Nounagnon Eugène Adjaï was born in 1930 in Houinta, a small village on the edge of the Porto-Novo lagoon, the political capital of Dahomey, currently the Republic of Benin. His father was called Adjati Adjaï and his mother Aléka Tchoki. His father was polygamous with many children and the whole family was idolatrous, practicing the Voodoo religion.
As soon as Nounagnon was born, his father fell seriously ill. The oracles (Fâ) were consulted for this purpose and the diviner said: “This child who has just been born is a king. This king cannot have a father, so either the child must die, or the father must die.” The choice was easy to make. The child had to die. But not being able to carry out the sentence directly, the father was advised to move away from the child because they could not live together. A makeshift shelter was built in the bush not far from the village for the mother and baby to spend a three-month observation period. It was thought that the child would certainly die. But God was protecting the child. He had his hand on him and saved his life.
Because of the particular circumstances of birth and the strange identity of the child, no traditional or customary family ceremony of child release or dedication to the gods and altars of the family has been made to the child. This is why he was spared the scar mark on his face that characterized their ethnicity. God had consecrated and set him apart for a great work in the future.
A few days after the mother and child were isolated, the father was miraculously healed and recovered. It was then that the child was brought back to the family and recognized and cared for by the father. And he was given the name Nounagnon which means in the Goun language “things will be fine” or “everything will be fine in the future”.
Education and professional life
At the age of about seven, Nounagnon was enrolled in school by his father along with some of his brothers. But after ten days or two weeks of class, he refused to continue his primary studies. He thus dropped out of school – a decision he later regretted bitterly – and followed his father to become a fisherman because the family lived off fishing among other things.
In 1939, Nounagnon was apprenticed as a mason in Porto-Novo and finished this training in 1949. But just after his release, he decided not to practice the profession of mason on the pretext that they were too exposed to the sun and to danger. and that it was a very messy job. He then resumed his life as a fisherman, which he had not completely abandoned when he was training in masonry. God knew he would one day become a “fisher of men.” In 1950, he decided to learn sewing to become a designer and there again he was diligent and finished his training in Porto-Novo in 1957. He practiced this profession for a long time with professionalism and competence but finally, he returned to the course of his pastoral ministry, to Masonry, which was his chief livelihood into his old age.
While Nounagnon was training in sewing, he became a devout Catholic. After catechism, he was baptized and given the name Eugene. He received communion and confirmation, and was very involved in church activities, especially among the youth. His ambition was to become a Catholic priest, but alas, he had not studied to an acceptable level.
During this time, Nounagnon spent his youth well. He was a leader among the youth of the church and the city of Porto-Novo. He was a game master, a mobilizer, an influencer, and, above all, a trustworthy person.
He lived his youth with the realities of his time. In Dahomey, in the 1950s, it was time to assert oneself. And for that, Nounagnon liked to dress up a lot and was always elegant. He was a tailor and dressed most of the young people in the city, which also made him popular. He had the particularity of ordering most of the fabrics he used in Europe through the post office. He was very good at French dress and was known for his suits, shirts, and pants.
Nounagnon also liked to sing and dance. In collaboration with three other young people, he initiated a group of traditional music “Adjogan” which was a rhythm played at the royal palace of Porto-Novo to animate the masses at the parish of Notre Dame of the Catholic church of Porto-Novo. He was also the organizer of parties, especially with young people. It was during one of his public performances that he exclaimed in the Goun language “yen hinhon lô die,” which means “here I am, I am the light.”
This is how the nickname “Hinhon”, which means light, was given to him until his death. Everywhere in the city, only Hinhon was talked about. This name had made him very popular and famous. There was no successful party in Porto-Novo without Hinhon. At that time, given his great influence, he also had to protect himself. Thus, despite his Catholic faith, Nounagnon embarked on the race for charms, fetishes, and amulets.
Nounagnon the leader, had an easy contact with people because of his humility. He was trusted, even by the elders, mostly because of his loyalty. At that time, when one organized dance evenings or parties, it was necessary to have the young girls of the town there to enhance the moment. It was Nounagnon who was chosen to ask permission for almost all the girls from their parents with the promise of bringing them back safe and sound. He was widely trusted, and he always honored his promise. In this environment where Nounagnon was surrounded by young girls because of his celebrity, he did not behave like the others. He did not smoke, drink or indulge in sexual pleasures. He distrusted the women for whom he was responsible, and was content to simply banter.
