Inside Story: The Ghost Dancer, part 2
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Shortly after my baptism, my father called me to dance in a big ghost festival in our home village. I was shaking as I told my father, “No, I don’t dance anymore.” Father urged me to dance, but I took a deep breath and told him, “I have found a power that is stronger than witchcraft.” I knew that my words were a challenge to my father and the ghost dancers. I prayed that my God would protect me from whatever evil would befall me.

When I didn’t show up for the ghost dancers’ practice session in the bush, some dancers came to remind me it was time to dance. I told them I wasn’t going to dance. They argued and tried to convince me to go with them, but I refused. Then these dancers grabbed me and forced me to go with them.

We arrived at the place where the ghost dancers were preparing for the dance. I told them again that I wasn’t going to dance. Someone forced me to drink something, and I lost consciousness. They tried to wake me, but I didn’t wake up until the next day, the day of the ceremony. The ghost dancers tried to get me to dance, but I couldn’t even stand up. Finally my father came and told them to leave me alone. I slept through the entire ghost ceremony.

After the ceremonies ended, my father took me aside and reminded me of vows I had taken to not tell anyone what we did in our dancing. Then a friend told me that I must leave the village or face death. I left my village and haven’t returned.

I was 18 years old. I had no job and no money. I’d had just three years of education and wasn’t sure what I could do. I prayed, and God hasn’t abandoned me. I am learning a trade now so that I can support myself.

It’s not safe for me to go to my father’s village, for I know that there are people there who would try to kill me. I’m not afraid of them, for I believe that Jesus is stronger than voodoo gods. But until God sends me back to my parents’ village, I feel it’s wise to stay away.

I found Christ when a pastor shared God’s love with me. Your mission offering helps spread the good news that Jesus is the only true God. Millions in Benin and around the world are waiting to hear. Thank you for giving them a chance.

Daniel lives in southern Benin.

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