June 28th, 2012


How far would you to go save the life of a child?

That was the question one Northern California couple, Levi and Jessie Benkert, had to answer in the winter of 2009 when a pastor invited Levi on a mission trip to help build an orphanage in remote Jinka, Ethiopia. Levi went—if only to escape the recent collapse of his real estate development company. What he discovered was a squalid hut housing nine children, all of whom had been rescued from being murdered by their own families due to of a little-known tribal custom.

After his short stay, Levi returned to his family, but he and Jessie soon packed up their three children—eight-year-old Nickoli, five-year-old Luella, and two-year-old Ruth—and moved to Ethiopia.

“No Greater Love, One Man’s Radical Journey Through the Heart of Ethiopia,” by Levi Benkert and co-written by Candy Chand, is a fast-paced story chronicling the family’s first two years in the country. While working to overcome their past, the Benkerts struggled to give the desperate children in their care a future.

Told in the first-person by Levi, the 234-page book, which was published by Tyndale in the spring of 2012, would make a great gift for guys who wouldn’t ordinarily pick up a “missionary story.”

As the daughter of a missionary and the mother of a child from Uganda, I could particularly relate to the author’s desire to use his life to “leave the world a better place than he’d found it.” However, although both Levi and Jessie had prior experience volunteering with orphans, I wondered at their qualifications and motivations for going.

Either way, they certainly endured tough times that would have sent most Americans packing, and I admired their self-sacrifice. What I found particularly astonishing was that this mom and dad were willing to bring their very young children to such a remote and potentially dangerous area.

The book leaves readers with plenty to ponder including the personal responsibility of Believers to lay down their lives to serve others.

A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher. To be entered into my drawing to win a free copy of “No Greater Love,” share this link with a friend on Facebook, and send me a message letting me know that you shared it. I’ll draw one name on July 1st. To be automatically entered in ALL my book giveaways, subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for sharing!