Advance Magazine
Fall 2022

Class of 2022: Benjamin & Jennifer Stilwell

Ministry: Peru

Sending Church: North Baptist Church—Flint, Michigan

Children: Four foster children, seeking to adopt two of them

Worship isn’t just music, prayer, or reading your Bible” says Ben. “It’s a heart fully devoted to God.” Ben and Jenn are passionate about cultivating whole-life worship in the hearts of those God has called them to serve in Peru. But their ministry won’t start in Peru. The Stilwells are already cultivating a worship mindset in their sending church, where Ben serves as associate pastor of music and Christian education.

In reality, Ben and Jenn’s ministry began even earlier, in their childhoods. Their parents made family devotions the nucleus of their home life. Like nutritious food eaten daily, God’s Word fed Ben and Jenn’s spiritual growth and made them hungry for more. Their parents also ensured that their development included the exercise of serving at church. There was plenty of that, with the Stilwells growing up as the children of BMM missionaries David and Kandie Stilwell (Peru) and Mark and Anita
Swedberg (Brazil). There was no martyr mentality allowed, according to Jenn. “You served in church, you folded the bulletins, handed out hymn books, and later taught Sunday School or led songs. We counted it a privilege not a loss.”

With hearts fully devoted to God, Ben and Jenn wanted to do nothing more than to serve Him. They studied sacred music in college where they each prepared for a future in missions. Jenn added a master’s degree in piano pedagogy, and Ben is completing a master’s in theology. God has directed them toward equipping the Peruvian church through discipleship and Bible college teaching. Ben has already spent a year teaching at the Peru Baptist Seminary in Trujillo. In Brazil, he recently taught a module on the Psalms.

As the Stilwells raise their foster children, they are modeling worship through family devotions. The kids’ ages range from two to ten, and they love devotions. It’s been a grounding influence for them, and at least one and possibly two of their older boys have been saved. Ben and Jenn are especially thankful for these boys’ desire to receive the Lord before they are reunited with their biological parents.

As Ben and Jenn serve full-time in Peru, they will model what they are showing their boys as they teach church families to live out lives fully devoted to God—the magnificent end-goal of missions.

Fall22 Stilwell PI
Relationship building in Peru

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