Indeed, even without having truly met Jesus Christ, the light of the world, “Hinhon” was the light that enlightened those around him. All this was by design, because a few years later he would become the light of the world according to God, and – even better – the salt of the earth.
Nounagnon had around him many young girls from among whom he could choose a wife. Yet, although everything seemed to be going well for him as a young man, he behaved as if he was not planning to get married yet. He only maintained a brotherly relationship with all these young girls who wanted to be his wife.
One day in 1958, he met a beautiful young girl in a cramped hallway in the city of Porto-Novo. The girl, who was called Houinsi Aimée Ahouansou, knew Hinhon well because of her popularity, but Nounagnon didn’t really know her. When they met, as usual, Nounagnon stopped the young girl and joked: “Who is this beautiful creature from? You’re too beautiful, especially with the marks on your face. I will definitely marry you!”
After that, he continued on his way and even forgot this meeting, but Aimée took the thing very seriously. For her, it was not a joke, but a marriage proposal. So, when she arrived home, she told her mother that she had met a young man who had proposed to her. His mother asked who this young man was, and she answered “Hinhon.”
At this time, Nounagnon was living with one of her aunts in Porto-Novo. And that same day, Aimée’s mother went to see the aunt to tell her: “Your son has asked for my daughter in marriage”. Shortly after, Nounagnon came home and his aunt said to him: “You are used to having fun with young girls but this time you are going to marry her”. Nounagnon asked her aunt what she was talking about and she told her the story. But Nounagnon exclaimed: “I was just joking with her!””
This is how, according to providence, a relationship began between Nounagnon and Aimée Ahouansou which resulted in their marriage in 1960, a few months before the independence of Dahomey. In 1961 their first daughter was born, named Annick. But when Annick was about three months old, Nounagnon temporarily left his young wife and daughter for a stay in Niamey, the popular capital of the Republic of Niger.
Stay in Niamey
Shortly after the birth of their daughter, the economic situation of the newly independent country became unstable. Nounagnon began to have some difficulties in his profession as a designer. He no longer had enough customers and the few he had kept no longer had enough resources for clothing. It was then that one of his uncles who worked in Niamey suggested that he come and try his luck in Niger, where the socio-economic conditions were favorable for his profession. This is how Nounagnon decided to go to Niger in 1961. As soon as he arrived, he had enough customers who paid him well for his work, and Nounagnon saved a lot of money.
But after only three months, an event startled him severely. He saw in a dream that someone had died in his family. Indeed, the next day a telegram came from Dahomey informing him that one of his older brothers had died. Nounagnon wanted to return home immediately, but as his uncle dissuaded him, he finally stayed.
About six months after this event, Nounagnon had another dream in which he saw that his big sister Djomou was sick. And indeed, a few days later, a telegram reached him informing him that his big sister was seriously ill and hospitalized in Porto-Novo.
So Nounagnon decided to return home and take care of his big sister to whom he was very attached. This time his uncle couldn’t stop him. He did return home and took care of his older sister, who recovered a few weeks later. After his big sister recovered, Nounagnon decided not to go back to Niger, and instead to stay with his wife and daughter.
After his return from Niger, Nounagnon began to suffer many spiritual attacks. He fell ill frequently and his wife experienced two successive miscarriages.
Accustomed to seeking protection and help from witch doctors, Nounagnon multiplied his efforts. Now he consulted the greatest fetishists in the Porto-Novo region and he had plenty of fetishes and charms at home. (At that time, Nounagnon was already living in his own house in the foun-foun Sodji neighborhood in Porto-Novo.) Yet the problems continued.
Being convinced that his problems came from wizards’ attacks, he decided to become one of them to better lead the fight. He went to consult a great sorcerer to be initiated into witchcraft. Several rituals and sacrifices were made for this purpose and an altar of sorcery was established in his courtyard. Normally after all these rituals, Nounagnon had to start leaving his body at night to go to a meeting at the convent of witchcraft. But for several days he could not make this spiritual journey. The convent sorcerers would ask him why he didn’t come to the meeting and he would reply, “I don’t know. When I go to bed at night, I only sleep until dawn.” We see the providential hand of God who protected his servant so that his spirit and his soul would not be corrupted by the forces of darkness.
