It’s in the way the children greet you, with big smiles and waves. It’s in the way the BFR workers interact with the kids. It’s in every song sung, dance danced, gift given, and gift received. It’s joy, and it’s found at Best Family Rwanda.
Sappy? Yes. Over-exaggerated? Not at all!
Harrison, and I were welcomed into that joy when we visited Best Family Rwanda at the end of June.
We sponsor the most precious eight-year-old girl named Sonia, and were overjoyed to meet her in person. But we didn’t anticipate feeling this joy in every encounter, every hug, and everyone we met!
About Best Family Rwanda
If you’ve heard of Compassion International, where you sponsor a child and exchange letters with them, BFR is pretty similar, though it has a specific geographic focus.
They are located in Kigali, Rwanda. The leaders started BFR after realizing that they needed to band together for hope and encouragement following the devastation of the 1994 genocide that claimed many of their family members.
I actually discovered them through Instagram, after trying to look up Instagram photos under the hashtag #Rwanda. Their precious photos of children laughing caught my eye, and I wanted to learn more. When I saw that they were legit, and that sponsors were needed for children, I became Sonia’s sponsor 🙂
Our time with BFR
Jean Claude, Emmanuel, and the rest of the BFR leaders quickly became our great friends, and we can’t thank them enough for the love they showed to us.
With them, we got to spend time playing with the kids at each of the three branches, share meals, do home visits, attend a church in the Kinyinya sector, and even participate in Umuganda (a mandatory community service day on the last Saturday of each month) where the president of Rwanda made an appearance!
There are three branches of BFR- one in each of three different sectors of Kigali: Gikondo, Nyarugunga, and Kinyinya. We spent a day at each branch. Each one has about 55-65 kids, so you can imagine the fun we had!
We danced, did model walks (you can see a snippet of a model walk in the image at the beginning of this post!), played games, and laughed together!
I met Sonia at her church, PEFA, in Kinyinya. We were seated in the church service when Sonia sat down next to me, in a gorgeous blue dress and a shy smile.
She gave me a hug, then spent the rest of the service peeking glances at me but avoiding eye contact. I realized that she was just as shy as I was as a kid! It melted my heart!
After the three hour long church service (two hours of which was incredible dancing and singing!), we went to the grocery store to pick up some food items to give to her family. Sonia accompanied us and after we bonded over looking at the photos on my phone, she warmed up to me.
If only we spoke the same language! Emmanuel translated for us, but I wish we could’ve talked directly to each other! We spent the whole day together, and it was a priceless gift.
Visiting Sonia’s home
Meeting Sonia’s family was an experience I’ll treasure forever.
We got to meet her mother and two brothers and learn all about her life.
Entering Sonia’s home, I saw the Christmas gifts I had mailed to Sonia hanging on the wall next to photographs of Sonia and her siblings- it was like we were a part of that wonderful family!
Her mom explained how BFR’s sponsorship was a direct answer to prayer, and how it has transformed Sonia’s educational future. She told us about how when Sonia found out I was visiting, she wanted to have her prettiest dress on.
And that she asked her mom, who makes beaded jewelry for a living, to make something she could give me. The necklace I’m wearing in the photo is that gift- hundreds of tiny beads woven together to make something beautiful, with hard work, love, and the thoughtfulness of a precious eight-year-old girl.
How blessed we are and how wonderful it is to be able to give to BFR, where our funds are being used to better the lives of children there as the BFR staff pours out the love of Jesus for them.
If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, you can learn more on their website, here!