Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza – Susan’s Newsletter Sept. 2007



September 6, 2007 Newsletter from Susan
Left to Tell by Immacul Ilibagiza
Locked Rooms & Open Doors: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1933-1935
Change, Accepting & Growing…Susan’s Analogy to Simmering Pot of Soup (Aug. 2007)
Hi everyone!  It’s past lunch and I still haven’t gotten my thoughts on paper for all of you yet.  But, just so you know the basics were accomplished, I did get my coffee (with the perfect filler concentration!) this morning, just you all had to wait for my note!
I can’t decide which book to write for you out of, for I finished my Rwandan book a few nights ago and also am into another of Anne Lindbergh’s diaries.  Instead of narrowing it down, I’m going to just go ahead and type for you my favorite thoughts of theirs that I underlined.  Thoughts that helped refine me as Susan.  I am amazed at how another author can state exactly what I thought or felt, yet didn’t realize I thought or felt that way until seeing “me” in print.  Here is what encouraged me this last week.  I hope that you will find thoughts worth your treasuring in your hearts also.

Left to Tell by Immacul Ilibagiza (Rwandan survivor) was absolutely incredible.  On her 60th day (of 90) of her hiding (in a bathroom with 7 other women), the author began studying the English language after listening to the U.N.  report on the other side of the bathroom door.  She was so determined to keep her head while in confinement – prayer along with studying English.  Here are several entries that burrowed into my mind…
* Even a few minutes not spent in prayer or contemplation of God became an invitation for Satan to stab me with his double-edged knife of doubt and self-pity.  Prayer became my armor, and I wrapped it tightly around my heart.

* I needed to cleanse my mind with God’s beautiful words.

* But I didn’t feel like an orphan at all.  I’d been praying continually for weeks, and my relationship with God was deeper than I’d ever imagined possible.  I felt like the daughter of the kindest, most powerful king the world had ever known.  I surrendered my thoughts to God every day when I retreated to that special place in my heart to communicate with Him.  That place was like a little slice of heaven.

* I was certain that God had a greater purpose for me, and I prayed every day for Him to reveal it to me.  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.

* Everyone I loved in this world has been taken away.  I’m putting my life in your hands, Jesus…keep your promise and take care of me.  I will keep my promise – I will be your faithful daughter.

It’s impossible to predict how long it will take a broken heart to heal…But while I healed, I lived a quiet, reflective life.

And from Anne Lindberg – Journal 1933-1934 Locked Rooms & Open Doors – just a taste of what I underlined:
…I wanted to get through with this as quickly and painlessly as possible – a feeling of impatience for a real life, not realizing that this is real life.  Do you remember Proust’s wonderful saying about the future’s not being a cake that was handed to you in one piece but something that you were nibbling into all the time?  It’s that, of course.  And is dreadful to waste it.  (Sounds like Bess Streeter Aldrich…”and the years glide by”, doesn’t it?)

…It does seem to me more and more that love has no value in itself or by itself (except perhaps first love, to the young).  People talk about love as though it were something you could give, like an armful of flowers.  And a lot of people give love like that – just dump it down on top of you, a useless strong-scented burden.  I don’t think it is anything that you can give, or if you can, it is valueless.  Love is a force in you that enables you to give other things.  It is the motivating power.  It enables you to give strength and power and freedom and peace to another person.  It is not a result; it is a cause.  It is not a product; it produces.  It is a power, like money or steam or electricity.  It is valueless unless you can give something else by means of it.  It has taken me a long time to learn.  I hope it will stay learned and that I can practice it.

Phew!  I told you I didn’t know how to narrow down what to type – and that is only a small taste of all that I underlined!!!  Oh, you just all need to read Anne Lindbergh.  She is incredible.  Have a great week!  I’ll send you the schedule for Aurora’s FamFest this weekend separately.  I hope you can make it over to our great little town.  You will never know how much we appreciate your encouragement, your e-mails, your orders, your business!!!  Go take on your day (what is left!!!) Fall is just around the corner – a promise I can guarantee!!!  Susan

Work cited:
Ilibagiza, Immacul, and Steve Erwin.  Left to Tell : One Woman’s Story of Surviving the Rwandan Holocaust.  New York: Hay House, Incorporated, 2007.
Lindberg, Anne.  Locked Rooms and Open Doors: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1933-1935.  New York.  Mariner Books.  1993.






Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.

Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them.

It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family’s killers.

The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman’s journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss.

This is Immaculee’s first book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In 1994, Rwandan native Ilibagiza was 22 years old and home from college to spend Easter with her devout Catholic family, when the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked a three-month slaughter of nearly one million ethnic Tutsis in the country. She survived by hiding in a Hutu pastor’s tiny bathroom with seven other starving women for 91 cramped, terrifying days. This searing firsthand account of Ilibagiza’s experience cuts two ways: her description of the evil that was perpetrated, including the brutal murders of her family members, is soul-numbingly devastating, yet the story of her unquenchable faith and connection to God throughout the ordeal uplifts and inspires. Her account of the miracles that protected her is simple and vivid. Her Catholic faith shines through, but the book will speak on a deep level to any person of faith. Ilibagiza’s remarkable path to forgiving the perpetrators and releasing her anger is a beacon to others who have suffered injustice. She brings the battlefield between good and evil out of the genocide around her and into her own heart, mind and soul. This book is a precious addition to the literature that tries to make sense of humankind’s seemingly bottomless depravity and counterbalancing hope in an all-powerful, loving God. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401908973
  • Publisher: Hay House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 215
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Recommended in Susan’s September 6, 2007 Newsletter