Thursday, April 14, 2011

Remembering Rawanda Genocide: "remember the past, build the future"

Rwanda (MNN) ― Rwanda, known as the "Land of 1000 Hills," is also the land of 1000 storylines today.

The national commemoration week for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi ended yesterday, April 13, at the Rebero Genocide memorial site.

Over the course of 100 days, more than 800,000 people were killed and many more were displaced, orphaned or scarred by the violence. Thousands of children suddenly found themselves the head of their households. That situation was aggravated by the rise of HIV/AIDS and led to the disintegration of both the family unit and society.

With such a scar on the nation's history, the Rwandan Government assigned a week of commemoration to mourn the loss of loved ones and to support the survivors.

But stories of hope and resilience in Rwanda emerged, as well. Evangelist Sammy Tippit's ministry has a long history in that country in support of the reconciliation efforts. He visited the country shortly after the genocide ended.

What he saw brought him to tears. "There was a great need for reconciliation, and it looked like an impossible task." The obvious need was to move toward healing. However, the hurt had torn the fabric of the society. There was no place where it was not in evidence, even in places where peace was to prevail. "For instance, you would go into a church and there would be one woman sitting on a pew, and in the same pew would be another lady. One lady's husband had killed the other lady's husband."

What better way to encourage peace than through the Gospel? "We went in with the message of salvation, of grace, of forgiveness, of reconciliation, and we saw a mighty work."

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