Kasonga [kah-SOHN-gah] is 5 years old. He lives in the largest city in the country of the Congo. He doesn’t go to school yet, but he likes to play with small cars. Kasonga has a younger brother and sister.
Kasonga doesn’t talk much, and when he does, he speaks very softly, just above a whisper. But when he talks about Jesus, he talks with a strong voice. He has learned about Jesus from his next-door neighbor, Meme [MEH-meh], which means “grandmother.”
Kasonga loves to spend time with Meme. All of Meme’s children are grown, so she has time to spend with Kasonga. She tells him about Jesus and teaches him songs. Meme sings to Kasonga while she bends over a plastic tub full of soapy water and washes clothes. She tells him stories about Jesus as she stirs the pot of cassava leaves that she has pounded to make them tender. And she prays with him when she gives him a plate of cassava leaves and rice to eat.
Kasonga loves to spend time with Meme, for he knows that she loves him. If he has a problem, he knows that Meme will pray for him. “Meme has taught me to pray,” Kasonga says. “Now I pray for Meme, too. I ask God
to bless her because I love her.” Kasonga prays for his own mother and his little brother and sister, too.
Kasonga spends most of his time during the day with Meme. He returns home when Meme goes to the market, but when he sees that she’s back, he runs to her house for more stories and songs. “I help Meme by taking the trash to the trash bin, Kasonga says. “And I fetch water when Meme needs some for cooking.”
Meme and Pepe (PEH-peh, grandpa) go to church on Sabbath. Now that Kasonga is 5, he’s old enough to go with them. He likes the children’s Sabbath School best. “We don’t have a Sabbath School class in the church, so we meet outside in the shade of a tree,” Kasonga says. “We sing lots of songs, and because we’re outside, we can sing as loudly as we like. Then the teacher shows us a picture and tells us the Bible story that goes with it. My favorite Bible stories are about Jesus. I especially like the story of when Jesus blessed the children.
“Now that I’m 5, I can stay overnight with Meme and Pepe,” Kasonga says, smiling. “I sleep in my own bed. I feel so happy when I’m with Meme and Pepe.”
Kasonga tells his mother that Someone lives in Meme’s house who protects them. His name is Jesus. “We can have Him protect us, too,” he tells his mother. “My family doesn’t go to church or pray,” Kasonga adds. “I tell my mother Bible stories and want to teach her how to pray. I want my mother and father to want to follow Jesus. I pray for them when I’m at Meme’s and at home.”
Kasonga’s little brother and sister are still too young to spend much time with Meme and Pepe. But Kasonga tells them simple stories about Jesus and teaches them how to fold their hands and close their eyes while he prays. When they are old enough, he’ll take them to Meme’s house to learn new songs and hear the stories about Jesus.
Kasonga is so happy, for recently his aunt gave him a little Bible. He can’t read it yet, but he’s eager to learn so he can read the Bible stories for himself. When he grows up, Kasonga wants to be a pastor. But he’s not waiting until then to tell others about Jesus. He’s doing it every day.
Kasonga’s church isn’t the only one in the Congo that doesn’t have a children’s class. This quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath children’s offering will help build a children’s chapel at Kasonga’s church, so that the children will have a safe and dry place to learn about God every single Sabbath.