Savaiou, Ber

April 1994


THIS JUST IN ... URGENT NEWS! At 4:30 p.m., Monday, February 28, in Savaiou, Benin, theAliens* car exploded leaving nothing but a charred frame anda hole
in the road.

No one was injured, and no other property was damped.
A mechanic was working on theJeep - which had not run

for five months ~ and was driving the car into town to pick upa battery he had charged. As he pulled into the road in front ofthe Aliens' house, the car stalled. Instead oftrying
to restart thecar, he instinctively got out to look under the
hood. Ashe rounded the front of the car, there was an

explosion under the hood. Most ofthe village heard it and
ran in with handfiils of sand. The hood could not be

opened because of the heat. After 15 minutes allwas lost.s

The Aliens or even someone else could have very well been
in the car.

Although this turned out to be yet another way for the Aliens to witness to the village in regard to God's peace and protection: the Aliens are now

without transportation! Thankfully, they can presendy p— borrow afriend's car and pay them mileage reimbursement: ^ however, this can be done only for ashort time. B
Theprocess to buy a new vehicle usually takes two and
range from $17,000 to $30,000.


one-half months from the time the money is paid in full
until the car is delivered. The current prices for a family car


TheAliens have decided that aToyota would best meet

their family and ministry needs, atabout the middle-price

amount for a vehicle. Please pray about their choice, vehicle

availability, negotiations, and timing of the delivery.

• We can readyour teammates' house in Savalou

without encountering major problems. • We are diligent in learning Fon and in making
friends in Savalou.

• Wewill be free from sickness and injury.

Thank you for your time, for your continued prayers for God's protecdon and for your support inso many

In the name of ourGod ~ WonderfiiU

La Fac(M lk, /IrLLSTlf
America is... my baby sister's wedding (first time Steveperformed
a wedding.).
La Famille Allen

Please Note:

The postal system in Benin has been on strike so that

• We safely traveled 8,000+ miles on furlough.
• We returned to find our house in perfect order.

are hopeful thrfme strike is being setded and that they
can begin getting letters in the mail.

the Aliens have 6een unable to get any mail out. They

• No one was injured when our car recendy blew up and was destroyed by fire. (Our femily was in another

• We found great encouragement when we visited our teammates in language school in Quebec, Canada.

• We may smoothly move through theprocess for our
long-stay visas. • Steve canlocate and receive quickly the three crates recently shipped from the USA for our team.


Christian Missionary Fellowship
P.O. BOX 501020

(- APR-<'04




^ 0 .2 9 S

Address Correction Requested

Mission Services

Editorial Dept
P 0 Box 2427

Knoxville TN 37901

Steve & Shawn
B.P. 85

Savalou, Benin
West Africa

Steve, Shawn,


June 1994

Buckets, Barrels, and Basins
The King of Savalou and the local government leaders called an emergency meeting of all religious leaders in the Savalou region, which includes villages withina 10-mile radius. One by one theseleaders were asked if they had done anything to anger theirgods. Each in turn responded, "No." Finally, after a period of thoughtful silence, the king spoke. Hismessage was clear and strong. The wells were dry, the cisterns were empty, the reserves were gone, and, at their
best estimate, the water in city tanks could hold only three

drums designed especially to call the rain. All night long,
the members of all the voodoo covens danced and sang in the streets, without clothes on —a ceremony designed to

entreat thespirits tosend rain. All night long, thehandful of Christians prayed for God to have mercy andsend rain. And all night long, the villages watched and waited in
wonder and fear. These ceremonies had not been needed

since the "timeof the grandfathers."

The next morning hungheavy over the village. The rains
had not come, and it was a sunny, cloudless day.We, too,

became very concerned about thesobering consequences of

more days. He paused to let the seriousness of his message sinkin. Then he made a strange request: all those present were to spread the word that everyone should pray to their god(s) —whoever that maybe —and not stop crying out
until rains came and filled the reserves, wells, and cisterns.

no rain and, therefore, began gathering water inall buckets,
barrels, and basins we could find. It was quite a feeble attempt to protect ourselves from the impending drought. This is a truestory. I share it not to drawyour attention to thewater problems here but, rather, to illustrate where our first three months after furlough have brought us.

That night the village was filled with frantic activity. Obviously, the message had indeed gotten around and the events that followed again proved how serious everyone saw
this situation to be.

All night long, the old men and women tapped on little


Our barrels, buckets, and basins.

Procession ofnew voodoo initiatesparadepast our house.

Ourphysical wells have been run dryaswe have made more than 13 trips to Cotonou, each a 500 km. (about 310 miles)

round trip. Wespent over 60 hours in government offices filling out paperwork for the government; worked over 130

hours ofphysical labor in readying our teammates' house
for their arrival; and prepared for the arrival of three
summer interns.

Our emotional cisterns have been emptied. First, we bought a gas fridge that didn't work properly forsixweeks,

continually spoiling all food stored inside ofit. Then, our
car exploded, necessitating a support raising letter and, consequently, a fair dose of humble pie. In the midst of all of this, we have had 27 overnight visitors and a countless number of guests for meals and refreshments.

