‘When I was growing up, almost everyone was a Voodoo-Animist. I was so scared’

Houemontode’s story | Worshipping other gods

“When you Google ‘Benin’, the first thing you see is ‘Voodoo.’ It’s our traditional religion and our culture. It rules everything.”

“When I was growing up, almost everyone was a Voodoo-Animist. But I was so scared of the Voodoo. They would make a whirling sound through the air. You could hear it from 10 kilometres away! And my dad was a ship’s captain, so he was away at sea a lot, but he was always practicing Voodoo. He’d make our own Voodoos, with the priest, mostly to protect us – out of grass and soil and blood and body parts. They were everywhere in our house.

“But then, in 1988, my dad’s ship was stolen. It vanished overnight, and nobody knew where it went. My dad took the blame, and he lost his job… and his income. It was very hard. He began to drink more. But then one day, his cousin took him to church and everything changed. He liked the people, and they welcomed him.

“There was a sermon on Ecclesiastes. Everything was meaningless, the preacher said, without God. My dad thought it was amazing. Afterwards, he talked to the preacher for two hours, and by the end, my dad decided to follow Jesus. That was the end of the Voodoos in our family!

“One day we went to church and they burned all the Voodoos. I was scared at first. I knew what could happen, but my dad was crying with joy and I’d never seen him like that before!

“Later, I believed in Jesus myself, and I realised it’s true what it says in 1 John 4:4.“The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

“Jesus is greater than any power! So the Voodoo spirits could come to our house, because they liked to provoke the Christians, but they didn’t have any power over us any more …”

Houemontode story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse 1 John 4:4

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