Carl's Open Road

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  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    10K Miles From Home

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Portland, OR

  • AIRED ON:

    Indie: Team 10k Miles from Home (US)

CARL WILKENS

Director
World Outside My Shoes

“There's so many things that we can do in our lives and we miss so much of it because we're afraid to trust, we're afraid to take risks.”

INTERESTS:

Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Culture Dedication Fear Risk

TAGS:

building schools, chaos, freedom, genocide, helping others, loyalty, mission trip, people, Rwanda, South Africa, trust, volunteering, war

BIOGRAPHY:

Carl Wilkens was the only American to stay in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide between two ethnic groups in the country. Putting his life at risk, Carl stayed behind to hand out food, water, and other supplies to those in need. Carl's love for the country came during his college years when he went on a student volunteer program to Africa. Six years later, he returned with his wife and three kids as director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, a nonprofit that helps those in need in developing countries. By the time the genocide hit, Carl had been living in Rwanda for 10 years. Carl took his wife and kids to the U.S. ambassador's house for safety, but stayed behind in their home to help others who had nowhere to go. Little did Carl know he would not be able to leave his house for three weeks due to the chaos and terror that was exploding outside his door. He was terrified, but he says he told God if he died, he would trust him. "That's when I felt freed from fear," he says. In 2008, Carl started Word Outside My Shoes, a nonprofit dedicated to sharing his experiences during the genocide.

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