Episode 10 // Empowering the Future: Healing Generational Trauma in Rwanda with Emile Kayitare

Jun 04, 2024
Proclaim Peace S1E10


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In this episode of the Proclaim Peace Podcast, hosts Jennifer and Patrick are joined by Emile Kayitare, founder of Rwanda’s Empower the Future, a non-profit supporting families affected by genocide. They discuss their favorite sermons in the Book of Mormon: the Sermon at the Temple and King Benjamin's address. They delve into the powerful impact these sermons had on their lives and highlight key passages that resonated with them. 



[00:02:42] Children's role in societal peace.

[00:04:39] Rwandan genocide and reconciliation.

[00:09:07] Genocide in Rwanda.

[00:15:27] Divisive language and its impact.

[00:20:45] Effects of violence on generations.

[00:25:45] Rebuilding Lives Through Education.

[00:30:33] Caring for children in society.

[00:35:15] Reading history with the Book of Mormon lens.

[00:40:40] Justice and reconciliation process.

[00:43:55] Forgiveness and reconciliation after prison.

[00:49:47] Finding peace through helping others.



(00:03-00:06) Jennifer Thomas: Welcome to the Proclaim Peace Podcast. I'm Jennifer Thomas.
(00:06-00:16) Patrick Mason: And I'm Patrick Mason. And this is the podcast where we apply principles of the gospel and read the Book of Mormon to become better peacemakers. Hey, Jen.

(00:16-00:17) Jennifer Thomas: Hey, Patrick.

(00:17-00:18) Patrick Mason: How's it going?

(00:18-00:21) Jennifer Thomas: Good. It's good to be with you today. I'm excited about this conversation.

(00:22-00:49) Patrick Mason: Yeah, me too. Okay, so as we dive in, so I've got a hot take for the day. Actually, I'm not sure that it's actually all that hot. I'm going to make a wild claim here that I think that the two best sermons in the Book of Mormon are the Sermon at the Temple, which is like Jesus's reprise of the Sermon on the Mount, and then King Benjamin's address at the beginning of the Book of Mosiah. I'm not sure that that's like super controversial to say that.

(00:49-01:40) Jennifer Thomas: Patrick's starting today by throwing down. We're gonna get a bunch of emails from people who are like, not the best certain sermon. But I think we're gonna all have to agree that Jesus's sermon takes the cake, it wins. But I couldn't agree more with you that Benjamin's address is incredibly powerful. I know that for me, I mark reading that as one of my pivotal conversion moments. I have some very tender experiences around that. It changed the way I decided to orient my life and has been a really important part of my religious experience. Just beautiful passages, right? Like, when you're in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God. forcing me to realize that the natural man is an enemy to God. And I think one of the most important for me is a reminder that in all things and in all places, I am also a beggar, and that it's important for me to remember that.

(01:40-02:31) Patrick Mason: Yeah, I mean, we could spend years and years. We could do a whole podcast, a whole series just on this sermon. I think it's so rich. I actually once spent two entire weeks nonstop all day focusing on just one chapter, just on Mosiah chapter 4. It was one of the richest spiritual experiences I've had in recent years. So we could do that. But today we want to kind of drill in a little bit more, focus on just one of these amazing passages from Benjamin's address. And this comes from chapter four, verses 13 and 14, where he teaches the people, and you will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably and to render to every man according to his due. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry or naked, neither will you suffer that they transgress the laws of God and fight and quarrel with one another.

(02:32-03:42) Jennifer Thomas: So one of the things that jumps out at me immediately in these two great sermons is their mention of children and mention of the way we relate to children and the way we are supposed to be like children. And sometimes I think we forget that. But one of the things that I hope you've seen that Patrick and I are trying to bring forward as we talk about peace is how much peace emerges in a society at the familial, personal, individual level, particularly with children. When we talk about how we relate to each other, family dynamics in our communities, in our wards. Our children see that and they experience it, and it helps them become who ultimately they are as an adult. Today, we want to highlight a very real way that these teachings have taken root in what could be conceived of as one of the most violent contexts in recent memory. We have today someone who's here to share with us an experience about how engaging with children and engaging to repair the harm that was done to children can actually bring about significant peace, both individually and in a society.