During these events, one night Nounagnon had a dream in which he saw that a man dressed in white had come to take one of his powerful fetishes which he had put in his wardrobe. In the morning when he woke up he found that the fetish was eaten away by worms and termites, which was normally impossible. Since it was not yet completely daylight, he decided to go and throw the fetish on a pile of garbage not far from the house. But when he got there, he was surprised to see an old woman sitting on the pile of garbage. Bravely, he threw the fetish in front of the woman and turned around. It was then that Nounagnon began to doubt the power of these fetishes he was accumulating. In all these things Nounagnon was always a devout Catholic. And he wondered why God couldn’t deliver him from all his troubles.
In the midst of this confusion, a friend advised him to turn away from fetishes, to surrender only to God and to ask Him for all the desires of his heart. Thus, one day, Nounagnon collected all the fetishes he had amassed, while also digging up everything he had buried in his house, and burned them. Then he began to pray and seek God. He decided to read the Bible for himself. But since he had never really learned to read and write, how did he get there? In faith, he bought three Bibles despite his illiteracy: a French version (Louis Segond), a Gun version, and a Yoruba version. Without formal education and without any outside help, by the power of God, he began to read and understand the Bible in these three languages. Reading the Bible then became his first passion. He no longer went out, he devoured the pages of the Bible every day because he discovered there the solution to his problems. He began to know God and the order of this world better. This is how Nounagnon’s conversion began. He repented of his sins and decided to dedicate his life entirely to God. It can be said that this is when he experienced the new birth because no one had preached the gospel to him afterward for his conversion to Christ.
Nounagnon persevered in his passionate search for God, but one day a friend discouraged him by telling him that there was no advantage in embarking on this enterprise, and that one ran the risk of going mad by pursuing it so intently. So he gave up reading the Bible, but he had no peace of mind.
Call to mission
While Nounagnon had a doubt in his heart concerning his passion for the Bible and its usefulness, one night in 1963, he had a supernatural experience. While he slept, he was struck in his rib by the angel of the Lord who said to him, “Arise! Why did you abandon me? Don’t you know that I want to use you? Behold, from today on, no power of darkness will overcome you and turn you away from the mission that I want to entrust to you.”
In fear, he got up, went to get his Bibles and started reading again. After a while, when his faith in God had been strengthened by studying the word of God, he began to evangelize and to speak of the love of God. He opposed the false practices of other religions, in particular Voodoo. Because of this, his persecutions then began. At that time, he made a promise to God, saying “If you give me children and they do not die, I will serve you with them”.
In 1965 he had a second child, his first son Hugues. This strengthened his faith and he was filled with complete assurance, convinced of God’s love for him and of his power which surpasses all other powers on this earth. He then took a stand for the Lord by defending his cause. He confused the Voodoo priests but also the practices of the Catholic Church. Under his leadership, a crisis broke out between the young people and the leaders of the Catholic parish of Notre Dame de Porto-Novo because of three important issues:
Is Catholic baptism by sprinkling biblical? Can it grant salvation that leads to heaven?
Is it right that Catholics continue to organize funeral ceremonies like the practitioners of African Indigenous Religions when they have a death in their families?
Is it right to continue to do birth rites or baby dedication ceremonies according to our family traditions when the person calls him or herself a Christian?
These three questions led to trouble between the young people mobilized behind Nounagnon and the parish committee. At one point, the pastoral committee asked the young people to leave the church and find another church that did not practice these things. The young people were then lost, not knowing where to go because they did not see any church at the time that was truly biblical. But Nounagnon was determined not to give up his fight.
During this crisis, the wife of one of the young people (Menou David) gave birth. The elders asked the young people if they were going to perform the sacrifices and the dedication rituals for the child. Nounagnon challenged them saying they wouldn’t. Turning to the father of the child, he said to him: “David, if your child dies, I will give you another one”. And everyone is silent. Indeed they did not perform the rituals and the child did not die.
