Benin Republic

Benin Republic

COCIN in Benin Republic

This is the first church planted outside Nigeria. It is located in Cotonu and its activities are supervised by RCC Lagos. The Church was commissioned by former COCIN President, Rev Dr Pandang  Yamsat who inaugurated the congregation on  the 19th June 2005.

There are currently two COCIN Churches in Benin Republic. One at Cotonu and the other at Port Novo.

THE BIOGRAPHY OF REV KPASHAM ZETHAN BARNABAS AND HIS WIFE MRS TABITHA

REV KPASHAM
Birth and Conversion
Rev Kpasham Zethan Barnabas was born to the family of Barnabas Nzemafuro Yamshiye and Mbalang’eh Ruth Manangi on the 21st August 1964 at Kpasham 40 kilometers on the Numan Jalingo road in Demsa Local Government area of Adamawa state.
He was baptized as an infant on the 29th November, 1964 by Rev Elisha Daudu at the Lutheran church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) Bagong (Kpasham Dutse) the ancient town of the Kpasham people. His father died when he and his late junior brother Bethan were very young.  In 1980, he accepted Christ and joints the Baptism class for two years and was confirmed on the 25th July 1982 by Rev Jediel Zubairu at LCCN Ngbekendewe.  While in Jos in 1983, he rededicated his life to Christ at the former church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) Angwan Rogo, during the time of Catchiest Linus M. Kwan.

Educational Background
Rev Kpasham, despite his remote beginning in a poor family background, he is fortunate to have studied up to the post graduate level to the glory of the Lord.

He had his primary education at the Ngbekendewe Primary school, Demsa Local Government area of Adamawa state from 1976 to 1982, and had a certificate of Primary Education.
In1983, he attended Unity Commercial Institute in Jos for one term and dropped out for lack of school fees. Consequently, in 1985, he enrolled for a nine months course in type writing at Davidson Commercial Center Angwan Rogo Jos and had a testimonial in type writing.
Between 1987 and 1989, he was at the Christian Training Centre (CTC) now COCIN Bible and Agricultural Training Institute (COBATI) Zamko and graduated with a Certificate in Biblical Studies, Agriculture and Education.
In 1992 and 1993, he attended a church planting course organized for EMS Missionaries of ECWA and CCM Missionaries of COCIN sponsored by the World Home Bible League (WHBL) at the ECWA Headquarters Jos and had a certificate in church planting. The programme was coordinated by the former head of Missions of the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary Rev Dr. Paul J. Fritz.

Rev Kpasham had his pre degree programme at the University of Jos and graduated with a Diploma in Christian Studies from 1994 to 1997. The programme was introduced and coordinated by Rev. Professor Danny MCcain a Missionary from America. The mission of the programme was to help encourage Pastors with poor educational background to improve in their
theological knowledge and find hope in that regard. This was achieved in his life.
Consequently, between 1999 and 2000, he attended Government Secondary School Gwong Jos and had his Senior School Certificates as follows; West African Senior School Certificate (WASSC) and National Examinations Council Senior School Certificate (NECO SSCE). This now by the grace of God, gave him a strong backing as he got the required entry requirement for a degree programme in the University or Seminary.
Thus, between 2000 and 2003, COCIN RCC Jos approved his further study and he attended Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) Bukuru affiliated to University of Jos and graduated with Bachelor of Divinity (BD). Furthermore, between 2011 and 2013 he went to TCNN again for his Masters programme under the sponsorship of COCIN Headquarters administration and graduated with Masters of Theology in Missiology (M.Th Missiology).
He wrote his graduate thesis on ‘COCIN Mission amongst the Dukawa’ the peoples group he served amongst as a Missionary for 4 years. This gave him an opportunity to go back to the field on research to know more about the people and the results documented for further study and to help in enhancing missionary work in this peoples group. His post graduate thesis was on ‘The Mission strategy and work of COCIN Community Mission’. This is a wider study on the Missionary society of COCIN as it relate to her missionary strategy. It also covers the historical analysis of the organization for the first 25 years of her existence.