(03:43-03:53) Patrick Mason: Yeah, and in a lot of ways, it's a nice follow-up to our conversation with Annie Waddups, right, where she talked about repair and just how important that is within the development of children.

(03:53-04:02) Jennifer Thomas: We're about to share with you a beautiful example of what she told us in that last episode, which is that repair is possible, and we are designed to experience repair if we'll just move towards that.

(04:03-04:34) Patrick Mason: Yeah, so to set up the context a little bit for our conversation today, so those of us who are, say, our age or older might remember that 30 years ago in 1994, the Central African nation of Rwanda experienced the worst genocide that humanity had seen since World War II. in only a hundred days. I mean, this is like mind blowing to me. In the space of only a hundred days, about a million people were killed, oftentimes in very brutal ways.

(04:34-04:38) Jennifer Thomas: Hand to hand combat, right? It wasn't just a bomb that went off. It was personal.

(04:39-05:00) Patrick Mason: Right, right. Person-to-person, face-to-face, just horrific. And in a lot of ways, the Rwandan genocide is an example of the very worst that humanity has to offer, kind of the very opposite of what King Benjamin talks about when he says that we should live peaceably with one another.

(05:00-06:01) Jennifer Thomas: But would we let you sit there? We will not. We are here to tell you better stories. And one of them is the fact that the story of Rwanda did not stop where it was in 1994. And over the past 30 years, the nation has undergone a pretty remarkable transformation as the people leading it and the people who had experienced the genocide made very active committed decisions to choose peace and reconciliation. So much of that work has had to focus on children, raising up a generation that was not going to repeat the sins of their fathers. And today in our episode, we are bringing on a guest that we hope will help us all reflect on just how powerful King Benjamin's teachings are. They've been very personally meaningful to him. and what the absolute worst consequences can look like when we don't follow the path that Benjamin outlines for us, but also the hopeful path that is available to us when we turn our back on the worst and turn towards peace.

(06:01-07:44) Patrick Mason: Kayitare.

(07:44-07:47) Emile Kayitare: I'm so happy to be with you today.

(07:47-08:01) Patrick Mason: Thank you. Well, I want to start. We have we have a lot to talk about. There's so much that we want to learn from you. But I want to start by asking you the same question we ask all of our guests. And that is, how do you define peace?

(08:01-08:30) Emile Kayitare: OK. According to me as a Rwandese, also as a young man, who grew up in Rwanda after the genocide we had in 1994. I have found peace to be living without the fear of harm because of others' bad intentions.

(08:30-08:33) Patrick Mason: Yeah, it doesn't get any more straightforward than that, right?

(08:34-09:21) Jennifer Thomas: Yeah, I actually really appreciate you sharing that because I think sometimes if we haven't ever lived in fear, we make peace really complicated. But I love the way that you have brought that down to the most fundamental level, that one of the most important things for us as human beings is to live in peace, right, and feel like we can live our life fully without fear. One of the things we'd love to have you talk to us about is the fact you mentioned this, this year marks the 30-year anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. I think many of our listeners might not even remember because some of them are younger or know very much about what happened in your country in 1994. Would you mind giving us a brief history about that and sharing more with them?

(09:21-12:53) Emile Kayitare: Yeah, so in Rwanda we had the genocide of Tutsi in 1994, where more than 1 million people were killed in 100 days. And these people were Tutsi and they were killed by Hutu. But they were all Rwandese. but Hutu have been taught to hurt Tutsi for so many years. And one of our colonizers, the legion, they played a big role in teaching this and also supporting it to the extent where Some people, I mean Hutu, thought that Tutsi deserved death. And then in 1994, it was in April on 6th, so the plan of the president was shot and the next, the same day in the evening, genocide started. So, but that was the immediate cause, but the genocide was prepared before. So, it only took 100 days or 3 months, so to kill this many people. So of course after genocide we had so many kids who were orphans and after that we had so many prisoners because of what they did in genocide. But we are grateful that the government that we had after genocide, those are the leaders who were led by One of them was youth and most of those patriots who stopped the genocide were youth. So they were able to tirelessly fight and stop the genocide and took over and led the country and they introduced forgiveness, reconciliation and unity. So they did a marvelous work and they just thought we should be one. That's why we don't even have tribes anymore in our country and that also played a big role in teaching reconciliation and unity and also the development of the country. So we are so proud of them, I mean those good leaders and we are grateful for how far they have brought us. So that is a little bit of our history of what happened in our country and what happened before genocide and genocide and then after genocide.

