the other day, i had the opportunity to talk to a pastor from rwanda that survived the genocide in 1994. the story he told was heart breaking.
he was sixteen and watched as the hutu's killed all of his tutsi friends and neighbors. But he prayed and he prayed. Then a group of hutu's told him to lay down so they could cut his head off. He refused. He said, 'No. I will not lay down. I will not die today because god wants me to live'. They called him crazy. They said leave him, another group will kill him later.
So he lived.
Then another group of hutu's came again. They told him to lie down and he refused again. They said, 'Fine. Get on your knees then with your arms outstretched so you can pray as you die.' And he said no. I will not die today. They called him crazy and left him and his family alone. They said another group will kill them later.
They finally escpaped into the forrests. Him and his family had to stay sitting in the same exact spot for seven months. They could not stretch their legs, for hutu's would see them. They could no stand or talk. To go to the bathroom, they simply went where they were. They ate bricks made of wood from a nearby abandoned building, along with grass.
At this point in time, Ugandan soldiers had to began to infiltrate Rwanda to protect and to stop the genocide. A group of these soldiers finally found the rwandan man and his family. They could not speak, they had physically forgotten how to form words. The soldiers helped them anyway.
They took them to the hospital, where his family spent nine months recovering. The man himself had a bullet wound and fifteen machete cuts. But he survived. The doctors taught them all how to walk and talk again, which was a long and difficult process.
The man's name is Freddy. He is a pastor now, and serves at an orphanage that houses over 800 rwandan orphans. He feeds all of them with his salary.
Freddy says he did not survive because he was strong, or because he was lucky. He said he survived because he was faithful to god and god was faithful to him.
Once the genocide had come to an end, and the rwandan government began to arrest the hutu's that committed these heinous crimes, Freddy and his family returned to Rwanda. His father, who was a pastor, told him, 'Freddy, do not point fingers at the people who did this. You need to forgive them. Just foregive them.'
And that he did. He met up with the man that killed his neighbors and the man was begging and pleading Freddy to kill him. He said he was sorry, that he was so so sorry and that he just wanted to die. But Freddy just turned to him and hugged him.
'You are foregiven. You are safe."