Contemplating on the main objective of my main blog, I realized that I rarely publish book reviews. Curly Bookworm was conceptualized and conceived on August 2011. While having a quest with insurmountable queries of life during our family’s great crucibles, I found most of my comfort reading the Holy Writ and inspirational books. But naturally, I love books, and as much as I’m obsessed with reading, I’m fascinated and fond of writing and blogging.
When at times, friends aren’t enough to share burdens with, instead of sulking, I would spill my thoughts on the blogosphere. But of course, when answers to life’s trying trials and questions aren’t enough, there is Jesus. He is more than just an answer to my prayer. I have kept a journal as well to savor sanity.
Confessions of a Bookaholic
I have bad habits to confess. I don’t know if many of bookworms out there can relate. As much as I want to hoard books for good reasons, often I compromise with ‘tsundoku’. Even tight of budget, if I would wander in a book store, especially with a book sale, I would end up buying books and later on wonder if it’s really a need. “Buy the NEEDS, not WANTS” I would always remind myself, but most of the times rationalize when the charm of books would take their spell.
While I wanted to uproot my old and bad habits, I am grateful that God inspired me some ways to replace them. Negative thoughts can only be overcome with positive ones, and so bad habits are replaced with good ones.
Thus actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by the character our destiny for time and for eternity is decided. Christ’s Object Lesson, p.356
For several months, my new acquired books from a book sale (I occasionally buy 4-10 books on sale, 1-2 books on regular) have stood unmoved on the bookshelf, teasing me as they gather dusts. I would sometimes skim and scan them. But there are times, I would read books and don’t stop until I devoured the last page. No matter how blessed or entertained I am, I would think of blogging a review; then procrastination kills the initiative. No wonder you wouldn’t find much here. But I’ve written memoirs and musings. My life has been an open book after all.
No Greater Love
I skimmed and scanned them at the book sale. Having the aspiration to help establish and run an orphanage some day, I was thrilled to have found “No Greater Love” and “In a Heartbeat.” They are wonderful books about unconditional love and the memoirs about adopting African and Afro-American kids, and yeah, about orphanage! So, without an ‘if’, I secured them.
But they’ve waited long enough on my bookshelf. I started reading “In a Heartbeat” last week, but when I am at the middle, I started reading “No Greater Love” and I didn’t stop until I finish the latter. Actually, my sister Zola read “No Greater Love” first. I’ve focus more on this life-changing book. I’ll tell about the other book next review.
Throughout the roller-coaster ride of emotions, vividly imagining the thrill, triumph, tears and trials of Benkert’s sojourn at Ethiopia, which are unfathomable, I reflected on my own life’s purpose. I tried to fit my feet in the missionary couples’ shoes, but I know I would never fully understand until I go to Ethiopia and experience their plight. To leave all things behind and be out of comfort zone to face the challenges of the unknown, has been the great leap of faith which Levi and Jessie Benkert. They’re unsung heroes, they are selfless champions for children. I believe, they were called to be world changers, and with God by their side, they turned the world of ‘mingi’ kids upside down, and so the orphans and widows of Addis, Ababa.
As much as I want to spill the beans, and to spoil the reader, I want this book review to be enticing. I wouldn’t. I personally challenge you guys to grab a copy of “No Greater Love” (check it out in their website) or be part of my challenge: book channeling. This one is too precious to be missed. Imagine a mysterious and ancestral practice of parents killing their own babies with the fear for superstitious beliefs of spirits getting angry at them if they keep their baby born out of wedlock, or if they conceive a child without telling the tribal elders beforehand. Or worse, if the baby’s top teeth grow first instead of the bottom teeth. They call the babies with such circumstances, ‘mingi’ (cursed). If they keep the baby alive, living in their village, the Kara tribe believed for generations that it can drive the spirits to fury. As a consequence, the spirits might kill all their family, causing disasters like drought and plagues, to name a few. That kind of practice was drastically discovered and stopped, through God’s miraculous working and providence. They had a great role in the lives of the ‘mingi’ kids and tribes of Jinka.
