Carine (the shine smile in the middle), Cheryl (black wig on right) and Kakesa, (blue sports outfit) are regular participants in the Ligue meetings.
He went on to explain. "Our purpose is to get people reading and studying the Bible together. But many of our members don’t in fact read. They just come to hear the Word, as they do in church. As a result, too many of our chapter leaders fall into the habit of just preaching at meetings instead of leading their members in Bible studies. We want to change that. Would you be willing to train Ligue leaders to teach their members to read and write, so that they can really study the Bible?”
Would I?!! This is what we’ve been thinking about and wishing would happen the past 10 years. We have yet to have our meeting, but we’re going to work on it. There’s no rush, since this is the off-season for work with women, who are the majority of illiterates in Congo.
In the meantime, during this off season, I’m concentrating on our own Ligue group. The kids are mostly teenagers. They consider themselves too old for Sunday school (which is pretty much limited to 3-10 year olds) but still know woefully little about what is in the Bible. Some of them are our recently baptized, interested in learning more about God and this life of faith that they have chosen. None of them read well – one might not read at all. Reading the Bible out loud in two versions of French plus Kituba, our local trade language, and discussing what they have read helps them to get familiar with the Bible and understand what God wants of us. It also improves their general reading fluency and comprehension in both languages, for better success at school and beyond.
In the fall we were reading the stories of Rebecca and Isaac’s marriage and the story of Ruth and Naomi. And then we moved on to a general discipleship program of study, with memorization of helpful verses. In years past I’ve offered a prize of a notebook for anyone who will memorize the books of the Bible in order and recite them.
Coordinating with school presents us with a challenge. Ligue meetings are usually in the afternoons. In a time of double sessions, some of Lusekele’s kids attend morning sessions and other afternoon sessions. Should we split our Ligue meetings into separate morning and afternoon meetings to accommodate all the kids? Or should we meet on Saturday afternoons or Sundays? The only day we can catch up with the whole group all together to discuss the matter and decide on alternative meeting hours/days is next Sunday.
* The Ligue’s full name is the Bible Reading League (Ligue pour la Lecture de la Bible in French), known as Scripture Union in English-speaking countries. It is the most effective discipling group in Congo today, is a wide-spread grass-roots organization, and has kept hundreds, maybe thousands of isolated villagers reading over the years.