By Tamar Knochenmus
This morning I stood before a picture of a beautiful 2 year old girl with incredibly beautiful eyes. As I started reading the plaque next to her picture my stomach dropped. This precious child was brutally tortured first by being stabbed in her eyes and then in the head before she died.
20 minutes before this I watched a video of a man sharing his story of loss. He witnessed his mother and little sister as they were hacked by machetes before he escaped with his own life.
A woman shared a fond memory of her family being around the table laughing and enjoying each other, only later to be destroyed at the hands of their long time neighbors and friends that they trusted. She no longer trusts anyone.
I don’t share these stories to be morbid, but I do share them to shed some light on what real human beings went through 22 years ago. Their stories that they’ve lived every day since then. As we walked through the Gisoze Genocide Memorial and took in these stories and history of the 100 days of destruction and slaughter, my heart shattered. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such a mix of emotions at once before. I’m blessed to say that this is my second time visiting Rwanda with New Mercies. I’m sure the first time I walked through this memorial I experienced some of the same feelings, but today I will never forget. It was difficult not to replace the faces before me with faces of my own loved ones or place myself in each of the stories as I read them. It could so easily be me, be us all. And as a result I have a greater desire to love and pour into these precious people. There is nothing we can do out of our own strength to change what has happened here, but we have the most powerful God who can continue to bring healing and restoration to this country.
It was fitting that we finished our day out visiting the Faith Victory site. We toured the grounds and spent time praying over the land, the people, and the future of Rwanda. After spending the morning learning of the tragedies of genocide, it was incredible to lift up in prayer the survivors and all effected by the tragedy. We gave it to the Lord and ask for the future to be sown in him and his love. And I would ask the same of all of you following our time here. Pray that the people here would see the love of Jesus and their need to be embraced by it and know the peace and sovereignty of God.
Hear more about our trip and see pictures on New Mercies’ Facebook page – updates will appear in your newsfeed if you “like” the page.