“No one has the power to shatter your dreams, unless you give it to them.” ~ M. Greyson

Google images

Google images

When I was a little girl, I was my Dad’s princess. As far as I knew, he was the most powerful man alive. I felt strong and safe. I may have been tiny in his arms, but my Dad’s confidence in me assured me that I could be anything I wanted to be.

In the 3rd grade, one day my teacher approached me on a Tuesday afternoon, to ask me if I could teach my class from Wednesday through Friday while she was away. She quickly navigated through what she wanted me to cover while she was absent. I am not sure what was in my mind but I agreed.

Reflecting back, I never needed help with my school homework. I am not sure how but I just understood my subjects very well. So, when I was asked to substitute for my 3rd grade teacher, I didn’t hesitate. I always enjoyed helping my classmates understand the subjects as much as I did. Later that week, perhaps a neighbor brought the news to my dad that instead of learning as a student, I was made a teacher.

If she has something to offer to others, I don’t see why she shouldn’t do it“, my Dad answered. He always believed in me. I knew I could become anyone I wanted to be. I was encouraged to dream, by the most positive influential and amazing father on this planet. My Dad was always proud of me, I could see it in his eyes, although I was young. No wonder why I enjoyed his attention so much.

From Google images

Google images

After I lost my parents to the Rwandan genocide, it was a remarkable change in everything that surrounded me. I was no longer a princess, smart, or allowed to dream. I was someone none of my relatives really wanted, of which to this day I still don’t understand why. One of my aunts (mentioned here) told me that I had no future ahead of me, that I won’t be able to accomplish anything in life.

Also, one religious icon that we all looked up to in high school once told me that I am an orphan, and that is limiting. Or painful expressions like “orphans grasp from the crowd; they don’t really have to be told things”. As I left that cult, I was few inches close to denying God for good because of this false preacher. During high school and college, I didn’t have anybody to encourage me to stay in school, leave alone someone to cheer me when I did well in my tests. As I faced hardship, no one even whispered to me that things would be okay. But Jesus did!

You may have been told some of these things and possibly many more. It may have come from family members, relatives or friends telling you that you are naturally weak or a failure, that you will never do well in life. It may be the devil’s voices that tempt you to despair, reminding you of your past mistakes. Or it may come from life’s trials and tribulations on the road to success. Or you may perhaps have been bullied in school because you looked, talked or acted differently, and that may have led you to believe that you are simply incapable of accomplishing anything major. The list goes on.

Google images

Google images

Today I have good news for you. It does not matter how disappointing your past may have been, it is not too late to keep dreaming. It may not be what you had wanted to become when you were young, but today is your day. Remember this: God is not dictated by bad wishes directed to you from the devil or people.

Don’t let what others say or think about you shape your life decisions. Don’t spend time contemplating on your past failures; things, plans, projects, people, friendships, relationships that didn’t work out. Use it as stepping stones to navigate the road to a hopeful future. God’s plans are to prosper you, not to harm you.

Do you have something that you have been praying for and wishing for a long time? Keep asking. GOD’s ear is not deaf, I am sure of this. While you are waiting: pray, love, work hard, dream, believe, hope. I CANNOT promise to you that you won’t encounter challenges or delays, life is very unpredictable. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, to extinguish and squash our hopes, but God Almighty is STRONGER. If one door closes, knock on the next. Keep climbing, keep walking, keep striving.

Don’t give up, do not lose hope! A small, slow progress is better than a lost dream. Great things happen to those who persist. If you look around, some people have made it, and you, too, CAN!

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

In A Garden of Fame Where Their Treasured Memories Grow Fonder: Two Decades Later!

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It is undoubtedly hard to believe that it has been indeed twenty years since you left us; the world will NEVER be the same without your beauty in it.

It truly still feels like it was yesterday when everything was normal, a happy big family of 8, when your love surrounded me to keep me safe and assured. It is extremely difficult not to weep. It is not easy to accept that I will never see you again on this side of heaven. There is not a single day that passes without thinking about you. You may not be here physically but your memories are alive and rich in our hearts, eternally.

But I also know that our dear GOD loved you so much that He wanted all four of you by His side. If I could ask Him one impossible thing though, it’d be to give me wings to fly over where you are, in a peaceful heaven, to hug you so tight and tell you that I love you, and that it is for always!

Although if that happened, I am afraid that I’d never let you go. So, until eternity, God’s mighty hand will keep me under the shadow of His wings. Only then, death won’t separate us anymore. Our tears will be wiped away, our hearts will cease to be heavy, for good.

A Treasured Garden of Fame!

A Treasured Garden of Fame!

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My dearest little sister Marie Claudine “Magnifique”, you were an angel and died like one.

It is still heart-wrenching to know that you were among the first 3 people that were killed in our entire village after the genocide broke out on Wednesday night; what wrong could you have possibly committed? I am so thankful that I at least got to say goodbye to you, after you died with your arms wrapped as if in a prayer. Although I still remember blood pouring down from your throat as if a knife had sliced it, I hold onto God who loved you way more than I did.

You went like an angel, and I know that lots of them gathered to welcome you home early morning that Thursday, April 7th. I can only imagine the party that was held in your honor! You will tell me more about it in heaven, after I complete the reason my life was spared this very same month 20 years ago. I will catch you up on everything you have missed, okay? I will love you all my life!

Magnifique2014

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Daddy, you left so soon but the confidence you always had in me, as a little girl, keeps me going.

