Exploring Benin: From Voodoo to Vibrant Markets
Exploring Benin: From Voodoo to Vibrant Markets

Exploring Benin: From Voodoo to Vibrant Markets

Greetings from Togo!  I just left Benin yesterday, and as it was my first visit there, I wanted to share a bit with you about what I learned.  As you can see on the map, Benin is a country that borders Togo, Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso.  This country was colonized by France and French is the official language.  

Cotonou, the largest city, is right on the ocean and is a beautiful, clean city with very large beaches, covered with coconut trees!  And while flying in, I saw amazing fish industries, structured in ways that I’ve not seen before – apparently the government is pushing this, and it seems to be doing well!

Benin is a country of just under 13 million people, with about 51% Christian, 30% Muslim, and the rest mainly traditional.  Of the Christians, about half are Catholic.  Benin is considered the birthplace of voodoo. I was told that the word “voodoo” came from Catholics who declared the traditional religion and witchcraft they observed to be like worshipping the golden calf by the Israelites.  The French for “golden calf” is “veau doré” – hence the word voodoo.  Unfortunately, many who belong to one religion or the other often continue to practice voodoo, to cover all their bases.  Interestingly, Fetish priests are given a Bible when they are about to die since they don’t need voodoo in their next life – they are told to leave the voodoo behind and go and meet their Creator.

About 70% of the population relies on agriculture, producing yams, cassava, corn, and many other crops.  The majority of their exports go to Bangladesh.

In Benin, we shared the message with the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) Church, thanks to the work of Pastor Theo, who leads DML for the CMA in Burkina Faso and West Africa.  He has been working so hard and traveling so much!  He has introduced DML to Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin, and soon will start in Guinea.  I am learning from him as he contextualizes the message for French-speaking Africa.  He is an amazing teacher!

He shared this message yesterday with the DML Global team on WhatsApp:

Hello Brethren, the DML movement continues across the nations. This week Benin received the message. You know, Benin is known to be the center of voodoo practices and we passed through (the city of) Ouidah where the Python temple stands. Let us pray that Benin will now be a center where Christ is glorified by marketplace leaders. Many African businesspeople travel to Benin to get satanic blessings from voodoo. May that change now, in the name of Jesus.

Today we begin training in Togo – we will do a two-day workshop with the Church of Pentecost, a two-day workshop with the Baptist Church, and every evening will be with the Christian Missionary Alliance, teaching our Basic Business Skills class.  It will be a busy four days!  I then fly to Burundi, where we will start a Work as Worship Entrepreneurship Training for 400 youth on Monday, July 1.  

I continue to thank God for traveling mercies!  I almost was not able to enter Togo (long story) and yet God, through His people, provided a way.

While I was waiting for my ride the other day, I noticed something crawling up my skirt.  I shook it off and then took a picture of it with my foot, to show scale.  It was as wide as my foot!  No idea what it is – they have a local name for it here – but I was closely watching for bugs for the rest of the day as I felt them crawling all over!

May God bless you this week as you seek to serve Him and the people around you through your work!