KRB Update #2141 July 9, 2009 Local Churches / 4th of July in Benin
Local Churches: Benin has an estimated Christian (Protestant and Catholic) population of 30% of the people in this nation of 8.7 million. The Muslim population here is 25% though primarily focused in the northern parts of the nation. Benin is the birthplace of voodoo with about 18% of the population. Though, regretfully, some have noted that many Christians continue to hold on to their voodoo beliefs.
On Sundays, the ship has an evening Worship Service in our International Lounge at 19:00 and we are permitted to invite visitors to this meeting (limited to only 2 visitors per crew member). The reason we have the service in the evening is so that the crew can be involved in morning worship services in the local community.
I try to assist in this by maintaining the Local Church Sign Up Sheets binder on our table in Town Square where most of the sign up binders are available – we sign up for everything here. I announce at the meeting on Friday, Programs Reporting Time, about those sheets already completed for this coming Sunday and encourage the crew to sign up and join. At the same time, I am encouraging the crew who are taking ship vehicles or are walking, to complete a sheet and invite others to join them. Most of the churches our crew attend are those that offer English translation – some of them are churches and denominations from Ghana and or neighboring Nigeria, both English speaking nations. The one I attended recently had translation from French to English up front but in the back there were two sections that offered translation into Fon (the dominant language in this area) and another local language which I did not recognize. I appreciate greatly my church in Ghana and in Liberia – my relationship with the pastors there has been beneficial for me and for my ministry involvement and for my role in Mercy Ships.
4th of July in Benin: Over here for this past weekend, I have had two special events as the United States celebrated 233 years of independence. On Friday night, some of the leadership of the ship were invited to a Reception at the Residence of the United States Ambassador. There were many officials from other nations and many from the nation of Benin, some I have met before. It was a time of mingling and visiting. They showed a short video from Secretary of State Clinton and speeches were shared (including a message from President Obama) and responses were made. Though, the speeches were in French and so I struggled to understand what was being said. Then on Saturday afternoon, the Embassy hosted a BBQ for all Americans in Benin and so out of the 120 Americans on the
Photo: My final service at my church in Liberia
Africa Mercy right now – about 90 of us attended the BBQ – chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob and so many great desserts. It was casual and enjoyable, but no fireworks in the evening.