I’m glad you’ve joined us for 30 Days of Hopeful. Perhaps life is hard for you right now–you’re struggling to find hope. When all seems hopeless, I find encouragement from others who have passed through the furnace and come forth with faith shining. Their stories inspire me to hold onto my hope. I want to share one such story with you. My friend Ange loves to encourage others with her story of hope.
I met Ange during one of my first missions trips to Rwanda and Burundi. Most everyone I met was a genocide survivor with a hard story to tell. But it was Ange’s journey of agony-turned-into-hope that inspired me most.
Ange was in high school when genocide broke out in Rwanda in 1994. She and fiancé, Emanuel, fled on foot to the neighboring Congo. They married and had baby Edna. The brutal war spilled over into the Congo. Soldiers attacked their refugee camp and Emanuel and Ange, with eighteen-month-old Edna on her back, ran terrified into the forest. They became separated as they fled for their lives. A few days later while Ange was gathering firewood, soldiers kidnapped little Edna.
Ange ran frantically through the forest searching for the soldiers. She soon discovered the baby had become sick and died. Ange’s heart and her hope were shattered. She hid in the forest for weeks with no clean water, food, fire, or shelter. As she describes it, “It was like we were dead, but still living.”
Ange made her way to Kenya with the help of a relief organization, still searching for her husband. She cried out, “Oh God, You know that my beloved first born was taken away. And you know how I could be happy if I could find my beloved husband! Please Lord I hope you have not forgotten me.” Ange continued to seek God’s purpose for her own life while she waited for her dream to be fulfilled. Sensing a call ministry, she began attending Bible college in Kenya. God gave Ange hope, encouraging her with these words:
We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us (Romans 5:3-5).
Ange continues her story, “One day, I received the amazing news that my husband was alive! It was like a dream!!! We stayed up all night praising and thanking God!” So, after eight long years, Ange and Emanuel were reunited in Burundi. God soon blessed them with a baby boy they called Cherubim. When I first heard Ange’s story, she had just given birth to twins Joshua and Geoffrey.
Ange shares from her heart: “We have nothing to give our Lord for what He has done for us, so we give Him our thanks: Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me (Psalm 50:14-15).”
Ange loves to encourage others to hold onto hope when times look darkest. I hope you will be strengthened by her story and her prayer for you: “May God bless you and help you to be patient in every situation you may pass through. Glory be to the Lord JESUS. Amen!”