November 10, 2013 Alexander Swensen

November 10 Update (And a lesson In Culture)

Hey there once again everyone. Just a few days left here in Natitingou before I head over to the Dendi project in Kandi. We have been moving along schedule this whole time I have been at the Otammari project, and we are super excited to see how God uses these films to bring in support and make a difference in these peoples lives.

I would like to spend some time talking about the extreme differences to what you are used to in life and what these people are used to. For example, knowledge is something we take for granted. If we want to know something, most of us can look it up on Google imidiately on our smart phones, or at least on a computer. We are used to speedy internet and instant access to information. That is not the case here. In fact, knowledge about how different things work is considered “special knowledge” or “mystical knowledge” that only a select few have access to, and they guard it out of fear for their business if people knew it. Most people consider items to be of a spiritual nature. A camera, a car, a computer, they don’t know how they work so it must be spiritual. These are some of the concepts that are prominent in the culture here. Its so backwards from what we perceive the world as, but it makes just as much sense to them as atoms and molecules make sense to us. We understand that an item needs to be taken care of in order to keep functioning, but these people see things as spiritual, so of course if it wants to survive it will take care of itself. Its such a complete reversal of the worldview.

Furthermore, its not as if these people don’t have access to the internet. They do have access. Its worse than dialup and only works half the time, but I have been able to utilize it fairly well. Those who can afford it can get broadband which isn’t our broadband, but it is considerably better. These people do have access to the knowledge of the world but do not know how to utilize it effectively. They mainly fall into the traps of pornography. While internet access is directly correlated to more developed countries, it is not the main reason for that successful development. There are underlying issues in the culture and society that prevent them from using it to it’s greatest potential.

I could go on and on but to fully grasp the complete contrast you would have to come to Benin and see for yourself. This is why this project is so important and your support for this film and the AFM missionaries here is needed. I have seen a remarkable difference from the typical person you see on the street and one who believes in the Bibles message, it is truly making a difference.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into the culture here.

I look forward to the next half of my time in Kandi with my good friend Quentin. I will be heading that direction on the 13th.

Please continue praying for these projects. This film won’t come together without God’s help, and your support makes a big difference.

Until next time!

From Benin, Africa.

– Alexander Swensen

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