Call to Ministry and Working Experience
Rev Kpasham had the conviction to serve in the ministry of the lord while in the Bible school in Zamko, and he responded to the call in 1990 after his graduation to date. It was their former Principal in Zamko Rev Felix S. Lar who first lit the fire of Missions in him through the testimonies of his Missionary work with the Methodist church amongst the New Bussa communities in Kainji, Niger state.

Thus, after his graduation in Zamko in December 1989, he first served as an Extension Bible School (EBS) teacher at COCIN Angwan Rogo Jos from January to May 1990. He was given an appointment by the COCIN Headquarters and posted as a CCM Missionary to Tungan Mangoro in Warari area on 20th May 1990. He served for 4 years and planted two churches; Tungan Mangoro and Ulaba. He went for Diploma studies in the University of Jos from this station in 1994. While he was studying at the University of Jos, he served as a Pastor at COCIN Gold and Base from January 1996 to December, 1998. He was licensed as a Pastor in 1996 by the former COCIN President Rev Dr Musa Gotom while serving in COCIN Gold and Base Jos.
From 1st January 1999 to 31st July, 2000 he was at COCIN Yantrailer Jos as a Pastor. That was when he enrolled for his secondary school Certificate as noted earlier. It was also from here that he went for his graduate studies in TCNN. After his passing out in May 2003, he was posted and served in COCIN Gigiring Hwolshe Jos for six months from 1st June to 31st December, 2003. He served in COCIN LCC Jiyep Hwolshe from 1st January to 31st December 2004. It was from this congregation that he was ordained on the 7th November, 2004 by the former COCIN President Rev Dr. Alexander Lar at Gigiring during the inauguration of COCIN RCC Gigiring Jos.
He was transferred to COCIN LCC Gigiring again and served from 1st January 2005 to 31st August 2008. Afterward, he served at COCIN LCC Tudun Wada Jos for three years from 1st September 2008 to 31st 2011.
It was from here that the COCIN Headquarters sent him for his post graduate studies in TCNN. After his graduation in TCNN in May 2013, he was posted as a foreign Missionary to Cotonou Benin Republic from 1st August 2013 to date.
Rev Kpasham has also served as the Missions Coordinator of COCIN RCC Gigiring for seven years from 1st January 2005 to 31st December 2011.
In the same period, he also served as a member of Missions committee for PCC Jos.

Marriage and Number of Children
Rev Kpasham is married to an Ngas lady Tabitha on the 21st December 1991. The marriage was solemnized by the former COCIN President Rev. Dr. Musa Gotom at COCIN Angwan Rogo Jos. The lord has blessed them with four children; three girls and a male child. They are as follows:

1.      Luiwammagh (Nenkangmwa), 22 years old and a 400 level Psychology student of the University of Jos.
2.      Dekohbini (Tongak), 18 years old, graduated from Nakam Memorial Secondary School Panyam last year and hoping to be in  the University.
3.      Luimommei (Nenpinmwa), 17 years old, she is a SS3 student of Girls High School Gindiri graduating this year by the grace of God.
4.      Luiedeh (Nendirmwa), 13 years old and a JS 3 student of the Girls High school Gindiri.

MRS TABITHA KPASHAM
Birth and Conversion
Mrs. Tabitha Kpasham was born on the 20th May 1966 to the family of Ledung Polit and Nashit in Tambes Pankshin local Government area of Plateau state.
She accepted Christ as her lord and savior at a tender age and was baptized by Rev Joel Yigol on the 10th December, 1976.

Educational Background
She attended Tambes Primary school from 1976 to 1982 and had a primary school leaving certificate. Afterward, she gained admission into Government Secondary school Bet Pankshin and graduated in 1987 with General Certificate of Education (GCE). In January 1989, she went to Bible school at Christian Training Centre CTC) now COCIN Bible and Agricultural Training Institute (COBATI) Zamko and graduated in December 1991 with a certificate in Biblical studies and Agriculture.

For her pre Degree programme, she attended University of Jos from 1997 to 1999 and had a Diploma in Christian studies. She went for her graduate studies at the Institute of Education of the same University, from 2004 to 2008 and graduated with Bachelor of Education in Religious Education (B.Ed)

Working Experience
She serves as Pastors wife and co-worker with her husband wherever they served from their marriage in 1991 to date.   She is also a
Christian Religious Instructor in Primary school with Jos North Local Government area of Plateau state from 1994 to date.