Member of the JJC Evangelical Church
In all of these things, Nounagnon wondered where he was going to find a biblical church that preached the truth. He couldn’t find anyone who shared his ideas and new beliefs. Things went on like this until 1966. At that time, a friend of Nounagnon, Agossou Ernest, introduced him to a man, Houngbème Samuel, who frequented a group of Christians in Mèdédjonou, a village in the commune of Adjarra located in about 20 km from Porto-Novo. Samuel announced a message that corresponded to what Nounagnon was looking for. The church he attended was called the JJC Church of God.
The JJC Evangelical Church is an independent African church. It was founded by the apostle Josias Nounagnon Kolawolé Hounsa. The father of the apostle Josiah was a Beninese who had exiled himself because of the wars of the commune of Abomey Calavi and who went to settle in Yanlinto, a village of Ipokia, Ogun State in Nigeria. Although he was an animist and a follower of Voodoo, his son Josiah met Jesus in the Methodist church and became a committed Christian. Subsequently, he separated from the Methodist Church for doctrinal reasons. Josiah first received a call from God for an itinerant evangelist ministry and then had a vision to establish a missionary church in 1948 in Yanlinto. The name of the church he founded was originally Jehovah’s Church through Jesus Christ (JJC). Then the name evolved to become Church of God Jehovah by Jesus Christ and finally became currently in Benin JJC Evangelical Church. After having established local churches in localities like Katé, Monunto, Tchibadan and Iwaya in Nigeria, the JJC church entered Benin with the installation of three local churches in Avagbodji, Aguégué Houédomè in the commune of Aguégués, and Mèdédjonou in the commune of Adjarra towards the Nigerian border. And it is this last JJC church that Nounagnon began to attend when coming from Porto-Novo.
Shortly after Mr. Samuel Houngbeme told him about the JJC church in Mèdédjonou, Nounagnon was desperately looking for a way to get there and visit it. He had a friend Ahlonsou Bernard, whose mother was from Mèdédjonou. It was he who brought Nounagnon to Mèdédjonou, one Sunday in 1966. That day, it was a service of thanksgiving and the preacher of the day was Pastor Daniel Gnonhoussou. Nounagnon’s heart was filled with joy and he was also surprised to come and find the word of God in a bush.
On the return trip Nounagnon excitedly commented on all he had seen and heard. So Bernard said to him: “Listen Nounagnon, we don’t have to come to Mèdédjonou to worship God.” Nounagnon replied: “You have already brought me, the rest is no longer your affair.” That same day at home, God spoke to him in these words: “I ask you to stay with these people of the JJC church and if there is anything left I will tell you afterwards.”
The following Sunday, Nounagnon returned alone to Mèdédjonou with his Peugeot moped which he had brought back from Niger. He continued to frequent Mèdédjonou for a good while and was baptized by immersion. In 1967 a Bible study group of the church was installed in Porto-Novo in the Déguèkomè district with some pioneer members of the church of Porto-Novo: Adjaï Eugène, Ahlonsou Bernard, Chinan Martin, Djossou Emmanuel, Houngbeme Samuel, Mènou Gabriel and his wife Julienne, Gandonou Jules and Gandonou Isaac. Then a few months later, the Bible study group was brought back to Nounagnon’s house because of the opposition.
Beginning of the persecutions
Following the meeting of these Christians from Mèdédjonou, Nounagnon rooted himself more and more in the word of God with very strong convictions. But at the same time, he was caught up in some very serious spiritual battles. He suffered spiritual attacks in his family and also persecutions from outside, especially from the elders of the Catholic Church and the Voodoo priests.
During this time, Nounagnon began to have diarrhea with abdominal pain. It lasted all night but stopped every morning. He suffered like this until one night when someone chased him in his dream. Nounagnon fled to enter a church and the man followed him into the church. But in the church, Nounagnon saw a white man standing with a gun in hand who shot and killed his enemy. Three days after this dream, Nounagnon’s number one enemy voluntarily drowned in the Porto-Novo lagoon and died. This is where the abdominal pain and diarrhea stopped.
Meanwhile, his wife gave birth to another daughter named Alphonsine. And this is where the situation got even more difficult. The last two children fell ill regularly with repeated seizures. It was at this time that his wife Aimée began to follow her husband to go to Mèdédjonou.
Shortly after, in 1969, the JJC church fully settled in Porto-Novo on a plot in front of Nounagnon’s house until 1974. Thereafter the church was transferred to his house with Sunday services.