(12:55-14:00) Jennifer Thomas: So one of the things that jumps out at me as you tell your story is that peace doesn't just happen and fractures of peace, breakdowns of peace and violence don't just happen. And it's so interesting to me the way you narrate and tell us that for years, and there was division sowed in your society, probably because it benefited the colonizers, right, to have division. And then when violence ultimately erupted, it might have seemed like it was so quick and fast, but I like the way you remind our listeners that for months and maybe even years there had been planning and thought put into how people were going to harm other people. And I think that's really important for us to remember as we try to be peacemakers, that we need to be aware of those around us that are trying to fracture us or trying to make us hate our neighbor, because they're not doing that with our goodwill in mind. They're doing that because it maybe helps them in some way. So I think that's really important lesson for us to learn.

(14:01-14:31) Patrick Mason: Yeah, and as you said, this went back decades. I was just reading about this actually last night. I was reading about it. I mean, some of this history goes back to the 1950s and 1960s. There had been previous episodes of violence, right? And these two ethnic or tribal groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis. Can you talk about sort of following up on Jen's point, some of the language that people use to divide each other, the ways that the different groups talked about one another before the genocide?

(14:32-16:27) Emile Kayitare: Oh yes, the government leaders before 1994, so that starts way back in 1950s. So when the Hutu took over and they led the country, so that is when they started dividing people and also teaching people to hate each other. And they were teaching Hutu. Hutu were majority. And of course, they were the leaders in the government. So then they would teach people how Tutsi are so bad. For example, like if they are experiencing poverty, so they will blame Tutsi. So anything bad that will happen in the country, they will blame Tutsi. After so many years, people started thinking, okay, these people are bad, these people are wicked. And they also used to call Tutsi, they would call them snakes, crocodiles. If you are calling someone a snake, then other people start believing that they're snakes, so then they end up believing that those people, they deserve to be killed because so the culture here is that when you see the snake it's only poisonous snakes we have so you better kill the snake before the snake bites you so so those are the names that uh they were referred to the Tutsi and then people will be like okay this is a snake so it's not a good person.

(16:27-16:50) Jennifer Thomas: And not even a person. We can kill the person. You're talking about people, like an animal or even an insect, right? They're not worth saving or helping. And I think that's really important for us, again, to remember that the language we use about other people ultimately affects whether we see them as sons and daughters of God or whether we see them as animals. And that will change how we treat them.

(16:51-17:58) Patrick Mason: So you mentioned that as a result of the genocide, as you said, approximately a million people killed in 100 days, which is just mind-blowing, right? It's really impossible for me to imagine. But I think one of the things that maybe we don't think about very often is that many of those victims were adults who were parents whose children survived. And so, I was reading some reports saying that the genocide instantly created like 100,000 orphans in the country. And of course, now those children whose parents were killed in the genocide, now they grew up without parents, and they grew up traumatized by this experience. So what can you tell us about the life of those children who survived the genocide, really kind of of your generation, right? You were very young when the genocide happened. So what happened to all of those tens of thousands of people who became instantly orphaned?

