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Filtering by Tag: Stories of Reconciliation

Stories of Reconciliation: Resurrection in Rwanda

Surrender Australia

For this week's Story of Reconciliation, SURRENDER friend Martin Watson shared with us some recollections of the time he spent with Pastor Antoine, a commissioner on the Rwandan National Commission for Reconciliation set up after the genocide in 1994. 'He's one of the most amazing men I've ever met', said Martin. Antoine is also the current Rwandan Team Leader of African Enterprise, an organisation that is committed to bringing healing, reconciliation, strength and renewal back to the devastated Rwandan church and nation.

"The highlight of our time in Rwanda was an evening with Antoine Rutayisire, the only commissioner who has served continuously on the nation's Reconciliation Commission since it began.  Over dinner, he filled out our knowledge of the horrific 1994 genocide - where nearly a million Tutsis were slaughtered in one hundred days, mainly by machetes - with a summary of Rwandan history leading up to it.

I asked him if he could tell us some stories of reconciliation - he has an unpublished manuscript outlining many of them.  'They are all the same', Antoine admitted. 'A perpetrator is convicted by Jesus and can no longer live with his conscience and so decides to confess his crime to the remaining family members. On the other side, those family members have also been convicted by Jesus, in spite of the absolute evil done to them, in that they can't continue to live in bitterness any longer.  They decide they have to forgive.  Consequently, the parties come together and there is confession and forgiveness.'

To be playing such a role, I imagined that Antoine too must have a story of his own.  He believes his town's mayor had his father murdered when Antoine was five years old (in an earlier persecution by Hutus) and has had to contend with serious bitterness and hatred himself. 

As a young man, Antoine completed a Masters in Literary Criticism. He decided he would read the Bible three times and apply his knowledge of literary criticism to it. If it didn't measure up, he would ignore Christianity. If it did, he would give himself to God.  The Bible did hold up to his scrutiny and Antoine went on to study to be a pastor. 

After doing this he realised that his community needed to hear the Gospel, so he would preach to them - but he was determined to never let them into his heart.  Jesus' teaching on forgiveness kept eating at him, until he finally preached a sermon where he admitted what he had been thinking, and publicly repented. 

That evening was, for us, a great privilege - simply being able to listen, ask questions and spend the time with Antoine.  I found myself thinking, I am looking up at a giant of a man.  When we asked how many children he had, he couldn't answer - he and his wife had taken in so many orphans over the last few years.  With the help of women and men like Antoine, and the grace and power of God, it is clear that Rwanda is a nation that is now literally rising from the ashes; it is like a resurrection."

Martin Watson is the Director of Cornerstone Community's Swan Hill Campus

Stories of Reconciliation: Mornington Park Community

Surrender Australia

This week we continue our Stories of Reconciliation series with a video from TJ and Cath from Mornington Park Community. Since moving to the neighbourhood, Cath and TJ have gained a more compassionate perspective about what their community needs - like dinners and downball! Watch and learn how they are seeking to make things right in their neighbourhood...

Stories of Reconciliation

Surrender Australia

In the lead up to SURRENDER:15 we are excited to share with you Stories of Reconciliation. We'll be posting videos, articles and interviews on this blog about how people in the SURRENDER community are making things right in their churches, neighbourhoods and world.

In the first instalment of Stories of Reconcilation, we see how Cornerstone Community are following Jesus towards reconcilation in Bendigo. Click here, or on the video below, to see their story!

If you have a story that you would like to submit, contact for more information.

Jesus comes to see us reconciled to God, reconciled within ourselves, reconciled to our human family and reconciled to the Earth he created. 

// How are you seeing this happen in your fieldwork, church or community context? 
// Who are the agents of reconciliation in your church, organisation or community?
// How are they taking steps towards making things right?

We would love to hear your stories.