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Benin

Welcome to the Republic of Benin, a nation with a rich heritage of art, culture, and politics, for it was once the seat of the powerful Dahomey kingdom. This West African nation is known as the home of the voodoo religion, which, in the past, demanded human sacrifices. To this day, fetishism underlies much of the daily life of the people. Although Béninois voodooism is widely practiced and has been exported to many parts of the world, the church is growing and strong. At this time, the country enjoys religious freedom.

Team's Vision

By faith, we see a dynamic interdependent partnership and mutually nurturing relationship with the UEEB (Union des Eglises Evangéliques du Bénin) until it can respond on its own to the spiritual challenges in modern Benin and beyond.

Country & Ministry Profile

This West African nation enjoys religious freedom. The people of northern Benin are mostly Muslims, whereas in the south a large number of Beninese follow traditional religions.

The church body that has grown out of SIM pioneer work is called the Union des Eglises Evangéliques du Bénin. The UEEB includes 396 churches in 11 language groups led by 250 pastors. The UEEB provides pastoral training in French and in nine vernacular languages. The missonary arm of the UEEB has nine missionaries serving in Mali, Togo, Nigeria, and Benin. TEE (Theological Education by Extension) programs are contributing to church growth in several language groups. The UEEB also operates two Christian primary schools and a girls’ school.

The church and mission partner in several strategic ministries:

  • Health services including the Bembéréké Hospital, HIV & AIDS ministry, and the Simperou Dispensary.
  • Bible schools and the Bariba Girls’ school.
  • Radio broadcasts in 14 languages over 19 local FM stations.
  • Bible translation and literacy work in 10 languages.

These ministries while addressing both physical and spiritual needs have made a major contribution toward church expansion and growth.

During 2008 a recently constructed TWR transmitter station started broadcasting from Parakou. SIM is partnering in the production of radio messages for this ministry.

Benin is part of the SIM Benin/Togo Area.

SIM's Partner Church

All of SIM's work is in association with the UEEB. Many churches are growing rapidly. Receptivity to the message of Jesus is increasing among the youth and the predominantly Muslim Fulani people.

Scripture Availability

Complete Bibles are available in five national languages, and another is in the process of being printed. Of the 57 ethnic groups in Benin, only five have more than 5% evangelicals. Many groups have not yet been reached. Bible translation is a serious need; 24 languages are without a New Testament.

Unreached People

Reports indicate that 28 people groups remain where less than 20% of the population has any affiliation with a Christian church. Benin is the least evangelized non-Muslim country in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. For more about one unreached people group, we invite you to see our Fulani people group profile.

History of Christianity

The Roman Catholic Church began work in 1680 and returned in 1861. English Methodists who arrived in 1843 and focused on the coastal Gun people are the largest Protestant denomination with 40,000 adherents. Other major Protestant groups include Assembly of God, Southern Baptist, UEEB/SIM, and over 200 other mission-established or independent churches.

SIM opened its first stations in Benin at Kandi in 1946 and at Nikki in 1947 among the Bariba people. While much of SIM's work has been focused on the Baribas, we also work among the Fon, Yoruba, Yowa, Ditammari, Monkole, Boko, Lokpa, Fulani, Sola, Xweda, Dendi, Ife and Kotokoli (Togo). In 1961, a general hospital opened at Bembéréké.

If you would like to be a part of what God is doing in Benin, please contact your nearest SIM office.

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