The family I love at home who survived the genocide, hid in a church for a week. They were fortunate and survived. As I stood inside the still bloodstained walls of Nyamata Church, I was overwhelmed with the horror of it. I realized how miraculous it was that my friends survived to become a part of my family today. I stood there and all I could think about was my family at home. I began to cry, because when you see piles upon piles of blood stained clothes, and an entire section of the church filled with only children’s and babies’ clothing, tears must come. And for me they came in near sobs.
A woman dressed in a traditional brightly colored Rwandan dress came to me. She was a genocide survivor from Nyamata. She put her arm around me and talked for a long time to me in Kinyarwanda. Annette translated and she was telling me how strong I was to be there. That God gives us a future. I shared with her that my family at home also hid in a church but God saved them. She hugged me longer while I cried.
Later, we walked down into the cellar of the church where the bones of those who were killed are tidily stored on separate shelves by body part. How is it possible that I was seeing such a thing? How is it possible that such a thing exists? How can such evil exist beside the goodness I just experienced from the lovely woman upstairs?
After a time of silence and solitary prayer, the four women in our travel group stood together, holding hands and praying. Soon the Rwandan woman came into our circle and held hands with us. I prayed we would love each other better. I prayed we would experience the power of God’s grace and healing. I said to God, “What do you want from me as a result of me being here in this place? Tell me Jesus and I will do it. Show me where to go, what to say, what to write. I will do what you ask.”
I don’t understand the side-by-side ability of good and evil. I kind of hope I never do. I want to see the goodness of God in the world. I want to let God chase out the darkness. I want to keep my eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2
As we stood inside the church, our translator Annette, a young twenty-eight year old beautiful woman said to us, “Tell the world what you saw here today. Tell them never forget. Tell them there is hope and unity now in Rwanda. God is here and He is blessing the people of Rwanda. Tell them not to think Rwanda is only about genocide.”
This morning I read these words from the Bible.
“I will listen to what God will say; surely the Lord will declare peace to His people, His Godly ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways.” Psalm 85:8
“Teach me Your way, Lord, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name. I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor Your name forever, For Your faithful love for me is great. Psalm 86:11-13
Horrific things happened at Nyamata Church in 1994. Things my mind wants to turn away from. Let’s remember what happened here, and go forward in hope that our God is a good God. That his pain over what happened here is greater than anything we can comprehend.
Let’s remember 1994 through the filter of hope. “Rest in God alone my soul, for my hope comes from you. You alone are my rock and my salvation. My stronghold. I will not be shaken.” Psalm 6:5-6
I live each day through the promise of these words. Please join me.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work in us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
Friends on a Thousand Hills - Rwanda Part 11