Leah Bening, longtime international coordinator at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) Center at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, died January 19. She was engaged in student ministry leadership for over three decades. Bening was a member of Christ Church in Carbondale.
“I worked with her for the last five years and she was very encouraging to me,” said Brandon McNeely, BCM ministry director at SIU-Carbondale. “She did a very good job of loving on students and was genuinely interested in them.”
Former IBSA collegiate evangelism strategist Chase Abner posted on Facebook about Bening’s ministry, noting, “She maintained a platform that allowed people from all over the world to make friends, practice their English, share food, and experience the love of Jesus.”
Bening was much loved by students, who left tributes on her Facebook page.
Maria shared it had been six years since she left Carbondale, but her memories of Leah remained strong. “Leah, there is NO word that can express our gratitude to your loving soul, kind heart, relentless disposition to serve others…” she wrote. “For you, everyone was a child of God who deserved to be treated with respect, understanding, and to know the unconditional love of Christ.”
Jorge wrote, “Thank you for your friendship and generosity towards all of us (international students). You were the definition of a good Samaritan. Thank you for leading by example. Enjoy in his presence now.”