I was able to interview five pastors on Friday. It was inspiring and somewhat overwhelming to hear about their troubles, but also the hope that carries them forward. Who would have thought that I would get the privilege to talk with these men who lived through the genocide?
Today we went to the Nyamata Memorial; a church where 2,000 people were killed inside, 8,000 outside, and 40,000 were buried in mass graves. The benches in the church were stacked with the clothing of those that died inside the building. Skulls and bones were displayed. You could see the bullet holes, machete slashes, and chunks of bone missing from the use of clubs. Blood was still visible on the ceiling, on the altar, and on the wall. A pastor that lives nearby came with us to tell his story. He sent his wife and 4 children to the church for safety. He was unable to get past the killers to be with them so he fled to the forest. His family was killed.
What words can be said? How can we understand the nightmare that occurred? I can picture bodies lying in the streets, in the trenches, and in the river. Complete hell. But my new friends, the pastors I have met this week, they see how God has blessed them. They look into the future. They have hope in Jesus. The genocide has affected them deeply, but it has not paralyzed them. God is using them as a literal example of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
I am humbled to share in their lives.