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  • Student Tribute

    Written May 6, 2013 9:50pm by Cindy Benson

    Well, it's been awhile since I've written on this blog. It's been a busy month finishing the school year at the college and welcoming our new baby into the family! I thought I would share this wonderful tribute that sums of the year for our student fellowship group at Colby-Sawyer, written by our group president and worship leader, Serene. I've been amazed at their resilience and spiritual growth since I came back in mid February. It's been an honor to work with these students - they give me so much more than I give to them! Here's the email:

    Hello everyone, I just want to praise God for a wonderful year we had. Most, if not all of you would be home by now and I hope you have a great summer. These are just some of my thoughts on the past year:

    2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

    It was a tough one. We were going through the motions in the fall semester, almost crippled by Benny's condition. Cindy and Benny were not there with us to give their wise counsel and support. We missed them but we knew it was a season and that God was going to bring us through it. And He opened the doors for Tom Bates, who started working with Safety in the fall as well, to step in as our advisor. Needless to say, although fellowship seemed stagnant, and even shrinking at times, God was doing His deepest work in our hearts, preparing us for what was to come. As we neared the end of the fall semester, quite a few of us felt that it was time. What do I mean by that? It was time to step up, time for us to take hold of what God had for us. Time for revival, in our fellowship as well as on our campus. We got similar visions: of seeing more people come to Christ and for the body of Christ on campus to rise up. As the spring semester commenced, God started bringing more people to fellowship and we knew it was just the beginning of something great. But 2 weeks into school, what we feared would happen became a reality... Benny passed away.

    It was not easy, we cried, we laughed, but God was holding us in our pain and He gave us each other to hold on to. I have not felt closer to Him or even the fellowship till it happened.... And then I realized that even through Benny's death, God was working - He brought people together. By His grace, we did not allow it to bring us down but push us to Him. We looked to Him in the darkness and soon that darkness became light.

    This is an excerpt from one of my journal entries a couple days after Benny's passing:

    'The greatest miracle in Benny's life is his life - that he remained faithful even in his pain and suffering - that he stayed close to You and rejoiced through it all. Death often lets us see things in a new light - see You. You are slowly bringing healing to hearts that are broken because of this. There is grieving but there is also rejoicing.'

    A new season was springing up after that very cold, dark and long winter. And the Ablaze Conference we had was not the culmination of it, but the spark of things about to take place. He is making all things new.

    I pray that the summer would be one of growth for us, both individually and collectively. May we return stronger in the Lord than before. May we continue to seek Him above all else for in Him we live, move and have our being. Please keep the leadership team in prayer as we continue to seek God's vision for the group. Many thanks to our advisors, Cindy and Tom who have been incredible! And thank you, just for being a part of this wonderful group... We are the body of Christ!

    God bless you all.

    Peace and love,

    Serene

  • Baby is Finally Here!

    Written Apr 6, 2013 8:42pm by Cindy Benson

    For all of you who keep up with CaringBridge, but are not on Facebook, you may have missed the news that baby Allenby finally decided to arrive on Tuesday night, April 2nd at 7:11 p.m. Her name is Sadie Grace and she was 9 lbs, 1oz! Lindsey did such fantastic job through the labor and delivery, and Scott's mom, Nancy, and I were both honored to be invited to participate and witness Sadie's entrance into this world! They are home now and doing very well. She is sleeping and nursing well and seems very content. So amazing! Her due date was March 25th, Benny's birthday, so we were thinking it would have been cool if she was born on his day, but she preferred her own day and month I guess! She is the reminder that God's grace is with us and that the circle of life continues.
  • A Few Thoughts...

    Written Mar 29, 2013 9:06pm by Cindy Benson

    Today I attended our community's annual ecumenical Good Friday service. There were so many things shared that caused me to think more deeply about the meaning of Christ's death. And the hymns are all so hauntingly beautiful in their minor keys. I especially love "O Sacred Head Now Wounded". We came to the last verse though and I couldn't get through it:

    My days are few, O fail not,
    with thine immortal power,
    to hold me that I quail not
    in death’s most fearful hour;
    that I may fight befriended,
    and see in my last strife
    to me thine arms extended
    upon the cross of life.

    As hard as they were to sing today, I know that these words came true for Benny in his final days. He was "held" so that he would "fear not" and I believe he fought knowing he was "befriended" and that Christ was with him all the way. Jesus was described as a "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." As difficult as it is to live in a world full of suffering and to try to understand why, one thing we know is that we have a God who loved us enough to become fully human so he could experience everything we experience and suffer everything we suffer and more. Hebrews says that he became a human being so he could die, and in dying break the power of death that kept the human race in such fear. We have a God who understands our experience and is acquainted with our grief. And we celebrate the resurrection this Sunday, which gives us hope for life eternal beyond this world. Benny had that hope, tasted that eternity during his lifetime, and is now experiencing that reality.

    Wishing all who celebrate this Christian holiday a wonderful Easter weekend! For my friends who are not Christian, I wish for you the blessings of hope and new life that come with this season of spring. I believe there are seasons of the soul, and I am reminded that my winter season will not last forever.

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