Joseph Nyamutera

Joseph NyamuteraI never heard my father speak evil about the Tutsi though we came from the Northern part of Rwanda, where ethnic segregation was high. In fact, we had many friends among them. My father could have been considered a political misfit because he abhorred all the injustices of the Hutu regime against the Tutsi. Later, I discovered my Grandfather had been favored by the Tutsi and in 1959, Hutu extremists hunted him and took away his land because he was considered an accomplice to the monarchy.

I wish I had continued in the same spirit but, unfortunately, my friends shared with me their bitterness and prejudices they received from their family and school and this infected my mind. When I gave my life to Christ in 1990, I gave Jesus my other sins but not my prejudices.

I still believe my upbringing and my strong love for the Lord helped me stand against the killings during the genocide and my family helped targeted people to cross the border to Congo and survive.

After the genocide, I spent 2 years in the refugee camp where I lost my father, first son, sister, plus many friends which added injury to prejudices. The healing and reconciliation seminar helped me deal with my prejudices after a Tutsi confessed the sin of the past and a Muzungu (white) asked forgiveness for the involvement of Europe in the Rwandan tragedy. I also brought my pain to the cross of Jesus where I found healing and new freedom to relate to the Tutsi as a fellow Rwandan.

It was obvious that God had something different for me than going back to teach English, which I enjoyed doing until I went to the camp. As I joined the healing and reconciliation ministry led by Rhiannon and Anastase under the umbrella of AEE in 1997, I discovered the most significant contribution I could bring to the rebuilding of my nation is to confess the sin of my people.  I have served my nation, helping different groups, church and government, youth and adults, orphans and couples to find healing and get reconciled, both those living within Rwanda and exiles.

After attending a course on community development in 2001 organized by Le Rucher Ministries in Geneva, I realized reconciliation is only a platform for holistic development.  Our teams initiated support groups of those who have found healing and are then reconciled, encouraging them to work together to improve their welfare.

In 2007 I joined Le Rucher Ministries because I am also convinced that God promised us other nations would benefit from the Rwandan experience as in Isaiah 60:1-3. I have seen this promise fulfilled as I have been invited to speak in DRC, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Sudan, France, Croatia, the UK and the USA.

My dream is to see the Rwandan tragedy redeemed through Rwanda becoming a model in successful conflict transformation. 

A longer and more detailed version of Joseph's testimony (well worth reading!) can be downloaded here.