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  • Vermilion Voice

Genocide Survivor - Emmanuel Twagirimana

From left, Emmanuel and Isabelle Twagirimana told his story of surviving genocide and shared a gospel message in Vermilion on October 12.

Photo Angela Mouly

Emmanuel Twagirimana shared his story of surviving Rwandan genocide and a gospel message at the Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church on October 12, with his wife, Isabelle translating.

Twagirimana was a businessman in Kigali, Rwanda who sold Italian suits at wholesale prices. After work, he volunteered by feeding and preaching at hospitals in the area.

During the political unrest in 1994, a grenade fell in his house causing shrapnel to enter his left arm and left leg.

“There is so much joy for us to be alive at this time. What a person sews, that’s what he reaps,” said Twagirimana.

The hospital that he was taken to wanted to cut off his arm and leg, but his limbs were spared. Because the hospital was near the barracks in the middle of a war zone, it was evacuated. According to Twagirimana, he could not find family to help him evacuate, he had lost all of his friends, and all of his belongings were stolen. A man had come to take him to a more peaceful hospital, but that one was full, so he was placed in a nearby school that doctors and nurses only visited every few days.

“My injuries were rotting with pus and maggots, and my stomach had burst. When the sounds of shooting entered the classrooms, many people ran, but I was too weak. We remained without food, water, and medication; there was great suffering,” said Twagirimana.

Twagirimana said that some of the patients had crawled to a nearby garbage bin with food that had been left behind from refugees, but that he was still too weak. According to Twagirimana, a time came when he lost the sensation of pain, his vision blurred making one person appear like two people, or spinning, and that his body began shutting down.

I closed my eyes and felt like I was being lifted. It was pleasant; like an elevator or an airplane,” said Twagirimana as he began to describe a spiritual journey that took place.

Twagirimana explained that he was not buried because there was no one around who could, but had been wrapped in sheets.

“The stench of rotting bodies was normal with so many around,” said Twagirimana.

When his spirit returned to his body, the building shook, he sat up and proceeded to remove maggots from his mouth and nostril. According to Twagirimana, other patients and soldiers were beyond startled and informed him that he had been dead for seven days.

Twagirimana went on to say, during the time that he was dead, he travelled to both Heaven and hell, met with Jesus, and was sent back to earth to preach the gospel.

He felt he had only been gone an hour or a day, and his recovery and spiritual journey can be read about in his book, “Seven Days In Heaven’, or seen on his documentary. For more information, you can visit, or to reach them while they are in Canada, you can call 778-241-5880 or 778-241-5036.

Having recovered from an almost detached broken arm his fingers have lost life completely, and his arm and leg took nearly five years to heal. Emmanuel Twagirimana and his wife, Isabelle have four children and live in Nairobi, Kenya. They enjoy travelling to tell his story of survival and the gospel.

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