Our Contacts
Eglise Du Christ Dans Les Nations
Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN)
AKPAKPA, Derrier Phamacies AGBLANGANDAN,
Face Magasin D’Accajou, COTONOU,
Republic Du Benin.
•       +229 96 94 81 05
•       +234 80 32 85 76 40
•       +234 81 34 79 50 00 Femme
•       E.mail kpashamzb@gmail.com

A MAIDEN REPORT ON COCIN MISSIONS IN BENIN REPUBLIC

PRESENTED TO THE COCIN GENERAL SECRETARY, THROUGH THE DIRECTOR OF EVANGELISM AND CHURCH GROWTH COCIN HEADQUARTERS, JOS

BY REV KPASHAM ZETHAN BARNABAS

12TH MAY 2014

INTRODUCTION

We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.’[1] I am grateful to the leadership of the church for the opportunity given me to serve as a missionary along with my colleagues here in Cotonou, Benin Republic in her quest to taking the gospel to nations in the light of the vision and mission of COCIN. Thus, this maiden report covers the activities of my mission in Benin Republic for the past Seven months from 1st October 2013 to 31st April, 2014. However, I begin by giving you a mental picture of the nation and the overview of COCIN Missions in the nation for the past ten years. COCIN Missions in Benin Republic is the first child of COCIN outside the shores of Nigeria. But it is a child that is still crawling.

1. Benin Republic at a Glance
Benin Republic is a long narrow country wedged between Nigeria and Togo. The country is divided in 12 departments[2] with an estimated population of 10 million people. Benin Republic has two capitals; Porto-Novo the political capital and Cotonuo the commercial or economic capital. Thus, the residential area or quarters of the Government officials of the nation are in Cotonou including the head of state and the various Embassies of the nations that are in relationship with Benin Republic. French is the official language of the nation with more than 60 indigenous languages, with Fon as the major language in the Southern part of the country Cotonou serving as their concentrated city while Dendi language is more in the Northern part of the country.

A form of an African Traditional Religion known as Voodoo is the strong religion of the country engulfing about 35% adherent of the national population. The population of Christianity in the nation stands at about 39% with a very high rate of norminalism and Syncretism. Islam is estimated to be 23.5% and seems to growing very fast. Also, it is noted that the literacy rate of the country is below 40% (Operation World 2010, pp147-149). This shows clearly that Benin Republic is a great unreached nation at our door step that requires the concerted effort of all the leadership and membership of the church. The step that COCIN has taken in that regard is a grand step that needs to be sustained.

2. An overview of COCIN Missions in Benin Republic
This overview covers the developmental feature of the mission field from adaption to the present reality. The COCIN missionary enterprise in this unreached country started about ten years ago resulting to two congregations today. However, as noted earlier, the mission field is still like a ‘crawling child’ in view of her predicaments as analyzed in this presentation.

Study has shown that survey and visitation to Cotonou for COCIN mission work by the leadership of COCIN RCC Lagos started during the leadership period of Rev Stanley Nimkur in 2003 and 2004. At the cause of that, he met Pastor John Pam who is from Plateau state and was based in Cotonou on self Missionary work. He had already planted a church, and was willing to hand it over for COCIN to adapt as her Mission field. Hence, as Rev Timothy Nwan took over from Rev Nimkur in the early years of 2005 as the RCC Chairman, he followed up the matter resulting to the adaption of the first congregation in a hired building at Dedokpo Cotonou close to the old city. The inauguration and adaption service of the church was conducted by the former COCIN President Rev Dr. Pandang Yamsat on the 19th June 2005. Pastor Pam was also adapted by COCIN and transferred to Mangu Plateau state. He handed over the church to his assistant who was serving as his interpreter in the Person of Pastor Koffi Aledzi who is a Togolese. However, Pastor Pam subsequently resigned his appointment with the church on personal ground. Thus, in January 2006, Rev Festus Sati Dashem was posted by the COCIN Headquarters as the first ordained Pastor of the church. He served along with Pastor Koffi for one year and was later transferred to Bauchi by the headquarters in January 2007. The church was again handed over to Pastor Koffi.
In July 2007, Pastor Koffi was sent to the present Gindiri Theological Seminary by COCIN RCC Lagos for training. He handed over the church to Mr. Koudous Bakary who was the church secretary. However, in January 2009, Mr. Bakary took over the church as his personal organization and changed the name and location of the church. That was how we lost the first adapted congregation.
Meanwhile, in May 2009, the leadership of RCC Lagos sent Rev Babaji Long the former Vice Chairman together with Pastor Koffi while he was on vacation to Cotonou and collected the COCIN properties from the former members. Pastor Koffi also stayed back in Cotonou during the vacation by the arrangement of the RCC and replanted the church using some few former members who could not go with the other group. They met in a rented house at Kpondehoun Cotonou. As Pastor left for school after the vacation, in mutual arrangement between RCCs Lagos and Zaria, Pastor Mbami John was posted from CBS Zaria and took over from Koffi in August 2009. But Pastor Mbami could only stay for two weeks and left because of the nature of the place as it relates to language barrier coupled to the fact that he had no interpreter amongst other challenges.

