Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was on one of the beautiful green mountains that Jackson first experienced terror.
A boy of 13, he was herding the family cattle up to their grazing area. The cattle stopped moving and Jackson walked up to see why.
Suddenly, he saw a ray of sun glinting on a machete and ran for his life.
“God sent His angels to protect me from the rebel who wanted to kill me,” he says. “It was God who guided my feet as I jumped across deep gullies and flew down the mountain to safety.”
A few months later the family and their friends fled in a car with 20 people stacked three deep. There was no time to stop; the rebels were after them. It took fifteen hours to reach the border.
In Congo, they had a beautiful home, plentiful food, and many cattle and crops. They were forced to leave everything to begin their lives as refugees in Rwanda.
Jackson knew he had to excel in school. Although he had been the top student in DRC, classes in the camp were taught in English, a language he didn’t know.
Jackson felt hopeless and prayed for God to give him enough strength to study for hours each day even when he was hungry. He learned English as he studied, completing two years of school in one year. After excelling in his national exams, he was chosen to be an Impact Hope student!
Near the end of his senior year, Jackson had a severe case of malaria and was hospitalized. He took the final national exam while still very weak and, nonetheless, earned high scores.
“Impact Hope rescued me from a very dark place and became the working hand of the Lord in my life.”
Evariste was born in the camp. Although his parents told him about the life of plenty they had in Congo before the rebels persecuted them, he grew up knowing only a life of hardship and hunger in the camp. Suffering was routine for everyone there.
When he was older, he realized that his family identity was lost entirely when they had to flee their country.
They now were exiles far from home.
The word ‘refugee’ was a label that stigmatized them all. Living life in refugee camps is a shaming experience for many, including Evariste, and it was very hard for him to have a sense of his own self-worth.
His parents told their children that there was nothing but education and prayer that could help them. So he focused on his studies.
“God blessed me when I became an Impact Hope student. It gave me the courage to continue studying diligently. When I had high scores on my senior exam, IH made sure I had a sponsor so I could go to medical school. Now I know that being a refugee doesn’t define my future or who I am. God has a plan.”
Evariste scored perfect scores in every section of his exams.
“I want to give hope to my patients. “I will be a voice for those who are voiceless in the camps,” he says. “And I will give hope to my patients.”
Evariste and Jackson roomed together, studied together, and prayed together in medical school. Now in their third year, they begin their clinical rotations at different hospitals.
They say, “We want to emit God’s divine light by healing the diseases that we saw in our terrible childhoods. Because of Impact Hope we now have bright futures that are better than anything we dreamed!”