Rwandan President Paul Kagame Joins Pastor Rick Warren for Special “Kwibuka 20” Service In Honor of Genocide Victims

Image: Pastor Rick Warren: Rwanda Prospers Because it 'Chose to Forgive' Pastor Rick Warren and Rwandan President Paul Kagame at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Saturday.
Image: Pastor Rick Warren: Rwanda Prospers Because it ‘Chose to Forgive’ Pastor Rick Warren and Rwandan President Paul Kagame at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Saturday.

President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, joined Pastor Rick Warren on Saturday, April 26, 2014, for “Kwibuka 20”, a special service at Saddleback Church to honor the victims of the Rwandan genocide 20 years later and celebrate the partnership and efforts of The PEACE Plan in Rwanda over the past 10 years.

According to a news release from A. Larry Ross Communications, “Kwibuka” means “20” in Kinyarwanda. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, which began April 7, 1994. The genocide took the lives of 1 million Rwandans and left 1 million children orphaned over the course of 100 days before it ended in July 1994.

“This moment is important for me, personally, and for Rwanda because it brings us to remember the more than 1 million individuals who lost their life and honor the strength of survival and resilience of Rwanda that has kept our nation alive,” said President Kagame.

“During the genocide, almost every church betrayed its divine mission. Rwandans sought refuge in the church only to be betrayed. But today, things are different. Thank you, Saddleback members, for providing a meaningful partnership. Faith in God is once again a sense of comfort for many Rwandans.”

Eleven years ago, President Kagame, after reading Pastor Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Church,” invited Saddleback to start sending members to help make Rwanda the first Purpose-Driven nation and the first national model of The PEACE Plan. The church responded and has today sent more than 1,200 Saddleback members to serve in Rwanda.

The PEACE Plan works worldwide to “Promote reconciliations”, “Equip servant leaders”, “Assist the poor”, “Care for the sick” and “Educate the next generation”. It is a massive effort to mobilize millions of Christians to attack the five global evil giants of spiritual emptiness, self-centered leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/education. Since its founding in 2003, Saddleback has sent over 21,000 members to implement The PEACE Plan in 197 nations.

“God tells us to remember the past,” said Pastor Warren. “More than 2,000 years ago, another nation by the name of Israel was torn by war and everyone thoughts its days were over. But God raised up a business leader, government leader and spiritual leaders to restore the country. God knew it would take all three sectors to rebuild the nation. In this same way, Rwanda has been rebuilt.”

Through The PEACE Plan in Rwanda, Saddleback Church has worked together with the public, private and faith sectors of Rwanda – what it calls the three-legged stool of churches, government and businesses – to help lower the poverty rate, empty orphanages, provide healthcare, train pastors, and provide education.

“When we first visited Rwanda, we had no idea what we were doing or what we had to give, but we brought what we knew, which was the love of Christ,” said Kay Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church.

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Dan Wooding

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