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Stuart and Margaret Brown

JCMWA: Watering Earlier Plantings of the Gospel in Benin

 

At the border crossing into Benin, my colleague Silas Lapeube and I saw a large Bible on the desk of the customs officer.

This occasioned a pleasant conversation, and the gentleman provided us with a handwritten permit to take our car from Nigeria and return with it. On the health officer's desk, there was another Bible, and this one had the Daily Bread devotional readings open beside it.

There we were greeted by the village elders...

This man asked us to pray for him, right there, before we left. And this we did before we departed for Ndali.

Silas and I met Clement Yakoubou, the Director of the Fulani Bible School

The next morning at Ndali, Silas and I met Clement Yakoubou, the Director of the Fulani Bible School and the Vice-president of the Union of Evangelical Churches of Benin.

We learned from them that the school had been started many years ago but when the founder died, no one had wanted to take it on, so it had been dormant for 25 years.

The Fulani Christians of the area were now into their third generation.

There was interest in Joint Christian Ministry in West Africa (JCMWA) and great encouragement now that a Fulani had been elected to office in the church.

In the afternoon, we went to the Fulani village of Tchatchou (25 km from Parakou, near the Nigerian border).

...and went into the church building for prayers and discussion.

There we were greeted by the village elders and went into the church building for prayers and discussion. We tried to answer the people's questions and seemed to satisfy them. The main thrust of our presentation was that the Fulani people had to get their church moving towards becoming a member of JCMWA so they could participate in the seminars available to member churches.

They could see the value of the networking and pooling of resources we offered and expressed a special need for books for their literacy program.

From our conversation we learned that the people here are despised by others: the old antagonism of cowboy versus farmer revisited in this local context. But they have kept Christianity alive amongst themselves and sent out their own missionaries to their people. We learned that the pastor of the village, Samuel Gudasamwe, was leaving soon to work as a missionary to the Fulani people in Mali.

...they have kept Christianity alive amongst themselves and sent out their own missionaries to their people.

We next visited the original Fulani Christian village 10 km away where we met more elders. The village had some straw huts but the buildings were mostly of mud construction with outside cooking fires. At this village people were planting cashew trees.

The village had some straw huts ...

The bags piled in front of one house were filled with cashews to take to a factory.

The bags piled in front of one house were filled with cashews to take to a factory. A new factory was being planned and the villagers hoped it would be built near them as cashews are a good cash crop.

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