(17:58-20:44) Emile Kayitare: So these kids, some of them were sent to some centers which were created after genocide so that they can be raised there and be fed and also take care of them. But some of them ended up going on the streets. And today, After 30 years, most of them, they are now parents. And my organization, it is called Empower the Future, and we have some of these parents who were orphans after genocide. What we do, we help them. but we focus more on their families. So because these parents, they have children who have also gone to live on the street because these parents are not able to take care of their kids. So they were not prepared to be parents. So what we do, we look for them and also reunite them with their children and also teach these parents how to parent, to be parents. So we have parenting program. So we teach them to love their kids and we teach them responsibilities of parents. And we also have life skills programs. They also didn't get a chance to learn how to work. So we have this life skills program so we can teach them how to work and be able to provide food on table. So we have a woodworking program, we have a sewing program, we have weaving, and we have crocheting programs. All these programs are in place so this parent can be empowered and become successful parents. So that's what we are doing now. But we teach them so many things. We have self-reliance program for them, literacy program, because they didn't get chance also to go to school. So some of them don't know how to read and write. And then to become successful, reading and write is also important. So those are some of the consequences of genocide, especially on these genocide survivors, on these orphans who lost parents during genocide.

(20:45-21:37) Patrick Mason: Yeah, when I first met you, Emile, and you told me about your organization and told me about these people that you're serving, it immediately made me think of Section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants and other places in scriptures that talk about the ways that violence and conflict has a multi-generational effect. The language of the scriptures is your children and your children's children and their children and so forth. The decision that adults made back in 1994 to do these horrific things had ripple effects on children. And then, of course, those children grow up to be adults. And if they grow up without homes, without families, without the kind of stability that communities provide, that's going to lead to this kind of multi-generational effect. So that's one of the things I was so impressed about your work is thinking about that. along those lines.

(21:37-21:40) Emile Kayitare: Thank you. That's true.

(21:40-22:32) Jennifer Thomas: Well, and I love the way that you're reminding us that peace is something we have to work to actively create. I think just in the way you've described this program, you're tying a bunch of different things to what it means to live peacefully. Like you're saying these people's, these children had lives that were fractured by violence. And because of that, they lost the opportunity to develop and grow. And I just love this vision that you're giving us of peacemakers being actually people who are willing to help others rebuild their lives, that they're willing to help others learn lessons, that they're willing to help do the work of actually repairing the breach that happened in your society and doing it in tangible ways so that people can have meaningful lives going forward. And one would hope then also be less prone to violence because they have meaningful lives.

(22:33-22:46) Patrick Mason: Tell us more about the kinds of people that you're working with. Maybe talk about your own personal background and what made you decide to start this organization in the first place.

(22:46-29:25) Emile Kayitare: I'm also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I had an opportunity to go and serve a mission. I served in Ghana Kumasi mission. And then, so when I was there, I met a friend of mine. Her name is Rogers Becky. So, she was doing humanitarian projects in Ghana. And she had this literacy program, but they would teach people to read and write, and teach kids to read. Also they had sewing programs. They were doing this kind of wonderful project. And then I happened to visit her organization and she was like, I think if you go back to Rwanda you can do the same thing that I am doing. And I was like, I don't know. I'm not sure. I'm not sure I can do it. So, okay, so then after my mission, I was home and I wasn't that busy. And you know, sometimes after mission, some returned mission, it get boring. So I didn't have like a job. So I wasn't busy and I was like maybe I should do what Roger has told me. But I just started like English class. I was teaching these people. People here, they are so interested to learn English. English is a new language here and it has repressed the French. So to get a better job, you need to learn English. And on my mission, I have learned English. I was like, OK. I think some church members would love to learn English and some people. So I just started this English class so I can be busy. with the church and the mission, you learn to do good for others. So I was like, at least I can be more busy doing something good for people. So I was teaching this class and then later I was called, I was elected to be youth leader in my area and then in my community and then I was a leader of 10,000 youth. So then street kids were under my responsibilities. So then with the COVID-19 lockdown, so we had so many more kids going on the street. And then because it was under my responsibilities, So I felt I had to do something. So then I visited these kids with the other youth, with the other youth committee. And then this kid will tell you stories, like especially girls will tell you what they go through during the night, like drunkard men who try to take advantage of them in the night. And then we were like, We can't stop this, so we have to advocate for them. We need to do something to help these kids, to rescue these kids. So, then I consulted my friend in Ghana and she told me OK, if you want to help those kids, then you better start organizations so you can reach out to organizations and the other people and get support because you can't do it on your own, on yourself. So then that's how I had an idea of starting the organization. And through that we learned that most of these kids, they are the kids of those parents who were orphans of genocide. And then because of that, now it is going to affect the future generations. So we're like, we better stop this. it can't continue. So then we started organization and we had a goal of bringing the family together. So what we do, once we select a kid, so ask the kid to take us to where the parent is. and they can easily find their parents. They know where they are. Some parents they'll be on the street or some parents they will be somewhere struggling in life. So we were able to find their parents. Those who didn't have parents, we found families that were willing to adopt them. So then that's how we were able to bring together these kids and their parents. We proceeded from there. So today we have 75 families in our organization. And fifth of them, they have even graduated in our programs. And they are doing well. They are on their own. They are able to take care of their kids, provide food and other necessaries, basic needs for their families. So we have 25 who are new in our programs. They are learning. And in nine months, they will be graduating. So after that, after graduation, we'll bring new families because there are so many who are still in need of our support. So that's what we have been doing and that's what we will keep doing as Empower the Future organization.

