Republic Of Benin: Harvest Field For Nigerian Missionaries | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Faith, LIFE

Republic Of Benin: Harvest Field For Nigerian Missionaries

Posted: Jul 12, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

In Mark 16 verses 15-16, Jesus gave a parting shot to his disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Popularly known as the Great Commission, this injunction has remained relevant and timely as humanity continues to face the reality of the end time. In obedience to this also, some Nigerian missionaries have located mission fields in neighbouring Republic of Benin where some unreached groups of people must hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this report, ARAMIDE OIKELOME examines the sacrifices of some Christian missionaries that have completely ‘sold out’ to mission work, surviving on stipends, just to make sure the gospel is preached, heard and embraced. Excerpts-

Evangelist Sadiku praying for a girl with his partner

Evangelist Sadiku praying for a girl with his partner

Republic of Benin is Nigeria’s next door neighbour on the West Coast. Despite geographical, cultural, and language barriers, Nigerian missionaries are doing their best to evangelize the unreached villages and share the message of God’s love with peasants who are yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

Evangelist Olusina Sadiku is one of these noble few. Armed with great passion for evangelism and missions, he has staged series of crusades and evangelical outreaches in Nigeria and beyond. From his Ibadan, Nigeria base, he has found treasure in the Republic of Benin, where he has defiled language barriers to minister among the Barubas, Fulanis and other tribes in the northern part of the francophone nation. The Republic of Benin sharing boarder with Togo to the West, Nigeria to the East and by Burkina Faso and Niger to the North, has since opened its doors to the gospel from Nigerian neighbours.

The largest religious group in the republic is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Voodoo and Protestantism.

It is however heartwarming to know that in spite of this seeming resistance to Pentecostalism, missionaries like Sadiku have remained totally committed to preaching the gospel in the region. Asked what inspires him to forge ahead in the missionary efforts, Sadiku said, “Number one, it is God’s divine leading. Number two, it is ministering to the people and seeing them accepting Christ. This is the joy that makes us to continue.”

Operating under the platform of Olusina Sadiku World Outreach and in partnership with missionaries on ground, Sadiku argued that majority of today’s Christians do not know anything about missions.

“Generally, it is very few Christians that know about missions, the majority do not know and the few that know about it do not do it. I was speaking with a very close friend, who is also a banker, and he saw some of the pictures and he was amazed. Even in his own church, they are just acquiring properties. According to him, they have not even finished building their church and the ministry is seeking to build a camp ground somewhere, which is gulping so much; hence they don’t even have money to give to missions like this,” he said.

Talking about ministries that often concentrate on the urban and so called viable areas and forget the rural areas, the cleric, who is an  alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, said while ministering at the open air crusade in Hare, Northern Benin,  “The Bible says this gospel must be preached to all nations and then, the end would come. So God is not happy that this gospel is not preached, we are just concentrating efforts to one side. I personally believe that the church in Nigeria has the capacity of reaching all the nooks and crannies of this country but unfortunately, that is not being done. It is so sad; we concentrate all our efforts on a particular area and God is not happy as we neglect the rural and unreached areas.”

Talking about how his mission is funded, Sadiku confirmed that he is funded by friends who believe in what he is doing on the mission field. “We are funded by the support of brethren, people of like minds who understand missions and who know that it goes beyond my church thing but see it as a kingdom thing. Basically, we are solely dependent on God for our funding,” he said.

Corroborating this, Pastor Oluwasegun Raphael Adepoju, also a missionary resident in Nikki town, Republic of Benin and operates with the Christ for Rural Area Ministry (CRAM), also relayed his experience.

“This November will make it 11 years that we have been here. When we got here on transfer, there was no church. We had to start from the scratch and we thank God for all He has done and how far He has helped us.”

Speaking on the challenges encountered, Adepoju, who is on the field with his family, identified mobility is one great obstacle. “There are lots of challenges including mobility, language barriers and the fast spread of Islam. But to the glory of God, He is helping us to reach the unreached places. If God helps us and we get mobility, we would be able to do more. This mobility includes cars and motor cycles because of the difficult terrain. For instance, we have missionaries in difficult terrains here including Bakessina, Burore, Kourel among other villages.”

The cleric, whose church attendant has gone beyond 70, said the harvest is indeed ripe but the labourers are few. “The Fulanis in the north of Benin Republic, I can say are ripe for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But for the Barubas here, it is a bit difficult to break through to them, but God is helping us in this regard as well. We thank God for giving us few people amongst the indigenes. We have Beninoirs here and we have few Barubas also in the church. We have about seven branches on the field, but in Parakou area, we have about six. So, all together we have about 13.” he said.

Adding his voice, Pastor Andrae Salifu whose field is Burore said, “the challenge here is that number one, they have some local gods they worship, the idols are their problem, but God is doing wonders here. Another problem is that we have not found enough volunteers for the work. Again, we are not well mobilized; we don’t have instrument like motor bikes for mobility, if we have more support, the work would grow and be easier too.”

Sadiku therefore urged Christians to be more committed to mission work.

“Christians must look beyond comfort and go into the rural places to fish out the unreached and show them the love of Christ. It is obvious that not all can be on the mission field, but it is real that if Christians cannot go physically, they can as well send their support in cash by encouraging those who have volunteered to go all out and reach the unreached with the gospel.”