Rwandan Genocide Survivor to Share Story of Hope, Forgiveness at Hilltop Baptist Church

INDIANA, Pa. – Rwandan Genocide Survivor Alex Nsengimana will share his story at Hilltop Baptist Church, in Indiana, Pa., on Saturday, September 25.

The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to noon. All are welcome to attend and stay afterward for a time of fellowship and refreshments.

Orphaned by age four, Alex Nsengimana watched as his grandmother and uncle were tortured and slaughtered in the Rwandan Genocide.

In 1994, the spirit of death hovered over the whole nation. Husbands killed wives; parents killed children. And neighbors – who they even knew by name – turned against neighbors, killing them in the height of the tribal unrest.

Nsengimana miraculously fled death, and after his family was gone, his aunt took care of him and his brother. But, his aunt fell ill and died. He was put in an orphanage where one year later he received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

That simple gift sowed seeds of love and hope that Nsengimana was so desperate for as a seven-year-old boy. It also led to his discovery of a God who loves him, and that He has a very specific plan and purpose for his life.

He now serves with Operation Christmas Child and has gone back to the same Rwandan orphanage to spread the same hope and love through shoebox gifts.

Nsengimana will share his story of God’s divine protection and intervention in a genocide that horrifically took over one million lives.

His escape from death, gift-filled shoebox, and faith have transformed his heart, allowing him to forgive and minister to his family’s killer.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Karla Sunderlin, West Central PA area coordinator, at 814-496-4456.

About Operation Christmas Child

In 2020, some 7,809,410 million gifts were packed nationwide for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, with 415,403 built online.

It was a record year for Build a Shoebox Online. Because of partnership in communities across the United States, more people than ever chose to participate in this way.

Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2020, the ministry is now sending more than 9,113,853 million shoebox gifts to children around the world.

Locally, the West Central PA Area collected 13,835 shoebox gifts. The area encompasses the communities of Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana counties.

Each gift-filled shoebox—packed with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items—is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 188 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 countries and territories.

Many children who receive shoebox gifts will also enroll in Operation Christmas Child’s 12-lesson discipleship program, The Greatest Journey.

This program teaches children about God’s amazing love and guides them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

Since 2009, more than 26.5 million children who have received a shoebox gift have participated in The Greatest Journey—a 12‑lesson discipleship program.

During National Collection Week (Nov. 15–22), the ministry will collect the gift-filled shoeboxes at nearly 5,000 drop-off locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Learn how to pack a shoebox, view gift suggestions, get your Follow Your Box label and find the nearest dropoff location at

Shoebox gifts are collected in Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Nearly 575,000 volunteers worldwide—with more than 270,000 of those in the United States —are involved in collecting, shipping, and distributing shoebox gifts.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

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