No Greater Love: One man's radical journey through the heart of Ethiopia is a book written by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand. Levi was a young California entrepreneur, owning a real estate development company. Him and his wife, Jessie, had three children, Nickoli, Luella, and Ruth.
Levi was asked by a friend to fly to Ethiopia to help organize an orphanage for children destined to be murdered as part of a tribal superstition known as "mingi killings."
A child could be declared mingi for three reasons: if the parents are not married, if the parents do not announce to the elders in an elaborate ceremony that they intend to conceive, or if the child's top teeth come in before the bottom teeth. Once the infants or children are labeled mingi, they are murdered (often by placing dirt in their mouths and being left to suffocate) to protect the village from evil spirits. The elders teach that if the killings don't happen, the whole tribe will be harmed. It will not rain. Crops will fail. People will die. It is estimated that 1,000 children in Ethiopia were declared mingi every single year.
Moved by his friend's story, Levi flew to Ethiopia for a two-week trip to help his friend. The trip changed Levi. He came back to California, and within 6 weeks, he left his business, sold his home and belongings, and moved to Ethiopia with his wife and three children. They thought there had to be more to life than living the "American Dream".
The story goes on to share Levi's experiences in Ethiopia--rescuing mingi children, working with tribal leaders, running an orphanage, and finding adoptive homes for the children. Levi and Jessie adopt a baby girl, Everly (Edalawit).
I thought the book was an honest depiction of a selfless family that moves to a foreign country. It tells not only of triumphs and blessings, but it is often times a darker read, portraying the struggles each of them encounter--from adjusting to a new culture, to lack of food and water, to missing family and friends.
It is difficult to understand that child killings such as these are going on in our world today. It is easy to live our lives in a bubble of comfort and simplicity. But when the truth is exposed--when our eyes are opened--it is a lot more difficult to simply sit back, untouched.
If Levi's story is intriguing to you--buy the book. It is on sale at Amazon for $10. Beware: God will break your heart for what breaks His, and you may even consider doing something about it.