How a Compassion Blog Story Helped Reunite This Rwandan Family

Christian was at a church service when he received a phone call that would change his life. Fifteen missed phone calls, to be exact.

“I was in church when I realized I had 15 missed calls,” Christian shares. “My phone had been on silent mode. When I stepped out of the service to call and find out why someone had made 15 calls in the space of seven minutes, the person on the other side of the call told me they were my uncle from my father’s side of the family.”

Family Lost Through Genocide

Christian is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi. In 2019, Compassion Canada shared his story on their blog to mark the 25th anniversary of the genocide.

Back then, Christian shared that his father had been killed during those horrific 100 days and that his mother still couldn’t talk about it. “It’s still tough for my mother to share with me what happened. It was so traumatic for her. She lost my father at a time when they had just married and were starting a family,” Christian said.

Christian is outside the studio where he works with a view Gatenga cell in the background. He is wearing a button up shirt, tie, and vest, and he is looking off into the distance.

The estimated death toll of the genocide hovers around 1 million lives taken in just 100 days. Christian always believed that it was just him and his mother who survived the genocide in his entire family.

Understandably, he initially reacted to the phone calls he received at church that day with skepticism: “I thought they were con men, so I switched off my phone because I couldn’t believe it,” he says.

However, the man on the other end of the phone was indeed Christian’s uncle. And the catalyst for his call: Compassion Canada’s blog post featuring Christian’s story. He and his wife, Pascasie, came across the blog and realized that the young man featured in the article was the son of Pascasie’s late brother!

Christian is wearing a navy blue shirt with gray stripes down the center. He is sitting down with his Aunt Pascasie inside her home. They are holding hands.
Christian and his aunt Pascasie reunited after she saw his story on the Compassion Canada blog.

“It’s a miracle,” Pascasie says. “We had been told that they had been killed when their home was destroyed in the genocide.”

Christian eventually turned his phone back on after the church service, and his uncle called again. “I asked them several questions and put them in contact with my mother to verify if they were truly my relatives,” Christian says. “After talking to my mother, she confirmed to me that they were my uncle and aunt.”

A Lifelong Wish Fulfilled

When Christian shared his story with us in 2019, he shared a lifelong wish: to have a photo of his father. Because his family’s home had been destroyed in the genocide, he didn’t have one.

Being reunited with his father’s side of the family changed that.

Christian is wearing a yellow, black, and white shirt. He is standing outside and is holding out an old family photo.

“I was so excited to hold a picture of my father in my hands as it was always my wish,” Christian says. “When I saw the photo, I was reminded of a dream I had as a child of my father. I was surprised that there was a striking resemblance.”

Not only was there a photo of Christian’s father — but also one of him holding Christian as a baby. “I’m so grateful to God and Compassion for once again bringing joy to my life.”

For Pascasie, the experience was also like regaining an image of Christian’s father.

“When I met Christian for the first time, it was like seeing my brother again. They look so alike,” she says. “I hugged him and I didn’t want to let him go. I’m so grateful to Compassion because you didn’t only take care of our nephew by sending him to school and providing for all his needs, but now you have also reunited us as a family.”

Christian is wearing a navy blue shirt with gray stripes down the center. He is standing in his aunt's home and they have their arms around each other.

Christian was registered at the Compassion center at a local church in July 1999. He excelled throughout his time in school while also gaining leadership and life skills through the Compassion program.

“I wish to also thank our nephew’s sponsor for standing in the gap for us and loving Christian unconditionally so that today he is the great man he is thanks to all of you,” Pascasie says.

Life Transformed

Today, Christian is a university graduate and a prominent presenter and news anchor on Authentic Radio and Television. He hosts “The Authentic Breakfast,” a Gospel-centered show in which Christian encourages his listeners with the hope of Christ. Out of experiencing deep trauma and some of the world’s worst evils, Christian has lived a story of healing and reconciliation — something he now works to share with others.

“On the shows I host, we encourage people,” Christian shared in 2019. “Our message is that despite all the troubles in this world, God’s love is greater than the challenges we face.”

Christian in the studio presenting a Gospel show while smiling for the camera. He is wearing a blue button up shirt and a vest. The background is a red wall.

Coincidentally, Pascasie was a regular listener, even though she had no idea the young man she was listening to was her nephew. “I had never met Christian physically, but I enjoyed listening to his radio shows. When I was told that he was my nephew, I couldn’t believe that we would be reunited with him after 26 years,” she says.

Reflecting on the entire journey of being reunited with his family, Christian describes it as a miracle. “God works in ways that we cannot understand. I didn’t know that telling my story would be a platform for reuniting with my family and getting my longtime wish of seeing my father’s photograph. Miracles truly exist.”

The reunited family: Christian is wearing a navy blue shirt with gray stripes down the center. He is outside his aunt's home with his Aunt Pascasie, and his cousins, Cynthia and Mugisha. They have their arms around each other.
Christian with his aunt and cousins.

This year, as Rwanda marks the 27th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, this family’s story is giving hope to other survivors of the genocide that being reunited with family, even after decades, is possible.

Photos and field reporting by Doreen Umutesi. This article originally appeared on the Compassion Canada blog.

7 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Debbie July 15, 2021

    I don’t know why am crying. Am deeply happy upon reading this. God is a miracle working God indeed.
    Debbie, Kampala

  2. Deborah June 16, 2021

    I thank God for what He did in Christian’s life, God is wonderful. May the Almighty God continue to strengthen him and his family members.

    Deborah, Uganda

  3. Sally Hutcheson Akehi June 5, 2021

    Yes, as Christian says, it IS a miracle! And miracles are what God specializes in after all!! It is His way of bringing us closer to Him, and giving us the chance to tell others about the amazing GRACE that God shares with us so that WE can make the world more aware of what Christ did for us. I just heard yesterday The new song by Casting Crowns which talks about the scars in heaven – and the fact that There ARE NO scars in heaven, except on the hands and feet of our Lord who died FOR US! He took away our scars so that there would be no scars in heaven. Even when we have lost someone through death, we can rejoice in knowing that THEY have no more scars! Thank you for the opportunity to share with you.

  4. Jane Abera June 5, 2021

    Amazing! I am so very happy for you Christian. Indeed, God works in ways we cannot understand. We give him all the glory. Thank you to Compassion too for their support and for being a channel through which you were reunited with your family. And Christian, keep up the good work you are doing. God bless you!

  5. Melody Kaye Wright June 5, 2021

    What a wonderful story and what an awesome God we serve. I cried and laughed reading this story. What a remarkable testimony Christian is.

  6. Jennifer June 5, 2021

    Amazing miracle of God.

  7. Carolyn Latigue June 5, 2021

    What an amazing story with such a Gid sent Blessing.

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