Family members at Kossoekpa held a special birthday celebration for their father who turned 101 years old. He has 12 children and several go to the village church. His name is José and he needs prayer because even at his age he continues to put off salvation. He is like the father of the village because he is the eldest person. In this picture he is surrounded by both of his wives. Unfortunately it is through him that many have become alcohol drinkers. Alcohol seems to flow freely in the village which brings in more poverty. However, there was a lot of love shown that day for José Hounsou. Pray that God will touch his heart and move him to repentance. It was a very festive occasion with people coming far and near for the occasion. I was the guest speaker for the occasion during the morning worship service and I am trusting God for José’s salvation.
There are new names written down in heaven! I visited Kossoekpa again about 3 weeks later and was having a conversation with José Hounsou (blue and yellow shirt). During the conversation, I asked him if he was ready to live for Jesus. He said YES! I was amazed how God had stirred his heart just within this short time. He along with his elderly brother Antoine Avoce accepted Christ at Kossoekpa. Sharing the scriptures, I took them both through the Roman’s road to salvation to make sure they understood their new found faith. Missionary Felix will help to follow them to make sure they have an opportunity to grow in their new found faith. They have another brother who is around 90 who still has not made the decision to come to Jesus Christ. As I visited with him yesterday, I realized there is still a need to pray that he will open his heart to knowing Christ as his Savior.
Linda Lee has arrived in Benin
What a joy it has been to have a new co-laborer on the field. Linda Lee arrived in Benin the last week of July. You can only imagine my joy as I anticipated her arrival and the days ahead. I had a whirl-wind schedule planned for Linda. There were six days of orientation where we discussed the challenges of the ministry, communication, equipment and the many challenges of living cross-culturally. One of the greatest challenges is living here without a vehicle and we have to resort to living outside our comfort zone. Pictured below you can see Linda on some of her first days in Cotonou. She never thought she would ride a motorbike, let alone a clomoto, a 3 wheel little buggy. We pray for God’s protection regularly. We then went to Kotossou village by bus which is about 8 hours from Cotonou. This village is adopted by her church, Zion Chapel in Detroit. We arrived in Kotossou on Aug 1 just 8 days after Linda’s arrival in Benin. We stayed in Kotossou one weekend to expose her to the villagers, to learn a little bit of the language and just to be more comfortable in the Fulani culture. We stayed in the mud house with the Pastor’s family. Linda and I shared one small area where we were able to keep our baggage and sleep under a mosquito net, which took up most of this area. Sleeping on a thin straw mat for two nights gives you a new appreciation for mattresses.
After our weekend in the village, we went to a small city nearby called Tchatchou. A Christian brother had provided his home for us to stay there during the remainder of our time. While she planned for the VBS classes, I planned for the literacy classes. Linda had bought many supplies with her from the US; however we also went to Parakou, the largest city nearby and purchased the remaining supplies for the various lessons and activities. We spent 3 days doing intensive preparation for our 8 day VBS and Literacy classes in Kotossou.
You can imagine my surprise when just the day before leaving Cotonou, the young man who had promised to serve as our interpreter told me he would not be in the village during our stay there.
Because of this it was necessary to rely on two of the villagers who were not fluent but had learned English in high school. That was a little scary for them, but they managed to gain confidence and by the end of our 8 days in the village they were doing quite well translating for Linda. So for the first four days Linda directed the 11 – 16 year olds in VBS activities and the 2nd four days the 5 – 10 year olds were able to participate in VBS with some of the teenagers assisting. They loved the crafts, the Bible stories, the songs and all the colorful pictures. They were immersed in daily activities that instructed them in the word of God. They did not have to go outside their village for Vacation Bible School. VBS came to them. All the activities were held in the one room mud church house. They used the wooden benches as tables and the children brought their own stool, pot, or bowl to sit on. I feel pretty sure they had never been exposed to such supplies before: colorful construction paper, crayons, paint, beads, ribbon, seashells, sequins, straws, pipe cleaners, and countless other materials for them to work with.
Children busy helping to prepare the materials for the 1st day of Vacation Bible school.
Linda teaching VBS classes along with her interpreter who spoke in Peulh
It was exciting to see how much the children enjoyed the bible stories. They sat in wonder and amazement that we had come all this way to help them learn about serving Jesus. It was certainly worth all the work of transporting materials, refreshments and gifts as we saw how eager they were to learn and participate in the activities. I was glad to be a part of helping these children to learn Christian principles so they can begin to live in a way that honors God.
The Vacation Bible School and Literacy classes ended on a high note bringing a lot of joy to Kotossou. The children’s classes used the theme, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” There were several lessons that demonstrated what their daily behavior should be if they are serving God in their lives. The children under stood that God expects us to be loving and helpful in our relationships with one another as we serve the Lord. The literacy class grew from 20 students to about 36 students on the last day. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for learning English so they can learn to communicate with people outside of their remote village.
