Meet Real Life Alex, Part 2: Every Pain Has a History

In between Operation Christmas Child countdown posts, I will be sharing details from my real life meeting with Alex Nsengimana, Rwandan genocide survivor and shoebox recipient.


Photo Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Every pain has a history. A stinging begins with a jellyfish.  A back ache with a car accident. A wounded heart with a genocide.

Before we look at a country and deem the residents unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness, might we look into the soul of our own country where we find pain. Pain with a history.

Paralleled Pain

Alex Nsemginama, Rwandan genocide survivor and Operation Christmas Child shoebox recipient, walked us bravely through his country’s painful history.

Steps to Genocide

  • German/Belgium colonization of the 1800’s
  • Creation of false tribes by those countries using principles of anthropology and eugenics to create division
  • Pre-genocide years of the late 1950’s
  • Peace agreement that brought war

Step by step, you could see the seeds planted, germinating, growing.


Photo Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Artificial Division

I was dismayed by the source of much of the divisiveness: artificial division in the early days, followed by a media-fueled fire.

The journalistic pen and microphone became the piston of the sword.

Sound familiar?

Everyone who survived in Rwanda did some dying in the surviving.” – Ken Isaacs, among the first-responders to the Rwandan genocide

Photo Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Dip I Shall

I am passionate about the hope of the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus.

But I am also about reality on the ground because Jesus died in that reality, for that reality. And if that reality involves an occasional dip into the world of socio-political thought, then dip I shall.

A Caution

Let’s be careful that our divisions and distrust – when we must have them – are real and not based on prejudice, hate or unwarranted mistrust. Or on a media-fueled fire.

Packing shoeboxes is a way to show the world there is a place where all can meet equally: at the cross.


Photo Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

Read more about the Rwandan genocide, Ken Isaacs’ experiences and Alex Nesengimana.


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