Monday, April 11, 2011

Update from the Benson's C.A.R. Trip

Where do we begin in recounting our trip to Bangui, CAR? Although there are many things we might recount, truly the most important was that Bangui felt like ‘home’ from the moment our feet stepped on the soil!!! We couldn't help but laugh; after returning to Togo.....One of our friends, having viewed our pictures, said, "This place even looks like y'all..." God doesn't make mistakes when He calls!

We found the CAR to possess an incredible natural beauty. We stayed in Bangui, the capital city. Our guest-house was a block away from the Oubangui River. The river runs through a small mountainous area. So, we had a beautiful river view and small mountains surrounding us. As it is very tropical being so near the equator, everything was a lovely shade of green, even in the dry season. Standing on the banks of the river, we could look across and see the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). If you would like to see this, please view our pictures: (I have shown some pictures here.)

Our visit coincided with the soon approaching rainy season. The temperature was around 95 F for most of our time there. Yes, it was hot and the humidity was high! The electricity was off most of the day, and we only had a fan at night. We decided that, when we do move to Bangui, a good generator is a must! In the end, we concluded that the trip was worth every drop of sweat! :)

Lunch with Bro. and Sis. Adams

For the most part, the people in town are kind, but distant. No doubt, this is from years of difficulties in their land. We were not discouraged by this, as we know that the ‘Love of Jesus’ can tear down walls of fear, uncertainty and insecurity in an instant! We (Bro. Adams) did encounter pick-pockets on two different occasions. We learned quickly not to walk down the street with anything in our hands or a backpack on our backs. One young taxi driver was so beside himself with Hannah sitting in his back seat that he could not stop turning backwards to look at her. As a result, he rear-ended another taxi at a traffic stop. Here in Togo that would have meant a major scene! Not so in Bangui! No one got out of their cars; no one even acted as if they noticed the big pop! Later that day, we were walking on the street and this same taxi driver passed. We fell over laughing as he was hanging out his window waving at Hannah! There are so many funny stories I could recount like these. Every day was an adventure in travel!

Onto the calling and burden that the Lord has given us:

The hunger in the Central Africans for understanding the Word of God was incredible! They absorbed each day of teaching with great anticipation, begging for more! Bro. and Sis. Adams have established a very strong foundation and working relationship with the pastors and churches in the CAR. Many of these pastors are independent. There were approximately 15 pastors attending the Bible School Training each night. Truly, the field is wide-open!

Besides the Doctrinal and Bible School Subjects being taught, we had two evangelistic services. No one received the Holy Ghost in these two services, although great strides were made in helping the Central Africans release themselves in prayer. Considering the strong Roman Catholic influence on the churches, this was a true break-through! We are so very thankful to the Lord for His power to overcome tradition!

Front of Bro. Feindiro's Church

Early Sunday Morning, we were blessed to attend and participate in the baptism of 8 news souls for the Kingdom of God! Again, you can see pictures of my husband and Pastor Gabriel baptizing in the Oubangui River on our blog, listed above. On our last morning there, Bro. Adams taught on New Birth Experience in one of the independent churches. Following his teaching, there were two more members who came forth desiring to be baptized by emersion in the Name of Jesus! We simply cannot convey to you the desire of the people to understand the Word of God and how it applies to their lives.

The Louisiana District recently donated funds for the churches in the CAR. Because of their generous giving, we were able to help our three established churches put cement on their floors and walls (the walls are red, clay brick) and also paint. This was an incredible encouragement and blessing to our UPCI works there!!! Thank you, Louisiana District UPCI, Bro. Cox, Bro. Harper, Bro. Day, and everyone who sacrificed in the giving of these funds. You have reached and touched the lives of many!!!

As much as we would like to make a move into the CAR this term, we realize it is not financially possible. Therefore, we trust the Lord that we will be able to make at least two more trips before we return home for deputation at the end of 2012. We plan to teach Bible School Courses and also hold Evangelistic Services during these trips.

Please, continue to pray for the work in the Central African Republic. The Lord is moving mightily in Centrafrique (French for Central African Republic)! Thank you for helping us to go and work with the Central Africans. Every step we take, you are beside us!!!

Love and Blessings,
The Michael Benson Family
Mike, Danan, Hannah, Thad and Micah

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