Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Disaster Relief: Plans For A Hopeful Future

It shouldn’t be a secret that my time in college was like that of a marathon. It took me 9 years to get a 4 year bachelors degree. In order to get the degree, I needed to take a cultural anthropology class. Every Wednesday night for 4 months, I would gather with about 5 others to study the things that shape a persons culture. It was one of those classes I was less motivated to be in. But the teacher for the class was great. She understood we were busy students juggling jobs, living with roommates, and bearing the demands of term papers that carried the bulk of our final grade for many of our other classes. So she accommodated by making her class a light load. She gave us a list of movies for homework. Our assignment was to pick a few and watch them, then write a short paper on each movie before the semester ended.

Hotel Rwanda was among the few that I chose. The movie is sort of a bio-pic. It details the life of a hotel manager who housed Rwandan refugees during their 1994 civil war. The real hotel manager says retelling the genocide was tough but necessary. I personally found it eye opening, and it caused me to struggle with the age old question: If God is so good, then how can He stand by and let something like this happen?

The genocide became known worldwide, and people still associate the conflict with Rwanda. But that’s starting to change thanks to Richard Taylor. He first visited Rwanda in 2002, as part of a hiking expedition with friends. The young Executive Director of The Wellspring Foundation has been working with the locals to rebuild life after the tragedy. In a recent interview on 100 Huntley Street, he speaks of God’s involvement after the fact as transformational.

Recalling a conversation he had with a Rwandan native who lived through the genocide, Taylor says 40% of Rwandans are age 15 or younger. Making that 40% as their target audience is essential for Wellspring’s relationship to be a success. Focusing on “these young people who hadn’t actually personally experienced the genocide but still live with some of its scars; we can do something incredible in turning this place around.” The transformational work, from Richard’s perspective is happening by educating this young group so that their heart is changed in addition to their minds.

The bible speaks of transforming your mind. It also says we shouldn’t copy the behavior and customs of this world. Instead, we are to let God transform us into who He wants us to be. Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” 16 years after the fact, young survivors of the Rwandan genocide are realizing their potential for a bright and hopeful future. For these young Rwandans, The Wellspring Foundation is the vehicle God uses to show them His plans for a hope and future. What about you? If God’s plans are about hope instead of disaster, what vehicle might He use to show His plans for your future?

No comments:

Post a Comment