(29:25-30:33) Jennifer Thomas: So part of the reason we really wanted to talk to you is because Patrick and I both feel like the work that you're doing is the actual embodiment of one of the beautiful passages of scripture found in King Benjamin's speech in Mosiah 4. And I just want to read a verse from that, verses 13 and 14, where he says, ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry or naked, And I would just love if you would mind sharing some of your insight with us on why you actually think Benjamin is connecting the care of children to living peaceably. He says you should live peaceably and then he immediately explains how you should teach your children. So what role do you think caring for children plays in creating larger peaceful societies?

(30:33-32:38) Emile Kayitare: I love King Benjamin and is one of my favorite people in the Book of Mormon. I may use an example to answer your question. So the reason why we chose the name Empower the Future is because we believe that these kids, they are the future of our nation, they are the future of our country, the future of Africa and the world. So, if we don't change them now, if we don't help them now and teach them now, then we don't have the future. So, like their parents, because they were not taught how to be a parent, so that's why they are now failing to take care of their kids. So then, if we don't teach all this that King Benjamin said to these kids, then in the future they are going to become thieves They'll be selling illegal drugs. So they're the ones who do those kind of bad things. But if we teach them all this that King Benjamin said, now they are going to become good people, good citizens, good parents. Then they are going to be peacemakers. Because all this, if I may call them Christ-like attributes, So they are going to help these people become peacemakers. I think that was the purpose of King Benjamin reminding the parents to teach their kids to keep God's commandments and do all these good things so they'll be peacemakers.

(32:39-35:15) Patrick Mason: Yeah, I just love that perspective, Emile. And I think back when I went to graduate school and was studying peace and was studying all these things, a lot of it were these big concepts. And we were studying politics and economics and international affairs. And actually, that's when I first really learned and studied about the genocide in Rwanda. And to me, it all operated at a very high level. And that really matters, right? The politics matters, international affairs matters, that's all very important. But over time, I've become more and more convinced, maybe by reading the Book of Mormon, maybe by hearing stories like yours, that actually peace really does begin at the individual level. and at the family level. Again, that's not to neglect the very important politics and structures and the other things that we have to address as well. But I love that you started, first of all, with just your own desire to help people, and then looking around and seeing the need right in front of you. and given the opportunities that you had as a leader of youth to say, actually, that's where I can have impact, that's where I see problems, and that's where I can make peace. And so maybe for listeners that they can really use you as a model. They may not live in Rwanda, they might not live in a kind of post-genocide society or those kinds of things, but what are the things like right in front of you? What are the things, the skills, the talents, the places that you've been called to that you can intervene with? So I think that's just really impressive and admirable, Emil. I want to ask kind of another question about the Book of Mormon as well. You know, when I heard you talking about, you know, the rivalries between these two groups, between the Hutus and the Tutsis, and the ways that that led to genocide, this enormous violence, the way that it was cultivated over many generations. I mean, I just can't help but think about the Book of Mormon, right? Of Nephites and Lamanites, and the way that these two people who were actually related, right? This was family. These were cousins. But over generations, they told stories about one another, and they used names for one another, and over time, and of course, they fought with one another, and that eventually leads to just incredible warfare. So does your experience as a Rwandan, how does it affect the way that you read the Book of Mormon and think about the Nephites and the Lamanites?

