Forgiving Does Not mean FORGETTING
“Darkness TO LIGHT” An Evening with RWANDAN FRIENDS
“Darkness TO LIGHT”
FORGIVING does not mean FORGETTING
First, a little background history on Rwanda. Rwanda was comprised of three tribes when the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916. The Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa. The Belgians manipulated and divided the tribes by deeming one more superior than the other. They then issued them identity cards stating their appointed tribe. The Tutsis were discriminately favored and given better jobs as well as superior educational opportunities.
This division caused further animosity and bitterness. Eventually in 1962 after Rwanda was granted independence, the majority of Hutus took power. After the death of the president of Rwanda in 1994 the horrific genocide began. His plane was shot down and shortly after recruits were disbursed and the atrocious, vigorous brutal slaughtering of Rwandans went on for approximately 100 days.
If someone has hurt you deeply, if you have been carrying hatred in your heart. If you have been abused, molested, rejected, humiliated, deceived, maligned, called names, persecuted, lied on or feel shame give up the bitterness! If you are unable to forgive or you feel that you have been wronged or mistreated. If life does not seem to be going your way. I want you to take some time and ponder on what happened here in Rwanda. You will find out that “With God ALL things are possible.” Begin to go forward in your life KNOWING GOD LOVES YOU! He will never leave nor forsake you! He has a plan for your life! START TODAY GOING FORWARD!!!
Now I want to take some time and share with you what they shared with me.
We had such a memorable, extraordinary, marvelous evening with our Rwandan friends from PHARP –Rwanda. Pastor Anastase, Marie Louise, Julienne and Pastor Protais worked effortlessly as a team. PHARP stands for Peace building, Healing, and Reconciliation Program in Rwanda. They openly and sincerely shared in graphic detail their heart wrenching experiences during the Rwandan Genocide. It is now reported that there were actually closer to 2,000,000 lives brutally taken during the 100 days of the Rwandan Genocide! We will be forever grateful for the experience . Our son Jamal along with the Horizon Community Church were able to actually go to Rwanda and minister to them. They forged ahead diligently amidst the transitioning community of Rwanda to help facilitate their mission to bring about healing, restoration and reconciliation. Pastor Anastase can be reached www.pharp.org
During the 100 days of genocide between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped. More than 67% of those women were purposely and systematically infected by HIV+ men as a weapon of genocide. One Pastor shared how his wife, children, and mother along with a total of 46 relatives were massacred. He had to hide out in the swamp for 41 days without food. He only had contaminated swamp water to sip.
Despite the often assumed stereotype keep in mind, generally most "people of color" do not seek revenge! It is far better and superior to SEEK GOD!
Please stay with me for a few minutes and ponder these facts in your heart! Here are a few more of the many statistics resulting from the aftermath of the genocide:
*There are 300,000 to 400,000 survivors of the genocide.
*Nearly 100,000 survivors are aged between 14 and 21, of which 60,000 are considered as very vulnerable.
*75,000 of survivors were orphaned as a result of the genocide. Over half of these children have become impoverished, traumatized and have stopped going to school.
*There are 10 times as many widows than widowers – almost 50,000 widows of the genocide.
*40,000 are still without shelter.
*7 in 10 survivors earn a monthly income of less than 5,000 Rwandan Francs, which equals to $8.00 in American Dollars.
*These statistics are complied at www.surviors-fund.org.uk
The Rwanda genocide was real! Thousands of homeless and orphaned children. Yet these children of God stand tall, firmly and purposely in their concerted efforts to bring about the ongoing process of “Forgiveness and Reconciliation.” They have come here to America to share a powerful message. The Country of Rwanda is in the continual much needed ongoing process of healing and restoration. Many of those who participated in the genocide have been released from prison and are now back in the community. Many have accepted Jesus Christ. Today there are no longer identity cards they are all called Rwandans! They are committed to moving forward in overcoming the barriers of the past.
