April 7 might not have been a day that many of us saw as significant, but for New York Times best-selling author, Immaculée Iligabiza, and the millions living in the country of Rwanda, it marked the 25th anniversary of the start of something truly tragic; the Rwandan genocide, a mass murdering of over 800,000 citizens of the country that was one of the largest genocides in modern history.
Immaculée grew up in a small town in Rwanda, living a life that she claimed in her best-selling book, “Left To Tell,” was like paradise. But paradise soon came to an end once the genocide began. The mass murdering of the people of the Tutsi tribe; the one that Immaculée belonged to, created three months of pure devastation.
Along with seven other women, Immaculée hid in a small 3-foot by 4-foot bathroom in the house of a pastor. For three months the voices of killers and threats of death sounded throughout the small room.
Eventually, the mass genocide came to an end, but Immaculée’s journey did not.
During her time in the bathroom, she prayed and kept her thoughts on her one savior, God. It was this love that she says kept her alive in the dreadful times that were upon her; this Divine voice that helped her forgive.
When coming out of the bathroom she found that all of her friends, relatives, and family had been killed, but despite all the negativity surrounding her, Immaculée found it in her heart to look at the man who killed her mother and one of her brothers in the eye and forgive him.
As God led her on her journey after the genocide, Immaculée was able to write all she had experienced in her book “Left to Tell,” describing what it had been to live with so much fear and be able to discover God who was always there to help her. She now leads retreats all over the world, helping others see the power of God that she discovered.
During a local interview with Immaculée, she said about what she has accomplished, “Whatever is happening every day I take it as a responsibility to do, to dwell, to really reach out and care for those people.” And caring is exactly what she does, whether for her neighbors or for the children in the schools in Rwanda. When talking about the killers during the genocide she answered, “There is no such thing as a bad group of people, it is just not a natural way.”
Even after all she had been through during the horrid events of the Rwandan genocide, Immaculée has been able to forgive and inspire others with the love of God and power of forgiveness, proving that even in the darkest of times there is always a way to find the light.
Through her entire journey, she had to overcome many obstacles and learn many lessons, the most important one being, “To know that God for sure is real… he’s my friend, he sees me every day.”