Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rwanda to the USA

This evening I listened to the testimony of a man who survived the genocide in Rwanda, and over the course of several years, made his way to America.

First, I was impressed by how much Americans, and I mean " I ", take for granted. He talked about making a conscious decision to fast for 10 days; eating and drinking nothing as he sought God's will and God's help, as opposed to his time in a refugee camp where he was unable to eat or drink because he was from the wrong tribe.

He talked about finally getting to Nairobi, and being able to eat anything he wanted. He talked about a goat being killed, a group of people sharing the meat, and the pure joy of eating as much meat as he felt like eating. He spoke of being hired as a teacher in a refugee camp, earning the equivalent of $15.00 a month, and feeling so blessed.

As a person who has been hungry for a few days, I felt humbled as I listened to this man speak. I have been broke and hungry for days. I have no concept of how it would feel to be hungry for years.

His friend was with him, and finally insisted, "Yes, yes, we know the history of war and Rwanda, now tell us the history of you and God."

As I listened to him talk about his experiences with God, it seemed that I was listening to the Israelites as they made their way from Egypt to the land that God had chosen for His beloved children, and in this man's words, I heard the things I never paid attention from the Bible.

He said that he and other survivors of the massacres hid in the bush for close to four years. In that time, they traveled silently at night, and lay in the jungle in the day. They never had enough to eat. They never had adequate clothing. They lay beside deadly snakes and insects, but, in all that time, no one got sick. No one had dysentery in a country where that is common. They drank water that was putrid, and never got cholera. They lay on damp ground and never got a cold.

As he spoke, I vaguely remember hearing that the children of Israel spend 40 years in the wilderness, and had shoes that never wore out, clothing that never wore out, and other than one incident from God where they had to learn trust, they didn't get sick.

It was during this time of traveling in hiding, that the man learned to trust God, and to seek God's will. After losing his family, his friends, his freedom, and his whole way of life, he came to trust God because only God never left him.

Many years ago, God removed "Why?" from my heart at a time when the devil was trying to use it to destroy me. In the same way, God removed this man's dreams.

He said didn't dwell on the horror that he had seen. During the day, he was too numb as he just tried to survive, but when he reached safety, nights were when all the atrocities came to his dreams. He cried out to God, and at night when the dreams came, Got didn't hide them, but sat with the man and explained them, always finishing with His assurance and His love. Finally, the man could remember the events, but without the terror as he understood that he was never alone.

He talked about seeking answers from God, and a preacher called him aside. The preacher told him that he had a message from God. He was very excited to hear what it was, and the preacher just whispered, "Fear not." He thought, that's it? That's all I get? Then a few weeks later, another man walked up to him, took him by the shoulders, and said, "Fear not." He paid a little more attention, then afterwards, another man found him, and almost as a military order, said, "Fear not!"

At that point, he said he understood that he could stop being afraid and that God really would protect him, and he has.