Ourspiritual reserves have been depleted. The month of
March was the first time initiation into voodoo covens has

Ceremony withfour "revenants "—men possessed bya spiritfro m
the dead.

been openly celebrated since 1967. The days were filled with bizarre processions pastour house of women dressed in

initiation costumes wailing, moaning, and carrying their items for sacrifice. The nights were filled with oerie

drumming and chanting. This lasted for 30days around the

God gave Steve the perseverance and wisdom to fix our fridge that now works without problems! God provided the funds for our car, some encouraging


Also at that time, a close friend

miraculously low price. God provided little opportunities to get away for
a few hours to renew our spirits between times of fellowship with visitors. God more than doubled the number of people studying in the discipleship group in

letters, and an almost new truck to buy at a

of ours -- a strong Christian — was falsely accused of sexual

impropriety. And, finally, throughout these past months we have spent many seemingly
futile hours trying to initiate a


God provided ways for us to talk to and share
Christ's love with peopleduring the height
of the voodoo ceremonies.


workin cooperative effort with
a local Benin church reaching
out to the Fon-Maxi.

God made the truth known to all concerning our

friend, and all accusations ofsexual
misconduct were withdrawn.

Just aswith a water shortage in
our outer lives, in our inner

lives wecan sense physical, emotional, or spiritual shortages and look to temporary false
solutions similar to our buckets, barrels, and basins filled with

Amd, wc are thankful that God is right now

water. But, just as our collected water supply can last us a only few days, so do our human

• God's miracleshavemadeusashamedto even
but we leave them out ~ full of water — as a

working out thedirection of our work here and giving us a peace about it.
look at our buckets, barrels, and basins of water,

constant reminder that we are very much a part
Tlje cross weput upfor Easter in the midst ofthe

attempts at inner peace act only as a cruel placebo. These attempts include more sleep,
more paperwork, more

frenzy of voodoo coven

of those Jesus calls "ye oflittlefaith. "Yet, even so. He graciously continues to overflow our inner wells,
cisterns, and reserves with Peace!

questions like "why," and more
inward focus.

Theresult of rain dances and rusty righteousness? Well.
God sent rain in abundance and everyone seems to have

Im Farrwlk, kUJBH
La Famille Allen

forgotten their time ofneed and panic. Likewise, God's

healing Spirit acted like oil in our souls, and our times of
need now seem like silly inconveniences.

P.S. We were able to finalize the purchase of our land cruiser on June 20. All funds needed to purchase it and pay
custom tax have been received. We are so thankful to God

In addition co words of eiicuui.-.gcincuC from seme friends
and loved ones at home, and new friends and challenges

and to you.

here, God chose to include miracles to provide even further

healing in our lives and work here. Read on and praise God for each miracle He gave us. These are the mighty results of
your prayers.

God provided a way for our teammates to arrive over one
month early.

God made our government physical take one day instead of

God made the process go without a hitch for the granting of
our temporary resident cards and one-year visas.

God got the crates safely out ofport and delivered to Langstraats' house in one week (normally a two- to
four-week process).

God provided a perfect house for our teammates and willing
men to work in it.
Our miracle trttck

Steve and Shawn Allen

U.S. Poitage

Christian Missionary Fellowship
P.O. BOX 501020


Pomit No. 2975

Io<£aiup^i<i Indiana

Address Correction Requested


Editorial Dept
n Box S427

Krt n KV i tie TN


Steve & Shawn
B.P. 85

Savalou, Benin
West Africa \


September 1994

"Is Voodoo for Real?"
(#1 most asked question in letters from thispastquarter)
VOODOO: A religious practice based on WestAfrican spiritual traditions ... marked by... a belief in spirits who
communicate with believers in dreams, trances, and ritual

After a few days, the witchdoctor came back and said that he, too, was absolved from responsibility because he, himself, had made the sacrifice (a bottleof gin). But,he
added, he could not be sure
that the were

since the ftmily,
themselves, had not been

possessions.^ The word (voodoo) can be traced to vodu
("spirit" or "deity") in thelanguage of theFon peoples of

present-day Benin.^
[1.As defined bvAmerican Heritage College Dictionaiv. Third Edition.2. "Voodoo" by KarenMcCarthy Brown. FromThe


wait and watch to see ifthe
] brother will live.

involved in the ceremony. So, everyone continues to

Encyclopedia ofReligion. Mircea Eliade, Editor-in-chief. Vol. 15.pp. 296-301, © 1987byMacMillan Publishing Co.]

