Brian Benjey and family by Michael ZaldarriagaI found Christ at an early age, accepting Christ into my heart and being baptized at the Shirley Christian Church in Shirley, Illinois where I grew up.  The tiny town of Shirley, just south of Bloomington, Illinois, shaped my childhood.  With a total of 37 houses it was a great place to be a kid.  We ran free for the most part, however there was a limited amount of trouble to get into as everyone looked after everyone else’s children like they were their own.
Trouble came to my life after I moved away from the small town and discovered Southern California after graduating from High School.  Joining the U.S. Navy seemed like a great way to escape the boredom of the midwest.  As it turns out that old “be careful what you wish for” line was certainly true in my case.  In the fast-paced world of Southern California I discovered drugs and the associated criminal lifestyle were anything but boring.
Eventually, as is always the case, my habits caught up with me one early morning when the realization that I was dying came upon me.  It was the first crystal clear thought that had entered my brain in a long time.  God had decided I was worth saving, although I would not give him credit until much later in the story.  Moving back home was very difficult, however I was convinced it was the only way to avoid the inevitable consequences of my chosen lifestyle, death or prison.  That was 21 years ago.
In 1999 I was fortunate enough to marry a beautiful young woman whom I had met during my crazy California years.  She had moved back with her parents before the real trouble started and I had deserted her for the pleasures of other women.  After getting back together and working through her anger and my guilt we got married and now have two beautiful daughters, ages 8 and 9.  In 2001 we moved out to Virginia where we would live for about eight years when the collapse of the housing market and the effects of some dishonest business partners would lead us back to Illinois once again.  God had again stepped in to protect me from myself and the inevitable outcome of our fast-paced, successful lifestyle.  After the failure of our construction businesses we moved back home to start over…again.
We are currently living in Livingston, Texas and have been happily married for thirteen years.  God has truly blessed our family and they are the light of my life.  Like so many folks we know, it was really our children who led us back to church and reunited us with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Now that He is the center of our lives, we are growing closer to Him and each other every day.  God put in my heart the call to ministry in September of 2009 and I began to explore the options available through the Church of the Nazarene with our Senior Pastor Scott Sherwood.  After completing the gifts and graces survey and praying through the call God had placed upon me, we decided to pursue evangelism and church planting, at least until God directed me otherwise.
It had been my intention to wait until my wife finished nursing school in December of 2011 before starting on my education, however God had other plans.  As I started looking into my educational options to see what was available and what would be required, the doors started opening one after the other.  With the wind in my sails and Jesus by my side I decided to get started at Nazarene Bible College and am currently working towards a Bachelors in Pastoral Ministries.
My hobbies include Ninjutsu, fishing, reading, movies, and just about anything that involves spending time together as a family.  I am currently serving as Assistant Pastor at Livingston First Church of the Nazarene in Livingston, Texas where we are in the midst of launching a new Celebrate Recovery Ministry (www.celebraterecovery.com).
Our family focus right now is to remain in God’s presence each day and be open to His direction with regard to His plans for our future.