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Monday, April 9, 2012

Remembering Rwanda

Saturday, April 7 was a day of commemoration and remembrance of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.  18 years have passed since that horrible period in Rwanda's history and they are continuing to seek to heal and move forward as a nation.  Many Rwandans live in Sweden and are a part of our church so we are privileged to assist them in holding this commemorative event at Immanuel.  The Ambassador of Rwanda to Sweden was present and she gave a moving and beautiful speech regarding the hopes and dreams of a future filled with peace and harmony among her fellow countrymen.  At the beginning of the service, various children lit candles for different groups of people who had been killed in the genocide.  They recited texts in English, Swedish and Kinyarwanda.  Of course, these children were not alive when the genocide unfolded, but it is important to their families that they come to an understanding of what took place in their home nation and how some of their family members perished as well.
The congregation was then invited to come forward and light candles as well. 
We must remember so that we never forget.
Songs were sung, speeches were given, films were shown, and a survivor of the genocide shared her story.  It is hard to imagine how one survives something like this and yet the hope that burns for a brighter future is truly inspiring.  The slogan for the day was simply and eloquently this: "Let's learn from history in order to shape a brighter future."  Those are words that all nations of our world need to embrace and work hard at fulfilling.