From Genocide to Generosity
Hatreds Heal on Rwanda’s Hills
Throwing caution to the wind at a dangerous time, John Steward gathered a handful of Rwandans and together they dreamed of ways to heal the wounds of genocide and war. The vibrancy of this group drew others into a radical circle for change which silently spread outwards. John made 19 return visits to Rwanda to support and mentor these local warriors for peace. Now he reveals an inspiring story of some of the dozens of people who are being transformed from haters to healers, from bringers of violence to makers of peace.
We rarely fully explore the healing power of forgiveness in our day-to- day lives, so John Steward’s deeply personal, first-hand view of sacrificial forgiveness in the midst of the Rwandan genocide is unimaginable. e personal journeys of pain and reconciliation will break your heart and inspire you. is book, emerging from experience with World Vision sta and the communities they touched, will change your perspective on the human condition.
Kevin J. Jenkins
President and Chief Executive Officer, World Vision International
John Steward’s book provides a powerful and moving account of how recovery after genocide is possible. He inspires us with the stories of Rwandans who have been able to face their past and find hope in the future as they discover the potential for forgiveness and healing.
Dr Wendy Lambourne
Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director,
Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies,
University of Sydney
This work is lodged in my head and heart, it makes my life richer.
Dr. Rachael Kohn
Producer & Presenter of ABC Radio’s The Spirit of Things, Sydney, Australia
An excellent view into an incredibly difficult passage of time, people brought so fearfully low but through a pathway of healing and forgiveness fresh life has come. Rich with insight. How easily a mostly male group can come under the domination of leaders to do the vilest deeds. People enabled to live freed of the terrible burden of unforgiveness, emerge from the darkness into a beautiful light.
Poet and Author
I am delighted to commend John’s book From Genocide to Generosity for telling the personal stories of women as well as men. The direct testimonies of so many Rwandans provide powerful insights into the trauma of the genocide and speak directly of the journeys of healing and reconciliation that are so triumphant.
Professor Shirley Randell
Managing director of SRIA Rwanda Ltd
Educator in gender and the development of women in Rwanda since 2006
This history takes you on a journey of forgiveness with many open hearted Rwanda people who have faced extraordinary hardship and loss. The power of this story lies in the intimate, excruciating and heartfelt words of those who have faced horror first hand and now generously share their healing journeys. It is in their simple telling of the most difficult truths that forgiveness comes to life.
Dr Jill Parris
Counselling psychologist working specifically with trauma
While there are many different approaches to help people heal, reconcile and transform, the innovative and insightful personal narratives provided by John in this book offer a chance for many who have experienced horror the world over to not only understand, but reorganize their senses for a self that was wounded, broken and lost but can now be reclaimed. I fully endorse this book as a perfect companion for anyone seeking to reclaim their life from the devastating impacts of human-generated trauma.
Psychologist, Psychosocial Support Centre, Nairobi
Secretary of the Kenya Counsellor and Psychological Association
Perhaps the journey of Rwandans is showing the way to our own bright future.
Dr Alexander Shaia
Author and Speaker
A truly inspiring and eye-opening book with its simple, true stories of genuine forgiveness and healing. I recommend this unique book to anyone seeking real forgiveness, healing and reconciliation – seeking to find a more ideal world in which we could live as human beings.
Peace Advocate and Co-Founder
South Sudan-Australia Peace Initiative, Melbourne
. . . this account offers the hope that madness is not the last word – reconciliation is!
Emeritus Professor Charles Ringma
Theologian, writer and activist
John Steward is a faithful and wonderful storyteller. Recounting our story is what has kept many of us Rwandans in our sanity despite the unimaginable cruelties we witnessed. In Rwanda, we talk but we are not very good at writing. This book celebrates those ‘heroes’ who will never write their own stories and serves the whole world by showing that there is hope even after the furnace of genocide.
Rev Antoine Rutayisire
Genocide survivor, teacher, preacher and promoter of
National Unity and Reconciliation in Rwanda
Violence is right at the heart of the human condition. The message of salvation is to move from brokenness to wholeness, to reconciliation. The miracle of forgiveness in Rwanda opens space for profound reversals. Such people who forgive the ultimate loss and create empathy instead of conflict, are incredibly challenging for us all. This is a profound book.
Rev Tim Costello
CEO, World Vision Australiai
Table of Contents
- 1 - Coping with Chaos
- 2 - Looking for Light
- 3 - Taming the Trauam
- 4 - Hope After the Horror
- 5 - Judging for Justice
- 6 - Facing the Future
- A Rwandan Responds
- Index of Rwandans
- Index of Places of Rwanda
- Appendix: The Twelve-Step Process of Forgiveness