Worldwide Ministry Highlights/Free
In this Issue...
Jay Benson with the Lord—page 1
Jay Benson, WMP President, at Home with the Lord
Core values of WMP—page 4 Need for volunteers—page 4
by Vicky R. Benson, Vice-president
N JANUARY 6, 2013, I posted the following message on Facebook:
WORLD WATCH Production at WMP stepped up to the equivalent of 8,005,000 Scripture booklets the size of Help From Above printed in January and a goal of 8,500,000 for February. We will soon be at our goal of 9,000,000 per month, as God enables. The adjacent property (with two buildings) is soon to be purchased with funds provided last year. Printing 2,000,000 Scripture booklets in India for WMP’s coordinator, Brother Velu of India Bible Literature will add to the supply of booklets now en route to India on a 40-foot container. Three titles in Tamil and Telugu will be printed as a start, with other printings to follow. Brother Velu receives thousands of requests from distributors of WMP materials in this land of 1.2 billion people. It is harvest time. Inside pages for 100,000 French New Testaments recently printed are being collated, bound, trimmed, and boxed by volunteers to be included in thirteen containers of French Scripture booklets and Bible studies being produced for French-speaking African nations. Scripture booklets in Arabic and tribal languages will be included.
“Late yesterday afternoon my dear companion of 45 years left peacefully for that land where we both are citizens. Our adventure with God continues. Jay fulfilled his assignment here, loving every minute of it (well, almost!), and I still have work to do here. He was the greatest example of praising God, believing God, and loving God and His Word. He was the greatest of encouragers, and it has been an absolute honor to be his wife and partner in serving our great and good God, who has led us all the way. Thanks for all the prayers and support along this journey.”
It was such a shock to all of us. We are confident that it was no surprise to God. Jay’s desire to finish strong, to never retire or become debilitated, was granted—just sooner than expected. Not feeling well on Tuesday, December 18, Jay uncharacteristically went to bed with a distressing headache (pain behind his eyes). When I came home, he called out to me, asking where his water bottle was. I pointed it out on the bedside table, where he always kept it. He said, “I don’t see it.” Surprised, I came closer, touched it, and said, “Here it is.” He still couldn’t see it. Alarmed, I asked if he could see his clock. He reached for it, almost touching it, but couldn’t see it. Clearly, these symptoms needed checking out. Arriving at the ER, Jay asked for a wheelchair. I realized the seriousness of what was happening when I was told that Jay needed to be transported to a hospital with neurosurgeons on staff. Harold Mack, WMP’s Director of
Jay and Vicky Benson in Russia (1998)
Global Distribution, and our pastor, Troy Scott, had arrived, and already Harold was e-mailing WMP’s 80+ national coordinators around the world from his phone, mobilizing prayer for Jay. Our son Jeff immediately began the four-hour trip from his home in Illinois directly to Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the ambulance Jay was receiving fresh frozen plasma to counteract a high Coumadin level. Lights flashed and sirens sounded as we sped through the night. As we passed New Paris, I noted the time— 1:40 a.m. It was December 19. My father, Watson Goodman, co-founder of WMP, had come to Christ 75 years earlier. Jeff arrived soon after we did and stayed with me the rest of the week. A CAT scan revealed a burst blood vessel deep inside Jay’s brain. Prognosis (Jay Benson, continued on page 2)
(Jay Benson, continued from page 1) of eventual recovery was initially fairly good. Though Jay’s speech was slurred, he was communicating with his usual good humor. By afternoon he was falling asleep—I thought. Actually, he was slipping into a coma from which he never awoke. His last words to me expressed appreciation for my TLC in massaging a sore shoulder.
Jay and Vicky Benson began their married life with prayer.
