Ed Jones: Reflecting on the BTC's Beginning - Part 1

August 2021

Recently Ed Jones, a long-time elder in the church and one of the initial founders of the BTC in Benin, Africa, talked about his experiences when the BTC first began. The quotes below present a summary of many wonderful stories about experiences that shaped and influenced the BTC’s early development.

I was born in Benton, Kentucky, in 1938 and baptized in the Benton Church of Christ in 1951. I married Judith McClard in 1958, and we have three children, Melissa, Jeffrey and Jason. They are all active in the Benton Church, and the two boys are deacons. I served as an elder there from 1988 until I retired in 2011.

Benton, always having been a mission minded church, began supporting George Akpabli, a native of Ghana, in 1992 to help strengthen our mission in Mauritius. Unable to stay there, he chose to locate in Benin, a French speaking country in West Africa near his home country. There were no known churches of Christ in Benin at that time. Bill Morgan and I went to Benin in 1994, hoping to encourage George and help him grow the small church that he had established in his rented house.

George was very happy with the small church that he had planted there, and he unveiled a much larger vision. He said there were no preacher training schools teaching in the French language, and he hoped that we could help him with a plan to begin one. We came home and discussed this with our congregation. As a result, with the support of many congregations and individuals, the Benin Bible Training center began with 18 students in a small, rented facility.

In 2007, we recruited members from involved churches and formed a board to oversee the work. We gave it the name French African Christian Education or as it is also known—F.A.C.E. This has been the most rewarding experience of my life’s experiences. I have heard similar remarks from those who have accompanied me there and churches that participate as F.A.C.E. partners.