After completing our study of the opening chapters of Luke, Frank and I said good-bye to the church leaders in Kimironko yesterday. It was a good week with the students. They were saying that the information was helpful and beneficial. Frank was helping them go beyond just being taught the text but helped them to develop some ways that they too could study for themselves. I tried to help them in using their Kinyarwanda Study Bible and some of the aids this provides.
This morning we set out for Nyamata. There we visited the Genocide Memorial located at what was a Catholic Church during genocide. A nun there had been offering refuge for those fleeing for their lives in 1992 and 1993. But in the genocide of 1994 killers stormed the church building where 2,000 people were inside seeking refuge. They tossed grenades and tore down the steel gates. Then they came in with guns and machetes killing at random. Some were on the roof firing into the building. With 2,000 people crammed inside the building it would not have been hard to kill many by just randomly firing through the roof. We could see bullet holes in the roof and marks where grenades went off inside and outside the building.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Over a period of 100 days one million Rwandans were killed in what was called an ethnic cleansing. This is more than were killed in any 100 days period of the holocaust.
Our guide, who was 12 years old at the time of genocide, survived by hiding with her family in a swamp. Killers would come into the swamp knowing people were hiding there. Somehow she and two younger sisters escaped detection and survived, though they basically lived in the swamp for a month drinking swamp water and eating what green vegetation they could reach. Her parents and older siblings were all killed hiding right in the same area of the swamp.
With the Piggly Wiggly shirt, we were not sure
if we were in eastern Rwanda
or eastern North Carolina.
A snapshot of conditions in the refugee camp.
Moving about in an area and among a people who have faced such tremendous challenges and still have a smile on their face is humbling. Seeing the children who are living in these conditions because of the oppression of others is troubling. And knowing that many who were responsible for the killing would have called themselves followers of Christ is appalling. But it is a reminder of how much power Satan holds when God’s word is forsaken.
This thought should challenge all of us to recommit ourselves to the word of God and the Lordship of Christ. At the same time I encourage you to pray for those under the oppression from men as well as for a world under the oppression of the ultimate enemy, Satan himself.