Rwandan Genocide survivor speaks at local church


BRIDGEPORT, W.Va.-Members of Simpson Creek Baptist Church learned Sunday afternoon that a simple shoebox can change a life. Alex Nsengimana shared his personal experience with living through the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 when he was six years old. 

“I remember when we woke up one morning and would hear that the president had been assassinated. So my grandmother was taking care of me and my two uncles. We lived in a small little house in a village outside of the city, and I remember when we were being attacked and my grandmother and my uncle, the people who were taking care of me at that time, were both killed,” said Nsengimana.

Alex lost his mother to AIDS when he was only four years old, and after the deaths of this uncle and grandmother, moved from place to place with his brother and sister. The children were attacked at one point, and Alex slipped and fell as he ran, saving his life.  

When he was seven years old, Alex received the first gift he had ever gotten through an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, which sends shoeboxes filled with small items and bible tracts to children around the world. 

“I think it’s amazing. As a Christian, I think we’re told to go out into the world and spread the good news and that’s exactly what this does.  These shoeboxes go to countries, some of them that are closed to the gospel, and this is the only way that they will ever learn about Jesus Christ is through these shoeboxes,” said Lynn Jarman, a participant who makes shoeboxes each year. 

Alex says it was important for him to tell his story and show his appreciation for Samaritan’s Purse and its Operation Christmas Child project. He encourages people to get involved to better the lives of children in need. 

“The main message about Operation Christmas Child is that it’s such a simple way of sharing love to kids around the world. Just packing a little shoebox, you can grab any shoebox, you can buy things like school supplies and hygiene items and Operation Christmas Child delivers those shoeboxes to more than 150 countries,” said Nsengimana.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit

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