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Missionary Highlight: Brian and Sarah Bennetch

Today's Missionary Highlight: Brian and sarah bennetch

Serving in Rome

 

1. Tell us about your family.

      Sarah and I have spent close to half of our lives in Europe. We marked our 25th anniversary of ministry in Belgium and Italy in April.  We praise God for the wonderful adventure it has been…and we ain’t done yet!  We moved to Belgium in April 1991 to reach out to immigrant Muslims in the ghettos of Brussels.  As soon as we got there we plunged into a life of diversity, as we help a small church plant to grow into a dynamic French-speaking international church. During our 16 years in Brussels we continued to work simultaneously with the French-speaking church and in Muslim outreach, culminating in the planting of the Iranian Church of Brussels toward the end of our time there.  We raised our 3 kids in Brussels where they attended French-speaking local schools for most of their education.  I think they would say that they had a happy and very multi-cultural upbringing.  We share that bond, and Brussels still seems like “home” in a lot of ways, even now that none of us live there.  Four out of the five of us have been granted Belgian citizenship too!  All three kids decided to do their university studies in the US, and we think that was a good choice for them.  Sarah Grace studied nursing at Kent State and worked several years in Cleveland, OH (our home base in the US) as a nurse before starting a family with Daniel. They are involved in the ministries of an urban church in Cleveland and Daniel works as an engineer while Sarah Grace raises our two grandsons, Noah and Caleb. Paul married Emily almost six years ago.  We adore our daughter-in-love!  Paul did all of his high school in local schools in Brussels, graduating at the top of his class. He went on to study Classics at Cornell and married Emily in a vineyard in California midway through college. After teaching English composition to underprivileged middle-schoolers in Denver for two years, he started studying law at Stanford Law School, from which he will graduate in June 2017. Philip graduated from Ohio State in 2014 with a degree in city and regional planning. He worked temp jobs till recently landing a professional planning job in Delaware County, Ohio. Phil is very involved with his church in Columbus where he leads a community group and seeks to reach out to local ethnic minorities. 

2. How would you summarize your ministry?

    Looking at the first paragraph above, you may not think I know how to summarize at all! Sarah and I are on the same team, but we have two different and complementary roles.  Sarah leads the Rome City Team. She is responsible for her own local ministry as well caring for and building up the ReachGlobal City Team here.  Sarah oversees one current 2-year intern, another returning long-term member of the team, and 3 more 2-year interns arriving in October, 2016. She seeks to develop these team members in their ministry potential. We take seriously our ReachGlobal mission to Multiply Transformational Churches among all peoples.  Locally, our vision is “A thousand points of Gospel Light in the city.”  Besides building the team, Sarah and I are both involved in developing young leaders in the 4-year-old San Lorenzo church plant in the student district of Rome.  We also coach the cell group leaders.  Sarah has helped to launch a local anti-trafficking ministry here in Rome and a national alliance of like-minded evangelical organizations in Italy.  I am privileged to serve on the Board for the Refugee Friendship center, where I volunteer weekly. When not involved in ministry in Rome, I (Brian) supervise five other city teams in our Europe Division.  I serve on the Europe Division Leadership team with ten other leaders.  There is never a dull moment.

3. Favorite non-ministry activity:

   Brian likes to sit on his very urban balcony and read books, listening to his playlists of instrumental music that play as a background to sirens and barking dogs.  On the occasional evening without meetings, mindless films usher him to bed.  Sarah cannot get enough of inviting an amazing variety of old and new friends over for an amazing variety of cuisines that she has mastered. If not inviting, she is a passionate reader of historical fiction and a passionate visitor of historical sites in Rome. A real history buff. Together we love to explore old places and stroll the town.

4. how you have seen God work recently?

       (Sarah) As Brian mentioned, he often sits on our balcony reading with headphones on, and follows the impulse to “air conduct” the symphony. When we organized an Intensive English Course, Brian went to our neighbors who have college-age daughters to invite them to the course. Their Dad said, “So, you’re an Orchestra Conductor AND you’re giving English lessons??” He really thought so! That broke the ice. The daughter came to our class and we formed a friendship with that family. But the Dad is still perplexed: “So, you used to be a NASA engineer designing for the Space Station, and NOW you teach the Bible??” “Sarah, you’re a church worker but you also go and talk to prostitutes??” They had NEVER heard of evangelicals, but they have now heard the Gospel and we keep them curious. 

5. PRAYER REQUESTS

1. Praise God for 3 2-Year Interns preparing to deploy to our Rome City Team this Fall!

2. Praise God for the nearly-full support for Heather: our former Intern who will return soon as long-term staff on our team.

3. PRAY for the 3 Interns: for God’s provision and for all the necessary preparations for missionary service with us.

4. Praise for the 8 people recently baptized in our church-plant.

5. PRAY for the men whom Brian is discipling and the women whom Sarah is discipling. For spiritual victory and growth as they learn to trust and obey Christ; for wisdom and discernment for us as we minister the Word to them.

Thanks so much to Brian and Sarah for sharing this brief look into your life on the mission field. More missionary highlights are coming soon!

Posted by Nikki Twedt at 8:59 PM