the human soul.