Hello CbL supporters!
This month we want to focus on some of the incredible testimonies that have resulted from our 'Empower' workshops. We are constantly inspired and excited to hear how lives are being transformed in Rwanda! Please note, all names have been changed for privacy reasons. We hope you enjoy reading these compelling stories!
"Esther is a Hutu woman who married into a Tutsi family before the genocide. Prior to being married Esther, had given birth to a son who was Hutu. She went on to have another 6 children with her new husband.
The whole family loved her eldest son dearly and considered him a valued member of the family. When the Genocide began, her Hutu son betrayed the family, killing 5 of his own siblings and his step father, leaving Esther behind with just one surviving daughter.
Esther was devastated by the actions of her son and the situation worsened as her late husband’s family became very resentful and blamed Esther for the death of her family. Her son was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment and is currently still serving his sentence.
Esther has never visited her son in prison as she struggled with the hurt and pain he caused her. After attending the ‘Empower’ workshop, Esther understood why it is necessary to forgive and has decided to extend forgiveness to her son and will begin to visit him in prison and reconnect their relationship."
“The workshop has opened great doors to purposeful living” 'Empower' participant January 2019
"Stephen was amongst one of the genocide offenders and was sentenced to prison of 13 years and 3 months. After serving his time and being released from prison, he returned home to his wife and they started a family. His wife gave birth to 4 girls and Stephen became quite upset as he desperately wanted a son.
He blamed his wife for the gender of the children, and as a result he left the family and went to Uganda while his wife was pregnant with a fifth child. After a few years, Stephen returned to his wife and five daughters in hope of having a son.
His wife gave birth to a sixth daughter causing Stephen to become very bitter towards his family and often ignored their needs and spent all his money on alcohol. After attending an ‘Empower’ workshop, Stephen learnt about how children are born and how the gender is determined.
He came to realise his wife was not to blame for giving birth to 6 girls, and Stephen decided to ask his wife for forgiveness. Stephen also asked those he perpetrated in the genocide for forgiveness and has decided to start loving his family and caring for their needs. He said “The workshop has opened great doors to purposeful living”.
We especially love this 'Empower' story as it is a great reminder that we get to be a part of helping people with more than just healing from the genocide. Unfortunately, many Rwandans living in rural villages don't have access to basic information such as family planning, and in Stephen's case his family were suffering the consequences of his misinformed ideas. How incredible that Stephen, his wife and his 6 daughters will now get to live a life of love as a result of 'Empower'!
"Daniel is a survivor of the genocide and suffered deeply from the events that took place. After the genocide he married his wife Cynthia ,who was from a Hutu family, and they had a child together. The remaining members of his Tutsi family were unhappy about Daniel marrying a Hutu woman and openly expressed this which caused Daniel to experience a lot of inner turmoil. To cope with the trauma and stress Daniel was experiencing, he would often stay out late drinking heavily and was unable to look after his wife and child.
Cynthia had no option other than to leave Daniel with the child and move to Kilgali and find work in order to generate an income and support the family. After 4 years of living separately, Daniel went to Kilgali to find Cynthia and pleaded with her to move back home. When she agreed and returned to their home village, she discovered Daniel had been unfaithful to her and had started relationships with other women.
This caused a lot of tension in the relationship which resulted in conflict between the two of them. A local government administrator brought Daniel and Cynthia to the ‘Empower’ workshop in hope they could resolve the ongoing conflict. Both Daniel and Cynthia experienced healing from the workshop and decided to work towards developing their family.
Daniel told CARSA “This workshop helped to love my wife again. I could not realise how my future would look like but this workshop has awakened me.” His wife Cynthia reported that Daniel had drastically changed his behaviour as a result of the workshop, saying he no longer went out drinking at bars, instead he would come home early and spend time with the family. He also is now taking responsibility for the family finances and recently purchased a TV for them all to enjoy."
WHAT'S THE TAKE AWAY?
There are so many incredible stories that we get to be a part of at CbL, and we encourage you to allow these stories of healing and restoration to transform the way you live each day.
Many studies have emerged in recent years that support the power of forgiveness to potentially improve well-being and productivity especially in professional settings. We encourage you to live a forgiving life and influence those in your world to follow in your footsteps.
When people see others practicing forgiveness, it often fosters positive emotions that can improve decision-making, cognitive functioning, and the quality of relationships. Here are a few ways to bring forgiveness into your world:
Find opportunities to model forgiveness in your workplace
Be the first to apologise and attempt to make restitutions
Rebuild trust by working on a common task
We hope you enjoyed this month's updates! We'll be back next next month with more amazing stories and good news. Finally, we want to thank you for your continued love and support which makes all our work possible.