The time spent in Benin last month has given me memories that won’t be forgotten. This third trip was unlike the previous trips in a couple of aspects. First, it was easier to get beyond the cultural differences and see the challenges of preaching the gospel there as well as the great potential for conversions in Benin.Benin is so different from anything we know here. The lifestyles, the poverty, the dirt, the chaos of travel, and a dozen other things are so distinctively dissimilar that it is difficult to get beyond them and stay focused on the work. Those who have been there know what I mean. The stark differences and the abject poverty can become the focus, and, in so doing, rob the visitor of the ability to see what really needs to be seen and understood. Knowing what I was going to be immersed in before I arrived enabled me to accept it and give greater concentration and energy to the work.
A second difference was the work itself. I was involved in two separate missions while on a single trip. The first ten days were focused on the work at the Benin Bible Training Center, or BTC as it is commonly referred to. Four members of the board were on this trip. We spent a great deal of time at the school. We participated in their graduation service, and we conducted a special series of lectures for present and past graduates of the school and their spouses on the challenges of marriage and ministry. We sat down with students and with faculty members and discussed strategies and goals for the future. We also visited the satellite school in Parakou and held a two-day seminar there before heading to Se in the southwestern part of Benin to hold a seminar on evangelism.
While I have been on the campus each time I’ve been to Benin, previous trips didn’t afford the opportunity to really examine the scope of work or the challenges and goals that BTC faces. In September I will be discussing these things with each of the board members at our annual meeting in Kentucky.
The last half of my time in Benin involved a tremendous amount of travel. In the past 20 years, the advance of the Lord’s kingdom can easily be charted on a map. Like a virus, the gospel has steadily pervaded that country, moving from the south to the north and spreading beyond the borders of Benin as it advances. While Pearland has not been involved with the work in Benin for its entire 20-year history, we have been a part of it for about 14 years. As the gospel has gone forth from BTC’s campus in Zinvie, the evangelists have planted many congregations. As it has spread northward, the role that Pearland has played is very evident. From Bohicon, Dassa, Glazoue, Soclogbo, Atchakpa, Save, Berea, Boubou-pompe and Besse, to Kaboua, Parakou, Wari-Maro, Beterou, and now Natitingou – the gospel has gone forth and Pearland has been blessed to be among those whom God has chosen to advance His cause.
These are not just the strange sounding names of villages and cities. These are the places in the very heart of darkness where light now shines! Brethren meet in buildings provided by you. Evangelists travel to their villages every week with the gospel and with exhortation because you provide them a small salary and, in many cases, a motorcycle to get them there. Tracts of land have been bought, buildings have been erected, sound systems have been purchased and, most importantly, faithful men have been trained, equipped, and sent out to do the Lord’s bidding by your prayers, your commitment, and your love for the kingdom. In spite of adversity and in spite of Satan’s attempts to denounce the message or cause a brother to lose faith, God’s kingdom thrives in Benin. Brethren are meeting in places where the gospel has never gone before, and they are telling others about the hope that lies within them. You are a part of every success. Every congregation begged me to thank you on their behalf and tell you how much they pray for you every day!
Thanks for your support, and for sending me to Benin again. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to return to Benin and see what God has done with your efforts.
God bless, DC