Hence, Mr. Dah Fidel a native of Benin Republic took over the church in an interim measure and was later given appointment as Pastor by the RCC. It was during his time that the place of worship was moved to Finanyo Cotonou in a house close to the sea shore. It is noted that Fidel was however running the church like a ministry whereby people only come for prayers and go back to their various places as he had no good idea of pastoral work. But very unfortunately, he could not live long to be mentored as he died on a Motor bike accident on the 23rd December 2011. Meanwhile, he had planted the second Mission field at Gbada Porto-Novo in 2010 with no resident Pastor. He goes there from time to time for prayer ministry. Pastor Afangbedji K. Paul who also is a Togolese is the first resident Pastor of the church posted by the RCC from 1st March 2012 to date.

Consequently, Pastor Koffi Aledzi after graduation from Gindiri and served in COCIN LCC Ojo RCC Lagos for six month, was posted back to Cotonou and took over the Cotonou church in January 2012 after the burial of Pastor Fidel. The house where they were worshiping in at the sea shore was later taken over by the sea and they relocated to the present site Agblangandan Cotonu in July 2012. At the cause of the relocation, we also lost some of the members who could not trek long distance for worship. More so that the place of worship was water locked area until it was sand filled with more than ten trips by RCC Lagos. The place of worship is a hired land with a temporary structure erected to the present time.

Benin Republic Mission has attracted the attention and presence of the past and present leadership of the church. As noted earlier, it was the former COCIN President Rev Dr. Pandang Yamsat that officiated over the service for the adaption of the field in 2005. The immediate past COCIN President Rev Dr Soja Bewarang also visited the Cotonou church for two days from July 27th to 28th 2013 in company of the leadership of RCC Lagos. Amongst his entourage from the COCIN headquarters were the Director of Evangelism and church growth Rev Paul Ganamu Mangkam and the chairman of PCC Zaria Rev Gambo Ishaku Dankande. It was after this visit that I was posted to the Benin Republic field.

The present COCIN president Rev Dr Dachollom Datiri also because of his missionary zeal, immediately in assuming office gave permission to Rev Dankande one of his executive council members, to visit the Benin Republic field. This served as a follow up to the visit of the former COCIN President Rev Dr Soja Bewaring. Thus, Rev Dankande was in Cotonou and Gbada Port-Novo for two days in company of the RCC Lagos executive council members from 12th to 14th February 2014. Fascinated by the report of his visit, the President and the COCIN executive council approved the taking over of the Benin Republic. They also approved N4million to be released for acquiring a plot in Cotonou to bring about a sustainable mission work in Benin Republic. We are indeed very happy and appreciate the leadership of the church in this regard.

