Our team in West Africa spent Monday in the Republic of Benin. One of their stops was the capital city of Porto Novo, where they expected to quickly view the new church, which was dedicated in March. Instead, there was a large crowd waiting for them. Brother Dwight described the scene this way: “As we walked through the welcome line we saw ahead a children’s choir in uniform on the front steps. A young girl stepped forward to greet us with flowers and a recitation. She only had to start over once in this foreign language of English, and did a very good job. Then, directed by one of their peers, the children sang a welcome song in English and French, ending by blowing a kiss in the French Benin tradition.”
They toured the balcony of the church with the leaders, pastors, and workers while receiving a short introduction. Meanwhile, the others quietly waited. When they rejoined the group downstairs, they realized there were about four hundred present. They were told the congregation actually numbers about six hundred. Brother Dwight commented, “That number would almost fill the church, which is a very good problem to have.”
Following the tour, there were more introductions, some remarks, and then a prayer of blessing. Before leaving, our team joined in a group photo inside the church. Overall their impression was that the church is beautiful and very well built. Brother Dwight noted that their music was wonderful and reported that “the work in Benin is very strong in spirit and dedication.”
On Tuesday morning, the team drove to another church that was dedicated in March, our Benin headquarters in Cotonou. They took a tour of the three-story building, including a basement and office area still under construction. The platform in the sanctuary was oversized to accommodate a choir and orchestra of professional quality, as the congregation numbers between 1000 and 1200.
They returned for an evening service, and were met by a large smiling crowd. Twin girls offered a welcome and a bouquet of flowers. It was later learned that their mother is the lead trombone player.
Brother Dwight reported that the entire service was a blessing even though two interpreters were necessary—one in French and the other in the regional dialect—making the service quite lengthy.
At the close, our team went to the third floor where they were introduced to several pastors and presented with gifts. As they left, they noticed that every chair and open space on the floor was occupied by someone praying.