08 April 2010

One week of Mourning

7 April - 13 April

Yesterday began a very a somber week in Rwanda. It is the week where the horrific events of 1994 are remembered. During this week many of the shops are closed and the energy on the streets is different from the week prior and the week that will follow. Family members make journeys to visit mass graves, placing beautifully arranged flowers to honor those who were killed, never knowing if the bones of their loved one are actually below.

Can you even imagine?

I am not able. Last April I was in the country during this week. I had the opportunity to observe and reflect on the events that would forever shape the country and the way the world would react if genocide happened again. One of the things that I observed as the people mourned, was the resilient look they had for a better tomorrow. Not only is is spoken about, but it is believed and acted upon in the hearts and lives of many Rwandan people. There is a plan in Rwanda for the next day and the day after that and the day after that -- Succession.

The leaders of this country have a succession plan in mind. That succession plan is through the youth of their country. It has been said, "Without a successor there is no success." This is exciting for us at KAAC~R! Isn't it?

As Rwanda mourns this week, upright and on their feet, they look to the future, their youth. That is exactly where we fit into the picture. KAAC~R is the place where the youth will be trained as servant leaders, not bad Rwandan leaders, bad politicians. It is the place where the youth, many orphaned and alone, will be loved and taught the transforming gospel of Jesus.

As I sit in my office in Missouri, preparing to leave in a few weeks to a country that I have grown to love, I have great joy in this time of sadness. Please take time to reflect on the tragic events, but do not, DO NOT, dwell. Because they are not dwelling in Rwanda. They are looking ahead and moving in that direction.

What will you do to be a part of the forward movement?

The article below was taken from the Hirondell News website and shares the message President Kagame, has for his country during the following week and days ahead:

Arusha, April 7, 2010 (FH) - On the sixteenth anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide, President Paul Kagame on Wednesday called upon his fellow citizens to commemorate "upright, on our feet" the 1994 mass killings of Tutsis, asserting that the future of the Nation depended on it.

"We must mourn but upright, on our feet", the Head of state said in Kinyarwanda to thousands of people gathered at the national stadium in Kigali. "We must find in our grief enough strength to build our future. We have the capacity to achieve this goal. Always keep that in mind: building our future is our concern".

"There is no alternative. We have to help each other so as to prevent those responsible for our pain from finding reasons to triumph", Paul Kagame explained in his speech which was broadcasted live on national radio and TV.

He also claimed that "bad Rwandan leaders, bad politicians" had been the root cause of the genocide.

He did not spare the international community either. Switching briefly into English, he added: « The convergence of national bad politics and international bad politics resulted in what we commemorate today".

He then urged Rwandans to "change national politics" as they could not change international politics.

Finally, Paul Kagame sharply attacked unspecified international organizations, declaring that his country had not lessons to receive from them with respect to human rights and democracy.

The official opening ceremony launched a week of national mourning, until April 13.

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