Q&A with a Compassion alumnus: Brian’s story

Catch up with a Compassion graduate who now lives in Canada
  • By: Rebekah Malbrecht
A group of people pose for a photo and smile in front of a Christmas tree

Brian was 4 years old when he joined the Compassion program in his local church in Kenya. He was eighteen when he graduated. That means Compassion was a part of Brian’s life for 14 years and has shaped the person he has become today.

You can imagine our excitement when we learned that Brian had moved to Canada. We always love the opportunity to connect with the amazing men and women who know Compassion’s program so personally.

Recently, we connected with Brian to ask him a little bit more about his story. What was your childhood like? How has Compassion impacted your life? Where are you now? These were the questions that Brian so warmly unpacked for us, giving us the unique perspective of an alumnus living in Canada… so, come listen in to what he has to say!

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CC: So Brian, let’s start with a fun question! What are some activities that bring you joy?

Brian: I love sports! Soccer (football), walks or volleyball. I have been learning to surf and I am getting good at it. I also skate and ski… I am not so good at those, but I am able to do the basics.

CC: Maybe you can help us get to know you a little better as we talk about your story. If you had to describe yourself in 5 words, what words would you use?

Brian: I would choose resilient, hard-working, God-fearing, loving and goal-driven.

CC: Amazing. Well, we know you joined the Compassion program when you were 4-years-old, but tell us a little bit more about your childhood?

Brian: I was born in a village in the Rift valley region of Kenya. I am from a tribe known a lot for colourful beads, herding cattle, jumping high, hospitality but also bravery in killing lions that attack our livestock. I come from the Maasai.

Being born in a village is not exactly what someone would dream of since life is not easy. Most villages are inaccessible because the roads are bad, there is no electricity, there is no clean drinking water and there is a lot of poverty. Our village was one of those.

I attended the local school until I was in third grade. When I was 8 years old (4 years after joining Compassion’s program), I was offered the opportunity to go to boarding school by Compassion and I was happy to go. I didn’t have to walk as much to the school, and I would get better quality education.

A group of people stand in colourful clothing and beads

A representation of the colourful beads, clothing and traditional jumping of the Maasai tribe in Kenya.

CC: We know you have had a special relationship with your sponsors. Can you share about the connection you built with them?

Brian: My sponsors have always felt like a big part of my life since I was young. Their eldest son is Hudson, and we share the same birthday. It sounds like a funny story when they say that they chose me because I shared the same birthday as their son.

I had always felt a lot of connection with my sponsors because they would send a lot of letters, and pictures as well. I used to be so proud because I was able to comfortably pronounce their name and I just used to feel very good about it. I was always very eager to go to the Compassion centre and see what they had sent. I used to enjoy getting updated photographs and letters from them since it was the only way of communication. They sent me Bible verses that were very encouraging.

CC: You’ve had the opportunity to connect with your sponsors here in Canada. How special! What was the one thing you wanted them to know about your experience in Compassion’s program?

Brian: I have told them this: that my life would be so different if it wasn’t it for Compassion. Life for a child who was in Compassion in the village and one who wasn’t in Compassion was so different and you could have been able to tell.

CC: How amazing to be able to share that with them! So, you are now living in Canada and that is a part of your story. What are you up to?

Brian: I currently live in Alberta, and I have been here since December of 2018. I attend North Pointe Church and I have been also going there since I arrived here. I was fortunate to connect with [my sponsors here] and it was a miracle how God makes things happen!

Side by side photos of a boy growing up.

Two of the Compassion photos Brian’s sponsors received

I do try to get involved [with Compassion Canada] a lot as well because I can tell the grass-roots real experience, first-hand experience. I am currently helping in letter writing and I sponsor a child in Columbia. His name is Harlis. I pray for him, that he continues to believe in God, does well in his schooling and that he turns out to be a great person.

Also, I currently go to MacEwan University, and I am studying Accounting. I am in my 4th year, and I am hoping to graduate [next spring]. I am also working as an accounting intern.

CC: What led you into accounting?

Brian: I do love numbers and problem-solving. I always feel that I have in me the ability to solve complex issues and that drew me to it. I have always said that I wanted to be a pilot, but I wanted to get a degree and then I can always get my pilot’s license later.

CC: Being a pilot is a wonderful dream. Do you have any other dreams?

Brian: My dream has always been to help my family and my community since I’ve had the opportunity to get educated and explore life more. My siblings inspire me a lot and I really want to make their dreams come true by supporting everything they do, by advising them and by helping them through school financially. My younger sister wants to become a doctor and that always keeps me very happy and motivated. I’m praying that her dreams come true.

CC: What is one thing you have learned about God through Compassion’s program and your life so far?

Brian: God has always been with me in great moments and even in my low moments. We all have low moments and I have had quite a number of them. I have always found strength in relying on God in such times.

A group of people pose for a photo and smile in front of a Christmas tree

Brian with his sponsor family, Hudson, Genelle, Richard, Kosten and Breyar.

CC: Well, Brian, we have really appreciated that you have shared some of your story with us today. As our conversation comes to a close, we would love to know one more thing… when you think about the Canadians who are interested in becoming involved in poverty alleviation efforts, and you think of your own story, how would you complete this sentence: “If only you knew…”?

Brian: If only you knew… the impact you make with your donation, you would be so proud of yourself and you would want to help out even more. If only you knew… the happiness that was in my heart anytime I went to my Compassion centre and found my sponsor had written me a letter, you would write more to your sponsored child.

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What we love about Brian’s story is the clear theme of connection that runs throughout. No matter where Brian is in his story, he is connected. Connected not only to Compassion but also to his family, his church, his work, his sponsors, his own sponsored child and God.

It is these connections—relationships—that keep Brian inspired and full of hope for how his story will continue to unfold.

If only you knew… the power of connection.

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