The Life-Giving Promise of a Home

Caring for children with special needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is now a special home for children in need: Promise Home. At first, it was a home that we could only dream of, but now, thanks to God’s providence and the generosity of our supporters, it’s a full-fledged reality.

Through GlobalFingerprints, the child sponsorship ministry of ReachGlobal, my team and I work with children in the Congo, most of whom are orphans. The children are sponsored on a monthly basis, and our guiding mission is to reach the most vulnerable child with the fingerprint of Christ.

Many sponsored children, most of whom have special needs, live with extended families in villages. We face many obstacles in our work, including the way that life is valued (or, more often, undervalued) here in Congo. Many people believe that a child with disabilities is not worth investing in. These children are seen as useless to their families and to society at large. Those with mental disabilities are ridiculed; those with epilepsy are feared. Those who are paralyzed by polio crawl on the ground all of their lives; those who are deaf or blind do not go to school or receive any help.

Our long-term dream has been to provide a safe, loving home for these children. We wanted to offer a home where these kids could be allowed to develop and accepted and loved unconditionally. I spoke with Cyrille Alenge, the president of the Congolese EFCA church (CECU). President Alenge offered us an old dormitory building on his church property. The building was in disrepair and falling down, but we knew we could work with it, with God’s help.

The state of the dormitory in February 2018.

We began to estimate the cost to make extensive renovations, and I sent a fundraising letter to our committed GlobalFingerprints sponsors. We continued to pray. And then, just a few weeks later, God provided: A sponsor wrote that she and her family wanted to cover the majority of the renovation costs for the first year! We were overwhelmed and grateful.

The renovation was a major project: We wanted a veranda with wide sidewalks for the children’s special wheelchairs. We wanted the sidewalks throughout—leading to and from the kitchen, dining area, outhouses and outdoor showers—to be paved so that the children could move about easily and every area was handicap accessible. We had no plan or model to follow; we have never seen a compound in the Congo for those with disabilities. Our mason and carpenter had never built anything like this, but we explained what we wanted each step of the way.

The fully renovated Promise Home, in September 2018.

Throughout the process, God has provided continually, and we are all amazed at what He has done! He has given these kids a safe, beautiful home, filled with love and joy.

August 31, 2018, was a wonderful, happy day as we dedicated and opened Promise Home to house parents and children. President Alenge shared from John 5, reading the story about the paralytic who had been lying by the Bethesda pool for 38 years. The man, helpless and alone, had been suffering for decades, and the religious leaders of his day passed him by. Only Jesus could heal him, and when he was healed, a passing Pharisee yelled at the man for carrying his mat on the Sabbath.

President Alenge shared that we are also tempted to ignore, criticize and marginalize those who live with disabilities. But Jesus went out of his way to love this man and heal him. As children in the kingdom of God, we are called to do the same, always remembering that it is Jesus alone who saves.

House dad Lisasi with two students, both of whom are named Jeremy.

This year, we have 12 “Promise Kids” living at Promise Home. They will receive individualized education, and they will attend church as part of our family as they learn, grow and serve others. The children will receive medical care and physical therapy. Some will move on after a year for further training at Elikya Center or in another school; others will be with us indefinitely. Every child will be valued and loved.

Nambala.

In the midst of this joy, we have also experienced deep sorrow. A young boy named Nambala was to be our first child and student at Promise Home. I met him a couple of years ago while he was wandering the streets in Tandala and the surrounding villages. He had no one to love him; everyone laughed at him. He walked funny and talked funny; he was malnourished, his teeth had decayed and his feet were full of infection. GlobalFingerprints began to sponsor him and realized that our gifts of money and supplies could not help him unless he was in a loving, safe and supportive environment. The dream of Promise Home was for Nambala!

Just two days before the dedication of the renovated building, we received a message that Nambala had died. He was found in a ditch by the side of the road. No one had stopped for him; no one had taken him to the hospital. My heart was broken; I cried out for him. I had grown to love him, and I was so excited that he would soon be living in a home, with parents and others to show him the love of Jesus.

As I remember sweet Nambala, my one comfort is knowing that he is in a much better home: Jesus’ village. Nambala loved God and sang praises to the Lord all the time. Although he never experienced life in a secure, loving family, please join us in prayer that many other kids like him will have that opportunity.

Author Rachel Balia with sponsored student Ngoyta, who is receiving treatment for his sight.

Will you join us in prayer?

  • Pray for each of the 12 children who have moved into Promise Home. Pray especially for two of the boys, who are struggling with anger and disobedience. Pray for wisdom for the staff and that God’s Word will change their hearts.
  • Pray for cooks, caregivers, teachers, nurses and cleaners at Promise Home.
  • Pray for Ngoyta (shown with me in the photo above) and for the healing of his eyes. He is receiving treatment in Kinshasa and will move into Promise Home when he returns.
  • Pray for Sephora, a young girl who is blind, and pray that we will have guidance and wisdom as we teach her Braille.
  • Pray for the needed funds to build a guest house for teams and family who come visit. Pray also that we will have the funds to enclose Promise Home for security purposes.
  • Pray for God’s provision, month by month, for all of us in the Promise Home family.

How you can help

We continue to have many needs at Promise Home. Although these kids are all sponsored through GlobalFingerprints, the $35 a month that they receive does not cover all of their physical and material needs. Many need special wheelchairs, and all need medical care and therapy, daily meals, clothes, school supplies and the support of loving adults who care for them 24 hours a day.

Make a gift to support Promise Home.

We are grateful for any monthly commitments or one-time donations to support our work at Promise Home. Make a gift online and in the designation field, enter: Promise Home Congo/GlobalFingerprints #2150-3854.

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