Immaculée Ilibagiza, who survived the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Orange County Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at The Barn at Villa Venezia in Middletown.
“Her story will resonate with our guests, as she shares about the importance of faith and the power of prayer,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, who will host the event. “After a year without a prayer breakfast due to the pandemic, it is gratifying to be able to come together again and hear Immaculée’s inspirational message.”
In 1994, Ilibagiza, then a college student, survived the Rwandan Genocide by hiding, along with seven other Tutsi women, in a small bathroom in the home of a local pastor. After 91 days, Ilibagiza emerged to find that most of her family had been murdered.
In 1998, she immigrated to the United States and has since written multiple books in which she shares her experiences and tells of the rediscovery of her faith and her refusal to succumb to anger and resentment.
Ilibagiza’s first book, “Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust,” has been translated into 15 languages worldwide and made into a documentary, “The Diary of Immaculée.”
She is regarded as one of the world’s leading speakers on peace, faith and forgiveness and she shares her universal message with world dignitaries, schoolchildren, multinational corporations and churches and at many conferences. She also raises money for her Left to Tell Charitable Fund, which directly benefits the children orphaned by the genocide.
“I want people to know that peace is possible,” Ilibagiza said. “I hope that by sharing my story, those that hear it can shed their own anger and unforgiveness and find peace and healing through faith.”
Sponsors of the event will receive six seats at the breakfast for a tax-deductible donation of $350. The Orange County Leadership Prayer Breakfast committee will use the remaining seats at the table to invite elected and appointed Orange County municipal officials, community and business leaders and the public. If you would like to sponsor a table at the breakfast, visit www.prayerbreakfastoc.org.
You can also send an e-mail requesting a registration form to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-393-4805. You can also visit www.facebook.com/ocprayerbreakfast.
This event is being held at no cost to county taxpayers.
“I came to learn that God never shows us something we aren’t ready to understand. Instead, He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He’ll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we’re ready, He will plant our feet on the path that’s best for us . . . but it’s up to us to do the walking.”
“Then Jesus spoke: ‘Mountains are moved with faith, Immaculee, but if faith were easy, all the Mountains would be gone.’”
“I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger - to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn’t wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.”
Immaculee Ilibagiza, “Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust”