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By Ray Alary – TWR Canada

God used a group of elders in Benin’s north country to teach me about perseverance and trust. That lesson has stayed with me for my entire career as a missionary.

About ten years ago, Trans World Radio, HCJB, and SIM decided to work together to build a radio transmitter station to reach West Africa. SIM’s station in Liberia had been destroyed a few times due to conflict, so we were looking for a country with political stability. We were promised a broadcast license in Burkina Faso and in Ghana but they all fell through.

A fellow Canadian missionary and Londoner, McDaniel Phillips suggested we try the country of Benin. Mathieu Kérékou was President then and he had become an outspoken Christian. I was with the TWR Africa team who met with Kérékou and he said we could have a license if we promised to make sure his people could hear the Gospel every day.

We were taken into the north country to the village of Serarou. The government gave us a vehicle and a driver (there was myself and another missionary from TWR).

In Benin in those days, there were gas stations but only in the city. You bought fuel on the side of the road in recycled glass bottles. A Coke bottle powered a 40cc motorcycle around the city. At some point, the vehicle we had got dirty fuel. Every 50km, I would take apart the fuel filter, clean it out, prime the engine (it was a diesel engine), etc.

We got to Serarou after 8 hours (it normally takes 6 hours to make the 400km trip). The elders said to come back the next day and they would hear us out.

The next morning we arrived in Serarou. I thought we were speaking to the leaders of the village, but they had hired a generator and a sound system and the entire village showed up. I sat at a table facing these villagers. They were all Muslims, if not practicing then by tradition. When I was handed the microphone I hesitated. If they knew why we wanted to build a radio transmitter -- that we planned to broadcast the Gospel to West Africa, would they refuse us? But in that same moment I made a decision that I was going to tell the whole truth and let God open the doors.

As we drove away from the village I was sure we’d never hear from them again. Before we reached the nearest town, they called us and said they had land they wanted to show us.

We saw the land the next day and said we were interested. We were told we had to go another 60km north and talk to the mayor to work out the details. The vehicle we had been given was limping by this point. We left for Cotonou the next morning because we had a plane to catch. In those days, if you missed your flight you could be stuck waiting a week for the next one. I was cleaning out the filter every dozen kilometers and the vehicle was only going 15km/hr down the side of the road. And to Africans, this was no big deal, but I was anxious to catch that flight.

To make a long story short I caught my flight. The lesson from the village was pretty clear to me and has steered my ministry ever since, but what lesson was God trying to teach me with that vehicle breaking down? He was probably trying to teach me patience for the 864th time and I missed it -- again.

Always stand up for the Gospel, tell the truth, and let God open the doors. I’ve found this to be true whether I’m speaking with world leaders or witnessing to a stranger in a taxi.

For more information on TWR Canada, please click HERE to visit the website or contact: Lisa Wilson
Communications Coordinator | TWR Canada
519.672.6510 ex. 3105| mobile 519.614.9326