Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered

Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered | World Vision Blog

School children in southern Rwanda, some of them sponsored, race home after class. (Photo: 2013 Jon Warren/World Vision)

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.

Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered | World Vision Blog
(Photo: 1994 Jon Warren)

 

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.

Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered | World Vision Blog
(Photo: 1994 Jon Warren)

 

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. 

Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered | World Vision Blog
Farmers, businessmen, and best friends Andrew (right) and Callixte (left) were able to reconcile after the Rwandan genocide of 1994 with help from World Vision’s powerful peace building programs. (Photo: 2013 Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

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.

Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered | World Vision Blog
Members of The Good Coffee project in southern Rwanda dig terraces for coffee plants. (Photo: 2013 Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

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.

Photoblog: The worst and best story I’ve ever covered | World Vision Blog
 (Photo: 2013 Jon Warren/World Vision)

 


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!

Read more on the World Vision Blog about: Rwanda 20 Years Rwanda disaster relief

Comments

Jon,
God continues to show up in so many ways in this broken and fallen world. Thank you for your obedience to Him as He continues to use you to shine a light on His glory through your work. God bless you brother!

Jon thanks for letting God use you to share His story of reconciliation and bringing hope to His people.

Leave a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.