A Modern Day Story of Grace

A gift-filled shoebox begins a young man from Rwanda on road to Jesus that allows him to show the forgiveness of Christ.

Alex Nsengimana is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when almost a million of his countrymen lost their lives. He vividly remembers watching as his uncle and grandmother were brutally killed by his neighbors when he was just six years old.

Having already lost his mother to HIV/AIDS before the killings, Alex was displaced, running for his life with his brother and sister. Eventually he landed in an orphanage where no one could sleep because of the screams from other children as they experienced nightmare after nightmare.

But hope arrived in Alex’s life in 1995 – in the form of a gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoebox. He says that the simple gift was his first glimmer of hope and the beginning of his faith in Jesus Christ. That faith not only helped Alex survive, it inspired him to go to college in the U.S. He’s just graduated with a degree in Pastoral Studies.

That faith also inspired Alex to tell Samaritan’s Purse that he wanted to meet the man who killed his family so that he could forgive him. “God forgave me of my sins, so he wants me to forgive this man of his sins too,” he told us.

With the help of Operation Christmas Child, Alex tracked down the man who killed his family and found him in a Rwandan prison. Alex held his composure as the man admitted to the murder of Alex’s uncle and to being a part of almost 30 other deaths.

Alex ministered to the man and let him know that we are all created in Christ’s image and He loves us all the same. He told the man to repent of his sins so that he, too, can experience the kingdom of Heaven.

At the prison, Alex prayed for the man and it was evident that prayer strongly impacted the prisoner. The man said he didn’t know what kind of evil came over him at the time of the murders. He asked Alex to go back to the village and find family members of the other men he killed so that he can try to bring peace by asking forgiveness for his sins against them.

Now, Alex’s goal is to plant a church in Rwanda to spread the message of forgiveness that this broken nation so badly needs to hear. And it all started when God touched his life with a gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

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Ways you can help


Pray that each child who receives an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift will know how much God loves them.


Help Samaritan’s Purse go beyond the shoebox and expand assistance to children, their families, and their communities. Donate Here