Yona Kanamuzeyi (1964) - Praised God to the End
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Pastor Yona chose to minister to his fellow Tutsis in a refugee camp after they had been made homeless by Rwanda’s army, members of whom were from the rival Hutu tribal group.
One night in January 1964, a group of soldiers snatched him away, along with his friend Kayumba. They were taken to a military encampment, where Pastor Yona was singled out by the soldiers. He was marched away from Kayumba, but as he did so he sang hymns of worship to God. They took the pastor to a bridge, where he was executed by shooting and his body was thrown into the water below. Kayumba was released and was able to relate the account of Pastor Yona’s brutal death.
Years later, St Paul’s Cathedral in London honoured the witness and martyrdom of Pastor Yona by inscribing his name into the cathedral’s book of modern martyrs.
The hymn for conquering martyrs raise,
The victor innocents we praise,
Whom in their woe earth cast away,
But Heav’n with joy received today;
Whose angels see the Father’s face
World without end, and hymn His grace;
And while they chant unceasing lays,
The hymn for conquering martyrs raise.
The Venerable Bede (673-735)
Translated by John M. K. Neale (1818-1866)
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing
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