Book Review: Grace in the Midst of Genocide by Julienne Munyaneza

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Updated June 28, 2017
Book Review: Grace in the Midst of Genocide by Julienne Munyaneza

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£6.99 (Paperback)
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£3.99 (Kindle)

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When Julienne Munyaneza moved from Rwanda to the Uk, her husband and children were soon to follow. Then civil war broke out. Whilst news of widespread genocide was reaching the Uk, Julienne lost contact with her family, who were all separated in the events that followed. After much heartache and prayer, she visited the warzone herself to find and reunite her family, with God's help and guidance.

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Grace In The Midst Of Genocide
The terrible events of the political upheaval and genocide in Rwanda form the backdrop to this personal testimony from Julienne Munyaneza. Just shortly before the war broke out Julienne had left Rwanda to work in the UK for the World Association of Christian Communication, but she left her husband and three children behind in her home country. With no communication with her family Julienne initially worries about what is going before determining to travel back to Rwanda and find her husband and children. This is the story of her faith in a faithful God who she clung on to through this distressing time.

Many people who watched the news of those horrific events and were shocked at the atrocities committed in a country and on the scale that they were. As a young person I remember hearing about it and the suffering that was going on, the violence of the attacks as two factions appeared to turn on one another. I cannot begin to understand what Julienne went through in this period of months as she tried to find out news of home and, in particular, her husband and children. The fact that during this time she continued to work every day instead of being consumed by grief and worry is a huge testament to her strength of character. However she confesses that when she was alone she would cry loudly, calling on God for His mercy in the situation and to keep her family and friends safe.

She says "There was nothing I could do except to pray and trust the God of the impossible to show His true colours." This became a masterclass in appealing to God for something specific. She continues "During this time I learnt to speak to God at all times about anything and everything! I prayed constantly for their protection. Out loud. In silence. Standing , kneeling, or seated. On the train or the bus, day and night. Psalm 91 became my daily bread. I read it all the time, putting their names in the text wherever appropriate...praying, crying, thinking about the things I had hoped that we could do together as a family! Then fear would grip me." I know that this is often the case in our lives, we pour everything out to God, but it is so hard to rest in that moment that fear becomes a constant of our lives alongside the faith. Despite the fear this experience brought her closer to God than ever before, and I believe it made her bold.

When the organisation had a conference in Kenya, she took the opportunity to stay a little longer an try and gather some news as she was so close to Rwanda. Sadly this came to nothing. After travelling back to London she realised that it was time to take action and decided that she would travel to Rwanda. She overcame various obstacles to head into the country and see the horrors for herself and try and find her husband and children, relying on God's protection for herself and that He had kept them safe.

This is a very short book, it is about 45 pages long from beginning to end, yet is succinctly tells a story of her faith and hope in God. This is her testimony of how God kept her and her family in the very worst moments and proved Himself faithful to Julienne. This book leaves those that lived through this will a whole load of "why wasn't I killed?" moments. Although there are human reasons in the moment, there is also the explanation that God protected these people for His purposes.

This is a short and powerful read. You may not have been in a situation like this, but this is Julienne's story - a story of fear, faith and learning that sometimes, in our worst moments, we can do nothing but pray and take comfort in a God who hears us - and sometimes in all the frustration when we are tuned in we can hear that still soft voice of comfort.

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