As his condition deteriorated during the night, a tube was inserted into his brain to drain the excess fluids building up. It did not work. By morning Jay was given a 10% chance of survival. My brother Harry Goodman sent a text-message to the nearby hotel where I was staying that I should come. Since I couldn’t spend extended time in God’s Word as planned, I asked the Lord to please lead me to a word from Him. I opened my Bible, and read Isaiah 40:4. “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the crooked places shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” I read on through verses 7 and 8: “The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” I thought how the work of World Missionary Press is not about us, as it was not about my parents before us. People come and go as God chooses. It is about getting out the Word of God! It is God’s work and always has been. I knew that God would be glorified, whatever happened. John 12:24 came to mind. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” I had been meditating on a classic sermon based on that verse—“The Three-Fold Law of the Cross” by T. Austin-Sparks—and World Missionary Press NEWS/2
had listened to it repeatedly on my Kindle as I fell asleep: (1) Life through death; (2) Liberty through surrender; (3) Enlargement through loss. It came to me that what was happening to Jay was no accident. Its timing—on the heels of “impossible” provision from the Lord to dramatically increase production at WMP and provision to purchase property adjacent to WMP for expansion—was not a coincidence. Even what was happening in Jay’s brain—a burst blood vessel too deep for surgical intervention, right at a time when blood thinners interacting with other medications created “a perfect storm” for the most catastrophic brain bleed possible—could not “just happen.” I knew in my heart that this was part of God’s larger purpose. I prayed, though my tears, “Lord, if You see that by taking Jay Home, his death could be used by You for a great increase in Your Kingdom, then I want You to do that, and I know Jay would want it, too!” In the meantime, thousands of people were praying for a miracle in Jay’s life (5,000 in Argentina alone). And because Jay had led our Leadership Council to pray for the “impossible” (see the Special Edition 2013 WMP NEWS) and God had answered, I felt I would be remiss not to join them, along with our church and the WMP staff, who were praying for the humanly “impossible”— for God to restore Jay to complete, and even better, function. My immediate family agreed. As long as Jay was still with us, we would pray for the God of the impossible to do the impossible. We would (1) be specific, (2) not look at the circumstances (the statistics and CAT scan), (3) not plan for his death, but rather (4) get out of the boat and plan for and expect a miracle. But we also left the choice to God, desiring His will above all. We spent a meaningful Christmas Day, searching the Scriptures, praying and singing around Jay’s bed. The manager of the Best Western hotel, a man full of faith, encouraged me as I came and went. What a gift! He even went three times to the hospital to pray for Jay. Every time my heart began to sink, I would talk to God out loud and become almost buoyant. I knew I would have reason to rejoice in either outcome, because God was in it. Inspired, I drove home to share in church and to the WMP staff what God was showing me. It burst upon me with clarity, “I am walking with God!” At just the right times, friends came to visit. A young violinist friend came to play to Jay for an hour. The neurosurgeon came in to listen, tears in his eyes. Even pouring rain, rushing water in the parking lot, a full moon, became expressions of God’s love. “O Love that wilt not let me go, ... O Joy, that seekest me in pain, ... O Cross, that liftest up my head.” Songs in the night. The joy of the Lord giving strength. (continued on page 4) February/March 2013
“To God Be the Glory” NEW PARIS, Indiana—Jay E. Benson, 68, president of World Missionary Press, Inc., since 1988, died late Saturday afternoon in Lutheran Hospital, Fort Wayne, following an intra-ventricular hemorrhage December 18. He had been a resident of Winona Lake and then New Paris since 1976, when he returned from 4½ years as a literature missionary in Indonesia. Jay Ellsworth Benson was born in Peoria, Illinois on May 16, 1944, to John C. Benson and Mary C. (Welles) Benson. The family moved to Winona Lake when Jay was in the fourth grade. At age 11, Jay and his brother Dale (14) made headlines in the Warsaw Times Union when they were rescued from their smoke-filled basement bedroom by Winona Lake Fire Department chief, Bruce Howe, using the air-pack opened the very day their house caught fire. Local residents followed daily news reports of the two boys’ recovery from this event which almost took their lives. Jay graduated from Warsaw High School in 1962 and from Greenville College in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In his senior year he was chosen by the faculty to appear in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Fire chief Bruce Howe with Dale Benson, MD The following year (left) and Jay Benson, who he had rescued. he received his Master of Arts degree in journalism from Syracuse University, New York. Jay married Victoria Raye Goodman on October 28, 1967, and served as managing editor of Light and Life, the denominational magazine of The Free Methodist Church of North America. He served as editor also of Youth in Action magazine and Current, a magazine for pastors. From 1972 to 1976, the Bensons served as literature missionaries in association with Kalam Hidup, the publishing house of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Bandung, Indonesia. During this time their son was born, and Jay coordinated the publishing of three million copies of the Help From Above Scripture booklet in three languages for World Missionary Press, many of which were distributed through C&MA ministries.
In 1976 Jay and Vicky returned to the U.S. to work with World Missionary Press (WMP), a worldwide donor-supported ministry of publishing Scripture booklets and Bible-study bookJay Ellsworth Benson lets in more than May 16, 1944—January 5, 2013 335 languages for free distribution worldwide. He first served as Assistant to the President (his father-inlaw and WMP co-founder Watson Goodman) in the areas of production and distribution. In 1987, he was named vice-president of WMP, and 17 months later was appointed president by the WMP Board of Directors. During his tenure as president, WMP more than doubled production volume, and in 2012 reached the highest level of contributions in its history. His vision was to dramatically increase production to meet the urgent needs around the world, trusting God to “do the impossible” in providing for that increase. In answer to prayer, this increase was in process at the time of his sudden Home-going. Jay was known as a man of prayer with a passion for the Word of God and the urgent need for it throughout the world. During his years at WMP, he traveled to 48 nations to encourage distributors and overseas contract printers as well as to produce films (now available free as DVDs) to show the need for God’s Word and how it transforms lives. Jay sought to maintain the founding core values of WMP, including: (1) dependence on God through prayer to provide needed resources; (2) focusing on producing God’s Word rather than man’s opinions and providing it free of charge to both recipients and distributors; (3) maintaining an economy of operation, including paying the same hourly rate for all staff, from janitor to president, and using the donated time of hundreds of volunteers. He had just completed a comprehensive draft of WMP Core Values for use by possible future leadership. Surviving are his wife and brothers, Dale (and Barb) Benson, M.D., of Indianapolis, Indiana; Paul (and Barbara) Benson of Anacortes, Washington; and Dan (and Kathy) Benson of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Surviving also is son Jeffrey C. (and Dana) Benson of Aurora, Illinois, and three grandchildren, with a new grandson due in February.
