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             Monday, September 9 2002  

Where are they now? Kathy Benyack

Recent photos of Kathy Benyack.

Foreign service is the calling of this Jackson Township native, born August 31, 1952, to Joseph "Oak" Benyack (deceased 1966), and Betty Jean (Rummell) Benyack. Kathy is a sister to Eileen Hollibaugh, Martinsburg, W.Va.; Carol Sypolt, Prince Frederick, Md.; Sharon Feather, Seattle, Wa., and Donald of Vinco.

A 1970 graduate of Central Cambria High School, she is also a graduate of Washington Bible College, Lanham, Md., graduating in 1974 with an undergraduate degree in religious education. Deep religious faith and a desire to teach motivate this pleasant soft-spoken woman.

"Without God, there is no hope," she says with conviction. She is a member of Pike Grace Brethern Church in Mundys Corner and is affiliated with many area churches, with strong ties to Emmanuel Baptist Church in Johnstown. Of Slovak and German heritage, Kathy was raised in the Brethern faith of her mother.

"My grandfather and great-grandfather were ministers in the Brethern faith. I'm currently serving in the Middle East, and through my faith, I teach teenage girls. The culture is very family- and relationship-oriented, and the family ties are very strong. Elder family members are very highly respected...there are no nursing homes that I'm aware of." Although relationships are the basis of the culture, she is quick to point out, seldom is love the motivating factor in marriage...many marriages are arranged during childhood and teen years.

The expectations of their marriages are different because it is a man's society. The men handle the finances, make most decisions, and basically are in control. "It is the role of the wife and children to please the man, similar to what it was like in America fifty years ago...and the women bear the responsibility for family honor." In the middle Eastern culture, most women don't work full-time outside the home and childcare is provided by "Gidda"( grandmothers) or aunts, the father's sisters being called "Umti" and the mother's sisters are known as "Khaalti"...and because family honor is so important, manners are stressed.

In some ways the children are over-indulged, but if they misbehave, they are strongly disciplined. At social functions, the children are tended by a care-giver enabling the adults to socialize with each other. As a western woman living in a middle eastern culture, Kathy is quick to say, she must conform to the appropriate social mores regarding her appearance. That means no shorts, slacks, miniskirts, or low-cut bodices are allowed, and sleeves must cover the upper arms to the elbow.

"All women must dress so as not to draw attention to themselves, and some choose to wear, in public, the black veil of their religion." Oddly, though, make-up is not frowned upon and the women enjoy using it, especially for special occasions like weddings and graduations, where, incidentally, gold is the gift of choice and usually in the form of jewelry. "I am a western woman living in a middle eastern country, but not all of the middle east is in turmoil. Where I live, it is calm, and I don't fear for my safety, and I love middle eastern food. It is spicy, but not "hot," and it's prepared fresh daily using lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Meat—lamb, beef and chicken—is used as a condiment as opposed to being served as a main dish, and we have most fast food chains in case you get hungry for a burger."

She reports that excellent medical care is available and there are good doctors and modern health facilities. Although she loves her second home..."I miss Wal-Mart, pork products like bacon and sausage, and the ethnic foods of "home"...not to mention the green hills, the autumn colors, and of course family and friends."

In her spare time, she likes to read mysteries by author John Grishom and religious growth books by Max Lucado and Lucy Swindol. Memories of "home" include summer picnics on the family farm and Bible school. "I would go to Bible school at any church that was having it...I loved Vacation Bible School!

Anyone wishing to send greetings can send them to HRoses2@Peoplepc.com for forwarding..

If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy Rose.

19 Things That It Took Me 40-
Something Years to Learn
(end of series)

15. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.

16. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe we are above-average drivers.

17. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

18. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

19. Your friends know, but love you anyway.

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

I've learned that

...whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision;

...even when I have pains, I don't have to be one;

...every day, you should reach out and touch someone. People love that "human touch" --- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back;

...I still have a lot to learn. .

Sent by Sallie Covolo

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