Consecration to the Pastorate
Nounagnon was the natural leader of the church. He was not yet ordained a pastor, but everyone saw in him the shepherd who should be followed. He had become a hard-hitting evangelist in Porto-Novo. He organized with his team public evangelization outings, particularly in the outdoor courtyards of Voodoo convents.
He vehemently attacked the Voodoo cult and witchcraft in his messages. The world of darkness was unleashed against these “crazy” young people to eliminate them spiritually and physically, but in accordance with the promise, the forces of darkness were defeated and the work continued to spread.
Nounagnon also went to other towns and villages with the aim of establishing local churches in various regions of the south of the country. He continued in this apostolic work until he was officially consecrated pastor on February 15, 1986 by the apostle Josias Nounagnon Kolawolé Hounsa with a college of elders. This marked a turning point in his ministry. Not only did he continue to expand the work, but he also fought to establish a real doctrinal foundation for the church.
Nounagnon the reformer
The JJC Church was an independent African church founded by an African with no formal education, no biblical training and no support from any foreign missionary society. To this effect, although its members claimed to be evangelical, the church had no clear doctrinal basis or biblically established theology on the new covenant in Jesus Christ. Rather, the church was established on a few Old Testament laws and African religious traditions. Grace was preached just to demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God over that of darkness, but on the level of ethics, morals and spirituality, there were many things that were not at all biblical.
In the late 1970s, when Nounagnon was well educated in the word, he began to speak out against these unbiblical practices within the church. This caused much discord and misunderstanding between the church leaders and him. Because of the reforms he wanted to introduce, he was persecuted within the church until his death. But a few years after his death, we can say that his fight paid off because many anti-biblical practices disappeared from the church.
According to Nounagnon, there were many unbiblical practices in the church. For example:
- Children were baptized.
- Polygamy was permitted for those who were not preachers or pastors in the church.
- The consumption of alcohol and strong liquors was permitted even among officials.
- The blood of animals was eaten.
- An animal sacrifice was made as soon as a member of the church died and funeral ceremonies were also organized as among the non-Christians.
- The law of defilement was applied to women. According to this law, if a woman is menstruating, she must not go to church, she must no longer have contact with her husband, nor lie on the same bed with her husband. She must not use the same utensils as her husband. If she has to give something to her husband, she puts it down and the husband picks it up. She is isolated in a separate room, she no longer prepares for her husband until her period ends.
- If a woman gave birth to a baby, the husband was not allowed to take the child or touch it until the child’s dedication ceremony was done in the church about three months after birth.
- If a child was born, the parents had to wait until the eighth day before giving it a name.
- The law of purification was applied, for example by using hyssop crushed in water to purify houses. In order not to defile themselves through contact with others, the members of the church had palm branches on them at all times to purify themselves as they went along. They also used a preparation made from python fat combined with the feathers of an owl that they burned in houses to ward off evil spirits and to combat witchcraft.
- Wearing a tunic was compulsory for preachers before preaching.
- To consecrate pastors, the wearing of a hat used in Voodoo convents was required.
- In addition to all these things, there was a blind eye to sexual immorality in the church.
Nounagnon told church members that these practices were unbiblical and especially inconsistent with the message of grace in the new covenant. And this led to a lot of arguments, especially because of the authoritarian way in which Nounagnon spoke to them. Gradually they began to understand and leave certain practices, but they still kept others. Yet Nounagnon systematically banished these practices from the local churches under his jurisdiction and did not introduce them at all into the churches he established. In the end, his struggles paid off, even though it earned him enemies within the church until his death.
After 40 years of ministry, Nounagnon left behind him dozens of established local churches, several pastors, evangelists and ministers of all kinds whom he consecrated, thousands of faithful and above all a reformed church which constitutes the seal of his apostolate. Through Nounagnon, God brought significant reforms to this syncretic denominational system.
His life of consecration
As soon as Nounagnon accepted the call to ministry, he devoted himself totally to God and lived only for the one who had loved him so much and who had given up his life for him. He had no excuse not to serve God, even if it meant taking great risks. He had absolute confidence in God and was animated by a courage that impressed those around him. He sacrificed virtually all of his possessions to serve the Lord and did not run after the material possessions of this world.
