Chatting with Jean Benson

August 10, 2020

Jean has been a faithful member of our church for many years. Known for her charming British accent and sense of humor, she and her husband, Wendell, live in West Chester where they attend the Culleys’ Community Group.  

It’s clear from your accent that you didn’t grow up around here. Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Luton, Bedfordshire, a small town about 38 miles north of London, a town barely on the map. We were so far from shopping areas that my friend and I would walk 40 minutes a day to a small sweet shop called The Brown Owl. We got money to buy these treats by getting up early and walking to school instead of riding the bus. Our bus fare became candy money! I lived in England until I was 20, then came to the states. 

How did you hear about Covenant?
A friend from my previous church invited me to Covenant Fellowship, and I have been attending since 1987. Before that, my sister and I attended another smaller church where there weren’t many people our age. I loved Covenant right away, and soon my sister joined me. We had been dying spiritually because of the lack of fellowship and needed a place where we could grow. Covenant became that for me. 

We hear that you love chemistry. Is that true?
Yes, I teach it at several homeschool co-ops and also tutor chemistry students from various local high schools. I love teaching chemistry. I am a pharmacist by trade and worked at many places before I had my first daughter, Kayla, who is now in her 20s.

Can you tell us more about your family?
I have two daughters. One attends college at Regent University and has finished up her freshman year. She is pursuing psychology and health sciences. My oldest daughter is currently working. She teaches worship dance and loves photography. My husband, Wendell, and I have been married for 24 years. He works as a systems engineer. 

Besides teaching chemistry, what do you love to do?
I enjoy repurposing furniture, watching and playing tennis, reading, and recently, kickboxing.

Kickboxing sounds fun! Is there anything else about you that might surprise us?
I like listening to loud music. I live life loudly and people would probably not know that.

Moving a bit deeper, is there an area where God has helped you see growth in your life?
About four years ago, I was introduced to a year-long bible study at a local church. During that time, God dismantled some life-long strongholds and set me free from lies that I believed about God and about myself. My identity in Christ is now fully grounded in the gospel and who Christ says I am.

Is there a book that has been helpful to you in your Christian life? How did it help you?
As a new Christian, I read The Autobiography of George Müller. This book had a tremendous impact on my prayer life. Müller’s level of faith and trust in God for every detail of provision has influenced how I view God. 

Lastly, when and how did you come to Christ? 
Growing up, my life was marked by extreme self-hatred. Most of my teen years were filled with suicidal thoughts and low self-worth. I was bombarded with thoughts telling me I had no value and deserved death. A friend who went to high school with me repeatedly invited me to church during this time. I didn’t want to be her friend as I was more of a rebel. I didn’t want to follow the rules and she did. I finally acquiesced, but the first time I reluctantly joined her, I fell asleep. 

Several weeks after attending church, I heard a sermon that affected me. It portrayed a vivid picture of hell and I felt compelled to pray the sinner’s prayer. Although this prayer was motivated by fear, God used my church attendance to help me grow in my understanding of the gospel. 

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