3. My posting and movement to Cotonou
In August 2013 after my passing out from TCNN, I was posted by the COCIN Headquarters to the Cotonou Benin Republic Mission field with effect from 1st October. After reporting in October, I finally moved to the field on November 27th 2013. We were received at the park in Lagos by Rev Markus M. Musa the Chairman COCIN RCC Lagos. He conveyed us in his official car to Seme the border between Nigeria and Benin Republic. After making arrangement for our movement, he handed us over to Pastor Koffi Aledzi who was then serving in Cotonou. We arrived in Agblangandan Cotonou at 5.30pm. The following day in the afternoon, we tracked to the church with my family and two sisters who accompanied us. On Friday 29th November 2013, the Vice Chairman of RCC Lagos Rev Gideon Bundurang visited us together with his wife and two members to welcome us on behalf of the RCC.
The RCC spent N450, 000 (four hundred and fifty thousand naira) only for our accommodation. Apart from that, they supported us with money for treatment when I and my son felt sick for two weeks and other general support. We are indeed encouraged for their support and encouragement for the work.
4. Worship Centers and Activities
COCIN Benin Republic Missions have two worship centers; one in Agblangandan Cotonou, and the other in Gbada Porto-Novo, all still on rented lands with temporary structures. The congregations have the following activities; Bible study, Prayer meeting, Monthly vigils, Adult Sunday school, Evangelism and Outreach programme. Added to that in the Cotonou church, we also have Women Fellowship, Church Band and Girls/Boys Brigade with the last two introduced in January and April this year. These groups and the activities of the church is an indication that the COCIN Benin Republic Missions have the prospect of growth and expansion to the glory and honor of the Lord.

5. Church expansion/Toilets construction
Between December 2013 and January 2014, we expanded the place of worship in Cotonou and built the pulpit and a cement floor with the help of the Nigerian Deputy Ambassador Mr. M.D Kakshak, who donated 200,000FCFA for the work which was supplemented from the church treasury. This makes the place of worship now more attractive. He is also currently financing the construction of two toilets in the church premises of which he has now expended 450,000FCFA in the project and will soon be in use.

6. Church Band in Cotonou
In December 2013, we received a donation of used musical instruments (set of drums, amplifier, bass guitar, and keyboard) from COCIN LCC Ojo RCC Lagos. We are highly thankful to the leading Pastor and his council members for their magnanimity. Hence, a church Band group was immediately constituted in January 2014 with a 61 years old man as the band leader Mr. Masinda Mawonso Volombasi Tuti Mbala La Andre. He is from the Democratic Republic of Congo who is in Cotonou as a refugee since 1999. We have accommodated him in the church premises and he helps in keeping the place safe and clean. He is one of the earliest members of the church together with Pastor Koffi Aledzi when COCIN adopted the field in 2005.

7. Ordination
Before my posting and movement to the Benin Republic church, Pastor Koffi Aledzi was in charge of the field .Thus, in November 2013, he was one of the 92 COCIN Pastors ordained at the COCIN Headquarters and the first from the Cotonou church. He is a Togolese and thus giving an impetus to the COCIN Missions to nations.

8. Transfers
In January 2014, Rev Koffi was transferred by RCC Lagos to COCIN Lyana Bodija in Ibadan and he moved in February. Meanwhile, in mutual agreement between RCC Lagos and RCC Abuja, Pastor Bobio Hubert Musa a Chadian Nigerian was transferred from LCC Minna and joins me in the Cotonou Church. He arrived and his family on Friday 14th March 2014 and were received and accompanied to the border by the RCC Vice Chairman Rev Gideon Bundurang together with some of his Elders. The RCC spent N370, 000 (three hundred and seventy thousand naira) only for their accommodation in Cotonou apart from their passports expenses and transportation. Pastor Bobio speaks French and is a bricklayer / carpenter. Therefore, I am happy to note that he is a good replacement in the field.

9. Send Forth for Rev and Mrs. Koffi
Consequently, we organized a send forth service for Rev and Mrs. Koffi on the 23rd February 2014. Rev Gideon Bundurang the RCC Vice Chairman represented the EC alongside three Elders from his LCC. We had a very good response from members in which they raised 46,100FCFA (about N16, 500) as offerings and donation. The RCC and LCC Badagry jointly donated the sum of N65, 000 (182,000FCFA). This is in the quest of teaching the members the practice of COCIN as it relates to caring for ministers to help in achieving the principle of ‘self supporting’ in due cause.

10. Orientation programme for the new Missionary
On March 19th 2014, I organized an orientation propgramme for the newly posted Missionary, Pastor Bobio and his family in the church. In this, I gave them an overview on Benin Republic and the Mission of COCIN in the nation, highlighting the challenges and prospect of the mission. I also shared with them the Vision and Mission of COCIN and the plans I have for COCIN Missions in this great unreached nation. We finally had and interactive session and prayers together.