(35:15-39:59) Emile Kayitare: I like to read the the history of Rwanda, especially our history after genocide, with the verses we read in 4th Nephi. Maybe I can read verse 2 and verse 3. So it says, And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year The people were all converted unto the Lord upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no quotations and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another, and they had all things commonly among them. Therefore there were no rich and no poor, bound and free, but they were all made free and partakers of the heavenly gift. So, I love so much verse 3, it says how Lamanites and the Nephites were united and they became one. And of course they were blessed, like if you read in verse 5 it says, and there were great and marvelous works wrote by the disciples of Jesus in so much that they did heal the sick and raise the dead and cause the lame to walk and the blind to receive their sight and the deaf of hear and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men and in nothing did they work miracles servituer in the name of Jesus. So there are so many verses that talk talk about the blessings that these people received because of choosing to become one. So that is what I can see here in Rwanda that is happening today. So, because after genocide, so this new government introduced something new. I think maybe other countries or some people were expecting this patriotics to revenge because those who stopped the genocide, they were Tutsi and a very few Hutus, so who really didn't appreciate of what other Hutu were doing. I'm sure so many people or countries were expecting these patriotics to revenge, but instead of revenging, so they introduced something new. They said, okay, we are not going to revenge, so we are now going to become one. So we're not even have tribes anymore, so we are all going to become Rwandese. we are going to teach forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice will also play a big role for those who killed in genocide. So they have to face justice. And they did it in the way that it helped people to become one. You can maybe wonder what happened after that. So our country, after genocide, we didn't have anything. So the economy was so bad. So infrastructure was destroyed. We just didn't have anything. We were like starting from zero. So now, Our country is developing. Our country of Rwanda in 2022, if I remember well, it was ranked as the safest country in Africa. Kigali city is the cleanest city in Africa. Through that we are able to bring so many tourists and our economy is going up so fast. So things are just going well and I believe it's because we chose to be one. We chose what will bring peace. So yeah, I think that's what I'll use to answer the question.

(39:59-40:40) Jennifer Thomas: Would you share a little bit more with us about the concept of justice? You talked about that. I think sometimes for people, they have a hard time forgiving or they have a hard time letting go of bad things that were done to them because they want justice. And I thought it was very interesting that you said that even in this process of reconciliation, They did not ignore the need for justice. I'm just wondering if you can share with us how your society brought about justice and helped people feel that justice was done without that tipping forward into punishment and revenge.

(40:40-41:23) Emile Kayitare: I will not speak like a lawyer. I don't have much experience in that, but I'll try to use my own words to explain of what happened after genocide. So, there were so many, many perpetrators to the extent that it was going to take, from what I read, it was going to take probably more than 100 years And it was because of how many people were accused to participate in the genocide.

(41:23-41:30) Patrick Mason: So just to prosecute all those people in traditional ways, it would have taken decades, right?

(41:30-45:33) Emile Kayitare: Not traditional way, like the normal way. In Western ways, right, in courts, yeah. Yes. But we have our own traditional way, which is called Gacaca. That is the way that they used. So what they do, they bring the person that is accused in his or her community, and then they will have the trustworthy judges. So then also people who accuse him or her, and then they will sit together and then people who saw him did something or participating in the genocide, so will come up and they will share their testimonies and say what they saw and what they know. And then from there, the person will be judged according to what witnesses will say. So, it was done in our communities, in our local communities, and it was done well. And then people were also taught to confess. For those who were able to confess, so the years that they were going to spend in prison were reduced. So, and then, of course, we still had so many prisoners. So who went to prison, and also something special after being prisoned after finishing their years in the prison. So, they were prepared, the community was prepared to receive them and they were also prepared for the community that, yes, they came back, they lived with the other people in the community peacefully, If I may share an example, there's some villages we have here in Rwanda, there's like a village we have in Ibukesera, where those who lost their people in genocide and the perpetrators are living in the same village. So one of the examples that I have is two families that we visited. a man killed the family of the lady who is his neighbor today. So, but through reconciliation and forgiveness and confession that these people were taught, so the lady was able to completely forgive this man. So they now live together peacefully. So it's unbelievable. And this lady, she's a godmother of one of this man's children. So that is one of examples that show how this lady really forgave this man. So if you see them, so they work together. and they are happy. So they are friends. So it worked and it really helped.

