Before I attempt a meager response, I wanted to quote from Emmanuel Katongole’s book Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda in order to offer a modern day situation.
Dallaire recalls a patrol during which he observed French soldiers loading Westerners into their vehicles. Hundreds of Rwandans were gathered, watching the white businessmen, NGO staff, and embassy representatives flee for their lives. Dallaire noted how the French soldiers had to push Rwandans back from their vehicles. “A sense of shame overcame me,” Dallaire says. “The whites, who had made their money in Rwanda and who had hired so many Rwandans to be their servants and laborers, were now abandoning them. Self-interest and self-preservation ruled.”
… It did not make a difference whether Western agents in Africa were embassy officials, NGO staff, businesspeople, or missionaries. They all followed the same logic in the face of the Rwandan genocide. Western missionaries and church agencies, with only one or two exceptions, quickly abandoned Rwanda and left its people to sort out their problems.
Would Paul have stayed in Rwanda?
Of course, a question like this can be easily dismissed as speculative. But wait, didn’t Paul say: Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us (Phil 3:17). What is the example? It is to know him [Christ] and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings (Phil 3:10). In short, Paul’s example was to relive the life of Christ in whatever situation he found himself. As mentioned in the previous post this led Paul not to use his Roman citizenship to escape a beating so that he might further conform to Christ and further advance the gospel in Philippi. With that said I believe Paul would have likely stayed in Rwanda and lived out the narrative of Christ, embodying the gospel in the midst of genocide. I realize it is purely speculative, but it is necessary in order to respond to a situation like Rwanda or any situation of suffering or social pressure that Christians with escape hatches (Roman or American citizenship) may find themselves.
What of you and me?
I cannot answer for you. I would only ask you to think and meditate upon the example of Paul and indeed of Christ. As for me, I would like to say that I would imitate Paul’s example in a situation like Rwanda, where suffering for the gospel may prove likely. But, I must be honest… I do not know what I would do. All that I can do at this moment, and I think any one of us, is to prepare myself for such a situation by conforming to the other-oriented narrative of Christ in all of life.