How Rwanda Changed My Life

An excerpt from Dancing on Hot Coals:

I was starting the final trimester of my first year at Bethel Seminary, sitting in the library diligently working on…something. As I was there, a friend of mine sat down next to me and started a conversation. In our conversation he asked me if I would ever like to go to Africa. “Of course,” was my response. As a result of my response he encouraged me to take a part in a trip that he was leading to Central Africa in four or five months. That conversation took place on a Friday, by Sunday the check for my deposit for the trip was in the mail and I was on my way!

In preparation for our trip to Central Africa and specifically the countries of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, I decided to do a little reading. I knew very little about any of the countries besides the fact that Rwanda had a genocide that took place in 1994 in attempt to wipe out the Tutsi people. But I started with the little knowledge that I had of them and began to read a book that just about tore my heart apart. “We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families” is a book that details the atrocities that took place against the Tutsi people at the hands of their Hutu brothers and sisters. I was sickened to learn of all of the animosity, resentment and hate that the Hutus had for the Tutsis, such intense feelings that caused them to kill 800,000 of them in a period of 100 days.

As I read story after story, account after account, I became enraged. I became enraged because I felt like no person, community or people should ever have to endure such oppression on account of who they are, what they have, how they look, or what they believe. I became enraged because I felt like this thing did not take place between two nations that were so different and complex from each other; in fact it happened in a place among a people who were more similar than they were different. I was enraged because even though I did not know them and had never seen them, I felt so connected to them on account of our shared humanity.

My rage, my anger, my sadness, my fear caused me to look to God. I wanted to know how he felt about this; what was his take on this whole thing? I must tell you that as I looked closely into his heart, I felt it breaking. God’s heart was breaking over the fact that this happened, and it was continuing to break on account that even though Rwanda’s experience had come and gone, we as a people still continue to do this to one another. All over the earth people steal, kill, conquer and divide others against themselves and as I got in tune with the Spirit of God, I came to realize that he couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t stand the fact that a people, a humanity that he created to live in relationship with one another was in such opposition to one another. He couldn’t stand that after all of this time, even after the sacrifice of Christ 2,000 years ago when a way was made for us to enter back into a restored relationship with one another that we still choose to do so much evil to one another.

It was in peering into the heart of God like this that I came to truly realize what I was created for. He had given me a glimpse of his reality and he wanted me to do something about it. After all of the years in school and after all of the time spent studying, finally I understood my destiny!

This is an excerpt from my book Dancing on Hot Coals, which you can buy on Amazon.com in either the Kindle format or paperback for as little as $2.99.

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