Authored by Frederick Mdabaramiye & Amy Parker
“Then the leader turned to me. I’m not sure why he chose me. Because i was a teenage boy? Because I looked like a Hutu? Because I didn’t have an identity card? I will never know. But I do know that what he said next I will never forget. “I want you to kill all of these people.” He gestured towards them with his machete. I stared at him horrified. “Kill these people!” This time he raised the machete at me.
I knew what would happen if I refused. Yet obeying the order meant I would become one of them – I would join their mission to fill the Tutsi’s and Tutsi-sympathizers of Rwanda. If I didn’t obey him, I knew that I would die. But it didn’t matter. The way I felt at that moment – exhausted, battered, humiliated – I was already dead.”
“My God won’t let me do that”
These seven words of boundless hope would irreversibly change the life of the teenage boy who spoke them.
On April 7, 1994 the life of Frederick Ndabaramiye and his family changed forever as the Rwandan genocide erupted in their homeland. When Frederick faced those same genocidaires a few years later, he noted the machete that hung from the right hand closest to him and wondered if his would soon be added to the layers of dried blood that clung to the blade. Either way, young Frederick knew that he wouldn’t be able to carry out the orders just given to him, to raise that blade against the other passengers of the bus, regardless of the race marked on their identity cards.
That bold decision would cause Frederick to lose his hands. But what the killers meant for harm, God intended for good. The cords that bound him served as a tourniquet, saving his life when his hands were hacked away. This new disability eventually fueled Frederick’s passion to show the world that disabilities do not have to stop you from living a life of undeniable purpose. From that passion, the Ubumwe Community Center was born, where “people like me” come to discover their own purposes and abilities despite their circumstances.
Through miraculous mercy and divine appointment, Frederick forgives those who harmed him and goes on to fully grasp his God-given mission. In this extraordinary true story of forgiveness, faith, and hope, you will be challenged, convicted, and forever converted to a believer of the impossible.
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