While talking with Linda she explains below what it was like for her during her time in Kotossou and the following two months since she has been here.
During a late Sunday afternoon service at Zion Chapel in Detroit, a two year old was pacing back and forth along the pew. She would say something to her grandmother then she would come to the end of the pew where I was sitting. With a weary expression on her face, she spoke to me with an adult-like voice and said, “I’m ready to go!” I looked down the row at her grandmother and asked if I could take the worn-out toddler outside for walk.
I held her by the hand and walked outside to fresh air and the warmth of the sunshine. Immediately, the facial expression of the small child changed as she talked and explained her fatigue. I listened and assured her that it was almost time to go.
My first six weeks in Benin have been a physical and mental challenge. I knew before I left Michigan that I would be staying overnight in the village. In my mind I thought I was prepared for the two-night stay, until night fell and it is so dark that I could not see my hand in front of my face. I sleep with at least two lights on in my house so this was quite a stretch for me. “I’m ready to go!” When I felt the ground that would be my bed for two nights, yes I said, “I’m ready to go!” While walking in the village at midnight and my flashlight went out and I could see eyes staring at me. Yes, I said, “I’m ready to go.” Those eyes belonging to three goats looked like wild animals. Almost falling in the latrine because four goats were about three feet behind me, was truly an “I’m ready to go!” moment. If you think something is crawling on you, it’s probably a bug or an ant. Riding in a taxi with a goat on the inside sounding like a crying baby and chickens and a wheel barrow on top of the taxi is a, “I’m ready to go!” experience. These are just a few moments that I can write about!
But, you know I am glad I stayed. If I had returned to Detroit during the first few weeks I would have missed the wonderful smiles, the children’s knowledge of the Lord, the enthusiasm for learning to read, the kind acts and encouragement from the people of God in Kotossou, Kossoekpa, the fellowship of the pastors and missionaries and their families and so much more that witnessed. I am encouraged that the vision that Brian Johnson had, for churches in the West to adopt villages in Benin, is working.
The Lord takes care of His children. When it seems as though we can’t take another step, He comes beside us, takes us by the hand leading us to a quieter place, listens to us and then reminds us that what we are going through won’t last forever. In 1 Peter 3:12, I am reminded that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayers.
I have been inspired by the worship services in the village churches. The Baptismal Service conducted by Minister Nicholas in one of the village in Ze, was a blessing. To hear the confessions from the new converts made this journey worthwhile. We are supporting pastors who are teaching the word of God and souls are being added to the Kingdom.
Financial supporters of this work, you should know that your labor for the Lord through your giving is not in vain. The village churches are growing and the Word of God is traveling to other villages. I am elated to see the Great Commission being manifested in Benin. We won’t know the impact of our giving until we reach Glory and meet the people who are there because we supported the ministry in Benin.
The young people that you support in school will continue to spread God’s kingdom as they become, educators, pastors, doctors and business leaders! I have met so many children and young people pursuing their education! Let’s continue to encourage them.
I am so grateful to Sis. Pat for her leadership skills as she operates on behalf of our church. The Lord knows the sacrifices of his servant. I hope you are praying for her daily. Place her name in your heart as you pray for the Lord to give her strength for this work. Well, my sister doesn’t have to worry about me coming to Benin to take her job. I know my limitations.
Thank you Pastor Hancock, Zion Chapel, Bishop Cudjoe and the Northern Diocese Family and COCHUSA Family for your support and prayers during my stay in Benin. To God Be the Glory!
- Pray for the continued blessing of good health and that God will give us wisdom on a daily basis.
- Pray for protection while traveling in the city and in the villages. The roads can be rather dangerous here because of the driving habits of the local people.
- Pray that God will continue to minister to us on a daily basis through his word, through prayer and fellowshipping with other Christians.
- Pray for my co-laborer Linda Lee as she ministers here and continues to adjust to life in Benin.
- Pray for the two missionary Pastors that we are working with: Nicholas Ahouanvoeke and Michel Ananias. Pray that we can all endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (II. Tim. 2:3)
Write/Email/Skype/Call: Patricia Lindsay
Phone contacts: (011-229-95-452876) or Linda Lee (011-229-65-475279)
Mailing address: BP 1350, Calavi Benin, West Africa Pat’s
Email: Patricialindsay54@gmail.com Linda’s
Skype: Patricia.lindsay2 or linleejoy
We would love to hear from you! Thank you so much for your sacrificial donations to help support this ministry. Your partnership with us helps us to reach out to the villages in Benin with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. Serving with the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA World Mission Board.