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An Entire Family...

Emmanuel’s Story.

Emmanuel was there and narrowly escaped the violence that eradicated his and so many other families across Rwanda.

While he survived the genocide, he lived with the constant reminders of an unimaginable loss. Never expecting to return to the land where his heritage was all but erased, he said a pair of pastors led him to realize God’s plan for his life.

Emmanuel found his calling in returning to Rwanda, where he helped connect orphans in desperate need of love with widows willing to open their hearts. Years before he established the Hope Vocational Training Center to meet the long-term goals of these orphans, he was instrumental in meeting their immediate needs.

Just two years after he narrowly escaped the mass genocide that left almost his entire family dead, two spiritual advisors in two separate situations delivered the same message: God wanted him to fulfill a mission in Rwanda.

“After getting one message from two different people, as a Christian I was just thinking, ‘What is happening right now in my inside? Why this message is coming at this point?” he recalled.

Could He Really Return to Rwanda?

Emmanuel said he needed to hear from God directly before he returned to the nation where he lost everything. Following three days of prayer and fasting, he got his message.

Upon deciding to obey God’s will, he said he “miraculously” obtained a plane ticket and soon arrived in a once familiar homeland that appeared entirely foreign.

“When I got there, I was completely lost,” he said. “Lost in my belief, lost in being alone. And I questioned everything. I was asking why. Why, God, did you ask me to come to such a place like this?”

Emmanuel returned to the neighborhoods where his loved ones once lived, finding the streets lined with orphans in desperate need and barely surviving. That sight clarified his mission. He recognized God’s voice and was reminded of James 1:27, which calls on believers to care for orphans and widows.

“When I heard that, I said OK, now I understand the reason why I’m here,” he said.

Before he returned to Rwanda for the first time, he had not yet learned that his mother also survived.

“I didn’t have any desire, any motivation to go here,” he said. “I lost everything.”

Nevertheless, he followed where God led him. He had no job and was burdened with the pain of loss beyond imagination. But through it all, every step brought him closer to the audacious mission of restoring his people. It all started with his plan to provide the basic needs of orphans displaced in the genocide.

“The idea came to me when I was thinking about how I would be able to get these orphans into houses and take care of them,” he said.

By gathering widows who faced similar loss, Emmanuel was able to provide shelter and love to numerous orphans. That initial effort saw nine young people were given a stable home they so desperately needed.

“Widows lost kids and orphans lost parents,” he said. “So bringing them together in one move was a win-win on both sides.”

After a fateful visit from a friend attending college in the U.S., Emmanuel identified the next step toward providing resources for Rwandan orphans as they grew older.

“We needed to come up with something that would help them, to train them,” he said. “They’ve never been to school and have no money to go to school.”

He registered his project as a non-profit in 2005 and classes at Hope Vocational Training Center began in 2008. A decade later, more than 200 students graduated in a single year, each one impacting families, communities and the nation Emmanuel felt a divine pull to help restore.

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Rebuilding Rwanda
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