Q: I understand that your work began in Rwanda. How did you go about bringing reconciliation to a land torn apart by the horrors of genocide?

We are going to try to give you an answer using the words of one of our founders, Molly Rouner.

“It began with a seed of hope and faith. That seed, nurtured in prayer and compassion, grew into courageous steps of faith by three people, willing to be led, step by step, by the Spirit.  From mysterious soil, known only to God, there emerged something life-giving, heart-healing, hope-infusing – a 3 day retreat that quietly, tenderly opened a way for unimaginable hurts to be brought to the heart of God where healing could begin. And the healing grew, welling up in transfigured lives, overflowing across divisions of tribe, culture, religion – igniting the most unlikely of friendships, mending the most broken relationships, restoring life and hope to the most shattered communities.  Among pastors, women, youth, business people, military leaders, government leaders, and countless others seeking peace for their hearts and their communities in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, South Sudan … and here in our own land, the deep, reconciling work of the Spirit has been making all things new!

That little seed nurtured too by generosity poured out in gifts of time, expertise, presence, and money – has grown beyond our capacity to hope or dream!  Who could have known then, that 25+ years and hundreds and hundreds of retreats later, that seed would still be multiplying– with people giving themselves and their time to be equipped as retreat facilitators; with an expanding group of partners on the ground, near and far, volunteering, gathering others to come and receive the gift that has been transforming for them; and so this simple, profound ministry is changing the world – one heart, one small circle of people at a time.”

And we can tell you that the movement of reconciliation continues and is growing! For example, our team in Rwanda has found that there is a new challenge arising within the next generation that is growing into adulthood, the innocent victims of the genocide, those who were by children or perhaps not even born yet when the genocide occurred. This generation is living with the consequences of the horrors that their parents and grandparents walked through, and now they are crying out for their own doorway of hope into a different future from what was experienced in the past. Our Pilgrim Center Rwanda team is proactively responding to that cry and is pivoting the work to address the needs of this next generation in an intentional way, a way that they are calling a “new chapter.” They have selected four communities in four different regions of the country where these new challenges are the greatest and they are coordinating their efforts to embark on a sustained effort of reconciliation for these communities.

We appreciate you praying for and partnering with us in this work. We could not do it without God and His people.

Thanks for reaching out,

The Practicing Reconciliation team