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Beauty From Ashes

beauty-from-ashes If you pick up a dictionary and thumb your way through the pages to find the word “genocide,” this is what you’ll read: “The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular race or ethnic group.”

We have that word in our vocabulary. And somewhere, at some point in history someone said, “What name will we have for the deliberate mass killing of people?” We needed a word for it because such a thing was taking place.

It completely unravels my nerves, but not as much as my ignorance does. In a lot of ways evil, for me, is something I have heard of. Something I have learned about. But for so many it is a memory, an experience. Some of those people live in Rwanda and have come intimately close to witnessing pure hatred.

My lack of knowledge took a back seat in college when I truly began to discover so many horrific events that I had heard of at one time, maybe on the news or seen as a headline, but was never thoroughly introduced to what had taken place.

I watched documentary after documentary, movies based on true events, read history books … I was like a sponge soaking it all in, attempting to wash away my ignorance, trying to grasp how such things had even taken place.

How can we be so capable of such evil?

The lump in my throat, the knot in my stomach, they are still there. The most pure and clear memory of my own disgust with evil was when I learned, fully, about the genocide in Rwanda. Hollywood horror films have nothing on the reality of what took place in this country in Africa.

Questions of doubt fiercely raged war within me. Learning more about the details made me feel like my own purity was being washed away.

Spiraling down in the midst of trying to find answers to my own questions, I was losing grip. How do I categorize this? What bin of understanding does this belong in? In 1994 somewhere around 1 million people in three months had their lives ended, mercilessly.

The Lord’s answer to my heart in agony, as I raised question after question about evil, has been transformed. The more I learn about our capacity to carry out evil I am continuously being introduced to our capability to do good.

We can do good. We are doing good and good will always trump evil. Always!

My introduction to The Lord’s awareness is deepened every day I come to work. Shout out to Compassion! OK, so I know I work here, but honestly I need to say it. Working here has been like a crash course in “How Much God Cares 101.”

Would you like to know two instances of God’s goodness going forth in the lives of two people who live in Rwanda? Welcome to your crash course:

A young lady named Kirabo lives in Rwanda and graduated from the Compassion Child Sponsorship [3] Program in 2004. She is now studying computer engineering at university, and working in the Program Communication Department at Compassion in Rwanda.

She was enrolled in Compassion at an early age. When she was asked how the child development center helped her she stated,

“To begin with, at Compassion I met so many children. There was fellowship. I could see children that loved God. That was a big turning point in my life.

“When I would work at the pulpit, and see these children look so innocent like they hadn’t seen any bad things, and I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be able to look at the world without seeing the bad side of it, and just enjoy it.

“That’s what I got in Compassion. They were loving, and caring, and not too weird. They used to come and pray, they used to give us meals inside the child development center, we used to do arts and crafts and sing. I think that helped me a lot.”

Then there is Antoinette, who went into prison because of her involvement in the genocide. Her daughter, 10 months old, stayed with her in jail until almost four years of age. Then Antoinette asked a friend to register her daughter, Alexie, into our program.

Alexie was registered and under the care of her aunt. Ten years later Antoinette was released from jail because she was found innocent of the chargers that had been brought against her.

Her daughter, Alexie now leads the choir at her church, studies hard in school, and hopes to become a teacher.

Antoinette is now a believer and is immensely grateful to Alexie’s sponsor.

Beauty from ashes [4]. We serve a Lord who restores in the midst of so much evil.

Are we really capable of such good?

To offer hope in the midst of a pitch-black reality known by too many? I know this truth well!

How great His trust in us, that we are ministers of His light and hope to those surrounded by ruthless lies and incomprehensible evil.

Where do you find your mind’s contemplations? What steeps within your heart: our ability to do good? Or evil?