Pay It Forward
Dr. Richard Bendall started his journey on this earth in a simple manner. Richard was raised on a farm in rural Virginia with his parents and 12 siblings. As you can imagine, things were different then…people worked hard for the food on their table and generally opportunities for a life away from the farm were challenging to say the least. One thing Richard had through his early life though was the foundation of God, family, hard work and a desire in his heart to serve his God and serve others.
Initially, Richard’s dreams included going to medical school, becoming a doctor and helping others as an extension of the Great Physician Jesus Christ. Life is funny though…God had a different plan for Richard Bendall. God set Richard on a path of serving others not as a physician, but through a series of career opportunities that eventually touched a broader audience than Richard could have ever imagined. This road was not easy. As with many of us, the road to victory through Christ is paved with detours and roadblocks that require faith to maneuver. Richard was no different…there were points throughout his life that would challenge anyone’s faith…but Richard persisted and believed his objectives would be fulfilled. Through this faith, God provided the opportunities for Richard to secure a Christian education at a time when money was tight.
While attending a boarding academy, Richard ran out of funds for school. As a young man trying to support himself and get an education, he was devastated when he was called to the treasurer’s office. The treasurer told him he should write home and ask his father to help him with his school fees. Richard said that was impossible for him to do. When the treasurer asked why, Richard explained that he was one of 13 children and his father did not have the money to send him to school, so there was no need to even ask. The treasurer told him the bill must be paid and sent him on his way. Soon Richard was asked to come to the treasurer’s office for another meeting. He knew this meant he would be sent home, so he packed his bags and brought them with him to the meeting. The treasurer asked if he had written to his father for help with his school fees. Richard replied that he had not because his father had no money, but that he was ready to go home and his bag was packed. The treasurer then told him he had good news for him. That morning when he arrived at his office, there was an envelope pushed under the door. The note in the envelope said to apply this to Richard Bendall’s account. Richard asked how much money had been applied to his account and the treasurer replied that it was PAID IN FULL.
This experience made such a lasting impression on Richard and he spent the rest of his life paying it forward – helping young people obtain the education they so desperately wanted or needed. He knew the struggles of not being able to afford an education, and he wanted to help a young person just like someone had helped him. He wanted to pay it forward to another person and for them to help someone else obtain their education, creating a chain of people helping the next generation over and over again. Thus, he would leave a legacy of people helping others for eternity.
As a young professional, Richard became a high school and college educator and quickly realized his mission in life was more than being a teacher – it was not only serving God as an educator but helping young people to find Christ through his influence and guidance. God led Richard through distinctive career opportunities that truly maximized his ability to serve Christ. Richard was a youth temperance leader, youth summer camp director, high school principal and finally a church leader/administrator at the regional and national level. Throughout all these opportunities Richard always remained cognizant of God’s plan, and in each and every role he assisted others in their spiritual and educational goals.
Eventually, through several decades of serving others needs in education and faith, Richard retired. But you have to realize that for Richard, “retired” could or should have been translated into “Second Career”. The truth is, Richard never accepted the status quo. Throughout his life he always sought additional enlightenment through avid reading and education, and he secured his doctorate in his “spare time”. As Richard found found himself thrust into this second phase of his life, he determined there was more he could do. As it turns out, Richard had more global interests at heart when he decided to found an organization called “World Health Services”. The mission of World Health Services would be to take God’s message to the ends of the earth by providing healthcareeducation and assistance to those in greater need.
Richard successfully transitioned into his second career continuing his mission of assisting others needs in Russia, China, Tanzania, Argentina, Ecuador, Greece and many other countries. Through the assistance of donors, healthcare professionals and other critical volunteers, Richard was able to bring God’s message and health education and assistance to thousands. This new mission is and has been highly successful in not only assisting these people in their spiritual and health needs, but the mission has extended into providing assistance in building health clinics, classrooms, churches and dormitories. The World Health Services missions have blessed the volunteers and donors of assistance in spreading God’s message and goodwill beyond our borders.
Richard tirelessly continued this important mission for as long as his body and God allowed. Unfortunately, in early August 2011, while on a mission to Bulgaria, Richard became ill and eventually succumbed to Lymphoma later that month, ending an extremely successful partnership serving God’s needs on this earth. If you had the privilege of knowing Richard Bendall, you must know that even though he was very ill, his focus even in the hospital was sharing God’s grace while planning which key initiatives needed to be served next by future World Health Services mission trips.
Even though wemiss Richard’s leadership, he left behind a group of dedicated and committed donors, volunteers and board members that are more energized than ever to continue the important work he began. We are blessed to have known Richard, and we are extremely thankful for those he has touched in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. We want you all to know our work and mission continues. There is no greater gift than assisting those in need, and through Christ all is possible.
“The world, and we who knew him, has lost a truly great man. Yet he lives on in our memory and through his influence on all who he touched, his legacy will be continued”.
– Wrink Shelton
“A Godly man who walked his talk…..daily”.
– Naomi Snowdy
“We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from him”.
– Linda Spencer (SVA 1964)
“Any life which touched his was blessed in every way — until the very end. I am so thankful his life touched mine”.
– Marilynn Smith (and Gary) Carpenter
“The world has a HUGE VOID right now, because he isn’t in it. What a lovely, generous, caring, selfless, and amazing man”.
– Tammy Taylor-Lake
“He left this world a better place and what a beautiful legacy, knowing of the untold numbers he touched and helped. I feel so lucky to have had the good fortune of knowing him and can most sincerely say his guidance and example made me a better person”.
– Kay Thornton-Parrish
“He is both a legacy and inspiration to our generation and the next”.
– Nilsa Johnson
“My experience in Chome, Tanzania with your mission team made a deep and lasting impression on my life and I am so very grateful”.
– Julie Whitacre Little
“I remember Elder Bendall as a trim, dapper man with an iron constitution. He could lead with his strength, or he could lead with his charisma, or any combination thereof. Formidable”.
– Buddy Siebenlist
If you would like to volunteer or contribute to future mission trips or would like more information about World Health Services, please contact: