Alexis and Marie Claire,

   You’ve Inspired Me To Carry-On!            

Beautiful Fall Day in Bristol, NY

          …And here I am, hearing those words again:

             An overdose,
                 another death,
                    she was just 20 years old!

It’s been awhile since Ben Min has shared a blog, so here we go. When it comes to the work of Benjamin Ministries, it’s been a long and steady team effort led by hubby and myself. Dan and I have been doing this needed work for 21 years, beginning as a personal outreach after we had lost our son Benjamin in 1997. We would assemble bereavement care packages with a customized In Memoriam document and simply give them to friends and family who had lost loved ones.

The ministry would have its official beginning in 2001, as a ministry of our home church, Open Door Baptist Church. Here the Ben Min team would establish itself and become a life force for God’s Kingdom. Ben Min would became a partner with International Gospel Missions in 2012 whom we continue to partner with today.

For seven years we have been a self-supporting ministry. In the middle of the years that we have partnered with IGM, God gave us the opportunity to deliver 70-100 Bereavement Care packages per month, all across the United States. By God’s grace, we kept up with all of those heartfelt requests. Currently, we deliver anywhere from 40-60 packages per month. We have several mottos—one of them simply states,

For as long as God provides we will continue to do the work of this ministry.

It’s hard work, It truly is, for…

Bereavement is the hardest work we have to do on planet earth!

I believe this with all of my heart and especially after losing a child, one of the most complicated bereavement journeys anyone has to face. No one argues this, while at the same time, no one likes to talk about death, in general. And yet, just about every living soul at the age of 5 years and beyond understands the concept of death and can share a story of loss. Death can hold us as victims to a strange and eerie silence…I have lost someone so dear to me I can barely breathe.

I don’t know how to go on.
I don’t know how to even convey how this is ripping me apart inside.
Everyone is afraid to speak to me.
I don’t know what to say to anyone.
I feel so alone!

We were not created to have to say goodbye. That is the plain and simple truth of it. With the deepest love for His children, that is why God sent his one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come to earth to teach us about Salvation in Paradise with Him.

He had to also teach us about our lowly state. Yes, we don’t like to think about sin and its consequences, however, this is a plain and simple truth as well. We are born as sinners in need of forgiveness.

When I came to understand this simple truth, I had been attending the Catholic church for all of my 13 years of life. Though I had been taught about Jesus and heaven, I truly didn’t understand that I was a sinner who needed to cry out for forgiveness. I had been taught to sing the words of the song, Amazing Grace, in the following way,

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved and set me free.
I once was lost,
but now I’m found,  
was blind but now I see.

I was quite stunned, after I cried out to Jesus Christ recognizing that I was sinner in need of forgiveness to learn that the original words proclaim,

Amazing grace
how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost,
but now I’m found, 
was blind but now I see. 

Do you see the difference? The writer of the song acknowledges the plain and simple truth that we are born as sinners in need of forgiveness. The Bible sums it up this way in one amazing verse,

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes in Him,
shall not parish,
but have eternal life. 
John, 3:16

It clarifies our lowly state in Romans 3:23,

For all have sinned,
and fall short of the glory of God..

It identifies our need and gives us instruction, in Romans 10:9,10.

That if you confess with your mouth,
Jesus is Lord,
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved;
for with the heart a person believes,
resulting in righteousness,
and with the mouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation. 

When you bring these truths down to the simplest level here, even the mind of a child can understand our need. It can be stated this way;

A.Accept the truth that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness.
B.Believe in your heart that Jesus is the one and only Son of God, who came to die and take the punishment of your sin and mine.
C.Confess your sin, be forgiven of God, and receive the gift of eternal life.

Then, and ONLY then,

You are never alone—
You have a distinct purpose to fulfill!
You are on a unique mission from God!
I share this today with a passionate heart,


Because, I have a story to share, and as I have come to know and to understand that the leaders of every ministry face spiritual attack, that is, to become weary and to be tempted to quit the ministry or to give up and walk away, I have also heard, time and time again, about how God’s Amazing Grace urges them to carry-on. God simply, shows up!

He reveals Himself in ways that there is no denying that He is compelling the leaders—to not give up, to not quit, to not walk away.In the last few weeks, I was beginning to believe a voice that was telling me that Benjamin Ministries may be coming to an end. That it would be time to say,

We did what we could, and now it’s time to serve in some other way.

As the deceiver, Satan, the enemy of God is so good at doing, I was believing this voice to be from God. It is said in the Bible that Satan can imitate the brightest light. Isn’t that how we can simply make wrong choices? We believe we’re hearing from God, when we are actually hearing from the enemy of God who is always at work to lead us astray and to bring destruction into our lives.

Nine days ago on a Sunday morning, as I was preparing to ready myself for church, I had a bout of nausea come upon me, quite suddenly. I pushed through the ill feeling, though wanting to go right back into bed, and got myself in our vehicle while fighting this intense nausea our entire 35 minute drive to church. I wasn’t sure I would make it out of our vehicle when we arrived. With the power of prayer (and His medicines—essential oils, namely Peppermint) the nausea subsided and I went in for our service. I was very happy to have heard a message from our founding pastor, Pastor Tom, who was visiting our church for our missions conference. The message was inspiring, convicting, challenging and up-lifting. And then two announcements followed…

One dear family in our church had now lost a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, while another dear family had lost, just the day prior, a granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin. While the first loss is truly sorrowful, this woman who had passed away had lived a full life of 96 years and had left many joyful memories with family and friends to cherish.

The second loss was a shock to everyone who had heard the announcement followed with a prayer request for this dear girl’s family and friends. And there I sat, hearing those words again—     

         an overdose,
             another death,

               she was just 20 years old!

I can barely breathe, I am overwhelmed with sorrow, I am sympathizing with the family— 
empathizing with the Mama—heart wrenched for the Papa—
                               and angry!

It’s another life stolen. Another of our youth caught into the enemy’s trap of lies, deception and destruction! And then I received the simple and plain truth from God,

Benjamin Ministries must carry-on! We are in the fight to save lives. We are spreading a message of HOPE, strength, comfort and peace at a time when mankind needs it the most—in their personal bereavement journey!

The hardest work 
we must do 
on planet earth 
is to grieve;
And grieve well.

With God’s grace and provision, Benjamin Ministries, with the help of our very passionate and inspired team, our prayer warriors and supporters will carry-on, and Dan and I will continue to carry the torch.

Mary Claire,

You are with your Savior and have received your gift of eternal life. May God draw others to Him through your beautiful life here on earth. May your family and friends draw closer to God during this sorrowful time.


It doesn’t seem fair that you are gone and it is a shock to so many. I imagine it’s more than you would have ever comprehended if you were here to see how those who knew you, knew of you and will now, hear of you, because of your story and the tragedy of how you left this earth.

You heard His message of Salvation taught by Jesus which gives us HOPE that you are in Heaven with your Savior, today! When people hear how your life was cut short, we pray that they will stop and think. We pray that many many, many souls find their way to Jesus, the only one who has the power to forgive sinners and grant them the gift of eternal life in Paradise with Him, when hearing your story! May they find their unique purpose and carry-on with the mission that God has appointed them for.

May they grieve well and become messengers who will simply—
shine the light of Salvation in Paradise
to a world in need of forgiveness
and a world in need of Hope.
With all of this in mind—
we will CARRY-ON!