Distinctly, Wes Bentley heard God say to remain in a South Sudanese village after he contracted malaria and not fly out to seek help from a Western hospital.
As a result of his “foolhardy” obedience to the voice of God, two generals – one known as the Butcher of Sudan – came to know Christ.
“When I got sick, had I disobeyed the Lord and said I don’t want to be uncomfortable and gotten on that airplane and flown out, would these two men ever come to know Christ as their personal Savior?” Wes says on a Calvary Chapel Chino Hills video. “I doubt it.”
How did Wes Bentley go from being a high-flying salesman who dreamed of a Maserati to a high-risk missionary working in South Sudan for 26 years, supporting missionaries in 38 countries?
Originally, he was a U.S. Marines sharpshooter who gave up Olympics competition to kill people in Vietnam. Upon leaving the Marines, he wanted to become a soldier of fortune in Rhodesia, but God got ahold of his heart and redirected his steps.
Saved at Camp Pendleton, Wes was thrown in with the hippies of the Jesus Movement harnessed by Chuck Smith. For the clean-cut and disciplined Marine, it was strange to see hippies who bathed and he wondered at their sincere love for each other, a pure affection that manifested in ladies giving a guileless kiss on the cheek to the guys.
Instead of becoming a mercenary, Wes threw himself into business and was making a salary equivalent to $250,000 a year in today’s money, he says. All the other young guys had Porches, Rolls Royces and fancy cars, so Wes entertained the notion of getting himself a Maserati, which he could well afford.
Fortunately, he consulted a sister in the Lord who had a knack for prophetic revelations. Without him explaining what exactly he was contemplating, he requested she pray for him. After prayer, she said, “The answer is no and I again I say no.”
It probably wouldn’t have been a good idea to pull up in a Maserati at L.A.’s Skid row to hand out sandwiches to the homeless, a ministry he liked to participate in.
Through the years of ministry, Wes started to feel the missionary call for Russia, which after communism collapsed became open to the gospel for the first time in almost three-quarters of a century.
In Russia, Wes ministered mostly in the jails and packed theaters as people who were hungry for truth after being denied the Gospel by a series of repressive governments.
“Russia was my first love,” Wes says. “Russia was incredibly open to the gospel back then.”
It was in Russia that Wes fell in love with a Russian sister and nearly married her, had it not been for the unmistakable voice of God. At the time it seemed strange to tell the sister to not entertain romantic ideas toward him.
But years later when God called him to transfer his ministry to then war-torn South Sudan, it proved spot on. The sister confessed she wouldn’t have been willing to accompany him to the sweltering heat of the jungles of South Sudan. (There he married Vicky, who held 13 separate Bible weekly studies with South Sudanese women and served alongside Wes for 23 years,)
After five years in Russia, he moved to South Sudan, which gained its independence in 2011, making it the youngest internationally recognized nation in the world.
“Sudan is an extremely hot country. It’s not only hot, it’s very humid. You sleep out of exhaustion,” Wes says. “You don’t sleep because you’re comfortable. You literally sweat all night long.”
Heat is not the only thing to make you feel uncomfortable.
“When you’re out among the tribes, sometimes they bring you food that’s cooked and dead, and sometimes they bring you food that’s not dead,” Wes explains. One time, he and five visiting pastors from Calvary Chapels were brought live insects for dinner. The visiting pastors all felt called to “pray and fast” that night, Wes says.
Wes didn’t feel called to pray and fast. He dug in… Read the rest: Wes Bentley South Sudan