I vividly remember the day you surrendered your final breath, on Sunday afternoon, April 17th. That is when we overheard the Hutu interahamwe militia boasting that they cut you into 3 pieces and they were looking for us (my Mom and 5 children) to finish the whole family. How could anyone on this planet possibly harm you? You may have been tortured in the flesh, but I know that your sweet soul is safe with the God you taught us to pray. Do you remember how you always beamed with pride when I did well in school?

Well, I know you’d have been proud to know that I finished all the way to grad school. I also landed my dream job and work for a great company, in a far away foreign country that has become my new, comfortable home. Can you believe that you were not present to be proud of me? I miss you but Jesus, my Savior and King, is always there on yours and Mom’s behalf. I don’t feel alone. He comforts me when I am scared and applauds when I do well. He also still loves me when I fail too.

By the way, I had a dream shortly after 1994. In it, I made a promise to you that I will love your surviving children as you’d have done if you were alive. I’m very humbled to say that I’ve never withheld anything from your son & two daughters, within my ability, even if it meant starving myself for their well being. And they will never need anything, as long as I shall live! When Jesus will return in his glory to judge all the nations, I will not be ashamed to stand before him and the heavenly congregation that you, Momma, Marie Claudine & Jean Felix will be part of. The Holy Spirit himself bears me witness.

I’d love to tell you so much right now but I will let God tell you everything, okay? I miss you Daddy, but I am strong because of who you raised me to become and the God you always worshiped. P.S: Thank you and Mama for giving me the name “Alphonsine” or a “warrior“. I have become one; you surely prepared me for what lay ahead. Rest in heavenly peace. I will love you Papa, eternally!

Papa2014

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Dear Mommy, when I remember our final moments together, it reminds me how you were always honest even if it’d cost your own life.

As we waited for our death sentence by the mass grave, I recall when the blood-shedders asked you if you had more children not with us so they could hunt them down and bring them to die with us, on Sunday afternoon, April 24th. You didn’t lie. Because you were ready to walk into God’s heaven. I remember pleading to the merciless killers, as if they’d listen, to not kill you before I came back with an armed soldier as an escort, to bring Eric, Alice & Mireille: my plea was my final words with you. Miraculously, all 3 of them and I survived.

I am their Mom now, and I love them more than anything in this life. I do everything that I can think of that you and Dad would have done for us. Them and God are my witnesses. I wish you could see them now. They’re all grown up, beautiful and incredible. Can you believe that Alice and Eric will complete their Master’s degrees this year, and the baby Mireille will finish college? Those three are the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Oh, by the way, your youngest son Eric is marrying the love of his life and the most incredible woman on this planet, late this year. You’d have loved his fiancée, too. GOD and I will take care of every single detail in the wedding. We’re very sad that you and DAD will miss it! And also, Mireille doesn’t really remember how any of you looked like :(. But it’s okay; she has me now. She will always be a princess and spoiled as long as I breathe. This is my eternal promise to you and Daddy!

Did God tell you for me that He has blessed me with another Mom? She is just like you. You don’t look alike on the outside but she may as well be your little sister because she just sounds and does things like you did. I have so many amazing friends in this foreign land that I am honored to call my new home. They make me feel loved and special. I know you’d have been proud to know and see all this!

Although I have only known you for just few years, your love was so real and true. I still feel your comforting voice when I am sick and remember how you used to ask me how I was doing. Then I’d simply break into tears instead of responding as a result of being overwhelmed by your caring, spoiling nature and love. I will tell you so much when we see each other again in heaven. I will love you Mommy, always!

Colette_2014

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My dear big brother “Nkeke”, I’ll never forget that you were my bodyguard at school and no one would come close because you were there, tall and all.

I am so sorry that my last memory of you is not good. I wished I was stronger to stop the infamous Hutu interahamwe militiamen who beat you with sharp wires and blood poured down your beautiful face. The film “the Passion of Christ” reminds me of our last moment together. Jesus was beaten and killed when he indeed didn’t do anything wrong; and in the movie, his broken face reminds me of yours.

You didn’t do anything wrong to those who hurt you, and that is why I know beyond the shadow of doubt that, on Sunday afternoon, April 24th, Jesus welcomed you and Maman in his beautiful heaven where you all belong. I cherish those memories, and knowing that you are no longer in that pain brings me hope and courage.

I know that I will see you again with Mommy, Daddy and Marie Claudine, when I finish the work you all started and accomplish the tasks God entrusted to me. That is the reason God didn’t call me to heaven with you, okay? Rest in God’s peace. I miss you so much. I will love you, all my days!

Nkeke2014

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Dear loved ones: Jean Eric, Alice, Mireille and I, twenty years later, our memories of you are intact and daily watered by your love that keeps us strong. They are forever engraved on the pillars of our hearts. You are our heroes, and we hang onto your word and pride. As we celebrate your lives cut short this month for the 20th time, we again choose to forgive your perpetrators who hacked you to death, your crime being your physical appearance that you didn’t ask God to be born with.

We pray that they will find God, and repent their wrongdoing; otherwise they will face the Redeemer & Father of the Fatherless, because vengeance belongs to Him, and He will repay. We are stronger, your legacy remains. Our goal is to make you proud everyday. We miss you with deep sorrow! Feast and dwell in heaven where amazing people like you deserve to be, we will finish what you started. You are all our heroes, and alive in our hearts as long as we shall live. We will love you forever and always!

Jean Eric, Alice, Alphonsine, Mireille Noella

Jean Eric, Alice, Alphonsine, Mireille Noella. 03/10/2014