Our photojournalist, Jon Warren, was in Rwanda in 1994 during the genocide and has returned several times since, including just last fall.
Today's photoblog shows Jon's work in 1994 – "It was the worst story I’ve ever covered" – and how almost 20 years later it has become the best.
Check out Jon's amazing photography ... and see what made such a difference.
In 1994, I was a freelance photographer working with a variety of international aid groups. So when refugees began flooding out of Rwanda, I was on my way to the border city of Goma immediately. I knew very little about what was happening – just that there was a mass exodus and rumors of genocide.
The situation on the ground was unimaginably horrific. The first day in the camps, I was carefully framing a photo of a family cooking when I realized that the woman at my feet was dead.
I went to photograph the spot on Lake Kivu where the refugees were fetching water, and there were dead bodies floating next to the jerry cans.
A little girl with a haunted look told me she had hidden in the bushes and watched as her whole family was butchered.
It was hell on earth. I couldn’t understand how this had happened, where God was in all of this. It was the worst story I’ve ever covered.
Six months ago, I was in Rwanda to work on stories for the 20-year anniversary of the genocide. I visited a church service where the preacher and the Scripture reader had been on opposite sides of the conflict. The Scripture reader and his group had wiped out the entire family of the preacher’s wife.
But now they were praising God together. Their wives and children were best friends, and the families shared meals. They were in business together buying and selling cattle. Their coffee cooperative was filling the hillside with new plants. Their community was thriving, thanks initially to World Vision’s relief efforts, and then to child sponsorship.
It was a story of grace and unimaginable forgiveness: reconciliation that only God can bring.
It was the best story I’ve ever covered.
That’s how God works.
Sponsorship has played a vital role in the recovery of many communities, families, and lives in Rwanda over the past 20 years, and will continue to do so in the future. Be a part of that change! Sponsor a child in Rwanda today!