February/March 2013 Go to www.wmpress.org/jay.shtml or scan the QR code (right) to hear Jay share milestones in his life and play musical cowbells. Be inspired by his vision for WMP as well as early writings and teenage testimony. A DVD of the memorial service will be available.
World Missionary Press NEWS/3
(Jay Benson, continued from page 3) Jay was a man of prayer who walked with God, and God chose to take him. He prayed for so many people, following up with e-mails of concern and encouragement. His last known prayer request was for God’s enabling to take on more prayer requests. Jay loved to read God’s Word and because he knew of its power to change lives, his passion was to make it available throughout the world. Even as a teenager, his career interest was “literature for missions.” After Jay had breathed his last, a nurse told me later with tears in her eyes, “It was an honor to have him here.” It was an honor to be his wife. It was an honor to be his friend, and many counted him a friend. Jeff Benson with son Our life together was an advenIsaac Samuel, born ture with God. Spontaneous prayer February 5, 2013. or praise could insert itself in conversation without warning. Jay had a simple trust in God. In college he wrote of rejoicing in the ability to communicate with God, “for communication with God is my highest goal and most heart-felt wish. . . . I am grateful today that ‘there is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.’” “How can we today better live so that God can be God?” he wrote. “We tend to limit Him by our finite thoughts when a whole world of power awaits just beyond the line of the human. What a fellowship! What a joy divine! To lean completely on the everlasting arms.” Volunteers Needed as Production Increases We praise God for hundreds of faithful volunteers who have “caught the vision” of helping produce and box Scripture booklets: retirees, families, young people. WMP needs volunteers in two areas: to operate the second booklet bindery and to prepare French New Testaments for French-speaking Africa. Are YOU able to help? Groups of five people or more are desired, yet individuals and smaller groups are welcome. Consider signing up for a shift either once or regularly (monthly or weekly). Shifts are as follows, but hours are flexible: Monday - Friday 8:00-11:30 and 12:30-4:00 Mon-Fri evenings 4:30 - 6:30 and 7:00-9:00 Saturdays 8:00-12:00 and 12:30-4:00 E-mail email@example.com or call (574) 831-2111 (Ext. 215).
Published six times a year by: World Missionary Press, Inc. P.O. Box 120 New Paris, IN 46553-0120 U.S.A. Phone: (574) 831-2111 FAX: (574) 831-2161 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WMP has been a member in good standing with Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability since 1982.
Core Values of WMP After 51 years, World Missionary Press still operates on its core values, including: Core value #1. Our greatest work: to believe God. God raised up this work and continues to maintain it. We look to Him for protection, provision, guidance, and blessing. Chapel is held every work-day and hours of prayer and praise are held twice a month during the work day. Core value #2. Our focus: to publish Scriptures in many languages. A founding purpose of WMP was to provide God’s Word in the form of topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies in at least 300 languages. The first booklet, Help From Above, was compiled to provide a supply of Scripture substantial enough to lead someone to Christ and to help him grow in his Christian walk. Core value #3. Publications are free, not to be sold. From the beginning, the priority was to provide tools for evangelism and follow-up to national Christians who could not afford to purchase supplies in the quantities needed. “Those being evangelized should not pay for their own evangelization.” Salvation is free, so God’s Word should be free. (The cost of providing God’s Word would be borne by the sacrificial giving of God’s people in obedience to Christ’s Great Commission.) Core value #4. Distribution is worldwide. Our purpose is to print and ship Scripture booklets to reach as many nations and people groups as possible, with priority given to those for whom access to the Word of God has been restricted either by poverty or by oppression. Networking with Christian ministries around the world is extensive. Core value #5. The ministry operates economically and with accountability. Contributions are the only source of income, so every contributed dollar must stretch as far as possible. All paid staff receive the same modest hourly wage (with a weekly child allowance for dependent children). Hundreds of volunteers from 100+ churches donate thousands of hours. Ways to economize without sacrificing quality are continuously sought. We operate within our means as the Lord provides. Audited financial reports and Form 990s filed with the IRS are made public on our website. Every dollar given for operations provides for all costs (including overhead) to print and ship 25 48-page Scripture booklets (or their equivalent) on average.
Jay E. Benson, President (1988-2013) Watson and Rose Goodman, Co-founders Vicky Benson, writer and editor Andrew Beverly, graphic designer
World Missionary Press, Inc. is an evangelical faith service ministry publishing Scripture booklets in more than 335 languages for free distribution around the world as God provides the means. World Wide Web: http://www.wmpress.org
Donations can be made by mail, by phone, or online by credit card or electronic funds transfer. Click on GETTING INVOLVED and then GIVE.
View status of WMPʼs charitable solicitation registrations/exemptions and any required disclosure statements for each state at www.wmpress.org/disclosurestatements.shtml or request a copy.