This morning came early but the breakfast helped get me out of bed. Ben, Gordon, and I shared the meal. We then went to meet with a dynamic Rwandan, Albert.
Albert lost his parents in the genocide that occurred in 1994 here in Rwanda. He fled to Kenya and came back shortly after the fighting stopped. Sometime later he started working with MOUCECORE. This is a Christian organization started to help the reconciliation between the Hutus and the Tutsis through the context of the church. This group has done amazing things and continues to help the church here in Rwanda fulfill her mission. They also happen to have a guest house which is where we are staying.
Albert also has started his own small ministry called One Pig for a Change. He was out meeting people in churches as part of his work with MOUCECORE. He asked two ladies from different areas how their lives could be better. They both said that if they had a small pig they could raise it, breed it, and then start making an income from that. He asked how much a small pig cost and they said $12.
He went home wondering how he could help. He even told his wife he wondered if they were Christians because they were not helping others. So he started thinking and planning. He went around sharing his heart and vision with fellow Rwandans. Many found his vision compelling and gave money. He raised enough money to buy not just 2 pigs for those two ladies but 8 pigs for more.
He has since given the pigs out and seen the people flourish. Part of the arrangement is for the receivers of the pigs to give half of the litter away to others like them and to keep half. If this continues many more pigs will be given to those who need income. For the mathematically challenged this is exponential growth. Thus, the Lord is multiplying Albert’s work as well as the blessings for these people.
Albert has an amazing heart for Christ. His energy is contagious. He is very astute and understands the Lord calls His people to serve Him in wonderful ways. I only hope we can visit with Albert again if and when we come back to Rwanda.
So far we have met with about 4 Africans during our trip. Each one of them mentioned the genocide. Each of the Rwandans had some story of loss and suffering from that terrible time. I had heard about this wicked event and have seen Hotel Rwanda. Being here and hearing the stories makes it all the more real. However, nothing could prepare me for our trip to the Memorial after lunch.
After lunch, Ben and I went to the Genocide Memorial here in Kigali. The exterior is very serene with lush plants and beautiful landscaping. The inside is heavy and tells the story of the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994. There are two basic groups in Rwanda, the Hutus and the Tutsis. While they used to be socio-economic indicators, the Belgian colonizers turned it into a racial distinction. The Hutus were the poorer of the two and made up the majority of the population.
Tensions built and some Hutu extremists preached a message of hate and called for the elimination of the Tutsis. Things came to a head in April 1994 when the president of Rwanda, a Hutu, had his plane shot down. Less than an hour later road blocks were up and Hutus were brutally, mindlessly, and terrifyingly killing any Tutsis they could find.
In the Memorial there are many pictures which can make a grown man weep over the evil and the terrible loss of life. The stories also show some of the wicked ways the atrocities were carried out. All told 1,000,000 people were killed in 3 months. These are numbers never seen before or since. I left the memorial in silence and with a heavy heart.
The country is still recovering from this nightmare. There is a lot of work for the church to do. Pray God would bring reconciliation and healing.
Tomorrow we leave early to go back to Uganda. Please pray for safe travel. We have about 10+ hours of driving ahead. I am looking forward to getting back to see Brooke, Sarah, and Sam. I have missed them. But I praise God for this trip to Rwanda, the encouragement I have received from these brothers in Christ, and getting to see the amazing things God is doing.
Below are some pictures.