From goodreads: Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.
I read this in February of 2007. It is a book I finished in a couple of days, but one that has stayed with me since. Even though this event happened less than twenty years ago, I am ashamed to say I knew nothing of it at the time. More than just a re-telling of atrocities, Imaculee Ilibagiza’s tale is also an inspirational story of faith, inner strength, and the healing power of forgiveness.
Immaculee’s story is captivating–how a good pastor hid her and seven other Tutsi women from Hutu killers during the Rwandan genocide. They stayed hidden for three months in a 4’x3′ bathroom with no privacy or space to move around in. The house was searched several times, and the women were constantly afraid of being found. Immaculee found a place to withdraw to in that bathroom–her heart. She said that from the time she woke up until the time she went to sleep, she prayed and meditated. It was then that she learned some powerful lessons. I loved this quote: “…I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn’t wait for them to grow and fester. I would always turn immediately to the source of all true power. I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.” In addition to training her thoughts on God, Immaculee asks the pastor for an English dictionary and teaches herself English. This skill is necessary after she is rescued and she begins to work at the United Nations.
“I was living proof of the power of prayer and positive thinking which really are almost the same thing. God is the source of all positive energy, and prayer is the best way to tap into His power.” This event was good for me to learn more about, but more importantly I learned more about thinking positively, prayer, and having faith in God’s plan for me. A must read!