25 Jun – Three students that we have been helping to support at the UEEB Bible Institute in Sinendé. Mathias (centre) graduated at the end of June and will now work as a Pastor at a Yom church near Djougou.
5 Jul – the TWR lake at sunset during a recent visit.
Greetings from Benin where recent rain has delivered a promising start to the agricultural season. It’s the time of year when people are preparing and planting their fields. It strikes me as a good theme for this update, given I share about project renewals, graduations and a new church plant.
Thanks for praying for the evaluation and renewal of our radio ministry. It was a long process, complicated by the size of the ministry, but also the need to reduce costs and establish a better framework for ongoing decisions. All our languages are now ranked within a three-tiered system, depending (somewhat subjectively) on the extent of Christian influence. We still want to ensure that every ethnic community in Benin and Togo has the opportunity to hear, understand and be transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ in their own language. However, with limited resources, the tiered system helps us to prioritise or ask more of established churches. We have identified some broadcasts to close at the end of the year, though in general, our church partners find it extremely difficult to wind back established ministries, especially when they are not yet at crisis point (i.e. in the red!). Discussions continue as we juggle different ideas and expectations.
The evaluation process was a good reminder that God has been at work through this ministry. Local coordinators frequently receive calls from listeners and we have many examples of encouraging testimonies, including listening groups or churches that have been established. The UEEB Bariba church has even committed to try and cover the cost of two national broadcasts, rather than see them cancelled.
10 Jun – Checking Sola recordings at our radio studio.
1 Jul – Michée at a recent check-up in Parakou.
About two months ago, we were devastated to hear that Michée, the 9 year old son of a Sola pastor in Anandana had fallen out of a mango tree and was in a coma having landed on his head. He had been pressured into climbing the tree in search of fruit and was thrown from a branch when the wind suddenly picked up. He was taken to Djougou and then a colleague helped transport him to a better equipped hospital in Parakou. Many people were praying, but as the days passed with little change and mounting hospital fees for this village pastor and his family, the outcome wasn’t looking good. But Michée hung on and even the hospital staff remarked that people must be praying. We were overjoyed when two weeks after the accident, news came through that Michée was starting to respond. Then in a matter of days his father dropped by our office to say that they were going home. Michée was standing, eating and whilst still in need of some physical rehab was well on the road to recovery. He continues to improve with no apparent memory loss. Praise God for His intervention and such a wonderful outcome!
26 May – The Monkolé church collecting copies of a recently printed literacy primer and hymnbook.
26 May – Loading a taxi with remaining copies of the Monkolé NT.
Printing is now complete and 2000 copies of the first full publication of the Monkolé Bible are on their way to Benin via sea from South Korea. They are estimated to arrive in September. Pray for a smooth journey and passage through customs. We recently helped the Monkolé church reprint a literacy primer and their first hymnbook. We also handed over the remaining stock of Monkolé New Testaments, encouraging the church to distribute copies as people purchased the hymnbooks. They will be difficult to sell once the full Bible arrives and we would prefer them in homes and hands rather than gathering dust in our storeroom!
6 Jun – The simple church shelter at Bakoum-Kparou. Chairs and benches are set up every Sunday morning.
This is the name of a village on the outskirts of Parakou where my local church has established a small annex. I recently had the chance to visit and was really encouraged. Members from my church take turns to preach and support a small group of villagers that gather weekly. Initially they met under a mango tree, but then a village elder gave them permission to build a simple shelter on his land. He faithfully greets the church every Sunday morning, but sadly doesn’t stay for the service. Pray for him and others in the village – many appear to follow traditional African beliefs.
Thanks for your ongoing prayers and support. I pray, wherever you are that this news will encourage you.
PRAISE & PRAYER
Praise God for a good start to the agricultural season. Pray that crops will grow well and sustain the many Beninese families that rely on farming for their own use.
Give thanks for the 7 students who recently graduated from the Sinendé Bible Institute. Pray that they will boldly and faithfully preach God’s word.
Continue to pray for the recruitment of a new radio studio technician (Jean retires in December). A man called Adamou is doing some work experience this month, but we would also like to find and trial other candidates. Pray God will lead us to the right person.
Pray for wisdom as we have begun to discuss property, guesthouses and future needs for a smaller SIM Benin Togo team. At this stage, we have more questions than answers! Decisions also impact the UEEB. Pray that we will be sensitive to cultural differences and for open and productive discussions.