Brian Thomson’s initial contact with Rwanda came out of a conference he attended in spring of 2005. One of the presenters spoke to Brian about his future and about how she could see Brian working in Africa and specifically Rwanda. He was also approached by another individual, from the conference, who had contacts in Rwanda and knew how to get Brian there to speak in one of the largest churches in the capital, Kigali. Brian then spent hours of research on the country of Rwanda and submerged himself in the facts and culture of the Central African nation and the genocide that took place there. He discovered that it was the number one country in the world in need of orphan care. At that time there was a ratio of 1 orphan for every 13 people. All this was before he had even set foot in the country he has now fallen so deeply in love with. God had started to knit Brian’s heart with Rwanda.
Anyone who knows Brian knows of his intensity. Intense work ethic, intense drive, intense faith, intense sense of humor and once you are his friend it’s for life. This intensity would serve him well in the coming years as he worked tirelessly to get Home of Hope up and running and into the hearts of everyone he met. By July 2006, Brian had done his research, talked with many people and even had brochures printed with facts and data about Rwanda, the genocide and the orphan needs. He gave those brochures out to anyone who would listen. Six months later, Brian made his first trip with two fellow Canadians who went with a plan to rescue orphans. He had spoken with Rev. Bob Hoover, a personal friend and hero of Brian’s, who ran an orphanage in India for boys with the name of Home of Hope and asked permission to use the same name. Rev. Hoover agreed. Once in Rwanda, Brian did speak at the church attended by 10,000 people and also had an opportunity to speak at the Glory of Christ Church in Gikondo. That put him in contact with Pastor Samuel Rushombo. This is where the story of Home of Hope Rwanda takes flight. Pastor Brian and Pastor Samuel became friends with a common purpose and that purpose was to see orphans not just rescued but cared for. Brian asked Pastor Samuel to give him the names of twenty of the most desperate children in the area. Brian was the first to sponsor children and started with four. He brought back twenty names, pictures and stories and asked people to help him rescue these children in hopeless situations.
He visited many people during his trip to Rwanda, took time with them and heard their stories. He was so moved that he knew he could do something… he must do something. When he got back to Canada he began to talk to people about what he had seen, and he knew what he was going to do about it. Brian has said, “The moment I was exposed to the needs of Africa, I had to do something.” He would tell people what he had seen; the countless children and people in Rwanda in extremely desperate situations. People with no food, no water, no homes and no one to care for them. Pastor Brian’s passion for life and his deep faith is displayed everyday as he goes about the business of saving children from starvation, abandonment and abuse. His ability to grab hold of an idea and share his passion about it is something very few people possess. His love of this country and its people has erupted and overflowed to the many people who hear his story and the story of what Home of Hope is doing. This organization would not be where it is presently without the driving force of this passionate, kind, caring, tender, teacher, brother, father, servant, leader and friend. The many Rwandans who have joined Home of Hope are similar in their passion and focus to help their brothers and sisters. Pastor Brian has spent countless hours, sometimes very early morning or late at night speaking to them online tending to their development and growth so they can go out and change their world. “I decided that I wasn’t going to live for just me.” That decision was one of the many he made that changed the lives of so many in Rwanda and other nations that Home of Hope serves. Many teams and hundreds of people have gone over to aid in the humanitarian efforts of Home of Hope. Brian himself has been to Rwanda thirteen times in five years, that in addition to three trips to India and six to Kenya. People come into contact with Home of Hope, see a need and know they must do something to change a life on the other side of the world. Brian’s enthusiasm has something to do with that. Hundreds of volunteers have saved money, raised money and been given money to attend to the efforts of Home of Hope in the now eight locations in Rwanda alone. These numbers will continue to increase.
People in Rwanda have now been exposed to microloans, sewing programs, job training programs, family creations, churches, feeding programs, building projects, the list goes on. Their lifestyles have improved, their commitment to their communities has changed and they see a future and a hope. Orphans have found someone who cares and loves them, widows have found a means of income and communities are drawn together for the good of all.
Similar effects are felt in Kenya and India as well, as those locations develop into care-giving outlets to the communities Home of Hope is involved in. Such is the case in the Dream Centre location in Nairobi, Kenya where numerous babies who had been thrown away are being rescued from certain death from the slums and dumps of Nairobi. As Pastor Brian has said, “Children don’t deserve to die.”
Brian has proven that one person can make a difference. One person can change a country, a community and a life. One act can so move people that they come together to change the landscape of a country. Brian’s desire to do something in Rwanda has propelled the project into an organization that now serves hundreds and affects thousands in the countries of Rwanda, India and Kenya. Recently the staff of Home of Hope started work in the Congo as well. His dedication to simply “do something” has sent many volunteers, workers, staff and strangers on their way to finding their own fulfillment, whether in North America or people of the host nation. This work of generosity may have been spoken over Brian but in the end Brian himself has inspired, informed and educated people about the condition of children and communities all over the world. Home of Hope is only in its 6th year of operation, which is young for a Non-profit Organization. It‘s explosive growth is an indicator of it’s bright and continuous future. It is Brian’s love and passion for people that fuels this organization; it all comes down to one statement that Brian made “Love compels me.”