Gregorie Ahangbonon from Benin: „Međugorje is unusual and special place”

date: 15.10.2013.

Fr. Lionello Melchiori and Gregorie Ahangbonon came to Međugorje. Fr. Lionello serves in the African missions and he lives in Genova at the moment. He said that Gregorie has special mission from God, it is to seek God in sick people and he found them among those most abandoned ones more than thirty years ago. He was born in Benin but since 1971 he lives in Ivory Coast. He is married and has six children: “I am not a doctor; I am a simple worker, a car mechanic. I can say that I received Catholic education, my father was Catholic and they baptized me when I was born. When I lived in Benin I loved my Catholic faith and my baptism, but when I came to Ivory Coast I made lots of money there and when I was only 23 I was able to buy my own car which was really rare in Africa. That was when I went away from God. Money became the central part of my life and suddenly I was in big problems, I lost it all. I even thought about suicide. I lived a poor life and only my wife and two children I had at the time were with me. But, God came into my misery. I was drawn to Him through the suffering, through misery and pain and it was like in the parable of the prodigal son. God came into my aid and I turned to the Catholic Church again. I was fortunate to meet one missionary who organised a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I went there and God gave me a lot during that pilgrimage. After I returned to Ivory Coast, I decided to start a prayer group together with my wife. We used to go to hospital with that prayer group and we prayed for sick people. We realised that there were many of those who were sick were also abandoned because in Africa we do not have health insurance. Those who do not have money, they do not have possibility to be treated. It was then when we decided to help those people. We started with giving them baths, we were finding the ways to buy medications for them to treat them and little by little their health condition started to improve. Those who were seriously ill were at least dying in dignified way. There was a desire to seek for God in poor people that was born in our hearts. We also started to visit prisoners”, said Gregorie who thanked all priests in African missions for having recognised their work. At the same time all those mentally ill people in Africa were treated in a very bad way. They would be chained and tied to the trees or put into stables so they were completely paralised and prevented from any movement. People think that their illness is a product of possession by the evil spirits and do not know their reality. Gregorie started to liberate them and so far he has liberated more than 30 000 sick people. He goes to their places, releases them first and then he takes them to centers for rehabilitation where they become prepared for future life. He has 11 centers and the 12th one is going to be built in the next few months. What is interesting is that Gregorie’s closest associates are those who were healed. He received various rewards for his work. He also spoke about his experience of Medjugorje: “I want to say that Medjugorje is unusual and special place, it is a place where one can touch by hand the greatness of God’s mercy and the beauty of Mother’s heart. I wish for all those who will go back home, never to forget the encounter with Gospa and the Lord that they had here, because those are things that need to be cherished in our hearts and remember them all of our lives. This all should bring us on the way of genuine conversion.”