You know that thing they say on the radio, the part where they stop in the middle of a conversation and say.

“If you are just joining us today, our guest is, Bla Bla Bla, and we are talking about the journey from bla bla bla to bla bla bla.”

 

And thats when they go back to the show like nothing ever happened.

Its starting to feel like time for one of those posts, one where we fill in the blanks for those who don’t know the whole story or why it is that we feel as a family that we are committed to going back to Ethiopia to care for orphans.

So here goes;  If you are just joining with us today…..

 

My name is Levi Benkert, and I have a superhero of a wife who is one of those people will live just about anywhere in the world, she has this knack for making even the smallest, dingiest of hotel rooms feel like home. Her’s is a  “No hot water, no problem. Who needs it anyway?” attitude.  And even though she cringes every time she hears me talking about her like this; Its the truth so I have to just say it like it is, and because I know that without this we really would not even be considering moving our family to somewhere like Ethiopia.

This wonderful wife and I have four children together. The oldest two are biological, and the youngest two are adopted.  One through a local adoption in California and the youngest is from a tribe in the deep south of Ethiopia, we adopted her while working there with an orphanage that was set up to rescue children from and evil tribal superstition called Mingi.  A custom in the tribes where certain children were killed because of an ancient belief that some children would bring a curse on the tribe if left to live.

 

For two years we worked with Drawn From Water, an orphanage in the south of Ethiopia where we poured our hearts and life into rescuing and providing for the children who had been deemed Mingi.

During that time a rift developed with the local staff regarding the use of funds and how oversight would be provided.  It broke our hearts, tore us to pieces, but the local group we were working with decided to remove us from the work with the kids and go elsewhere for support.

After this we went through a period of mourning, trying everything we could to find a way to get back in and work with these tribes, but after much prayer and grief we came to grips with the fact that our time of productivity with this particular need had come to an end.

It became clear that God was moving our family on and that we needed to allow this to happen despite being very hard. This transition was painful to an immeasurable degree, yet at the same time we felt peace that it was right.

We began to ask God what he might have our family do next.  Should we move back to California?  Should we continue to work with orphans? The questions were endless, and thus the season of seeking began for us.

For about a month we dug deep into the heart of God, asking him what he was planning for us, what we might be called to. One theme came up, one persistent core value rose to the surface of our conversations time and time again.

We felt that each and every one of us, each Christian on this earth, was made for more.  We were called to something bigger, together we make up God’s plan to change the world we live in.  The revelation we had was simply this, made for more.

But what do we do with that?  Made for more.  Yes.  But more what?  The answer for each of us is different.

 

For our family the answer to that question is orphan care, we are supposed to give our lives to helping orphans have hope and a future.

We started work on a plan to help not only orphans but widows as well.  We began crafting a structure that would both provide good education and livelihood to the orphans we will take in, but jobs and economic stability for the neighborhoods we enter.

 

But there was something more still, another aspect of this whole plan that we were missing.   We again went back to prayer, seeking out what more we needed to make this work.

We finally found it.  Bring Love In is a community, not a program or an organization, but a community.  One that spans the oceans, stretches across borders and builds bonds between people from all walks of life.

 

A community that gives more than it takes.

A community of widows who are stepping in and giving their lives to raising children who are not their own.

A community of Christians around the world who are rising to meet the needs of the orphans who are crying out to be loved.

A community of selfless givers who are participating in providing resources to build thousands of widow led homes for orphans.

 

With these revelations in place we were finally able to sum up the calling we felt led to;

Bring Love In is…..

A community of people across the world who are working together to bring love in to the orphans and widows of Ethiopia.

Responding to the biblical call that each of us are made for more.

Will you rise up and be a part of the community?  You are wanted here.

 

And so here we are today. I am a man, humbled to be called by God, blessed to have a wife and four children who are crazy enough to embark on this journey, driven by a passionate love to do what we can to help the widows and orphans in their distress.  Passionate about building a simple community, one that will grow and thrive, hopefully one day taking in thousands if not millions of orphans and widows around the world and giving hope in place of despair.

We are in California for the next 4 and a half weeks, getting things ready, lining everything up, praying for grace, and asking God to move in the area of finances.

At the end of this whirlwind of activity we will be moving back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we will, with your help, start a program to place as many of the orphaned children in Ethiopia as we can into loving homes, homes led by women who were once widowed and left to fend for themselves in a country torn by centuries of economic and social struggles.

We will train these women and give them the resources they need to in turn train up future leaders and help them transform their culture for Him.

Because we believe that not only were we made for more, but these children as well.  Each of them, no matter where they may be was made for more.  We are part of a community who is here to bring love in, to give hope and the opportunity to thrive.

 

And there you have it.  The journey so far.  But before we go back to our normal programing, I have to ask you one question….

 

Will you rise up and be a part of the community?  You are wanted here.

 

Levi

 

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