So many times, as I was reading Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Immaculée Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin, I had to remind myself that the book was not fiction, that it was all horribly, unbelievably true. It is a story of incredible suffering and unshakable faith and unimaginable forgiveness.
Left to Tell is the story of Immaculée's miraculous survival while hiding in a tiny bathroom for 91 days with seven other Tutsi women while Hutu killers called her name just outside the bathroom door as they searched and searched for her for only one reason: to kill her. And not to kill her quickly, but to torture her and make her die the same kind of unspeakable death that almost her entire family and one million Tutsis did during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
This book, however, is not just a chronicle of death and suffering; it is the story of one woman's ability to trust in God even when she had no obvious reason. Each night, when I put this book down before going to sleep, I would close my eyes and see Immaculée in that cramped bathroom -- hungry, afraid, silent but always faithful. Her willingness to stare into the face of the man who killed her family and hunted her down and offer him forgiveness is a lesson in complete and total surrender to God. It is awesome and humbling and a stark reminder of just how radical the Gospel of Jesus is when we don't try to water it down or soften it up.
If you have not yet read this book, you need to get it. Today. Now. Everyone needs to read this book because we need to remember what human beings are capable of when they choose evil over love, easy lies over hard truths.
I recently came across an interview with Immaculee by Tony Rossi of The Christophers. You can read that interview by clicking HERE. Once you get to Tony's blog, The Intersection, you can link to the podcast of Immaculee talking about her experience, her decision to work with orphans, and what led to her book Led By Faith: Rising from the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide, which will be released in paperback in September.