Introduction / History
Toli is one of about 20 Gbe dialects spoken in West Africa, from Ghana to Nigeria.
Toli Gbe refers to people who speak a specific dialect, not about an ethnic group.
Benin was relatively peaceful until the rise of the transatlantic slave trade. Eventually, 15,000 slaves per year were snatched from the area around Benin as part of a trade between the European mainland, West Africa, and the colonies of the New World. Male slaves were especially prized, so there were two adult women for every man left in Africa by the slave traders.
Where are they located?
Those who speak the Toli dialect of Gbe live in the small West African nation of Benin.
What are their lives like?
While Benin has experienced economic growth over the past few years and is one of Africa's largest cotton producers, it ranks among the world's poorest countries.
Women are responsible for cooking, cleaning, hauling water, caring for children, and numerous other chores that fill a day. They have little leisure time.
Housing is generally mud brick – either round with mud walls, or rectangular with walls made of sun-dried mud bricks. Most houses have straw thatched roofs.
The farming season is about five months long, from June to October. Farming and gardening is all done by hand, using long-handled implements for the planting and cultivating of crops like sorghum and millet. It is labor intensive, and despite a farmer's best efforts, they can produce little or nothing because of draught or pests. In addition to farming, Toli Gbe speakers raise chickens, sheep, goats, and cattle, although the larger animals are usually only slaughtered and eaten during religious ceremonies and festivals.
What are their beliefs?
The people who speak Toli Gbe are animistic. This means that they believe there are many spirits in the world that must be appeased and placated. Voodoo is a spiritual stronghold among many people groups in Benin. There are some believers among Toli Gbe speakers who can be used of the Lord to show them a better way.
Toli Gbe speakers are unreached with the gospel. The complete Bible, Global Recordings Network (GRN) audio, and visual resources, such as the JESUS Film, are available in their language, so believers can take these gospel materials to them.
What are their needs?
Their most critical need is for the Savior, who loves them and desires a personal relationship with them. They need to see past their worldly lives, and see that they have no acceptance with the creator of the universe except through His son.
* Pray for the justice and righteousness of the Lord to spread throughout Benin.
* Pray that teams of disciples will live among Toli Gbe speakers and reach them with the gospel.
* Pray for many witchdoctors and voodoo priests to experience the power and mercy of Jesus, and turn to Him.
* Pray that the Toli Gbe speakers will see the difference between their animistic religion and faith in God the Father.
Text source: Keith Carey