This dedicated team, along with many others are dedicated to assisting and empowering the remaining Rwandans. This is not without its challenges. Keep in mind that within the Church there, many pastors face the dilemma of having survivors and those perpetrators of genocide within the same congregation. They are diligently working to make a difference. They are reaching out and helping to rebuild a country that has been devastated. Trauma Counseling and healing, peace building, reconciliation, self-help groups, youth programs and vocational training and income generating projects are inclusive along with much prayer, worship and praise! We support, pray for and solicit your prayers for all Rwandans as well.
It is important to know that the family of God consists of a plethora of people throughout the world. We all come in different sizes, shapes, colors, races and cultures. There is not going to be a corner in heaven that’s designated for Blacks, one for Whites, one for Reds, Browns, Yellow or multicolored people. It goes so much deeper than the color of one’s skin, how they look, who they are, where they have lived, what one has or does not have nor their varied diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions. God knows who His children are.
It is important to know that God is alone Sovereign! He does not need us! We all need Him! He places and arranges the members in the Body of His Universal Church as it pleases Him. He knows where each and every one of us are in our spiritual growth and development. He has given us the necessary talents and gifts to accomplish whatever He has created us to do. In many situations in the Church here in America, on various levels worldly methods have been adopted. The ways and methods of the world’s reasoning and social divisiveness has resulted in much division. Manipulation has been erroneously embraced by many of God’s people.
It is very important to know the Word of God firsthand. We as His “children” are to consistently spend time with the Lord developing a vivacious strong ongoing, endearing ever growing transparent relationship with Him and come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior! This way you will not be “tossed to and fro by every of doctrine.” You do not have to strive to control or dominate anyone. This only displays and reflects one’s own insecurity. Quite the contrary. God is ultimately in control! Jesus led by example. Our purpose is to daily live out God’s principles and foster a desire in others to want to come and know Jesus as Lord and Savior as well. Ultimately it is your solid, committed relationship with Him, that will sustain you as you go through any of life’s many challenges.
In spite of all that has happened to them, these Rwandan’s have come to share their “Mission of FORGIVENESS & RECONCILIATION” of genocide! To impart the valuable knowledge they’ve learned. Webster defines forgiveness as: to give up resentment of, or claim requital ; forgive an insult . They know the value of confronting the truth of whatever has happened. Contrary to what is often said forgiveness does not mean you forget. It means to lay aside any ill will and pardon the wrong that was done. When people have wronged you they often feel guilt and fear retaliation. The Fruit of God’s Spirit will flourish in your life when you elect to embrace and implement His principles in your life. True forgiveness comes from God. Joy & Peace are by products of His Fruit! Knowing the Lord, having a relationship with Him and applying His Word makes all the difference in the world.
Through their heartfelt sharing our love, faith, trust in God, and our commitment has been greatly enhanced. It has personally added to my spiritual wellspring. They are truly walking in the “Light of His Word.” As a child of God I know whole heartedly that God is able! Being a Christian is a lifestyle. It is amazing to know and realize that absolutely nothing goes on with anyone or anywhere that God is not aware of. The Rwandan genocide is mind boggling. In our little finite minds we will never fully comprehend the “why” of a lot of things. But I do know that ALL His WORD is true. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (and sisters) … Romans 8. God did not say that it all would be good. But, He did say that He would work it out for good. Ask yourself? Is your purpose really His purpose?
The eyewitness account of the Rwandan genocide was enlightening and life changing. Their God given joy was evident and shined forth from their countenance as they each shared their amazing testimonies. They without question, are definitely walking in the “Light of His Word.” They truly have come from “Darkness TO LIGHT.” They reached out, above and beyond what they had suffered and shared a wealthy message of wisdom, inspiration, encouragement and hope to bring about healing. It is quite evident that God has equipped them to help others overcome barriers, to unite and reach out to build peaceful communities for the future. Not only in Rwanda but throughout the world! “Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5 The POWER of GOD was evident beyond words! I can go on ….. ""But instead I will say; PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD! FOREVER & EVER "TO GOD BE THE GLORY!"
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