Madame Bible

By Teresa Bill, serving in the Republic of the Congo

It was a typical children’s club at our home in Ollombo—under the carport that has expanded into a youth shelter. Lekonga, 10, who never misses club, came to me at the end of a meeting in May 2010 in tears. God had been convicting him of his disobedience to his mother, he said, and he asked for prayer.

I have found that when the children ask for prayer, they are really asking for help. (It’s an opportunity to counsel them and talk about real problems; it also gives them the opportunity to confess their sins to God.) So I directed Lekonga to a young man who is our neighbor and recently became a follower of Jesus. Since he speaks the local Lingala language (and I am still learning!), I asked him to counsel and pray with the child.


After nearly three years of doing children’s outreach here, it was the first time one of the kids had come to us for spiritual help—a breakthrough for this community that is shrouded in animistic, superstitious beliefs.

For example, we tried to learn and spell each child’s name last year, but then they refused to attend because they thought we would curse them if we knew their names. (Often the children give other names, rather than their own.) One neighborhood family even forbade their children to attend—because white people eat children!

Despite these cultural challenges, club is the highlight of the week for the children. (We began with 25  attending; today we average 90.) Each Wednesday, an announcement is made to the neighborhood on a loud speaker. Celestin and Jeanne Mayala, our Congolese colleagues, help with the meetings, in which we sing, sing, and sing Bible songs in French and Lingala. Our lessons and teachings, such as showing courtesy and respect for others, are all biblically based.

Also, the children earn awards for memorizing verses and the names of the New Testament books. We received a shipment of Gideon New Testaments, which the children can earn by memorizing verses.

Coloring Is a Highpoint

Even the young children learn Bible verses. (Some of the very young confuse my last name, “Bill”, with Bible, so they call me Madame Bible. I love that!) But the highlight of the meeting is coloring a picture of a Bible story; the children had never had the opportunity to color until they attended our meetings!

Steven loves club, but he must bring his fussy baby brother, which is common in this community where children are responsible for their younger siblings. (We are prepared with a blanket that lies on the floor for the nappers and babies.) One day recently, Steven said that he hadn’t heard the announcement the previous week, so he had missed the meeting! He was so sad.

We reminded him that we meet every Wednesday from 3–6 p.m., without fail, unless there is a big rain. We even meet in the extreme heat and humidity (100 F!).

Some local officials have visited our children’s meeting because they’d received good reports about our teaching. God has blessed our group. We account our success to the Lord, who has enabled us to be faithful each week, and to sharing good Bible teaching in a fun atmosphere with leaders who are good Christian models. Most important, we communicate God’s love to love-starved children.


As for Lekonga, his life has changed since that spring day. He is happier than he used to be, and his parents say he is less difficult and more obedient. A bright student, he reads and understands French and is a joy to have in club where he actively listens and answers questions. “I like club,” he says. “It is fun and interesting and challenges me!”

Because of your prayerful support of the Great Commission Fund, children like Lekonga have the opportunity to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus Christ at the weekly children’s meeting in Ollombo, Congo.

What You Can Do

Give to the Great Commission Fund—partner with Alliance workers like Teresa Bill to share Jesus with children and families alike, who are all in need of the life-changing good news.

Pray for Alliance workers around the world.

Be sure to check out alife‘s January 15 issue that includes more stories about the powerful, Kingdom-expanding impact of children’s ministries.


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