“Meet My Friend Ildephonse”
The first time I met Ildephonse Bigrimana, he was working under the hot sun at a street corner kiosk in Bujumbura, a city in Burundi, East Africa. He saw me from a distance — which wasn’t difficult, as my white skin made me stand out from the mobs of other people—and he flashed a signature smile that I had seen in a photo weeks earlier, identifying himself to me. When I arrived at his kiosk we shook left hands due to the fact that his right hand was deformed. Ildephonse never stopped smiling, even as other nearby street vendors who knew him gently taunted him for being tight with a “mzungu.” He held his head high.
Ildephonse used to beg on the streets for survival, but a conversion to Christ and a small-business grant from Heaven’s Family gave him a new start. I had come to inspect his kiosk to determine if he should receive a second grant to expand his business. After some questions and counsel, he was approved. Since then, Ildephonse has married the girl of his dreams. More details are found below.
I love working for Heaven’s Family, because we help members of our spiritual family one person at a time. And I love to share their stories with you, because your compassion is changing their lives. Enjoy this month’s stories of real people whom you’ve blessed. And thank you, on their behalf. — David