By Rachel Balia, GlobalFingerprints Democratic Republic of Congo
One morning, a boy dragged himself up my house porch stairs and introduced himself to me. His name was “Pitalo”. His speech was challenging, and he was partially paralyzed. After visiting with him, I asked if he’d like to go to a special school.
He said he was too stupid to learn anything. Pitalo had been told this all his life, and he was not wanted nor loved by anyone.
Pitalo had no idea of his age, but we estimated him to be 17-18 years old. He has no birth certificate, and I learned he had many childhood illnesses that left him paralyzed and with speech difficulties. Not only did his body have immense physical limitations, but he also he had poor nutrition, no schooling, no health care, no loving relationships and no nurturing. He had no adults in his life, no dignity.
His mom deserted him as a young, frail boy.
From devalued and rejected to loved and cherished
Kids with disabilities like Pitalo are devalued and often unloved. Everyone calls them “zoba,” or “babebi,” meaning stupid or ruined and useless. Those around them find no value in these children
Thus, when I asked Pitalo if he’d like to go to our special school, he responded, “Mama, I’m zoba. I can’t learn.” But oh, they were wrong!
The Promise Home, GlobalFingerprints’ transitional group home for kids with special needs in Gemena, opened in August 2018. We provide a safe, loving home for children who are seen as useless to their families and society at large. Children who were ridiculed and feared now receive nurturing care, education and the love of Jesus Christ. They are allowed to develop and are accepted and loved unconditionally.
Our mission at the Promise Home is to reach the most vulnerable child. And that was Pitalo. Through GlobalFingerprints, we make special wheelchairs for many kids who can’t walk. So I promised Pitalo a wheelchair and he got one even before he received a sponsor. Once he had a sponsor from GlobalFingerprints, we promised he would be one of the first students/residents at the Promise Home. He could hardly wait!
A boy full of promise
At Promise Home, Pitalo has been nurtured and discipled by Papa Lisasi, the Promise Home Dad. He wants to forget his old life and the name “Pitalo,” so he chose the name “Adolphe.” Why? He says it’s because he doesn’t know anyone with that name so it would be special, just for him.
Best of all, Adolphe loves his Creator Lord. Papa Lisasi is amazed that every evening at 6 pm, Adolphe pulls himself aside for a time of adoration, confession and intercession. I was humbled to learn that I am among those he remembers every evening. He has claimed Jesus as his Lord and Savior and wants to be baptized this December.
Adolphe is learning to make tables and chairs and is proud of his work. He loves working in the garden, weeding and planting corn. His life now has purpose. Adolphe knows that he is created and loved by his Heavenly Father and God’s people, and that has made all the difference in his life.
The special three-wheel trike/wheelchair that GlobalFingerprints built for Adolphe means he does not have to crawl and drag himself on the ground; it gives him dignity and respect.
“I want others to see I am a person too!”
Peggy, a visiting physical therapist from the U.S. asked him, “When you graduate from Promise Home, how do you hope it has helped you?”
Though difficult to understand, Adolphe answered without hesitation, “I want others to see that I’m a person, too!”
Our prayer for all of our 17 Promise Home kids is for them to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:19). As Paul writes in Ephesians 3:16-17, we want Adolphe and the others to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in their inner being, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith…that they would be rooted and grounded in love.
Adolphe now locks eyes with me, smiles big and asks how I am doing. Through GlobalFingerprints, Adolphe is no longer “Pitalo,” always sick and weak, he is growing strong in His Lord. If you ask him what he wants to do with the rest of his life, he’ll answer, “Worship and serve my God!” And that’s exactly why he was created.
Today at the Promise Home, I was trying to fix a walker of another boy who has cerebral palsy, but I couldn’t budge the walker’s legs. Adolphe wheeled up to me with confidence and said, “Give it to me. I’ll fix it.” The adults sitting there were amazed, he fixed it! He is loving being useful and helpful.
Adolphe has come a long way from crawling up on the porch to introduce himself as “Pitalo,” and all is due to God’s transforming Word and love.
If you would like to make sure other children in poverty can find dignity like Adolphe, consider sponsoring a child through GlobalFingerprints at globalfingerprints.org.