(45:33-46:03) Jennifer Thomas: You've just shared such beautiful witnesses about how your culture played into this and how your country has done this. But I'm really interested in hearing from you as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, how your testimony of Christ has driven you to forgive and bring peace and participate in the lives of the children in your community and bring them to healing.

(46:03-48:29) Emile Kayitare: I became more converted to the gospel through the mission I served in Gurman. I just came to love God and Jesus so much and then I just felt I have to do all I can to follow Jesus Christ's examples and just become like Him. So I know I can't be perfect as He was, but I just become more perfect like Him. And there are all these Christ-like attributes that you learn on mission You also try your best to practice them, to apply them during your missional work. And then you just come to learn to love and support others. more. And mission helps play a big role in that. On mission, of course you preach the gospel, but it's not all. You also have to serve others. You can sometimes do services for people who are in need of services. So, and then as you continue to do that, that just becomes like your culture. And even after missions, you find you still have that desire of looking ways to serve others. So, and that is how it came about. That's how I thought of starting this organization. That's how I was like, always like looking ways that I can help depending on my availability and the capacity. So it is just a culture that I got from mission and after mission I made sure that I continue to do the same thing and I ended up finding these kids and becoming interested in helping them.

(48:30-49:34) Patrick Mason: Well, I think it's just beautiful, Emile. And again, for people who are listening, his organization is called Empower the Future. You can find it online and on social media and on YouTube. They've got just tremendous resources and stories about the people that they're serving. And I have to say, Emil was in Utah recently and actually selling some of the goods that they make. He talked about, you know, that they make aprons and tablecloths and woodworking, you know, all these kinds of things. And they're just beautiful things. And I love the way that you're giving people new life. and giving them new opportunities through the organization. And I think that's precisely the work of Jesus in terms of healing hearts and healing relationships, one person, one family at a time. So thank you for all that you're doing, Emil. And we just want to close by asking you the question of how you find peace in your own life.

(49:35-50:43) Emile Kayitare: Okay. That's a good, good, good, good, good question. Right now, I'll say I find peace from the work that I'm doing, especially like when you are helping these vulnerable people. So there is joy that comes when you see the change and improvement and transformation in these families and their kids. So the joy that comes in your heart and I think also joy is one of the definition of peace. So I think that joy that comes in me and I feel happy, so it brings peace. And I feel good that I have been able to do something good. So that's what brings peace to me.

(50:43-50:52) Patrick Mason: That's terrific. Thank you so much today for sharing your story with us and just the amazing work you're doing there with children and with families in Rwanda.

(50:52-50:56) Jennifer Thomas: You're a beautiful example of living peaceably. So thanks for sharing it with our listeners.

(50:57-51:01) Emile Kayitare: Thank you too.

(51:01-51:20) Patrick Mason: Thanks everybody for listening today. We really appreciate it. We just want to invite you to subscribe to the podcast and also to rate and review it. We love hearing feedback from listeners, so please email us at podcast at mweg.org. We also want to invite you to think about ways that you can make peace in your life this week. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next time.

(51:26-51:41) Jennifer Thomas: Thank you for listening to Proclaim Peace, a proud member of the Faith Matters Podcast Network. Faith Matters holds expansive conversations about the restored gospel to accompany individuals on their journey of faith. You can learn more about Faith Matters and check out our other shows at faithmatters.org.

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