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Theresa survived the 1994 genocide in Rwanda | Now, she lives to love her neighbors with abandon.

Theresa is the glue that helps keep our Rwanda team a tight knit community. Although her life is one of great joy and service, she did not always have such a positive outlook on life.

During the events of the 1994 genocide, she lost her husband and all of her biological children. She was able to survive the killings by hiding in the bush in the countryside of Rwanda during those three months of horror.

Those seemingly endless days took an unimaginable toll on Theresa – mentally, physically and emotionally.

She struggled to process the trauma that she experienced and was quickly submerged in a deep, overwhelming depression. Her life seemed hopeless.

The heartbreak that she was experiencing was almost too much to bear.

BUT years after the genocide, things began to change.

She was introduced to the radical truth of the gospel.

The gospel’s life-changing impact began to effect every aspect of Theresa.

Not only was her eternity now secure – to be with our Creator and Heavenly Father forever, but she was now witnessing sin, bitterness and resentment melt away before the her because of the power and love of Jesus Christ.

Shortly after giving her life to the Lord, Theresa met the ones responsible for the murder of her husband and children. By God’s abundant grace, she was able to forgive these men.

Her life drastically changed after this. The redemptive power of the Lord has refined Theresa into the woman that we get to work with today.

In 2003, she gave birth to a daughter named Adeline.

Even years after the genocide, Theresa and her daughter were still facing the negative consequences that it left on the country of Rwanda. She was barely able to make rent and provide for herself, Adeline, and Denise and Derrick – the two younger children that she had brought into her home after they were abandoned by their own parents.

Theresa and her family

Theresa worked on a farm to provide all that she could to her new family but was in constant pain because of the rough working conditions.

In 2019, she joined the Women’s Initiative International team

She was a quick learner with everything this ministry had to offer. She considers the ladies that she works with to be family and loves working alongside a community that lifts one another up.

Since joining the program, she has been able to save enough money to purchase a small home in Kigali and even rent out one of the rooms in her home to other women who are needing help.

She is able to better support her children and can afford health insurance for everyone and even the medication that she needs to better manage her diabetes.

Theresa at the Women's Initiative in Rwana

Theresa is dedicated to serving others for the glory of God.

Being the oldest in our group of ladies, she is a natural leader and encourages everyone to constantly strive to improve and remain in God’s word through Bible studies.

She keeps the moral high by bringing a positive attitude to work each day. She is nurturing, compassionate, and has a servant-heart like no other. She is constantly ministering to the ladies that she works with, her neighbors and different members of her church community. Theresa is always serving others through prayer, mentorship and has even adopted two abandoned orphans to raise in the love of Christ.

The Lord is not done working wonders in her life, but this brief testimony of her resilience and the Lord’s faithfulness in her life is worth celebrating!

Her story -and the stories of the other ladies on our Rwandan team- are the reason we advocate for them, brag about the beautiful products that they create, and pray for them daily – that this organization would help bring stability and joy to their live and ultimately glory to the Lord!

Women's Initiative ladies weaving baskets

Every purchase from The Hope Store empowers women in Rwanda to overcome the cycle of poverty while making the world a more beautiful place. Thank you for your “yes” to make a difference in their lives!

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Watch this video to learn more about the 1994 Rwanda Genocide

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