Is this just a drunk,
demented old man, or Is

Voodoofor Real?
E^ch day. I encounter

Here, weSTILL remain foreigners. Our skiniswhite, our language is different, and, basically, we are just not "insiders." In our quest for information about and

answers to this much-asked question, wefelt like outsiders more than ever. The samequestion asked five times elicited five conflicting responses; and too many questions made people suspicious and more quiet. Forthis reason,
we havechosen, rather than to simplygive you our

Anatoie, the older man, is a potential church Uader. His mother is in a coven. Gotdfois,
theyounger man, isnot a

hideous, thick, short scars ringing their
have been able to learn that
when a woman enters a

head, shoulders, and neck. I

coven (a secret society), the
members must cut her in

monosyllabic response, to relate several experiences and situations to you. Then we will leave you to decide the answer to this one looming question: "Is Voodoo for

this way so that her spirit cancome and go at will. This is
also done so that other spirits may enter her at anytime.

A friend of mine recently had a baby. About a month after
the birth, I saw the baby with three healing wounds on eachhand and on hoth feet. Plus, tied aj-ound the baby's neckwas a necklace with a leatherpouch sewed to it. Over

Later in life though, when thewoman eventually dies, her spirit then becomes trapped in her dead body. The other spirits in thespirit world must then becalled (through sacrifices) to bringout or liberate the deadspirit. The usual sacriBce includes a chicken, goat, ingams, oil, tomatoes,
and alcohol.

the next weeks, I began to notice that almost all children wore this leather pouch necklace. Later I found out that
there are dried herbs and "special powders" inside the

You decide. Are these justlocal ghoststories, or Is Voodoo for Real? If, at anytime, a member of a coven is offended (someone trips her, steals from her, calls her an idiot), herspirit

pouch. Most adults have the three scars on their hands and

The leather pouch and its secret contents serve to send away thespirits that make teeth appear too early, in the wrong place, or malformed. The scars are to protect the
babyfrom any spirit that has beensent through a spell to bring sickness. So, what do you think? Are thesejust wives' tales and folklore, or /s Voodoofor Real?

One night,Anatole —our friend and fellow Christian — arrived at our house distraught and confused. The head "witch doctor" had just come to his house to inform him that his brotherwas about to 1^1 gravely ill. The spirits had
told the witch doctor this terrible news, but the witch

doctor assurai the fainily that this could be avoided if the

right sacrifices were made. Anatole immediately refused to make anysacrifices and refused all responsibility for anything that might happen.

Pastor'sfamily: Francoisand Franfoise; twin six-year-olds, Christine and Christianne; three-year-old Beronice; twin one-year-olds, Matthew and Phoebe.

if A^•V,^ -


n~^S5K^: --V ' 1:^ --'^ kS^y^'
4»0 ?i:

Family Wiki: brother Maxime; Grandtnama holding one-day oldPhoebe; Papa CiCi; Mama Nona; and son Enoch (on chair),
all are brand new Christians.

Julianandfamily:Julian (son ofvillage chief); wife Clementine;

five-year-old Valencia; andfive-month-old Tanya. They are not
yet Christians.

immediately leaves herand wanders freely in thevillage
doing evil things to everyone. The offended woman is then
banished to live alone on the mountainside until sacrifices

Let me close with one laststory...
A member of the church shared about Christ with a

are made to the other spirits to convince them to bring the 1 he eventual reuniting of body and spirit once again is celebrated in a huge drumming and dancing ceremony. This ceremony usually lasts several days around the clock.
It's up to you. Just another reason for a party, or Is Voodoo
for Real?

wandering spirit back to the banished, offended woman.

middle-aged woman who was very powerful in hercoven. She met in secret several times to learn more about Jesus. Finally, grasping at least a small bit of truth, shedeclared

that all her life had been spent in doing evil and In serving
thewrong master. That very dayshe went home and told

each ofher children that if they followed her example and
entered the coven that she would kill them.

We are sure thatyou probably still have many questions
just as wedo!That's okay. And ifyou write and ask, we'll

No, this is not salvation, nor hassheyet understood the

whole Truth. But it's astart! Satan was exposed toher for
what he is — the Evil Deceiver!

try to answer what we can. But what's more important

than learning about and observing Satan's perverted hold on the minds and souls ofthese people is joining us in
praying for the people pictured on this

And that's why we are here: to make astart in replacing
Satan's lies with the Truth. OnlyGod can do the rest. "Marching on our knees" in Benin,

newsletter and for the whole Savalou region.

The church in Savalou is growing with now
over 50 people present each Sunday. Plus, in a village where wewere asked to comeand teach and help lead in the birth of a new church,


i.Za frmil-c, AU^Ai
La Famille Allen

there is an average of60 adults alone who
attend weekly.

corner ofSatan's kingdom, but, ^1 ofthis is not going unnoticed by Satan either. Pray
especially for the new Christians. Persecution
has begun for them. Their families are

God's light is, indeed, penetrating this dark

Marffurite is a new
Christian under

threatening to turn them outand to take away ail their possessions. Prayer is our only weapon against
these things.

persecution by herfamily.

Steve and Shawn Allen

Christian Missionary Fellowship
P.O. BOX 501020 INDIANAPOLIS. IN 46250-6020

Noopcoflc Orgaoiiaiioo U.S. Poitxge

Pcfinii No. 2975

lodiaaapolit, lodiuii

Address Correction Requested

Mission Services Editorial Dep
P ° KnoxA'ill® 37901