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Clinics lead 250 to Christ in Benin; missionaries pray for more workers

ADJOHOUN, Benin (BP)–More than 250 people of Benin’s Weme people group accepted Christ when Southern Baptist volunteers conducted eye and dental clinics in eight villages.

Medical outreach plays a key role in the strategy missionaries Bob and Becky Couts are using to share the good news of salvation in Jesus with the Weme.

The clinics provide inroads for the gospel by showing compassion and meeting physical needs in Jesus’ name, said Becky Couts. After being treated, each patient hears a personal witness and has the opportunity to accept Christ.

“This often gives us credibility and receptive hearts in the community,” Couts said.

Jim Butner, an ophthalmologist from Vinita, Okla., and Ken Williams, a dentist in Goodlettsville, Tenn., provided volunteer optical and dental services.

During the eight eye clinics, Butner saw more than 650 patients with eye problems ranging from “over-40” reading difficulty to serious glaucoma. Many received free eyeglasses donated from the United States.

“You should have seen the smiles of joy on the faces of several older men and women who suddenly were able to see again when we placed glasses on them!” Couts said.

The joy of glasses, however, was quickly surpassed by the joy of Christ. More than 175 patients from the eye clinics accepted Christ, most of whom had been voodoo worshipers.

The seven dental clinics saw similar results. Williams treated 247 patients, extracted 420 teeth and watched 113 people accept Jesus as Savior.

Because many patients at both the eye and dental clinics believed in voodoo, their gratefulness and openness to the gospel was an answer to prayer.

“The devil will take any foothold he can get and go from there,” Williams said. “But I’ve seen answer to prayer on these trips, time and time again. I’ve seen things happen that it has to be only the work of God.”

Many of the dental patients were eager to begin Bible studies the following day. Doors have opened to begin Bible storying groups, both with new believers and those expressing interest in following Jesus.

The Coutses are following up on the decisions made during the clinics. “The Lord is working and doors are open,” Becky said. “Please join us in asking the Lord for wisdom and for laborers in the follow-up harvest.”
Bob Couts is a native of Springfield, Tenn., with connections to Ohio and Texas. Becky Couts was born in Altus, Okla., and has connections to North Carolina. They were appointed as missionaries to Benin in 1974 by the International Mission Board, a Southern Baptist Convention agency supported by the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: MINISTRY OF SIGHT and FREE AND CLEAR.
— Prayer requests for the Weme of Benin: http://www.imb.org/CompassionNet/peoplegrps.asp.
— Video: 500 baptized in two years in Benin: http://real.imb.org:8080/ramgen/Media/BeninFL.rm.
— Meet the Mokole of Benin: http://www.wmu.com/wmu/organizations/aom/people/mokole.html.
— Benin map, country information: http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/bn.html.
— Workers needed in West Africa: http://www.imb.org/FPNeeds/LocationSearch.asp.
— Fast Facts about the IMB: http://www.imb.org/Features/fastfactspg.htm.

    About the Author

  • Jill Pittman