Water has been hard to come by here.  That situation is changing.  A co-operative venture between the Japanese and Benin governments has dug scores of wells in Ajaland over the past year. 

Water for baptism remains scarce.  Today (April 20, 1999) the tenth congregation among the Aja was born.  Six people from the village of BadjameÉ (BA-ja-may) were baptized in a pool of water under a bridge.  The water was only three feet deep.  The people had to kneel to be immersed in it.  From the surface of the water to the bottom of the solid, concrete bridge is less than four feet.  The tallest man, Labi (LA-bee), had to duck down to enter the pool of water. 

As the last man was being plunged under the water, a ten-ton truck rolled over the bridge.  The bridge shook.  Satan’s kingdom was shaken severely.  God had planted yet another congregation among the Aja people.  This is the tenth in eleven months.  There are now over 270 members.

Leaders are surfacing as well.  Labi recognized his leadership gift almost the instant he came out from under the bridge.  After baptisms most Aja churches will gather the new Christians, still in wet clothes, and exhort them. 

After two of us said a few words, Labi asked, “Can I say something?”


He turned to his new brothers in Christ.  “All eyes in the village will be on us.  We need to live this new life well.  We need to be at all meetings.  We must pray for each other.” 

I had never heard a new Christian begin to lead the flock so early.  Labi ended his exhortation by saying, “If we were bringing a new voodoo god into our village, we would bring chickens, sheep and money to pay for all that was going to take place.  Now we have entered God’s Kingdom.  We should contribute so that what has begun today, will grow.”

Well that took my breath away.  It was yet another first for me.  I wonder what the Lord is up to.  He is building His Kingdom.  That is obvious.  Oh, the adventure along the way.  Here we go, following Him into villages in the heart of Satan’s realm.  The Almighty is taking His people back, one heart at a time.

...Richard Chowning

April 25, 1999