After His Family Was Killed, He Did The Unthinkable

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In 1990, the country of Rwanda descended into violence and chaos. The mass genocide against the Tutsi led to a death toll of between 500,000 and 1,000,000. Thousands of children were orphaned, including Alex.

At just 4-years-old, Alex was orphaned and being cared for by his grandmother and aunt. When the genocide began, he watched from the window as his neighbor, who he knew by name, tortured and killed his grandmother. Just a few months later, his aunt passed away, leaving Alex and his brother in the care of an orphanage.


Several years later, Alex was adopted by an American family and came to live in Minnesota.

“I love everything about Minnesota, but one thing,” said Alex in a video for Operation Christmas Child. “And that is the snow and the cold.”

When Alex was a young man, he returned to Rwanda to visit the orphanage in which he grew up. During this trip, he visited the prison where his family’s murderer resided.

“I felt called to be back and to help in the process of forgiveness and reconciliation because that’s what the country is going for,” said Alex. “I’m coming to understand that God loves not just me, but everybody, including those people who killed my family. Forgiveness frees the people who committed the crime by them having peace.”

At the prison, Alex met the man who killed his grandmother, prayed for him and told him he forgave him.

“We saw God,” said Bishop Rose Karasanyi, who was there in the prison with Alex. “We saw God’s love. The act was so humbling, after which they hugged each other.”

After so much violence and bloodshed, Rwanda is slowly healing, one act of forgiveness at a time.