He had a disciplined life in reading and studying the word of God to the point where he became almost a walking Bible. Having memorized several biblical passages, he could preach for a long time without any notes while being precise in the biblical texts quoted. His astonishing memory fascinated more than one. He was the Bible on the go.
Nounagnon was also very fond of fasting and praying. He believed that the power to exercise his ministry lay in prayer and fasting which he practiced regularly.
At one point, he found that he lacked power in his ministry, especially to solve the problems that people came to him and also to move some mountains in order to progress in the ministry. He prayed about it and the Holy Spirit told him to fast for seven days and he would have what he wanted. He then began the fast and on the fifth day he went to a house he was building for a friend. In the yard of the house there was a guava tree with ripe guavas. By a seduction of the devil, forgetting that he was fasting, he picked a fruit and ate. Immediately the Holy Spirit told him that he had just canceled all the sacrifice he had made up to that point and that he had to start the seven days of fasting again. This he immediately did, and after the seven days God gave him a higher anointing.
God used Nounagnon a lot in healings and deliverances. He was equipped by the Holy Spirit with the gifts of revelation, prophecy and power. Thus many lives were transformed under his ministry. Above all, he had a persuasive power in speech.
The personality of the man
What enabled Nounagnon to accomplish all these things? It was all in the natural and spiritual qualities of man.
Physically, Nounagnon was not built like a Hercules but he was of robust health. His vision, his determination, his tenacity, and his zeal made the difference. We cannot forget his integrity, his loyalty, his generosity, his hospitality, and his keen sense of humor.
He had an immigrant and pioneer temperament. His nature was steeped in courage and initiative. The unknown attracted him. He knew that it was enough for him to bring the light of the gospel here and there and then it would spread in his own strength. He also had an influence on men. By his humility he won the esteem and affection of all for whom he humbled himself; he could therefore introduce the gospel easily. But his spiritual maturity and wisdom were by far the basis of his outstanding leadership.
The strong affection that people had for him was also caused by another of the dominant traits of his character: selflessness. It is the rarest of human qualities and it is also the one that has the most irresistible influence on others, when it manifests itself in all its purity and in all its strength. Nounagnon never pursued his own interests, he did not serve God for what he could gain. That is why, despite all the burden of his ministry, he worked day and night in masonry to provide for his family.
He was also a good father and a good husband, fully playing the role that was his despite his repeated absences and his multiple occupations. God finally blessed him with eleven biological children whose names are in order of birth: Annick, Hugues, Alphonsine, Suzanne, Georges, Dinah, Pierre, Benjamin, Gislain, Jérémie and Joël. One may not say that his marital and family life was exemplary, but should recognize that he did not sacrifice his family for the sake of the ministry. His wife was not actively engaged in ministry with him; she had her own business, but they mutually supported one another. He very much valued and encouraged good education for his children, whom he was able to instruct first according to the ways of God. This was partly because of his own experience, as he said: “what I could not do, my children must do.” The Lord also blessed him with more than thirty grandsons at the time of this writing.
Nounagnon was also a good shepherd, taking good care of his sheep, not like the unfaithful shepherds of Ezekiel 34. He was ready to suffer anything out of love for his faithful and to suffer for Christ. His love for his converts was like that of a mother watching over her children.
He also had deep respect and consideration in his dealings with the unconverted, with the hope that they would one day be converted. One day an incident happened. He had a Catholic friend in the neighborhood. When Nounagnon left the Catholic Church to become a pastor, this friend remained a devout Catholic but they had maintained a good relationship. At some point, this man’s wife started attending JJC Church. She no longer went to the Catholic Church but her husband did not agree. He refused to let his wife go to Nounagnon, but the wife insisted. One evening during a sacrament service, the woman came to church and her husband came looking for her in anger. But in surprise, he threw a large stone at the head of Nounagnon who officiated the meeting and blood spurted out. The faithful threw themselves on this man, hit him, and stripped him. Nounagnon was taken to hospital and had his head bandaged but he did not react at all or say a word about the incident. At that time, the friend in question was building a house and Nounagnon was the mason doing the construction. The next day Nounagnon went to the construction site with his head bandaged as if nothing had happened and was working. Shortly after this man came to the site and saw Nounagnon upstairs working with his head bandaged and he was shocked. He was ashamed and fled the construction site with great regret. Long after the two friends were reconciled but this man never converted until his death. But thanks to this incident, finally his wife was able to come freely to the church with all her children. Her husband gave her complete freedom because of the power of love demonstrated by Nounagnon.
