Feature

Religion That Is Pure

Energy for orphanages in the Congo

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“You need God, Brice; you need God in your life; you need God, Brice; you need God.”

The man’s plea sounded like a chant of grace in the young man’s ear. Raised in rejection and taunted by his family in failure, Brice had come to his breaking point. But his neighbor’s melodic refrain struck a chord in his soul: “You need God, Brice; you need God!”

Brice Ngoyela (from the Mbeti people group) leads the Energy Team, a group of four Alliance young people who minister to orphans in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. A donor in New Jersey has given us funds to purchases lentils, beans, peanut butter, dried fish, chicken and sardines that are then delivered to the orphanages monthly to increase the protein content of the children’s diet. We have the privilege of assisting five orphanages here in Brazzaville, Congo. Two have given us permission to teach Bible stories and be involved in the lives of the children.

The goal of our visits is twofold: That the orphans would know that our Heavenly Father is their Father and Savior and that the Bible would be the first place they go to for help.

Brice is not an orphan but knew the sorrow of having parents who did not take responsibility for their children. He was raised by his aunt and uncle, and though, as a child he suffered from malnutrition, perhaps his greatest source of pain was being treated as an inferior in the home. The living conditions were awful—drugs and alcohol were abused and prostitutes were employed by his relatives in the same bedroom where Brice lived and slept. His cousins despised having to share their living quarters and meals with him. He begged for help from his father, who tore up the letter and laughed at his request.

Brice was the only child in his immediate family who was in an educational program. His parents and aunt and uncle were counting on him to pass the exam required for high school admission so he could get a good job. However, he flunked and was mocked even more by his family.

Brice decided to commit suicide; he saw no hope for the future and had no desire to continue living as he was. Thankfully, a godly neighbor heard of Brice’s failure and said those crucial words—“You need God!”—at just the right time.

Brice took the man’s advice and visited a couple he knew who attended church regularly. They introduced him to Caliste, a C&MA pastor at Deeper Life Church in Brazzaville. Brice prayed to receive the Lord that day in December 2001. Since then, Psalm 27:4 has been “his verse”: “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

Though Brice’s living conditions did not change, he was overwhelmed with the love of the Lord. He spent hours at the church library, reading and rereading the Bible and Christian biographies. He talked about the Lord to everyone he met and brought his aunts, uncles and cousins to church so they too could hear the gospel.

I met Brice through a TEE (Theological Education by Extension) class at Deeper Life. When he heard we were involved in orphanage ministries, he asked to join us. Because he had done an internship there when he was in school, we were able to
gain entrance to one of the orphanages where we now have full permission to share the Word of God. When Brice talks about the “fatherhood” of God, you know what a deep and profound work God has done in restoring and renewing Brice’s life and spirit.

James 1:27 says: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We are being obedient to His Word in going to the orphanages and loving children who are in need of a Heavenly Father. The orphanage work provides a ministry opportunity for young people in Brazzaville to be used by God in His Kingdom here on earth. We pray that they will begin to have an insatiable thirst to be used by Him again and again because of the joy of being His instrument in the lives of others. Joy—not shame or regret but joy—in using for His glory the talents and gifts their Creator gave them.

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. That is one of the core values of The Alliance. A second one states that completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Our desire is for these young people to see their vital part in the Body of Christ and that each part is needed for the accomplishment of the Great Commission. Africa, with its unreached millions, needs young people like these who have found joy in serving the Lord and being obedient to His rule in their lives here and now as they serve their local churches and in the community.

Knowing and Obeying Is the Key

Ten years ago, when Deogracias Diakabana was 12, she heard the gospel and received Christ as her Savior. Her father and mother divorced when Deo was a teen, and her four brothers and sisters were scattered among family members. Sent to live with her aunt, a C&MA pastor’s wife in Brazzaville, Deogracias joined this church in the neighborhood of Moukondo.

When Deo was 16, she attended a day-long Christian youth conference and learned that obedience is to be first in a believer’s life. She committed to read God’s Word daily so that she could understand and have the Lord’s thoughts. Her favorite books of the Bible are Hebrews and the Gospel of John. One of her favorite verses is John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

“If I am not serving the Lord, it is like my life has no meaning,” Deo says. She senses the pleasure the Lord has when she is using her gifts and talents for Him. Presently, she is a Sunday school teacher, a choir member, a greeter and the church treasurer. She says it is such a protection for her personally to be about the Lord’s business; it guards her heart and life because she longs to be an instrument that is useful in her Heavenly Father’s hands.

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