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July 1, 2009

Benin, a Country Profile & Prayer Guide

Filed under: Benin,Country Profiles and Prayer Guides,Prayer Requests — TimMc @ 4:21 am


Compared to the countries surrounding Benin, it is much smaller, being about the size of the state of Ohio. The country is basically divided into five geographic zones, from south to north: the Coastal plain, the plateau, the elevated plateau and savannah, hills in the northwest, and fertile plains in the north.

Benin is a great country to visit on any West African itinerary. Here you’ll find a large palatial ruins and temples of the once powerful Kingdom of Dahomey (1800s–1894). Benin is the birthplace of Vodun (Voodoo) and all that goes with it. The country was also the site of slave trading through which Voodoo spread throughout the Caribbean, South America, and into the US. The national parks of Benin are also well worth a visit for their abundant wildlife. Benin is also one of the most stable and safe countries of the region for travelers.

A few interesting facts about Benin:

  • The country has a population of approximately 8 million people.
  • Complete religious freedom under the present government. The President actively encourages Christian ministry, although all religions are free to practice and propagate their faiths.
  • The official language of the country is French. There are a total of 51 languages within the country.
  • Currently there are 6 languages with a complete translation of the Bible, 9 languages with the New Testament, and 12 other languages that are works in progress.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Benin:

  • Praise God for spiritual breakthroughs in the 1990s. There have been many churches planted in previously un-evangelized groups. Benin, a country which was once the source of many slaves, is now beginning to experience freedom through Christ.
  • Praise God that church growth is occurring in all regions. The 1990s may well be seen as the decade of breakthrough for church growth: in AoG churches in the north (Natimba, Burba, Belime, Fulbe, etc.) and south (Mina, Nago, Aja, Gun and now the Fon); UEEB/SIM in the north and centre (Lokpa, Bariba, Cabe, Fulbe, Boko, Ditammari and Fon, etc. and now Dassa, Dendi, and Sola); IMB-SBC in the south; and Evangelical Baptists in the far north (Dendi and Gurmantche). Pray for the vision to reach out to every unreached people and community, and the strategy to implement it.
  • Government corruption. Pray that the commitment to genuine democracy will continue to be honored and the endemic corruption in the country tackled. Pray also that all of the leaders may work for the good of the people rather than for self-enrichment.
  • Pray for the less-reached peoples. No people group in Benin has a Christian majority and evangelical believers are few. Benin has Africa’s highest percentage of followers of traditional religions and is the least evangelized non-Muslim country in Africa, south of the Sahara. Specific peoples for prayer: the Fon, the Gbe, the Nagot, the Idacca, the Ife, Muslim peoples, and the people living in the major urban centers.
  • The Church in Benin needs leaders. The recent church growth has yielded many new Christians, but has led to a shortage of trained leaders to teach the Bible and demonstrate a life of holiness. Many tribes and villages are asking for pastors or missionaries to show them a biblical Christianity. Pray for the teachers and students at the AoG Bible Institute, the ICI Correspondence School, the one French and seven vernacular primary level Bible Schools run by the UEEB, and students studying in a TEE program. These vital schools need general staff and lecturers, as well as bursaries and scholarships for the students, who are usually impoverished.
  • Missions. Only since 1946 has the center and north been penetrated by missions. The largest of these are SIM, EMS-Nigeria, IMB-SBC, SIL/WBT, Evangelical Baptists, and AoG. Considering the needs of the country, the small church-planting missionary force must be increased. SIM runs the only evangelical mission hospital and has a ministry of rural development.
  • Young people are now a core element of the Benin church. Conversions through youth centers, camps, and the extensive use of the JESUS film together with good follow-up has often resulted in churches in both towns and rural areas. Praise the Lord that there is student witness throughout the whole of Benin. There are hundreds of members of the GREEB(IFES) student groups.
  • Bible translation is still a major need. Almost half of Benin’s 51 languages are without a Bible or NT. SIM translation teams, AoG , and SIL are all working on translations. Pray for the inter-mission linguistic center which helps facilitate translation work by the provision of technology and resources. Other literature is also being translated and printed: TEE materials, Bible commentaries, etc. Pray that this might help the church to become biblically literate.
  • Pray for the effective use of audio recordings in evangelism and teaching. GRN has recordings in 38 languages.
  • Pray for the best use of the JESUS film in French, Fon, Bariba, Gurma, Kabiye, Tem, and Yoruba.
  • Radio. After Radio ELWA (Liberia) was destroyed, Radio Parakou, a government owned station, began to broadcast gospel messages with some results. There is daily programming in Fon, Bariba, and Fulfulde, along with weekly broadcasts in French. There is also progress in developing a shortwave station in Benin. Maranatha is a full-time Christian FM station broadcasting from Cotonou.
  • Television. WorldReach broadcasts 30 minutes of Christian television per week.

One Response to “Benin, a Country Profile & Prayer Guide”

  1. [...] Yayi, elected to lead the country of Benin in 2006 is an evangelical Christian. He is dedicated to eliminating poverty in his country and is [...]

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