My name is Nyah Gray and I'm 15 years old. I am excited to say, that my parents and I are going to Benin, Africa with some people from our church this summer! Benin is a small key-shaped country in western Africa. The country is predominately Muslim and less than 5% of people claim to be Christian.
We will be going to visit the Foodo people group in the village of Séméré. Most of Séméré claims Islam as its religion or practices Voodo. However, there is one man named Samuel, who is planting a church in the village. He didn’t know his parents growing up. His father died when he was a baby and he was raised by his uncle. Samuel’s uncle and grandma practiced Voodoo. After a while, Samuel decided he didn’t want to follow a god, but tried going to church. Samuel later refused to participate in any Voodo sacrifices or practices and became a Christian. Now he is sharing the Gospel with others in the village of Séméré.
Samuel doesn’t speak English, he only speaks Foodo and French. The Foodo people speak Foodo and most of them also speak some French. However, when teams from the church come to visit the Foodo there is a language gap. So, a man named Mark, who lives nearby, acts as translator for English speakers and Samuel. Mark speaks French and English, but doesn’t speak Foodo, so conversations can lean toward the long side.
There are guidebooks to learning Foodo, but the downside is, they’re all in French. This can make it hard for English speakers wanting to learn Foodo. For school, I have been working on translating this book from French to English. It has been difficult, especially since I don’t know what the Foodo pronunciation sounds like. That’s why I’m going on this trip to Benin. I’m going to attempt to talk to Samuel about the Foodo language and maybe he could help me learn. This would give me some more experience and help me finish translating the guidebook.
When we get to Benin, we’re also going to be taught how to help run an eyeglass clinic! Many of the people in Séméré probably don’t have many opportunities to have their eyes tested for glasses. That’s why we’re collecting new and used reading and prescription eyeglasses. I’m so excited to help with this. If anyone has any glasses they no longer need, it would be much appreciated if they were donated to this cause.
I am very excited to travel to Benin. I will get to see new places, meet new people, and learn new concepts! We’ll get to fly through Morocco, and I’ll get a new visa in my passport! What I’m most excited about, is getting to learn a new language in a new place and helping with an eyeglass clinic. I hope to be able to learn at least some Foodo in the time that we’re there. Maybe I’ll be able to communicate with some of the people there. I also hope to meet local children.
I will need you all to help me though. Please pray that many people come to know Christ through this trip, that Samuel will be encouraged by it, and that we have safe travels. If you could, please support me on this trip, whether it be through prayers or donations. Anything you could give would help!