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A community walk beginning at 10am Saturday, Oct. 23, on the Bailey Trail in Grass Valley will support health and healing in Rwanda.  The 4th Annual Trail-a-Thon for Rwanda is hosted by Peace Lutheran Church. Walkers are invited to seek sponsors who will fund ongoing work in the central African nation, including support for schools, community health clinics and COVID-19 response.

Following a short Rally, Participants awill walk the short Bailey Trail, which is adopted by PLC, by beginning at Dee Mautino Park located at 10609 Alta Street in Grass Valley. 

Work in Rwanda headed by Lutheran Pastor John Rutsindintwarane has helped Rwandans strengthen their communities and reconcile after a genocidal civil war that started in 1994.

When Pastor John visited Peace Lutheran Church five years later, his commitment to rebuilding and reconciliation inspired its congregation to establish the Rwanda Connection to assist in his healing work.

You are welcome to join Peace Lutheran Church in this year’s walk to provide funds to continue Pastor John’s inspiring work in healing Rwanda. Every penny raised or donated will go directly to support Pastor John’s work.

To walk or provide a pledge to a walker, contact Jim Line, Chairman of the Rwanda Connection at Peace Lutheran Church at jglynnline@yahoo.comor (530) 277-5618Donations may also be made at www.PeaceLutheranGV.org/donate or mailed to Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St., Grass Valley, CA 95945; please write “Rwanda” in the memo line.

Pastor John

Pastor John helps villagers in Rwanda determine their greatest need, such as a school or a medical clinic. He then guides them through planning, fundraising and construction with the help of his team. The community then reaches out to the government with a request to staff their completed facility; a request that is fulfilled.

This model has been remarkably successful; after completion of facilities in one village, that village often reaches out to neighboring villages to help them do the same. And so the model replicates itself helping to rebuild a destroyed nation and people. In recent times the health clinics built through Pastor John in Rwanda have proven to be very effective during the Covid pandemic, resulting in lower numbers of infections.

RWANDA GENOCIDE. Many of us know little or some of it. Maybe we saw Hotel Rwanda; maybe we didn’t; maybe we need a refresher. The Hutu and Tutsi had coexisted in Rwanda and together with the Twa, made up three separate ethic groups inhabiting Rwanda with a history of prejudice between groups ultimately forged by colonization.

Incited by the assassination of Rwandan President Habyarimana, who was of Hutu heritage and shot down by a ground to air missile strike on April 6, 1994, the hellish genocide began the following day.

As many as 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutus were violently murdered for the next 100 days. The ultimate horror of this genocide was that it involved neighbor against neighbor; slaughterer against previous friend. 

In neighboring Tanzania, the newly-ordained Pastor John Rutsindintwarane, whose family was already exiled there, witnessed the flood of Tutsi escaping their certain death.

Many had been directed to the refugee camp where Pastor John was serving refugees and acting as a translator with a Lutheran relief organization. There he met and worked alongside Tony Waters from Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley. Encouraged by Waters and others, Pastor John led one of the first groups of Tutsi refugees back to a decimated Rwanda. He felt called to a mission of reconciliation and prevention of such a horror occurring again.

PLC has continued to assist Pastor John in his work in Rwanda throughout the years.

More information on the Rwanda Connection and Peace Lutheran Church can be found at https://peacelutherangv.org