11. Donation for more chairs in the Cotonou Church
During the visit of the chairman of PCC Zaria Rev Gambo Ishaku Dankande, he observed the need for more chairs in the Cotonou church. Hence, he donated N10, 000 (ten thousand naira) only which was immediately used in buying five more plastic chairs in the church. We feel highly honored and thankful to the leadership of the church for this kind gesture.

12. Attended PCC Zaria Pastors’ Conference 2014 /Laptop for the field
We appreciate the Chairman and the executive council of RCC Lagos for sponsoring two of us from the Benin Republic Mission field to attend PCC Zaria Pastor’s Conference which took place in COCIN Garki Area One Abuja from 1st to 4th April 2014. I and Pastor Bobio H. Musa attended the conference which was full of blessings in view of the teachings we received apart from the time we had in fellowship with colleagues. During this conference also an offering was taken for the need of a Laptop and printer to facilitate reporting in the Benin Republic field as observed by the PCC Chairman during his visit. Thus, the sum of N124, 350 (one hundred and twenty four thousand three hundred and fifty naira) only was realized and given to me.

Hence, I am happy to report that a new HP 250 G2 Laptop was bought at the rate of 80,000 (eighty thousand naira only and a Lesser Jet Printer model 1105 at the rate of 15,000 (Fifteen thousand naira) only. Also a multiple modem for accessing the internet was bought at the rate of N3, 000 (three thousand naira) only and four reams of papers at the rate of N500 each. We are highly appreciative to the RCC and the PCC for the favor in that regard.

13. My visitation to COCIN Gbada Porto-Novo
I had a teachings and visitation programme in the Gbada Mission station for two days from 10th to 12th January 2014. During the programme, we had night vigil together, visitation of members and witnessing Christ to the people around. I also preached during Sunday worship. I planned to have a follow up visit on March 30th but could not in view of other programmes that came up. This will be continues exercise from time to time. I have also included the Pastor Afangbedji K. Paul in Gbada in the preaching roster of the Cotonou Church so that as he is coming to worship in Cotoou, I or somebody from the church will also go to Gbada for worship. He and his family are committed and dedicated to their service.

14. Admission to the Gindiri Theological Seminary
Therefore, I am very grateful to COCIN RCC Lagos for sending him-Pastor Afangbedji K. Paul of COCIN Gbada Porto-Novo to the Seminary in Gindiri for entrance examination and interview for his training for 2014/2015 session. Above all, we are grateful to God for granting him success and admission into the Seminary for four years Diploma in Theology programme. He is going to be the second Togolese nationality to be trained by the RCC from the Benin Republic Mission Field in boosting the vision of COCIN Missions to nations. This then means that there is need to post a Missionary Pastor to replace him by August as he moves to school.

15. Challenges in the Benin Republic Missions
At the cause of my being here for the period under review, I observed and noted some of the challenges to the gospel in Benin Republic and are highlighted below for your prayers.

I. Language Barrier
Language is a medium of communication in the society. Therefore, lack of understanding a Language where one is serving poses a serious challenge especially to a Missionary who is bearing the gospel message of salvation. In the light of that, I have a challenge of speaking French which is the official language in Benin Republic with Fon and Dende in the South and North as the major indigenous languages of the nation. But God is helping me as I am making effort in learning French and takes lessons with one of my interpreters at home. During worship and church activities, I speak in English and two people interpret in French and Fong languages, and sometimes in Ewe a Togolese language.

II. Voodoo Religion
Voodoo worship is a form of an African traditional religion in Benin Republic. It is a strong force in the nation and poses serious challenge to the gospel as the adherents are in constant conflict with Christians. The adherents say that voodoo is their culture and they are proud to be known as the only African nation that is preserving the African culture and tradition. Hence, the religion has a Federal Government support with a public holiday observed every 10th January. This was first declared in 1992 by one of the past Presidents of the nation who was a member of the Voodoo Cult in fulfillment of his promise to the leaders of the adherents. There is also high rate of drinking alcohol in Benin Republic especially the local gin known in Northern Nigeria as Goskolo and are all connected to the voodoo worship and practices.

