Rwanda is known for one of the worst genocides that took place in the 20th century. This tiny country of a thousand hills, a small land hidden in the centre of the Great Lake region, became a theatre for atrocities and violence. This scars the history and the lives of Rwandans and many ask, ‘where is God?’
“Genocide is like an oil spill, either you die from it or you remain glued to it forever,” says Gael Faye, in Mon Petit Pays. Is there any hope for this country, any possible healing and reconciliation? Can light shine again through this intense darkness?
Gilles and Myriam Bonvallat did experience a sense of darkness living in Rwanda, hearing testimonies from so many Rwandan friends. But they also saw the light gently piercing through.
A light has dawned
“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” Matthew 4:16.
The majority of the population of Rwanda is under 25, so we offered the youth, through camps, the opportunity to discover biblical values through games and experiential teaching. We saw so many lives transformed. The younger generation has a real desire to discover God’s goodness and to trust him, and even to forgive the past. They want to build a new country based on hope and grace. We saw young people realise that God was in Rwanda during the genocide, that even though human madness took over and ruled, God is not finished with Rwanda. He has a project of hope and peace for this beautiful country, and for each person born on this land.
The God of healing
The valley of tears is long (Psalm 84:6). But God is a God of healing and he can extend real reconciliation through people who have firstly experienced reconciliation with him. We have seen God using young people to bring healing and reconciliation in families, in villages, and in churches. Today, Rwandans are beginning to have a vision for mission, for other people groups in Africa, and further afield, who have suffered and are suffering without knowing about Jesus’ light. They know that they have good news to share.
Noblesse, a young Rwandan, is currently part of an AIM team sharing Jesus among the Laarim in South Sudan. He was able to share his experiences with many young Rwandans who attended a Kairos (mission awareness) course. Now, three more Rwandans are currently studying theology with the goal to impact Rwanda and beyond, with the truth and the light of the Bible.
The Great Lakes region has been exposed and is still exposed to insecurity and ethnic tensions. Darkness has reigned and with it so many lives have been trampled, so many have lost dignity, humanity and hope. But darkness won’t have the last word. We’re excited to see a new emerging generation of godly men and women being Christ’s light in the midst of their families, communities, churches, country and into Africa’s unreached people groups.