Rwanda is a country in the process of rapid transformation. Its recovery from the brutal 1994 genocide that claimed one million lives is a slow, difficult and ongoing process.
It was one of the most violent killings the world has ever seen. Women and girls were raped, while countless children witnessed the slaughter of their parents, often by people they had previously known as friends and neighbours. All of this left many people in Rwanda traumatised.
Now the Bible is helping heal these deep wounds of the past with its message of hope, forgiveness and restoration. Bible Society Rwanda is helping lead the way with a project aimed at healing trauma with biblical audio material. This project is very important for the Rwandan community, especially for Christians, who make up more than 93 percent of the 12 million plus population. Many people go to church to see if they can find peace and healing. Biblical trauma healing is restoring their hope and helping reconciliation among the Rwandan people who are being transformed with the Word of God.
Specifically, Bible Society Rwanda is working with local Radio stations airing Bible-based programmes on trauma healing which are reaching Rwandans in towns and rural areas. We’ve pledged to help Bible Society Rwanda with this life-transforming work.
Read on to discover the stories of people’s remarkable resilience and willingness to forgive with teaching from the Bible…
Valery, (pictured right) comes from Mageragere Sector, Nyarugenge District, Kigali.
“My husband was convicted of genocide and put in prison. While I was visiting him he blamed me and my family because we were of a different ethnicity. Then my family was blaming me for marrying a criminal. After my husband was released he refused to live with me and married another woman.
Though I’ve had all these problems the biblical trauma healing programme has helped me. I have been able to forgive my husband and my family and I’m now in the process of restoring my relationships. Bible Society Rwanda’s contribution is highly appreciated, God Bless you!”
Eduard Niyonzima, 55 years old, comes from Rugerero.
“In the 1997 Congo War I lost my lovely wife and seven children. It was terrible. I asked God to kill me and I tried to commit suicide. I didn’t see any point in living. In 1994, we were exiled to the Democratic Republic of Congo. I saw many deaths. When I was invited to do the biblical trauma healing programme I started the healing process through grieving and forgiveness. My life is changed now, I’m really happy, I take time to pray and praise God even though it’s not easy as a human to be left alone.
I thank God because if I didn’t go through this programme my life would be very bad. I even wanted revenge. Now I positively interact with my neighbours”.
Theo Muganga, 37 years old, is from Kamonyi.
“During the 1994 genocide I lost my father and his body hasn’t been recovered so we can’t bury him. I faced the hardest situation of being an orphan.
When I was attending school I hated the classmates who had parents. Since attending a biblical trauma healing session I know God loves me and I’ve managed to forgive my father’s killers.
I believe if I hadn’t attended these sessions I might have committed suicide. Now I have a message for everyone that God loves them through the challenging situations and my new Bible is now the foundation of my life”.
Consolee Kabagire, 55 years-old, is from a Pentecostal church in Rubavu District.
“In the 1994 genocide many of my family members were killed. Then my husband was killed in the 1998 Congo war. The brutal ways they suffered were particularly hard. I was left with my children and we were suddenly poor and hungry.
I faced financial problems such as paying for their school costs as a single parent. At the end of 2013 some people in my choir who knew my story encouraged me to join the Bible Society biblical trauma healing programme. Nowadays I am healed. I even live at peace with the people who killed my family. I forgave them and take them food in prison. Now I don’t feel isolated and I can talk about my story freely.”
Please pray for Rwanda…
“Proper healing for those affected by the genocide. Deep wounds remain, which cannot be fixed through superficial measures. Pray for the continuation of long-term programmes for counselling, rehabilitation and reconciliation. The church has played and must continue to play a key role in the healing process, there is a great need for more ministries that focus on this.” From ‘Operation World’