III. Islam
Islam is a growing religion in the nation with high support from Islamic nations and mosques are being built all over Benin Republic.

IV. Norminalism and Syncretism
This is a situation whereby some members and even pastor mix up Christianity and traditional religion. This is the case with many of them in the nation as they are seen as Voodoo worshippers in the night and Christians in the day. Hence, this is a serious hindrance to the growth of the gospel in this nation.

V. White Garment Churches
The headquarters of the Celestial Church of Christ is in Cotonou at the seaside. This is a church that believes and worships the mammy water spirits. They come for pilgrimage to Cotonou every Christmas Eve at the sea shore located where the founder of the church believed to have received the power for founding the church. I witnessed the in flock of the adherents into Cotonou for this exercise last year December. The church is spreading all over Benin republic and they have link with voodoo worship. Aladura is also one of the White Garment churches in the nation. This activity in the name of Christianity is a serious challenge to the church generally in Benn Republic and to COCIN Mission in particular.

VI. Corruption
Corruption is also high in Benin Republic with much influence from Nigerians who are there and those on business trips. This is high especially in the educational sector as there are many private Universities in the nation by Nigerians without accredited courses or Nigerians are used to teach in such Universities to attract more Nigerian students. This attitude is also a challenge especially to Nigerian Missionaries serving in Benin Republic as they seem to see every Nigerian in that light.

16. The Prospects of the Mission
Despite these challenges, I see a high prospect for COCIN Missions in Benin Republic as God is in the business of sustaining what he has began in the nation in the light of his promises. Hence, bellow is the analysis of the prospects for COCIN Missions in Benin Republic;

I. I observe that many Nigerian students in the universities in Cotonou are now becoming more aware of COCIN and are joining the church. In April, 17 amongst those who came from University of Jos for one year French programme joint us in the church.

II. The Nigerian Deputy Ambassador of Benin Republic Mr. Kakshak M Dankano and his family are COCIN members, and are giving the church strong backing in all her Programmes.

III. A good number of the membership is committed to prayers and Bible study.

IV. The number of adult members and children in the two congregations also gives hope for the growth of the church

V. The expansion and renovation of the place of worship makes the place now more attractive unlike the way it is in the past. So also the construction of two toilet facilities in the church.

VI. Sustainability of constant contact and briefings of the church leadership as opportunity is given at various levels will help in adding an impetus to the growth of the church in view of more awareness on the needs of the Mission and support it may attract.

VII. Calvary Ministries otherwise known as CAPRO is an international missionary agency with her national office in Jos and international office in Lagos. I met with their leader in Jos when preparing to move to Cotonou and he gave me the contacts of their base in Cotonou. We have now linked up with them for discipleship and training of our member as they are vast in French and the Local Fon Language. They have lived in Cotonou for more than ten years. This relationship is also giving a high prospect for COCIN mission in Benin republic. We have also visited two Methodist pastors and Assemblies of God church close to us in January and April this year in that regard. We will continue with that spirit in the quest of build relationship especially with evangelical churches and missionary agencies in the nation to help in boosting and enhancing our mission work.

VIII. We have 6 members in baptism class in the Cotonou Church hoping to be baptized before the end of the year.

IX. The constitution of the church Band also gives a high prospect for the church as more people especially the youths are being attracted to the church.

17. The urgent need of the Benin Republic Mission
In view of the prospect of the church analyzed above, I wish to point out the urgent needs forming parts of the challenges of the mission requiring urgent attention which will also add to the prospect of the mission if attended to.

I. Land
For the ten years the church has been in Benin republic, she is still operating on rented lands on which temporary structures are raised. This is giving an impression to the indigenes that we have not yet come to stay.
However, we are happy to hear of the taken over of the field by the GCC and the approval of N4 Million Naira to be released for acquiring of a plot in Cotonou. We pray for the actualization of this plan to the gory of the lord.

II. Registration
The church in Benin Republic is also yet to be registered with the government of Benin Republic. As a church we must not be seen to be operating illegally. So as soon as land matters are done with, the next thing should be the registration of the church with the government.

