Alex Nsengimana: The Power of a Simple Gift Comes Full Circle in Rwanda

As a child growing up in Rwanda, Alex Nsengimana routinely faced horrors unfathomable to most. He lost his mother to HIV/AIDS while still young, and then he watched the murders of his uncle and grandmother during the Rwandan genocide—all before he was 10 years old.

When the genocide began in 1994, Alex and his siblings were forced to run for their lives. They found refuge and safety at a local orphanage, a place they called home for the next several years.

The Power of a Gift

After a year at the orphanage in Rwanda, Alex, along with the other children, were surprised with gift-filled shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child. Inside his shoebox, Alex received items like toys, hygiene items and school supplies—all of which he could call his own. But the most important gift in that box was the hope sparked by knowing someone in the world still loved and cared for him.

Soon after receiving his box, Alex joined the African Children’s Choir and began touring in the United States. He recently completed his degree from a Bible college in Minnesota.

Coming Full Circle

In March 2013, Alex had the opportunity to return to Rwanda with Operation Christmas Child. While there, he delivered shoebox gifts to children in the same orphanage he lived in years ago, when he received his own Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

On the same trip, Alex had the opportunity to offer more than just shoebox gifts—he was able to offer forgiveness.

While in Rwanda, Alex visited the man who killed his family members, currently imprisoned in a local jail. As they met, Alex offered him forgiveness, and the inmate received Alex with tears and joy. This meeting allowed Alex to share God’s love and pray with the man.

The Future

It is Alex’s desire to help others in Rwanda experience reconciliation and restoration through Jesus Christ. He plans to return to Rwanda and start a church in his hometown.