In the personality of Nounagnon, there wasn another, even more evident trait: the feeling of seriousness in relation to the divine mission entrusted to him to “preach Christ everywhere, destroy the works of darkness and plant churches.” He had known the very day he became a Christian that he had a special work to do, and the call he had received was constantly present in his mind (“Woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel,” 1 Corinthians 9 v.16). This is what made him so quick in his movements, so blind to danger, so joyful in suffering even though he was abandoned, humiliated, despised, reviled, trampled on, and misunderstood. His life evoked the words of the apostle Paul: “But I hold my life to myself, as if it were precious to me, provided that I fulfill my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received from the Lord Jesus, to announce the good news of the grace of God” (Acts 20 v.24).
Finally, the last of his spiritual qualities that shaped his life was the strength of his personal consecration to Christ. This was the main motivation for all his activities. Since his first encounter with Christ, he had only one passion: that his love for his Savior become ever more intense and more luminously pure. He was filled with the word of God. In his total surrender to the Lord, he said: “If I live, it is no longer I who live, it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2 v.20).
Nounagnon still had some weaknesses related to his personality. Because of his angry temper, he quickly angered and his anger did not always inciline him to good, especially when he was defending biblical points of view. He tended to impose himself with authority on others. He was also somewhat independent and stubborn in pursuing his resolutions. Nounagnon also quickly trusted people, especially all those who confessed to worshiping God. He even believed in the apparent change of some of his ‘former’ enemies, people who later hurt him very badly.
Also, during a good part of his ministry, Nounagnon suffered from a sinus affection and especially from arterial hypertension from which he was never cured until his death. He was constantly on medication.
End of mission
In view of his loyal and outstanding service to the kingdom of God, Nounagnon was recognized in 2003 by the Christian Ministries International Fellowship (an international association of Christian ministries) as a licensed minister of the gospel for world mission.
In February 2005, at the heart of an internal conflict in the church because of his reforms, he was struck down by a CVA (cerebral vascular accident). He came out with some scars. He cried out to God with his children for his complete recovery, but the voice of the Lord seemed to say to him as to the apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12 v.9 ).
In December 2006, there was a fatal relapse. On December 31, 2006, Nounagnon completed his journey on this earth, but his mission continues.
Besides, his prayer was: “Lord, if you give me children and keep them alive, I will serve you with them.” His most ardent wish was that his children ‘take the baton’ and continue the mission. God certainly chose among his children a Joshua to take the staff of Moses, or an Elisha with the double portion of the anointing of Elijah.
This is the story of a life worth living, a life devoted to the noblest calling a man can embrace on earth. This is the story of a general in the kingdom of God. If we talk about great men who left their mark on their generation, Nounagnon was one of them. May his works follow him.
Adjaï Annick, oldest daughter of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, interviewed by Adjaï Benjamin, 20 December 2021 in Porto-Novo, Bénin.
Ahouansou Aimée Houinsi, wife of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, interviewed by Adjaï Benjamin, 13 December 2021 in Porto-Novo, Bénin.
Codjia Théodore, friend and disciple of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, interviewed by Adjaï Benjamin, 14 December 2021 in Porto-Novo, Bénin.
Djossou Emmanuel, friend and associate pastor of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, interviewed by Adjaï Benjamin 13 December 2021 in Porto-Novo, Bénin.
Gandonou Jules, relative and disciplie of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, interviewed by Adjaï Benjamin, 13 December 2021 in Porto-Novo, Bénin.
Hounkponou Daniel, disciple and associate pastor of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, interviewed by Adjaï Benjamin, 20 December 2021 in Porto-Novo, Bénin.
This article, received in 2022, is the product of research by Adjaï Benjamin, Master’s student at the LOGOS Christian University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and son of Adjaï Nounagnon Eugène, under the supervision of Dr. Anicka Fast. Translation by Luke B. Donner, DACB research assistant and doctoral student at Boston University at the Center for Global Christianity and Mission.