18. My plans
The vision and mission of COCIN is my guide and motivation for missionary work in Benin Republic in the light of the 3 ‘selfs’ principle of the church. Therefore, my plans for this work are outlined as follows;

I. Saturation church planting is planned to cover the rest of the nation beginning with survey of the various departments of the nation of Benin Republic in the light of 2kings 3:16-18 which reads thus;

This is what the Lord says: Make this valley full of ditches. For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also hand Moab over to you. (NIV)

This verse was read by the former COCIN President Rev Dr Soja Bewarang to me and my wife when we visited him in his house as we were planning to move to Benin Republic after our posting. He noted that this was the same scripture that the sister to the wife of Karl Kumm read to them in 1904 when the family met to pray for their movement to Africa for missionary work bringing about the founding of COCIN today. In this spirit, he prayed for us, and in the same spirit we are set to making the valley Benin Republic ‘full of ditches’ as we saturate the whole of Benin Republic with the gospel of salvation. God will keep his promise in always brining people to full the churches and granting victory over the evil plans of the enemies of his church.

II. Start COCIN Campus Missions Fellowship (CCMF) which is an outreach programme to students in the Universities.

III. Hold quarterly field committee meeting with the committee members of the two congregations to receive reports from the two congregations and prayers for the Mission.

IV. Give periodic compressive report and update to the leadership of the church on the progress and the needs of the church in Benin Republic.

V. To use the COCIN Light Bearer News Paper in popularizing COCIN Missions in Benin Republic through publication of related articles on the mission.

19. Church attendance and financial reports
The financial report of the Mission field from the period under review is outlined as follows;

I. From the Cotonou Church
• Average attendance: men-11 women-15 children-12 totaling 38 with about 14 communicants inclusive.
• Financial report from, 1st October 2013 to 31st April, 2014 with estimated Naira value:
Income – 614,615FCFA (N205, 980)
Expenditures – 587,030FCFA (N195, 850)

Balance¬ – 27,585FCFA (N9, 250)

II. From the Gbada Porto- Novo Church
• Average church attendance men-10, women-18, children-11, total -39 with no certain number of communicant apart from the pastor and his wife.
• Financial report from, 1st October 2013 to 31st April, 2014 with estimated Naira value:
Income – 20,185FCFA (about N7, 500)
Expenditures – 14,500FCFA (about N5, 500)

Balance¬ – 5,685FCFA (about 2, 500)
Expenses sub heads of the Mission are as follows; charity to the needy members, the sick, local running, light and water bills in the pastor’s houses and in the church, church extension, and rents of places of worship.
In this also, we are trying to teach the members the principle of ‘self supporting’ through tithing and offerings in the light of the Vision and Mission of COCIN.

20. Prayer points
We thank God for what he is doing in sustaining the field to this very point. I Solicit for your continues prayers on the following points;

I. Pray along with us, thanking and asking God for his continues blessings and protection over Mr. M D Kakshak the Deputy Ambassador of Benin Republic who is a strong supporter of the church and his family.
II. For grace for me and my family to understand and speak French Language and other indigenous languages fluently for more effective ministry.
III. Pray against the challenges listed above regarding missionary work in the nation.
IV. For our Band Leader the Congo DRC nationality and a refugee in Benin Republic now staying in our church premises and the need of peace in his country so that one day he will return and join his family as noted earlier.
V. Pray for the education of our children in view of new educational system and environment.
VI. Thank God for RCC Lagos that is sending one of our Pastors from COCIN Gbada Porto-Novo Pastor Afangbedji K. Paul and his family to Gindiri Theological Seminary for training. Pray as they plan to move for training in Gindiri, that they will adapt to the environment and cope with the studies. They are Togolese nationalities.
VII. Pray also for the new Missionary to replace him in August this year.

CONCLUSION
Glory to God because of what he is doing in the COCIN Benin Republic Mission. We are here by the grace of God to do a sustainable work in the light of the vision and mission of the church. For the past seven months of being here despite challenges, I see a high prospect for the Benin Republic Missions in view of the global and Missiological vision of the leadership of the church especially as it relates to the Benin Republic field. And so, I pray that in the next ten and twenty years, the child Benin Republic would have grown and planning for independence when we would have achieved our 3 ‘slefs’ principle to the glory of the Lord.