Faith & Service

Ministry leader is on mission across the globe, supporting persecuted Christians

June 21, 2021

Brother Bennie (’11) is president of Alpha Ministries based in Lynchburg, Va., and a global speaker for Voice of the Martyrs.

As the president of Alpha Ministries, based in Lynchburg, Va., and a global speaker for Voice of the Martyrs, Brother Bennie (’11) has made it his life’s mission to empower persecuted Christians around the world. However, it wasn’t until God answered his prayers to have a child and until he responded to a letter from Liberty University founder Dr. Jerry Falwell that he saw this path for his life.
Bennie’s father, the late Pastor Mathews Cherian, founded Alpha Ministries in 1963 in his home region of India that was only 1% Christian. His father didn’t have much support, financially or otherwise, for his church planting efforts. The family of eight shared two 10-by-10 rooms.
“My father lived by faith without support from family or any affiliation,” Bennie said. “It was a harsh life for us. Most days there were five hungry boys, and neighbors mocked our religion and condition.”
Growing up, Bennie didn’t have an interest in evangelism or joining his father’s ministry. Citing the American Dream, Bennie moved to New York to begin a career in healthcare and soon married his wife, Lina. They sought to begin their own family in America but were unable to conceive. They visited specialists and still hadn’t found their answer until they walked into church one Sunday and heard a sermon on Matthew leaving his work as a tax collector to follow Christ.
“That day I said, ‘God, my mom always wanted me to serve (you) and I’ve been putting it off, but it’s not my will but yours that will be done, and I am going to serve you,’” Bennie said. “I asked my wife if she’d be willing to leave everything to serve God, and she said, ‘I’ll do anything if God blesses us with a child.’”
The following year, Lina gave birth. They named their daughter Faith-Hannah, after Hannah in the Bible who prayed and promised to devote her life to God if He gave her a child. The couple went on to have two more children, Ben-Israel and Joy-Ruth.
One day Bennie received a letter from Dr. Falwell offering a scholarship for anyone willing to move to Lynchburg.

Bennie and his family at his Liberty University graduation ceremony in 2011

“In America, nothing is free. Everything has a catch to it. But there was no catch to this,” Bennie laughed. “I prayed and saw it as God’s providence, so I shared it with my wife, and she didn’t hesitate to say, ‘Let’s go,’ so we moved to Lynchburg in 1995.”
Bennie would go on to study in what is now known as the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, coming under the mentorship of the late Dr. Harold Willmington. He studied at Liberty for a year and a half before he became heavily involved in his father’s ministry and eventually completed his biblical studies degree through Liberty’s online program.
Even though he didn’t spend much time on campus, Bennie said the relationships he built there have helped shape his ongoing ministry.
“(Studying at Liberty) was the first time I learned how to investigate the Word of God and glean from it,” he said. “I was inspired to study more, through (Liberty co-founder) Dr. Elmer Towns’ books. And we translated a lot of teaching material of Dr. Ed Hindson for our Bible Institute training. God opened a new world of prayer, church planting, and evangelism through my studies. That time of learning has been engraved in my heart because God opened doors for this big investment in my life. And now that investment has multiplied a thousand-fold through my conversations with others.”
“I am living in the shadow of Liberty Mountain because of Dr. Falwell,” he added. “Dr. Falwell’s acceptance and warmth toward servants of God was remarkable. Ever since I came here, I have been blessed with the greatest privilege to go around the world and strengthen the hands of those who are being persecuted for the Gospel.”
Since its founding, Alpha Ministries has trained 47,262 leaders across Asia and Africa, distributed 500,000 Bibles, dug 93 wells that provide clean water to 4,600 families, and built 155 prayer centers where over 30,000 believers worship. During the pandemic, they have also supported 29,000 families in Burma, Bangladesh, Nepal, and beyond with relief kits. Liberty has partnered with Alpha Ministries for overseas trips, most recently in 2015 with a medical trip to South Asia.
The hardships that Bennie’s father faced in the mission field and Bennie’s own path to ministry are documented in his book, “My Father’s Business,” available on (Members of the Liberty family can use coupon code LU1971.)

Bennie (in black) traveled with a group of Liberty University students on a medical trip to South Asia in 2015.

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