Meet Tabitha – a student living for Jesus in Benin
Find out what it’s like to be a student in Francophone Africa
University life looks very different for IFES students around the world. We asked Tabitha, a student in Benin, to tell us about her university experience. Read on to find out about her daily routine, the challenges facing her fellowship group and how God has been answering prayer.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Tabitha. The Lord has given me the grace of having blown out twenty-one candles. I am the youngest of seven, with five sisters and one brother. My parents are traders. Most people in Benin are Muslims, but in my family we are all followers of Jesus.
What does an average day look like for you?
My days usually begin around 6:30 with morning prayer and meditation. (Sometimes my morning devotion is sloppy because of the intensity of university study and fatigue from the day before, but then I spend time with God later.)
I live 20 minutes’ walk away from campus. It’s a hot walk at the moment, with temperatures over 40°!
I am near the end of university. I’ve been studying applied statistics. There are about 20 students in my class. We have classes 8am-6pm, Monday to Saturday. We get two hours off in the middle of the day to eat lunch (akassa or rice, with peanut or tomato sauce, and cheese or fish) and take a nap. In the evenings I like to listen to gospel music, cook dinner (my favourite meal is fried yams), look over my courses for the following day and chat with my friends.
Share something you’ve learned recently in the Bible.
Recently I read Mark 13:27-37 and it touched me a lot.
“Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” v.33
This verse attracted my attention. I must watch and pray. Watching means not being distracted, but keeping my eyes fixed on the kingdom of heaven and examining everything in the light of God’s Word. I asked God to help me be attentive to everything that happens around me and not be distracted by the things that take me away from my ultimate goal. I prayed that He’d help me hold on to His Word and pray at all times.
How did you become a Christian?
Growing up, I certainly knew the person of Jesus and what He did on the cross for me, but I had not yet let Him control my life. As a teenager, everything began to change. Jesus gave me a new heart and transformed me completely. I gave up stealing, I stopped rebelling against my parents, I quit lying and gossiping. From then on, I began to seek to understand the Bible and to pray.
Tell us about your GBU fellowship.
We meet on Fridays after class. We go there to grow in our relationship with God and to share Christ with our friends.
A current threat is that the government plans to ban religious activities on campus. Usually we meet outside, but even then, there are days when we are threatened. I am not afraid since our God is the God of impossible cases. We have already begun to pray about the government’s plans and know that God will act.
What kinds of things do you worry about?
I worry sometimes about leaving university and entering the workplace. I also feel worried when my classes become too dense and I have a lot to do. But I know that the Lord has given me the ability to do everything I need to do in the time allotted.
How have you seen God answer prayer?
Last year we had a mission week at my university and had many difficulties trying to hold activities. Our appeals were rejected. But we prayed. Had it not been for God’s hand we would not have been able to do anything. His miraculous intervention during this week of student evangelism gave me even more faith in his ability to do all things at the right time.
If you’d like to pray for students around the world like Tabitha, sign up for IFES weekly Prayerline emails to read the latest stories and prayer points.