On Thursday May 23rd 2013, we traveled to a reconciliation village that was founded and is led by Pastor Deo.  In this village there are ex prisoners and victims of the genocide, who work together in fields growing crops and tending to animals such as cows and goats. They live together in houses in close proximity to one another.  There are four such villages spread out across Rwanda.  The reconciliation village we traveled to with Pastor Deo was the same one I visited in March of 2012.  Reviewing my blog post from last year, I said “After visiting one such village today, if it is not a miracle, it’s only one level below it, because reconciliation, real reconciliation, is occurring.”  I left the reconciliation village this second time feeling the same way.

In the village, Pastor Deo, as he did before, invited people to share testimonies, and the first person who did so was the same one who also spoke first last year. This individual had lost his family during that awful time, and he ended up marrying the woman whose first husband was the man who had taken his family from him.  His story, even after thinking about it for a year, still feels and is amazing to me, because I can’t understand it without knowing and accepting the Lord is in there.  Hearing more stories, both from ex prisoners and victims, remains very powerful, no matters how many times you hear such a story, its impact never lessens.  And more than just a story, seeing both ex prisoners and victims telling these stories together in the same room, physically next to one another, truly makes it feel more than just academic but real.  At the end of this time of sharing, people started singing and dancing in the room together, I can only say it was a celebration of what has and is happening.

True and full reconciliation is still an ongoing process in Rwanda, but these villages are the best example to Rwanda, to Church of the Redeemer, and to everyone in the world, that hatred need not stay in people’s hearts, that reconciliation, regardless of the deepness of the hole, is possible, and that the Lord’s love can overcome any and all darkness in the world.  It is not an easy or short journey, but it is possible if one trusts in the Lord.

Praise be to God!

Otto Zimmermann