Chowning Report

October 13, 1998


We have now been in Benin a little over a year.  God has shown us His faithfulness.  Six congregations have been planted.  Even more important, at this stage, Aja leaders are beginning recognize their gifts and assert themselves in the movement.  Another major portion of our team has just arrived on the field, including our daughter and her husband.  You have to believe that we are happy and excited in the Lord.


Today, we started a new preaching point at a village called Jikpame.  Our language helper Hilaire, arranged the appointment for us.  We met in the home of a man who was over sixty years of age.  There was not much of what I would call preaching taking place.  We were merely greeting him and telling him what we would like to do in the village.  He gave us an extremely energetic welcome.  We often wonder still how well people hear us, especially on our first visit.  I gave two short explainations concerning why we had come and why we felt there was a need for people to hear the word of God.  Without our prompting, our host repeated back to us, almost verbatim, both talks.  We could hear almost everything he said to us.  The Lord has used Hilaire to prepare us, linguistically, for this work.  This was the first time he had ever heard us talk in a village setting.  We have been praying that Hilaire would become a Christian.  Maybe the preaching he hears in this village will be used by the Lord to bring him to a new birth.


Here are the summaries from the villages Cyndi and I have working.



  Baptisms  3

  Total members 3


We have only been meeting in this village on Sunday’s.  In August we switched the time of the meeting from eleven to three in the afternoon.  The change has been good.  There has been more consistent attendance and attentiveness. 

One Sunday, I was ill and did not attend, but Cyndi went and said the meeting went vary well.  Adolf did all of the teaching that day.   Normally, I follow him his teaching with a review of his presentation and some illustrations, which broaden his lesson.   It is a joy to watch the Lord mature Adolf as he grows in his knowledge of the word and confidence in teaching others. 

At the close one meeting a villager said, "we will have something to tell you next week."  We prayed that they would become the Lord's people.   On the 27th of September three of the leaders in the village were born again.  They say that there many others who will follow.


  Baptisms 16

  Total Members 34


I continue to be impressed with the maturation of the leaders in Kadaxwe.  They are talking about the visions they have for the future.  With the additions to the their number in the past month, they are now the largest of all the congregations in Aja.  Many of those baptized were encouraged to come to the meetings by some of the newest Christians.  Several others will be baptized next Sunday. 

The members are older here than those at Koyoxwe, the first congregation planted.  They have more enthusiasm and seriousness as well.  The unsaved community holds them in high esteem, as well.


The members requested that one of our Thursday maturation studies be a question and answer session.  It was a very good session in which they asked questions about the history of the Churches of Christ and their presence in Africa.  They also asked some doctrinal questions that I will discuss with them in more depth later.  This meeting help me to get a better handle on their needs and understandings.


Harvesting crops and planting for the second season had hurt attendence during August and September, but enthusiasm and attendence at new highs this month.



   Baptisms 1

   Total Members 23


The group is learning the importance of Christian life-style issues.  It is very important for these young people and young families to set an example for the coming generations in their village.   They continue to do well, but the attendance fluctuates a lot.

The newest member of the congregation, Alfonse, has some leadership potential.  He was one of the most attentive villagers in the first half of the year, but he has been in a distance city for the past several months learning to drive.  We saw the largest attendance in months, the Sunday Alfonse returned and was baptized.  We pray that the Lord will empower him to lead the congregation.


We stopped going to Hugbame in September due to the lack of consistent attendance and response to the messages.   It is good stewardship of our time, and a good example to the Aja evangelists, to move on to a more receptive village.

We have more contacts and requests than we can follow-up.  So, we must be selective where we begin preaching points.  We are still learning how long we need to stay without seeing any responses.  But, it seemed like we had reached that point in Hugbame.

New Preaching Point

Pray for the new preaching point at Jikpame, mentioned above. 

Leadership Training

A separate, special report on leadership training is enclosed.

Bible Translation

The majority of our time in the mornings is being spent in translation of scripture, with Hilaire our language helper.  Over the past two months, we completed a large portion of the letter to the Ephesians.  This will is being used in the maturation of congregations.  The translation of the Gospel of Mark is about half finished.   This will be used in evangelism and maturation and be a major tool for the Aja evangelists.

Pray that as the rest of the team becomes ready to work on translation, we can develop a cooperative effort which will shorten the amount of time spent on this.