Karen Benson Honored for Missionary Service

Post a Comment » Written on June 26th, 2009     
Filed under: News
PORTLAND, OR (June 26, 2009) – Retiring Evangelical Covenant Church missionary Karen Benson, whose service included working in two countries plagued by violence and extreme poverty, received a prolonged standing ovation today from delegates to the 124th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

OneBenson walked to the lectern arm-in-arm with Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission.

Peterson described Benson as, among other things, “an uplifting teacher who sees the potential in others and releases and elevates others, and then hands over work to them, one who cares deeply about Christ being formed in the lives of others.”

He noted, “Her interest in international service was stirred in her heart in the operating rooms of Vietnam while she served in the Army Nurse Corps.”

In presenting her with a plaque, President Gary Walter, said, “You are truly an amazing person, who has led a truly amazing life.”

Benson served as a short-term missionary in Congo in 1982-1984 before being commissioned during the 1987 Annual Meeting.

Following studies in French and tropical medicine, Karen was a clinical instructor at a nursing school in Karawa, Congo (then known as Zaire), from 1988-93 and then was assigned to the hospital at Imeloko from 1992-1995.

During the summer of 1994, Karen worked under the ministry of Covenant World Relief in a refugee camp for orphans following the massacre in Rwanda. She monitored the medical and nutritional needs of the children and assisted in training the Rwandan and Zairian nurses who also provided medical care for the children.

After evacuating from Congo in 1997, Karen moved to the Central African Republic (CAR) to minister to the Fulani, a nomadic tribe that practices Islam. The main inroad for reaching the Fulani has been through a community health and nutrition program.
ThreeDue to political instability and an attempt to overthrow the government of CAR, missionaries evacuated the country in 2002, relocating to other parts of Africa. Benson returned to the country’s capital, Bangui, to continue ministry among the Fulani people.

Most recently she has collaborated with the missiology department of the Bangui Theological Seminary and Grace Brethren Church of CAR. She assisted with conference planning with other organizations, focusing on strategies for reaching the Fulani.

Benson received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from North Park University in 1966 and attended the University of Colorado in 1979, where she studied to be a family nurse practitioner.

Her home church is the Evangelical Covenant Church in Winthrop, Minnesota.

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