A shoe box helped save this victim of the Rwandan tribal genocide’s life

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - “Operation Christmas Child” recipient tells St. Louis his story as a victim of the Rwandan tribal genocide. Now a college graduate and North Carolina resident, Alex Nsengimana remembers the Samaritan’s Purse charity project known as Operation Christmas Child.

“At my orphanage they handed out these simple shoe boxes filled with toys and hygiene products,” said Nsengimana, recalling a time when he was a boy in Rwanda. “When I opened my gift I remember that moment because it planted the seed of hope and love in my life.”

Now his employer, Samaritan’s Purse, has produced a video about Nsengimana’s life, growing up in the Rwandan tribal genocide of 1994.

“And so my grandmother and my uncle were the ones to take care of us,” he said. “And it was literally on April 7th we were attacked by Hutu militias and they would kill my grandmother. Because there were known to be Tutsis in the village.”

Nsengimana was able to escape. And he now credits Operation Christmas Child with his ability to later forgive the people who killed members of his family.

“I missed out on the many miracles God had performed in my life to lead me to where I am today,” said Nsengimana. “One of those miracles was the seed of that hope and love that surpasses all understanding-- that love I received when I got that shoe box. My shoe box came in a time when I was hopelessly lost to everyone, full of hatred. And that shoe box reminded me that I was special; that I was loved.”

Nsengimana will be telling his story Saturday, April 23, from 2-4:00 at First Baptist Church of Ferguson, located at 333 N. Florissant Road; 63135.