Top positive review
An Amazing Story filled with Inspiration and Tragedy
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 30, 2013
"Tell this one truth to all those to whom you speak to in my name: Believe in me, and in whatever you do in life, do it with faith and love." (Jesus speaking to Segatashya)
(Kindle Loc. 859-862)
Simply put, The Boy Who Met Jesus: Segatashya of Kibeho, by Immaculée Ilibagiza, is an amazing story. It is clear that Ilibagiza is a Catholic of great faith, and her book is a first-person recollection of her lifelong spiritual quest to meet an illiterate peasant boy from a remote region of Rwanda who purportedly met Jesus Christ and had many discussions with him. The story is filled with danger and tragedy, interspersed with powerful inspirational messages. I would imagine that anyone reading this book, and aware of the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsis by the Hutus, would experience an incredible wash of emotions - I know I did.
As a young girl in Rwanda, Ilibagiza heard the story of Segatashya and the other visionaries of Kibeho from the local clergy and from her Father. These teenagers were receiving visits from both Jesus and Mary, and sharing their messages to tens of thousands of pilgrims who wanted to hear what they had to say. Enamored of Segatashya in particular, Ilibagiza wanted to make the long distance travel on foot to see and hear the boy, but at age 12, her father told her she was too young and would not take her on the long and arduous trip to a distant village. Her Father reported his experience of visiting Kibeho and the palpable feeling of Divine presence.
"How often in life can you find a place where thousands upon thousands of people are pressed together in one little area for days on end with very little food or water without any bickering or fighting? In Kibeho I scarcely heard a single word spoken in anger ... there is just no other place like it, not in Rwanda, not anywhere!" Dad gushed. "The loving presence of the Virgin Mary and the peace of her son have undoubtedly transformed Kibeho into a place unlike any I've seen in all my travels. The loving presence of God was felt everywhere!" (Loc. 669-673)
Emmanuel Segatashya was a pagan farm boy with no schooling and no religious education. He was raised a "dirt-poor" peasant, and had hardly left his farm before his visitation and subsequent agreement with Jesus to tell his messages. The very first message that Segatashya clearly understood was a request. "And then the voice addressed me a third time, saying, `You there, child, if you are given a message to deliver to the world, will you deliver it?'" (Loc. 1069-1070). Very astutely, Segatashya said he would, if Jesus would grant him with the knowledge to speak intelligently to those who listened to him and especially if any had questions. (I personally think this is a VERY wise request.) It was clearly granted, as this young man who could not read and had never seen a Bible was quoting scripture and verse perfectly, advising clergy and laity alike.
He was instructed to walk 30 miles from his farm to Kibeho where the other visionaries were sharing their messages from Mother Mary. Over the course of the next year he continued to be in nearly constant communication with Jesus and sometimes Mary. He shared many messages of love, faith, and focus, but also was also given a much darker foreboding of end times that foreshadowed the Rwandan genocide and his own death.
"Segatashya: A couple of weeks ago [during a vision on September 1, 1982] Jesus showed me people burning in a fire and wild animals that were tearing each other apart and devouring each other. Then he showed me people hacking each other to bits with machetes. Jesus didn't give me any specific explanation about what those terrifying images meant or when those things might happen. But you can all understand what he wanted to show me: it is how people are feeling toward one another, that more and more they hate one another and want to harm each other. Jesus wants all that to change. The only way for the world to change is through his love and forgiveness." (Loc. 1697-1702)
Years later in 1992, as a college student at the National University of Rwanda, Ilibagiza learned by chance that Segatashya worked on campus at the university chapel and library as a handyman. She went out of her mind searching for him for years, and now there he was, at the same school she was attending. They became friends and he was able to answer many of the questions she had for years. Sadly, less than two years later, Rwanda's prophesied destruction took the lives and property of nearly a million people, including Segatashya, and nearly all of the recordings of the Visionaries of Kibeho were lost.
Segatashya's visions have not yet been officially declared genuine by the Catholic Church, but three of the earliest Kibeho Visionaries were confirmed as Divinely Inspired by the Vatican. Continuing her work long after his death, Ilibagiza interviewed people who talked with Segatashya and examined him while he was in spiritual communication, and reviewed his messages in detail. None of these people have any doubt that he was genuine and his message was directly from Jesus. Her book, The Boy Who Met Jesus: Segatashya of Kibeho, is the compilation of her life-time support of Segatashya and his messages. As with many of these experiences and revelations, there are those that are inclined to believe and those that don't. In my way of thinking, it doesn't really matter what you say, or what you do, or what faith your follow - all that matters is what you hold in your heart while doing it. As Segatashya said, quoting Jesus:
"No one is forced to believe in God, but still, God lives in every person's heart ... just follow your heart to God's love. Those who live in love will hear God's voice, because God's voice is a voice of love." (Loc. 861-863)