By Lori Devaney | Photo by Jim Oertle
Life’s road Looks different for each of us. Sometimes it’s a fairly straight path, and sometimes it has lots of curves and detours.
Bernice and Willie Benford are evidence of God’s work in the midst of the curves and detours. They’ve been part of Pathway Church for the past five years, yet in their early years of attending, Bernice struggled with an addiction which served as a challenge to her marriage, to her family, and to her relationship with Christ. “My husband stood
by me during that time, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for him and for Pathway,” says Bernice. “I’ve learned to say God’s will, not mine.”
Today, the Benfords’ lives look quite different, after being married for 23 years. They have school age kids (11 & 17), older kids, and grand kids. It was their 17 year old son who encouraged them to get involved at church when it was previously known as Westlink Christian Church. He was part of High School IGNITE and was a catalyst for his parents stepping out and becoming part of this church body.
Bernice and Willie are part of a Home Team with Jim and Darleen Oertle and others. “We love Pathway, “ says Bernice. “It’s our church home. And we love the Café!” They jumped into action as Welcome Greeters for the new campus last Fall* and have recently become involved as leaders in the Middle School IGNITE ministry. They want to be role models for the next generation as they work alongside students.
Psalm 32 begins with these words: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Then in verse 6 it continues with, “Therefore let all the faithful pray to You while You may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Bernice and Willie have been down the road with curves and detours, knowing the captivity of addiction and wandering. They’ve also experienced the hiding place and deliverance David wrote about in Psalm 32. Now is their time to share that hope with others, and they do it as part of the body at Pathway Church.