COTONOU, Benin — Twenty years ago, George Akpabli, a native of Ghana, moved to this former French colony in West Africa to spread the Gospel.
On a recent Sunday, more than 700 people gathered in a pavilion to hear Akpabli preach about the past two decades of ministry.
The gathering was part of a celebration, spread over two weeks, during which church members in Benin prayed, fasted and hosted an evangelistic seminar. Church members produced TV commercials and did interviews with local media to promote the events.
More than 100 church leaders met on the campus of the Bible Training Center in Cotonou to reflect on the past and make plans for the future.
For Akpabli, who preaches and oversees the training center, the highlight of the celebration coincided with a public holiday in Benin, when police close the roads to vehicles. On the streets, church members “marched, drove, sang, preached and made as much noise as we could in the city,” Akpabli said.
“The temperature was 85 degrees with high humidity,” Akpabli said, “but the brethren did not feel it. We provided vehicles for those who could not walk, but they would not use them. … They were running to keep up with the police escort. With megaphones, they kept preaching.”
The church members distributed 10,000 gospel tracts during the march.
“This is probably going to be the most lasting image burned in my memory during my 20 years of missionary work in Benin,” Akpabli said.