In 1994 one of history’s grossest atrocities took place in the nation of Rwanda a small country nestled in the center of Africa. In a period of 100 days a million innocent people were brutally murdered by their own countrymen. The Belgian colonization was responsible for dividing one people group into two, the Tutsis and the Hutus, the former being given economic power and creating huge tensions between the two, so much so that the Hutus who made up 90% of the population plotted to retaliate and wipe out all Tutsis. Husbands murdered their own wives and children saw their own parents shot before their eyes.
What is shocking and sobering about this particular act of genocide is that it didn't happen in the dark ages, it was 1994, the year Anna and I married, the time that our cutting edge youth events were exploding, the year our futures were unfolding.
Along comes Mark Zschech, husband of renowned worship leader, Darlene Zschech, who has an idea to have a huge initiative called “Hope: Rwanda 100 Days of Hope” to in some way replace this period of darkness.
We were guests at a three-day event in the national stadium in Kilgali, which was organized by the American preacher, Joyce Meyer. Stu and I went on our own this time just to fit in with the band there. The stadium was electric every night with about 20,000 to 30,000 locals rocking to “Majesty” and other Delirious? tunes. It was an honor to be part of the Joyce Meyer team who are an amazing bunch of people.
This event was one of hundreds happening all throughout Rwanda. These events took place over 100 days where everything took place from building houses, taking Bibles into prisons, training doctors and housing orphans.
It was an incredible time for us, and it was fantastic to meet and fall in love with the Rwandan people. Next time we’ll go back ready for business with the whole band. Our experience again heightened the fact of how man can be so evil to each other, but in the end good prevails because deep in the hearts of people we are made to want good, not evil. This made me realize that there is a God, and in Rwanda I was reminded that this great God is alive and lives in the hearts of many broken but joyous people.
Author: Martin Smith
Date: 15 May 2006