ALEX’S STORY PART Four: What happened when he met with his uncle’s killer in a Rwandan prison.
Alex’s interview was filmed by Peter Wooding of ASSIST News
One of the most poignant stories of forgiveness you’ll ever come across.
by John Callister
To recap: Alex was just six years of age when the Rwandan genocide took place. Having witnessed the murder of his uncle and grandmother, Alex had to go on the run to try to preserve his own life. On one occasion he narrowly escaped death when a bullet missed his head by inches.
Eventually he found a place of refuge in an orphanage in Rwanda’s capital, Kagali. The African Children’s Choir organisation – who had rescued children from a civil war in Uganda ten years earlier – visited the orphanage to see if they could help. They took Alex on board, brought him to their base in Uganda and then on tour in the US. He was shown love unconditionally, by his chaperones and others such as the host families he stayed with while on tour. Ultimately, he was taught values that brought ‘healing’ even from the trauma and the wrong that he had faced as a child.
During his time with the African Children’s Choir he came to the realisation that not only did God love him unconditionally, but he had a plan and a purpose for his life. This verse below from Jeremiah 29:11 became an encouragement for him.
In 2013, Alex had an opportunity to return to Rwanda. After arriving there he found out that the man who had killed his grandmother had fled the country, but the man who killed his uncle was in a local prison. For years, Alex had prayed that the day would come when he would be able to meet his uncle’s killer. He felt that his own healing could only be considered ‘complete’ if he was able to look the killer in the eye and tell him that he had forgiven him. It would be Alex’s own confirmation that the act of forgiveness was truly coming from his heart and not just his head – that it would be forgiveness in ‘deed’ and not just in ‘words’. But he also knew that he would need supernatural strength from God to be able to carry out such an act.
The prison authorities agreed to a meeting. Alex was able to, as he put it, “hear the other side of the story”. He had prayed for 12 years for this moment, since he knew it had the potential to root out any bitterness that remained. “Within that 12 years, God sent people to love me, to show me the unconditional love from Jesus Christ daily. He showed me that love so that I can show that love even to the person who has caused me the most pain.”
Alex realised that he was faced with a choice in his life. He could become a victim to the pain that he felt, and he could allow that pain to define him. Or he could look to what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross when he died for the sins of the whole world, and accept His love and forgiveness. But he knew that part of that act was to forgive his enemies, even those who had committed so much hurt to him and his family.
Even though the killer he met, along with accomplices, killed more than thirty people, Alex makes the bold declaration that God’s heart aches for them. He believes that God loves the worst sinner, no matter how much evil and suffering they may have caused. Today, Alex is committed to sharing the love of God that he personally experienced, with others, unconditionally.
If you have been touched by Alex’s story he would be delighted and encouraged to know. Or if you are struggling with issues yourself and would like him and team members to pray for you, then please get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight @ 8.00pm (British Standard Time). Ray Barnett, interviewed about his life, work and vision for the future.