In Benin, Evangelistic Series Results in 238 Baptisms in the Land of Voodoo

Pentecost 2024 meetings sought to give “Hope for a Troubled World.”

Abraham Bakari, West-Central Africa Division, and Adventist Review
In Benin, Evangelistic Series Results in 238 Baptisms in the Land of Voodoo
Two hundred and thirty-eight people receive baptism on the last day of the Pentecost 2024 evangelistic series in Cotonou, Benin, on April 27. [Photo: Abraham Bakari, West-Central Africa Division]

In the heart of Hêvié Akossavié, a neighborhood famed as a stronghold of voodoo in Cotonou, Benin, Hensley Moorooven, undersecretary of the General Conference, led the Pentecost 2024 evangelistic series April 14-27 under the theme “Hope for a Troubled World.”

On the final day, 16 pastors baptized the candidates under a scorching sun.

Among them, Christine had broken away from her old life to follow Jesus Christ. “The slavery and obstacles had lasted too long,” she said. She entered one of the three wooden baptisteries especially built for the occasion.

Toward the end of the ceremony, many undecided people surrendered to the repeated calls of West-Central Africa Division (WAD) secretary Selom Kwasi Sessou. One by one, they were led to the baptistery.

Four women faced hostile spirits during their baptism. Three were quickly freed from those influences in the name of Jesus. The fourth required a session of deliverance prayers outside the water before she was finally freed. According to WAD evangelism director Emmanuel Koffi Kra, “it is a common phenomenon in Benin.”

Simon Adjeoda Djossou, president of the Eastern Sahel Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and preacher at Segbeya, emphasized the significance of the event. “Hêvié is a global center of voodoo, attracting followers from all over the world in search of power. It is a locality deeply feared and entrenched in voodoo rites and practices.”

People felt the impact of the campaign well beyond the baptisms, church leaders reported. Voodoo objects were collected and destroyed, symbolizing the new converts’ renunciation of their former beliefs. Ella, one of the women baptized, wept with joy at leaving her past life behind. Her experience illustrates the deep transformation experienced by the participants, church leaders said.

It was a beautiful sight to see these men, women, and children experiencing true life for the first time, church leaders said. It was also wonderful for the church members in Benin to experience such intense moments of joy for such a beautiful harvest, they added.

Drawing on the first chapters of the Gospel of John, Moorooven reassured the new believers of an abundant life in Jesus who can meet all their needs — material, spiritual, emotional, or physical.

The evangelistic series was enhanced by the presence of several guest speakers. Nestor Bollet from WAD was in Porto Novo; Paul Able Baka, director of evangelism in the Eastern Sahel Union Mission, was at the Womey site in Cotonou; and Komlan Simon Djossou was at the Segbeya site in Cotonou.

The same fervor animated small groups meeting in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo, totaling 405 baptisms, leaders reported.

In parallel, WAD youth director Alfred Asiem organized a youth advisory that culminated with a Christian music concert on April 28.

The impact of this mission was further reinforced by the announcement of a US$35,000 donation from the GC and some private donors for the construction of an Adventist church in Hêvié. It is a tangible sign of the church’s ongoing commitment to the region, church leaders said. According to Djossou, a plot has already been acquired, and within six months, the new church will be opened and organized.

With more than 7,000 members spread across 38 churches and 57 groups, the Benin Conference sees these events as a powerful vector for spiritual and community growth, church leaders emphasized. “It is breathing new life into the faith across the region,” they said.

The original version of this story was posted on the West-Central Africa Division news site.

Abraham Bakari, West-Central Africa Division, and Adventist Review