Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Humbling Story

by Ryan Coleman

Ryan takes on a banana tree
After we visited the Genocide Memorial, our team traveled to J Lynn’s, ate some delicious pizza, and listened to a truly amazing story from an lady called Adelle, who experienced the genocide first hand. She started out with her family. She had four children, a husband, and both parents; however, at the end of her story this was not so. Adelle lost her husband, mom, and dad. I was unclear on how they died. Her first and second children were both miscarriages, yet she referred to them as her own children as if they were once alive and well. I found it incredibly interesting that she referred to them this way. 

She continued to talk about her third child who was born healthy but fled the country at the age of 5 with his aunt in order to stay safe from the genocide. Adelle’s fourth and final child was born and was troubled because he could not walk or crawl at all, even at the age of three. The fourth child eventually died yet once again it was unclear what the cause of death was. I find how she only mentioned that her family members died but didn’t involve the cause of death intriguing because the cause of death is usually an incredibly important thing. In Adelle’s story this was not the case. The most important part of the story in Adelle’s mind is coming up.

Once the genocide was over, she moved to Kigali. She believed that God’s plan was to send her there to work and live a better life. At this point I was confused on how she could still trust God after all that had happened to her, however, my thought was soon cleared up. Adelle believes that she is living the story of Job and it is imperative that no matter what happens, you must always stay loyal to God. I will also get back to this concept later in my blog. In Kigali, Adelle started working at the African Bagel Company, what is now J Lynn’s. One day a lady came up to her and told her how she believed that Adelle’s son was at an orphanage that she recently visited. Adelle was originally against the idea of visiting this boy, however, eventually she did. As it turns out, it was her only living son. She was able to tell this because he had the feet of his dad, the face of his uncle, and he had an “outie” for a belly button which made sure that it was Adelle’s son.

It took sixteen years for Adelle to finally reunite with the only direct family member she has. Her son even works at the bakery part-time now. This story was humbling to say the least. It made me realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have my family. I always know where they are. I am never afraid that they might get slaughtered by machetes. We always know where our next meal is coming from. I love my family very much and I don’t know how I could cope going through what Adelle did. Her story also gave me the realization that I should never give up hope and never doubt God, even when times are unimaginably tough.


  1. Wow, Ryan. You've taken in so much information already. Your heart and mind must be nearly overwhelmed. I'm so glad you are taking the time and making the effort to get these words out day by day, and share them with us at home.

    Can't wait to learn more.

  2. What a touching story! It really does humble us and make us grateful for the family and safety we have here.

  3. Thanks Ryan, Jen and Darby for sharing your day and your feeling with us. I find it difficult to read your comments on the genocide memorial. I can't imagine it would feel being there! And I have watched Hotel Rwanda recently. Adelle's story is an incredible testament of faith. Realizing that God has a plan for you, you have to trust Him, even if it's not the plan that you wanted.

    Andy...thanks for the compliments about our kids. Thanks for taking care of them!

  4. Ryan Coleman!! This makes me so happy, I love you!

  5. Beautiful story Ryan! One to always remember. Thank you so much for sharing it with us back in the U.S.

  6. Wow, I find myself scrolling through the stories from today, reading each and every one of them over and over. What a heavy day, full of concepts like forgiveness, justice, faith, and responsibility. All hard enough to digest one at a time, much less all bombarding you at once. The questions that Jen, Ryan and Darby raise may seem unanswerable (maybe that's why I keep find the answers), but the questions need to be asked. I'm thankful that you all are wrestling with the difficult questions and thankful that Andy, Kathy, Doug and Jen are there to question right along with you. Hope you all got a good night's sleep and are ready for your next full day.