I was born in a Christian family in Cyangugu, Rwanda. I was about a year old during the genocide, and my mother was holding me in her arms when a man tried to kill her with a knife to her throat. We survived because God told my father to leave work to check on us. My mother was traumatized for years. We lost contact with the rest of our family, and it was also many years before we found out that some of them were still alive.

When I was nine, my father became ill and died. My mom struggled to care for four children on her own and made the difficult decision to send my brother and older sisters to France, where they could study and live comfortably. The separation was full of emotions but that’s the way it had to be.

At 14, when I was at school in Uganda, my mom told me she was going to Canada so she could send for us later. I was afraid, but I had to accept the fact that I was on my own and try to find a way to survive. Soon I was alone, homeless and starving. All I could do was believe that God would take care of me and give me strength. That’s when I came to know him, as he protected me and helped me to find food and shelter.

When I found out I was HIV-positive, I was devastated. I had so many questions. How? I called my mom, who told me she was also HIVpositive, but she didn’t really want to talk about it. My heart was full of sadness. I was lonely, sick and scared. I had to hide my pain and my medication, to pretend that everything was OK. I had to find a way to get my medication without being seen or recognized.

I started looking at the possibility of coming to Canada, so I could get better health care. I was hoping it would increase my chances of living longer. In January 2010, God helped me to get a visa. He transformed my life by allowing me to come to Canada and build a better future. God made the impossible happen.

“All I could do was believe that God would take care of me and give me strength.”

In Canada, I played on the worship team at my mother’s church, and that’s where I met my husband. Due to health issues, I thought that I would never be able to start a family. God gave me a loving husband and two wonderful children. Eighteen months after the birth of my second child, I learned that my son was autistic. I thought that it was a curse, but God made me realize that it was a blessing. While taking care of my son, I discovered the joy and the gift of working with children.

My husband told me about The Salvation Army, how they help poor, lonely and suffering people. I wanted to learn more. We joined The Salvation Army in Montreal, where we received teachings based on the Word of God about love, obedience to the Lord and faith accompanied by deeds. I discovered a God that is living, loving and compassionate. We decided to become senior soldiers and we play music on the worship team.

At Nouveaux Départs Community Church, I see the love and light of God at work. Day after day, the corps officer and volunteers serve the needy with joy and compassion despite their concerns regarding the pandemic. To be in the light of God is to be able to help your neighbours by volunteering or working in the field of social services.

I enjoy taking care of children at Sunday school and sharing Christian values with pupils in public schools by reading stories to them. To be in the light of God is to love our neighbours unconditionally and listen to them with joy and discretion. To be in the light of God is to get closer to him through prayer so we can know his will and not ours.

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