Did you know that African countries have some of the highest populations of twins in the world? In Uganda, twins are so prevalent, even their parents are given special names! Sometimes, in rural village settings, parents aren’t able to care for both children, so they choose to neglect the weaker twin. But not “Nalongo” Rose.
When this 20 year old mother gave birth to twins and her son, “Kato”, had severe digestive and muscular delays, she never once gave up hope, not even when the babies’ father, “Salongo”, walked out, or her own mother refused to take her in. Although “Babirye”, her daughter, flew through all the milestones of her first year – sitting up, first foods, walking – Kato didn’t gain weight, couldn’t eat, and kept her awake with constant, full-body muscle spasms.
Nalongo Rose tried everything she knew to do, then one day heard about Good Shepherd’s Fold (GSF), deep in the sugarcane fields near Jinja, Uganda. She began attending the weekly discipleship program on campus, often walking long distances with both children to save money on transport. She was confident, yet humble, spoke freely of Jesus, knew English, and fiercely and equally loved the frail one year old in her arms and the vibrant one year old at her side.
Through a series of doctors visits, it became clear that Kato (and his mom) could not survive for long in their current condition, so he received a feeding tube and was moved onto campus. Nalongo Rose worked tirelessly to earn transport money so her family could be together. As word spread about this special mama and her son’s unique disability, everyone at Good Shepherd’s Fold wanted to help.
The social worker who grew up in the same town as Nalongo Rose, the new nurse on campus, the missionary childcare helper; each played their part in some way – even if it meant an emergency hospital visit right during church! Nalongo Rose has since been provided with a small home nearby, is being discipled, and has a job assisting with a program for special needs families in the villages. She encourages mamas to keep going, even when times are rough. She tells them, “Disabled children are like homework that God gives us. If you don’t care for them the way you should, you’re wasting the privilege and opportunity you have to grow and learn. Kato is my child. God gave him to me on purpose. Even though he is very weak and I didn’t know how I was going to keep both him and his sister alive, I knew they were worth it, so I kept trying. I see now how God was protecting us and watching over us, even then.”
“I am the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valleys…He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was Love.” Song of Solomon 2:1,4
Nalongo Rose’s story isn’t done being written and Kato still has a long road ahead, but we’re loved by a big God who doesn’t give up on His children, so we’ll keep trusting in Him to finish the good work He’s begun. As you go through your day, look for God’s banner of love over you. Do you see His hope in your life? Do you have someone who encourages you? How can you help or encourage someone, right now?
© Adria Hinrichs
United World Mission has a global staff of 400 serving as residents in 49 nations with partners that are impacting over 90 nations. United World Mission seeks to help leaders to establish and build up the church as God’s missional people in their nations and beyond. We create missional opportunities for North American churches and for God’s missionary servants who are called to serve in short and long-term ways.
Our vision is of a church in every nation that blesses every nation and neighborhood by their life together in community, their works of mercy and justice, and their message of grace and hope through Christ’s death and resurrection. We would love for you to discover United World Mission and the opportunities available for you to participate with us and our partners around the world.
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