Jerome, one of our Small Business Development participants, started a church plant located inside a prison where many are serving sentences for their role in the Rwandan genocide. While ministering in this prison, Jerome found and interacted with the people who murdered his parents and siblings. It wasn’t long until God convicted Jerome to not only forgive them, but to appeal for their release. According to Rwandan law, if the survivors of the victims appeal the sentence of those who killed their relatives, the prisoner may be released.
When relying on our human efforts to forgive, it’s almost impossible to do so 100%. In some cases where we want to forgive, we may still feel the pain and resentment, or have an interest in revenge. In this case, Jerome exemplified 100% forgiveness, which could only be done by the power of God. He not only forgave, but went over and beyond by granting the prisoners their freedom.
After their release, Jerome threw a party to celebrate forgiveness and reconciliation. Jerome’s family and the family of the prisoners were all present and in agreement as Jerome publicly forgave each person involved. As Jerome gave testimony of God’s forgiveness offered to each of us, many people came to faith in Jesus. And to top it off, the government of Rwanda has since given Jerome permission to freely minister in the prisons.
Through one obedient (and difficult) yes to God’s call, God brought Jerome and many others into a new or deeper relationship with Him. Jerome’s personal sacrifice had an eternal impact, all by the Lord’s boundless grace. What a beautiful story!