The Merciful Wife
In a particular section of Kigali of mixed Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, the genocidal war broke out with a bloody vengeance. Neighbors attacked neighbors. In one area a Hutu man murdered his Tutsi neighbor. Later, after the Rwandan Patriotic Front won the war and took over the government, local investigations of the atrocities started. The wife of the dead Tutsi man was asked to identify her husband’s murderer. She refused knowing the Hutu man would be arrested, imprisoned, and perhaps killed in return. The woman said that she preferred to remain silent to save another life. “This is enough. This killing has to stop somewhere. One murder does not justify another killing. We have to break the cycle of violence and end this genocide.” And she chose to forgive.
The Loving Sister
A woman, about 30 years of age, flagged down a car for a ride. The driver of the car was a church pastor who was returning to Ndoleleji from one of his rounds. The pastor did not recognize her but was interested to learn that she had been attending one of his classes to learn more about the faith. “I am a believer,” she said.
When he asked, “What started you on your journey?” she told this story.
“My brother was a Christian, the only Christian in our family. He became very sick. He tried medicine and spent all of his money at hospitals. When I went to visit him a nurse told me, ‘Take your brother home. Take care of him. Wash him. Do not be afraid. You will not catch what he has. But there is nothing more we can do for him.’
“So I took him home but no one in our family would come to see him or even get close to him. All were afraid. Not even our parents would come. I loved my brother. We came from the same womb. I took care of him, cooked his food, and ate with him. I did not care if the nurse was wrong and I did get his sickness. I was ready to die with him because I loved my brother.
“One day my brother said to me, ‘My sister! You are such a good person. You are the only one who helps me. You must become a believer and be baptized. Please go to the next town. The pastors have an outstation there. Ask them to pray for me.’ So on Sunday night I went and I told them about my brother.
“That week a group from the Church came to visit my brother. They brought food. They sat with him. They came every week. They were with him when he died. Not one of my family came to bury my brother. No one in our village came. They were all afraid but the Christians washed his body and buried him. I decided then that I wanted to be one of them, and that is why I am in your class and a believer!”
In June 1994 this woman was baptized and is part of the New Africa that is arising out of the old, dying Africa.
Greater Than Ebola
Ebola, as dreadful as it is, cannot stop the Gospel. Last year, this African evangelist told this story.
“I wanted to visit my people but in order to do so I had to cross national boundaries. Due to Ebola the borders were closed. So, I waited until 2am to sneak across and come to my village. The brethren greeted me enthusiastically. We had a wonderful service together worshiping the Lord but the greatest joy was still to come.
“The following day, the Muslim people in my village invited me to lead them in prayer. I told them, ‘I am not a Muslim. I am a Christian.’ But they said, ‘Our imam is dead and we have not opened our mosque since that time. We have been praying in our homes but seeing you Christians gathering and singing has challenged us to meet together again. We want to meet with our Christian neighbors in our mosque and ask you to lead us in any form of prayer that you know.’
“I consulted with my Christian friends and they thought the whole situation was full of irony and funny because these same Muslim neighbors had been persecuting them for years. And I had my own doubts. I had been saved by the grace of God and I never wanted to enter a mosque. But after some time of reflection my Christian friends and I agreed to hold our service in the mosque. My Christian brothers led the praise, worship, and prayer. The Muslims listened to us and kept saying “Amen,” through the service!
“Then I preached on the miracles of Jesus from the book of Luke. I spoke on all of them. I just kept on reading and explaining to them and they listened to it all. You should have seen the faces of our Muslim neighbors! When the service was ended they asked me to come back. I have not been able to, but one of the other Christians in the village says that now, every Sunday, the entire village comes to their gathering under the tree to hear the Word of God preached.