Last night was no doubt a night that many of us will remember for a very long time if not a lifetime. And even if it is forgotten it will be marked as a night that changed many of our lives and hopefully changed the lives of the people who need it most in Rwanda. 1000 people packed into North Central College Pfeiffer’s Hall to hear Paul Rusesabagina tell the true life story of Hotel Rwanda. Paul is the actual hotel manager as played by Don Cheadle. The purpose of the event was to raise money for Global Family Rescue. They asked me to serve as the master of ceremonies, give a brief testimony, interview Paul, the Pahlows and Providence and then give a challenge. I was honored to do it. This event has got a ton of press. I noticed another article in the local Naperville Sun.
I got to spend a little time with Paul Rusesabagina before and after the program. Overall, I was really excited about the evening. But I was concerned about a few things: First making sure I would accurately pronounce “Paul Rusesbagina”. Go ahead and try it. Here is what it looked like in my notes: (RU-SESS-A-BAG-INA). I got that one right. My other concern is that while doing some research online about Rusesabagina I noticed that he had received some criticism lately. Most of the criticism was questioning his heroics and why he hadn’t set up a foundation. Ben told me he can make up to $25,000 per speaking engagement. I don’t know if that is accurate. I know that he came and did the GFR event for free! But I was encouraged when I talked to his agent after the event and she told me about the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation that Paul had set up. I was glad to hear it. And my last concern is that you really never know what you are going to get when you get “outside” speakers/performers to come in as the main attraction for an event. But I have to tell you I was genuinely impressed with his graciousness and willingness to do whatever was needed by GFR for the evening. As he talked to people he seemed willing to talk as long as they wanted to talk and had a genuine humility about him. Upon meeting him and saying good-bye I thanked him for what he did for GFR and he was insistent that he was the one that should be thanking us. That was very impressive. The one question I didn’t get to ask him was about his own spiritual journey. He did reference God a time or two, but I have no idea where he is regarding following Jesus. I can definitely say that Paul Rusesabagina made a good impression on me.
Overall, it was an amazing night. I’m excited to hear how many people sponsored GFR families. We got some pics…if I get to it I will post them. I am really proud of Ben, Melody and Providence. It is so cool how God has used them in this amazing adventure. I guess that is what God does…takes us on amazing adventures!