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THE STORY OF FRIDA


Frida Gashumba tells something of her story in her book Frida: Chosen to Die, Destined to Live, a miraculous escape from the Rwandan genocide. Frida was born in 1980. She was a Tutsi, one of the tribes 'created' during colonial rule based primarily upon height, head size, shape of nose and educational aptitude. The other tribe created was the Hutu tribe. The tribes intermarried, but by the early 1990’s many Hutus in particular felt hatred towards Tutsis. In 1994, 800,000 Rwandans were murdered in three months.


Frida was buried alive with her murdered family. The killers thought she was dead. The next day, she was dragged out of a makeshift grave. Her house was destroyed - its contents divided between local Hutus - former friends and neighbours! Amazingly, despite subsequent death threats, one or two local Hutus hid and protected Frida until she escaped to safety. Emotionally scarred and traumatized, over a period of time Frida experienced the healing of Jesus Christ in her life, and she became a committed Christian.


Forgiving the killers of her family was clearly going to be incredibly difficult, but a few years ago she was able to face the man who did it, and to visit her former neighbours and to pray for peace to be upon their homes and families. But perhaps the most wonderful thing about Frida is the way she now comforts those who are still severely affected even 15 years later, passing on the comfort she herself experienced. Her Rwandan birth name is "Umuhoza." It means "One who brings healing to the broken-hearted."


God does not comfort us [just] to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters. God wants us to experience his comfort and his perfect peace through each other, and to pass it on.


As for Frida, she is now married to Steven – a Rwandan Church leader; Frida is the mother of two children (Maxwell and Natasha) and she is devoted to passing on God’s comfort to those in need.

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