Sharing God’s Care: Mercy Ships Features on 60 Minutes

During my first trip to Benin in 2009, I had the opportunity to tour the Africa Mercy  while it was docked in Cotonou, Benin.  The Africa Mercy is a fully functioning mobile hospital on a ship. Mercy Ships is a health care ministry that was born out of the ministry of YWAM.  A team of doctors and other medical professionals provide medical care to people who may not otherwise have access to care. There’s also a team of support staff and the ship crew.

I was delighted to see that the American news show, 60 minutes, featured this very ship as well as the ministry of Mercy Ships on a recent program.  Watch this video to learn more.  It is a unique medical missions organization that God has used to bring His hope and healing to hurting people around the world.

Learn more about Mercy Ships

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Faith like a child

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This is one of my favorite photos from my first trip to Cotonou, Benin in July of 2009.  I went to church with the Director of Wycliffe Benin that Sunday.  All through the service I was taking photos.  It was a beautiful service with all kinds of special music and drama from the children and teens–such a great day to be there to take photos.

This photo came after everything was done.  Nearly everyone had left, and this little girl came up to me and said in her small voice, “Can you take a picture of me?”  Then she stood perfectly still while I took a couple of photos of her.  I showed her one of the photos, and she smiled big and laughed.

She had such courage to approach me – someone she didn’t know.  Her small smile captured the beauty of who she was on the inside.

It reminds me of what Jesus says about children:

Matthew 18:2-5, NIV:  [Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Matthew 19:13-14, NIV: Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Jesus’ value for us is not dependent on status.  Every person, including every child, is important in his eyes.  He sees in children a faith, an innocence, an imagination unhindered by the some of the experiences that strip us of creativity and our ability to believe as we grow older.  As we become adults we become hardened by the world.  When I look at this little girl, I am reminded of who God wants me to be.

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Merry Christmas!

Christians all over Africa join the world in celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Waci (WAH-chee) Christians in Togo and Benin will also celebrate.

Here are the lyrics from one of their Christmas songs written and performed in the Gazo music style:

Nyagblýdilawo gblýÿ dadi lo xo xo
ögbe dovi nye Jesu
Si ÷gbe Mawu do na dzidzi
Nyagblýdilawo gblýÿ di
Evame le Bethlexem
Nyagblýdilawo gblýÿ dadi lo xo xo

The prophets foretold it long ago
The promised child is Jesus
God promised that he would be born.
The prophets foretold it.
The prophecy has come to Bethlehem.
The prophets foretold it long ago.

The nearly 500,000 people who speak Waci still lack Scripture in their own language. Some can access scriptures in two languages of wider-communication in the area – Éwé and French. Pray for God to open the way for scriptures to be translated into Waci.

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Nighttime Traffic in Benin

I took this short video from the hotel where I stayed for several days while I was in Cotonou, Benin in August.  You’ll notice that there are a lot of motorbikes on the road.  This is one of the most popular means of transport.  The motorbike taxis, called Zemijans, will take you just about any where.  Two years ago I road on one. Not this year.  Leaving the hotel to go somewhere wasn’t a problem, but figuring out how to get back would have been challenging.

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Fill me up

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So what’s in those big glass bottles?  Take a guess.

OK, one clue…this is in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa.

Still don’t know what this is?

Let’s zoom out.

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Here’s another clue…the stuff in these bottles makes vehicles go.

Guessed it, yet?

It’s gasoline (petrol) at one of the many informal gas stations that you can find around Cotonou and in many other parts of Benin.  Nigeria, a country just to the east of Benin, is an oil-rich country, so fuel is cheaper there.  Some vendors in Benin go to Nigeria, fill up bottles with gasoline and bring them back to sell in Benin.  From what I heard, this fuel is half the cost of a traditional gas station.

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