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Harvey and Cookie Bennett

Retired Missionaries to Texas/Mexico Border Ministries
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, November 2011

With skills ranging from music, photography, nursing, teaching, and farming, Harvey and Cookie Bennett were a power team for Jesus Christ during their 30 years of service with WGM.

Harvey and Cookie were both born and raised in rural Illinois. They met at a church revival service and were married in 1968. Cookie had earned a degree in nursing and supported Harvey as he completed his degree in vocational agriculture. Although Cookie had been called to missions at age 16, Harvey remained uncertain about his own call, even after a missions trip to Bolivia in 1971. God continued to work in his heart.

“When I truly gave my heart over to God, that’s when He called me,” said Harvey. They attended Vennard College (Iowa) for Bible training, and in 1975, they were accepted as missionaries to Honduras by World Gospel Mission. In 1976, they headed to language school in Costa Rica. They had two small children at the time, Peter and Betsy; Andrew and Jamie would join the family later.

After language school, they moved to at Escuela El Sembrador in Honduras, where Cookie was the school nurse and Harvey taught practical farming to the students. During their second term, they were based in the then-rustic village of Talanga, where they served in village evangelism. Although those years saw some difficulties, like having to send their children away to boarding school, they were thrilled to see people coming to know Jesus. “It was an incredibly fruitful ministry,” Harvey said. Harvey served as field director during their last term, and Cookie traveled throughout Honduras with fellow missionary Sharon Hawk to teach Christian education workshops.

Returning to the U.S. in 1988, Harvey worked in WGM’s Men With Vision Department. In addition to traveling across the U.S. speaking to groups and churches about Men With Vision, Harvey participated in work teams to various fields and served as photographer with the Media Department. He also used his musical gifts in this ministry, even recording at Gaither Studios.

“As I look back at those years working with men who wanted to accomplish something real for the Lord, I think of the verse from James: ‘faith without works is dead,’” said Harvey. “It was a privilege and an honor to be a part of that.”

Harvey and Cookie returned to the mission field to serve on the Texas/Mexico border before retiring in 2005. They moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where Harvey worked as a professional photographer and Cookie worked as a nurse in a juvenile detention facility. In 2010, they moved back to Harvey’s family home in Sumner, Illinois. They have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and getting involved in Harvey’s home church, Buelah United Methodist Church. Although they are retired, they still look for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with those who need Him.

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