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April 6, 1994 marked the beginning of dark and infamous days for Rwanda, a small country in central Africa. For the next hundred days, up to 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia — mostly using clubs and machetes. It was a genocide of monumental proportions, as the rest of the world looked on in silence.

A young Christian named Benyoni lived in this world of hate. His name meant "Little Bird" because he was so musical. He graduated with honors and became a school principal. But educated people were suspect and routinely executed in Rwanda. Sometimes just wearing a tie could get you killed.

Benyoni was at school with eleven of his friends who were teachers. One day soldiers came and took Benyoni and the teachers out of the school. As they stood together Benyoni asked the soldiers if he could pray for them. He prayed for his friends and for their families, but he spent the most time praying for the soldiers. Benyoni’s friends were encouraged and were expecting a miracle. The soldiers considered freeing them, but they had their orders and knew they would pay with their lives for failing in their mission. They continued their march outside the town, and when they stopped, Benyoni asked the soldiers if he could sing for them. He began to sing a hymn you may know:

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,

Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.

Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

All the young men began to sing with him. You may remember the last verse of that great hymn:

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,

Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.

Into the joy and light of Thy home,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the depths of ruin untold,

Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,

Ever Thy glorious face to behold,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

When the last note was sung, the soldiers raised their rifles and shot all of them to death.

You may be wondering how the story got out since all of them were killed. Those soldiers went out to get as drunk as they could get that night — all except one. He sought out an old Quaker missionary he had met. He asked her, "What kind of God do you serve who could give that kind of life to those who follow him?" She led him to Christ, and soon he was telling anyone who would listen about Jesus and starting Bible studies. It was not long until they shot him as well.

But I ask you, who were the weak and who were the strong in that story?

The Bible speaks of those, "who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength" (Hebrews 11:33-34).

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