After genocide, Rwanda remembers and rebuilds

Rwanda (MNN) — This month marks the 23rd anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

Flag of Rwanda (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/CC)

In commemoration, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres said the only way to honor the memory of the victims is to ensure such events never happen again.  The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security also said on Twitter, “We join the brave and resilient People of Rwanda in commemorating the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi #Kwibuka23. Together we say Never Again”.

The U.S Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson, said in a statement from Washington, DC that the United States stands side-by-side with the Rwandan people in remembrance of men, women, and children killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

In just 100 days, beginning April 7th, 1994, some 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists.  A Flame of Remembrance will stay lit at the Kigali Memorial Center for the next three months to mark 100 days of commemoration which started on April 7th, and will end on July 4th, 2017.

Global Advance’s Jonathan Shibley is on his way to Rwanda this week.  “We are partnering with Regent University who created this center for economic development — it’s called BDC, Business Development Center, and we’ve helped sponsor Christian CEOs from America going over there to teach business principles, [and] to mentor emerging entrepreneurs.”

He says although it wasn’t planned to coincide with the commemoration, “What’s really cool is just to see how, literally, a nation is being rebuilt from within, and seeing how there’s been a wonderful move of God through the churches over the last decade and a half.  We are working with a new generation of Christian entrepreneurs and business people who have a vision to be rebuilders of the nation.”

(Image courtesy of Global Advance)

Global Advance is helping put on an annual business expo where business people come together to share ideas and network.  A ‘pitch’ gathering is planned where people will present business proposals and plans, and some will earn funding for growth capital.  Shibley adds, “We’re going to be doing all of this in conjunction with a Global Advance-sponsored Marketplace conference to not only teach business principles, but also help people see the spiritual aspects of their work and see how God can use them as a marketplace person to be an influence, and an agent [of] salt and light there in the nation.”

How does business connect to reconciliation and the Gospel?  He explains, “God stepped into a horrific situation and out of those ashes of devastation, there’s new life, there’s hope.  The hope of the Gospel continues to be lived out, and it’s exciting to see the Gospel, not only through proclamation, but also lived out in everyday life.”  More specifically, Global Advance notes that most of Jesus’ miracles took place in the marketplace, and their website further explains that His disciples were business people from a variety of professions.  God has always worked in and through His people in the marketplace.

(Photo courtesy of Global Advance/Marketplace Missions)

In places like Rwanda, he says, this approach plays a vital role in recovery from war.  “There’s obviously still room for healing and that’s only work that the Lord can do by the Spirit.  We’re encouraged to see what God has done and many wonderful stories of reconciliation between people from different tribal backgrounds, family histories, churches, coming together.”  Even as commemoration of Rwanda’s dark days moves on, there remains a focus on restoring dignity.  To that end, Shibley says, “Pray that God will really use us and give us the words to say that will be a light and an encouragement to the people there, and also for wisdom as we have a team of CEOs and business leaders from the States that are going to continue to mentor and partner with business development there in the nation.”

If you’d like to help support initiatives like these, click here.  There’s a $90k match challenge underway.