Running on empty
‘Once when I came to the church, I said: “God, why did I survive?”’ She remembers. ‘“I have no one to work with, no one to worship with.” I felt like there was no point in continuing. The church had been broken. I asked God, “Will I ever again be able to come before you and say thank you?” It was a time full of tears.’
Somehow, though, Immaculate couldn’t bring herself to give up and join another church.
‘I prayed for God to let me go to other churches, because I wanted people who would be close. But my heart was telling me, “You are a member of this church, and if you go, who will stay here?”’
It was then that Immaculate chose to pray a bold, even shocking prayer: ‘I asked that he could bring those people that massacred us to come and worship with us.’
Gradually, remarkably, her prayer began to be answered. Both Hutus and Tutsi were slowly added to the congregation – men and women who had lost their family and friends were worshipping God with others who had been involved in the killings.
‘We have had training and workshops about unity and reconciliation. And God has healed our wounded hearts,’ says Immaculate. ‘My heart was badly wounded, but through the church and partners who teach us to forgive, in my heart, I have forgiven them and I love them.’
The group that worked with her struggling church is the Kigali Diocese of the Anglican Church. They are partnering with Tearfund in the region to help churches like Immaculate’s discover more of their true purpose, as a light to their communities.