(Photo Credit: Paige Steele)

Fidel Goodman is a remarkable example of the high-quality instructors at Hope Haven Rwanda.  His story took a dramatic turn in 1994 when his parents, and his five brothers, were killed during the Rwandan genocide. When his family was murdered, Goodman fled for his life and sought refuge in a football stadium for an entire month, where he was protected by a brave Roman Catholic bishop.  

When the chaos began to settle, Goodman returned to his destroyed home and found that his neighbors had stolen his household goods. Unbelievable! Goodman was mature enough to know that harboring bitterness in his heart was a deadly recipe for his soul. He knew intuitively that, as someone once said, “Choosing not to forgive is like ingesting a deadly poison and expecting it to kill the other person.”

Goodman met with his neighbors and told them not to worry about giving his possessions back. He had chosen to forgive them because he knew that was what God wanted him to do. Goodman knew that a good relationship with his neighbors was more important than his material possessions.  

Goodman went on to marry, father three children of his own and eventually adopt two orphans.  He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computing and Information Science, and in 2015, he began serving at Hope Haven Rwanda.  Today, Goodman not only instructs students in the classroom, he also manages Hope Haven Rwanda’s growing IT infrastructure, complete with 64 tablets, 10 Kindles and 30 laptops. And as a bonus, Goodman gets to see his five-year-old daughter, Fidelene, every day as she studies at Hope Haven Rwanda!

Fidel took the words of Jesus to heart and applied them in a very dramatic situation. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:24-25).

Examples like Goodman’s prompt me to examine my own heart. Is there anyone that I am unwilling to forgive? Anyone that I harbor bitterness toward? True freedom is found in forgiveness!