After the passing of the African harmattan and increasingly hot sunlight, even more people bustled at the IYF Benin Center. In order to attend the English Camp held from 8am to 5pm, many students gathered to the Center from morning on motorcycles. The 3rd floor grand hall in the IYF Benin Center was filled with English Camp participants and brothers and sisters from Benin and neighboring countries.
After the morning Song & Dance session, the actual programs began.
When the Gracias Choir’s stage began before the Mind Lecture, the participants held up cellphones and tablet PCs to record the Choir’s performance. Being a performance difficult to come across in the country, they listened carefully to each and every note of the Gracias Choir.
The Mind Lecture of Pastor Ock Soo Park followed.
“People easily give in to despair when they encounter a problem but, there is no need to give ourselves to despair because our life is in pain. Jesus leads us to happiness in any sort of despair we are in. As the man with infirmity for 38 years in the book of John chapter 5, we experience wonderful change the moment we accept the Words of Jesus. Jesus cannot help but to help us.”
“I am a sister of Benin Cotonou Church. I had not come to help in Calavi from the beginning of the construction but, I came often to volunteer and now I am working in the kitchen. My husband has not received salvation and he doesn’t like that I come here to volunteer. Also, he does not accept the gospel. Even while seeing this center in Calavi, I didn’t think it would be built so fast… My husband is not a believer but I am very happy to be looking forward to the opening ceremony. I hope that my husband comes and sees this center that is built and receive salvation as he listens to the Words preached by the Pastor here. Also, as the Pastor’s sermon, I also have many difficulties and pain that come into my life but I am thankful before God that my heart does not fall into despair but I am happy with joy and hope within the church.”(Catherine, Benin Cotonou Church Sister)
In the afternoon, the IYF Benin Center became busy. There were brothers finishing up some work before the ribbon-cutting and the English Camp participants were playing the Scavenger Hunt game at the front yard.
At 2pm when the sun is the hottest, the students that were sweating and running about here and there seemed to be delighted.
The 3rd floor grand hall was filled with people. There were no seats that some sat on the stairs or were standing. The brothers and sisters from neighboring countries had come to see the Benin Center and be part of the joy. There were great cheers from the audience at the Gracias Choir’s performance.
In this evening, Pastor Ock Soo Park spoke about how he discovered his wickedness before receiving salvation. People do not know what their heart is like but God leads them to see how evil they are so that they can accept Jesus. He said that pain, despair, or even the death of a loved one can make us fall into difficulty but God works in each and every one of us so that we can gain the joy of salvation.
After the evening bible seminar, there was a gospel class prepared for the people who had not received salvation. There were also brothers and sisters having fellowship here and there.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Benin, the gospel is being preached strongly at the IYF Benin Center. There were many problems that seemed impossible to solve before the ceremony but instead of giving our hearts into despair, we are spending each day and moment with thankfulness and happiness within the joy and hope given by God.