Fast Facts about Linda Bensen & Cathy Cepican
Who do you plan for?
Linda Bensen and Cathy Cepican plan for Trinity Travelers, the travel group at Trinity Lutheran Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois
What is your favorite Bible verse?
Bensen and Cepican say Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite Scripture they have in mind when planning and traveling.
Where are you from?
Cepican hails from Oak Lawn, a Chicago suburb, and Bensen has lived there for nearly 50 years.
What is your favorite Destination?
Cepican’s favorite destination is North Carolina for its scenic beauty; Bensen likes the Carolinas, too, but said Scandinavia is at the top of her list.
What are your hobbies?
Bensen enjoys gardening and sewing; Cepican’s hands are full leading the church’s preschool and spending time with her grandchildren.
Travel at the Trinity Lutheran Church used to be just for the youngsters. Linda Bensen started at the church planning annual trips for the high school group, but after leading a camp trip she found out the camp also offered a program for senior citizens. The next year, she planned her first adult trip, and the Trinity Travelers got its start.
“It kind of grew from that, and people began to look forward to the trips,” said Bensen.
Cathy Cepican joined the church’s staff 34 years ago and helped Bensen in planning trips; the two have been a dynamic duo ever since. The travel program has now grown to include all ages and enjoys two extended trips and six to eight day trips every year.
While on each trip, the travelers incorporate their faith in a variety of ways. The group members share meals, fellowship time and, at some destinations, mission experiences or service projects. And every day starts with a prayer and a devotional, whether it’s the youth group or the adults on the trip.
“It’s easy for us to do that because a lot of the devotions are on the bus,” Cepican said. “We can see so much of the country that God has made and talk about it.”
The women say what sets their trips apart, though, is the extensive planning and level of detail they incorporate into their trips.
“We do a lot of research so that we’re staying in nice places, eating in good restaurants, and the activities we do are well thought out,” said Bensen. “We also do a lot of prayer while we’re planning, and if there’s a choice, then we let the Holy Spirit decide.”
Another big help to their planning is the annual Going On Faith Conference. Both Bensen and Cepican are regular attendees and say that the ideas they’ve gathered there have been an immense help to them.
“We go to the conference and may not know what [our next] mystery trip will be, but we get so many ideas and can walk away with the trip already planned,” said Cepican.
- Attend the Going On Faith Conference.
- Do your research. Fill trips with great experiences and well-thought-out activities. This creates all-inclusive trips that are easier for travelers.
- Do evaluations. This gives valuable feedback while it’s fresh in the minds of your travelers and generates ideas for upcoming trips.