Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rwanda Centre For Peace and Reconciliation

History. Rwanda has long been considered one of the most scenic, lush and beautiful countries on the continent of Africa. However, in April of 1994, an unspeakable horror broke out in this small, land-locked nation. In a rampage of genocide that split down tribal lines 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days. This was no invading army or faceless pilots dropping bombs from the sky. These were roaming bands of Rwanda’s own citizens and the killings were often brutal scenes of neighbours killing neighbours, most dying within arms length of their machete bearing executioners.

ALD Missionary Eddie Mwunvaneza (r)

Consequences. Beyond the many who were killed, a few hundred thousand Rwandans fled their homes and were displaced. But many on both sides of the conflict returned. When killers and those whom they sought to kill suddenly become neighbours once more, how can they possibly live again in such close proximity? How does one heal from the physical as well as the deep emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds? With a justice system capable of bringing neither true peace nor reconciliation, healing itself becomes slow and painful.

Healing. After 14 years, Rwanda has made measured strides to keep moving forward even as it heals from within. But the personal, inner challenges of its citizens continue and a number of Christian ministries have been born from these these times to help people seek true peace and reconciliation. African Link Developments (www.africanlinkdevelopments.com) is one such group.

Ministry. In applying for an eMi team to help them design their Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, African Link Developments (ALD) stated as its Purpose:

“To strengthen the church in the war torn country of Rwanda, still wounded by the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. The ministry will train pastors and provide trauma counseling resources. We hope to bring healing to the nation through providing counseling, reconciliation and tolerance training for often desperate people, especially widows and orphans, who can also be supported through skills training.”

A Piece of Land with Many Possibilities

For true healing to take place, God must be present, experienced, and known. The one who's name is Healer must be in the centre, in the midst, of true and genuine healing. Then there is a need for the practical, pragmatic tools with which to live and so there will be counselling, education and vocational training. ALD has raised enough funds to purchase a 3 acre parcel of land and now the next step is to build a facility, a place of ministry. Our eMi Canada team will produce a site master plan for their raw piece of land and design the buildings for a training/counseling centre, residences for orphans (with widows as guardians) and a school for the children.

More Info. See the side bar for a link to the project description on the www.emiworld.org website. If you are curious what participating on an eMi team looks like, click on the video “A Project Week with eMi”. Thank you to each of you who are involved by supporting me, my family and the work of eMi with your financial and prayer support.