Rwanda: The Power of Young Leaders

Power for Good, or for Evil

Rwanda: It took Hitler 12 months using the efficiency of his gas chambers to kill one million Jews. In 1994 one million people were murdered in one hundred days, and most were killed with machetes! The brutality and extent of this genocide is impossible to comprehend and can only really be understood by those who lived through it. How could so many be killed in such a brutal way and in such a short period of time? This horrific genocide was achieved by mobilizing the youth of Rwanda; it was teenagers and young adults who carried out the slaughter. Satan knows that if you empower young people and harness all of their energy, creativity, naiveté, and unswerving commitment to a cause, you can achieve almost anything, either for good or for evil.

John Baptiste, Youth for Christ’s National Director in Rwanda, lived through the genocide. He described rivers and lakes that were completely covered with bodies and streets that were flowing with blood. John Baptiste’s fiancé, nearly all his 60 volunteer staff and most of his board members and their families were murdered.

You would expect that it would be impossible for a nation to recover from such brutality and evil. However, when you visit Rwanda today you are confronted with an absolute miracle of God’s grace and love. Just as Satan used the youth of the nation to destroy, murder and pillage, so God is using the youth of Rwanda to rebuild the nation and to bring about enormous change for good.

In the past ten years, through the investment of Kingdom Partners like you, 350,000 young people have been reached and 70,000 of these have committed their lives to Christ. By the end of 2005 a further 800 young leaders were trained and through them 100,000 more young people will be reached. Rwanda is now a nation being rebuilt by young people who are sold out to Jesus, and in the face of unbelievable suffering, evil and destruction are living out the values of God’s Kingdom – love, grace, forgiveness, purity, self-sacrifice and servant-hood. Rwanda today is the least corrupt and most peaceful nation in East Africa and arguably in the whole continent of Africa.

Through your partnership with Youth for Christ, young people all over the world can be reached and discipled. You can have a crucial role in developing young disciples who will be committed, vibrant and on fire for God as agents of change in the world. We sincerely believe that by empowering young people and allowing them to lead we can change the world; that the Rwandan experience can be replicated in many, many other nations; that millions of young people can be reached and released into the world; and that through these young courageous followers of Jesus Christ the Kingdom of God will be established in the darkest strongholds of Satan.