Who would have thought that God can use a MESS and turn it into a MESSAGE! Levi’s life was totally in a mess, especially financially and spiritually, before God called him to serve full-time with his family in Ethiopia, rescuing mingi kids. But the Living Messenger had done a great deal in his life. I can relate in some lil’ ways. When our family was in the fiery furnace of tribulation, the pain of losing three family members in quick succession was too much to bear. But then, we’ve received the best spiritual gains despite our great loss. Our trials turned out to be triumph. I was inspired to write a tribute to my late father, “Pain: A Blessing Not Everyone Appreciates” and testimony about my late older sister and younger brother, “When SOON Lingers”.
“No Greater Love” is truly a wonderful testimony of God’s redemptive discipline, God’s rescue and His wondrous grace. The book was not just well-written by Candy Churd. Behind its process was a Divine Wordsmith who carefully and creatively guided the gifted hands. This life-transforming story should be channeled to many people.
Words can change. The WORD changes, yet His love knows no change. (John 1:1-4, John 3:16). I praise the LOVE that makes me whole again – No Greater Love indeed!
Kindly read the news re mingi children and their rescue: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/05/world/africa/mingi-ethiopia/
Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God measures more with how much love one worketh, than the amount he doeth. ~ Ellen G. White
Bring Love In
The Benkert’s high hope to establish not just an orphanage, but a community of loving people (orphans, widows, less fortunate, collaborating with missionaries and sponsors) was finally made into a reality. I was thrilled browsing the website! I had a regret of not having it read or discovered earlier. But God has a perfect timing! So true with “Bring Love In” as well.
“Bring Love In is a community (not just an organization) that exists to show the love of God by giving families to children who have none. We are based out of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where we couple orphans who are given to us by local authorities, and widows from within local Christian church communities, to create new forever families here in Ethiopia.” ~ Levi & Jessie
Check their website: http://bringlove.in/about/
Yesterday, after feasting on the last page of the book, I was moved to utter a sincere prayer of empowering my eye of faith so I could be more sensitive in helping others, especially those beyond my reach. I let go of some emotions that I’ve been harboring on the past months, struggling with the reality, my identity and ministry. I thought my tear ducts were drained already then, but a good cry is healthy.
I was a missionary for many years then, and I always wanted to be one. “You don’t need to go across the sea to be a missionary” was the lyrics from the song, my youngest brother used to sing then. That’s so true! I dreamed of going to Africa, Cambodia or India, to be a medical missionary or missionary teacher there. I still don’t let go of that aspiration. But how can I be a missionary in a faraway place if I don’t live by it at home and within the sphere of my influence? Yesteryears have a history. My future would be more of HIStory.
Inspired by the efforts of Levi and Jessie Benkert, I wanted to adopt the inspiration to ‘bring love in’ wherever I go. Be a missionary anywhere, everywhere. Nothing is impossible as long as self is submitted to Christ.
I’ve enjoyed publishing ministry during high school years, and I have always believed in the power of printed pages. With this in mind, I’m moved to have a book challenge (especially for myself): to share to as much as many people I can about a book that made a lasting impact in my life. My vision is to inspire people to read memoirs of unsung heroes, exceptional people like the Benkert family. To transpire the blessing of being changed for the better. Those who are willing to join the challenge could be a channel of change.
- Share a wonderful book by lending it for a specific period of time (at least a week).
- The next person would lend it to the person who is willing to read it. It would be tracked (then goes the same cycle).
For example: I finished reading NO GREATER LOVE. The first 10 people who would e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Bookworm Challenge: Book Channeling) with the intention to join the challenge will be accommodated. Let’s consider extending the list later.
- This chain of book channeling would create a bond among readers, passing the book to one another, until it return to me.
- A personal book review is encouraged to be done. I will feature it here in my blog as a part of the series about this book challenge.
- It isn’t compulsory, but I encourage you to donate to BRING LOVE IN, or encourage others to do so by sharing this blog post. Learn about donation and how to donate: http://bringlove.in/needs/
Book Channeling: A Book Travel
Literally, the book travels too as the bookworm pass the book for challenge to another bookworm. So let’s see how far “No Greater Love” could go and how far its influence could reach. You can also do the same challenge, choosing a wonderful memoir or inspirational book. Just follow my steps: make a book review, encourage readers to join the challenge, lend the book and let it travel. Certainly, we could create a book club with a cause.
I found out a greater purpose for my blog. I would be glad if you’re willing to join force; so together, we could change the world, one bookworm and blogger at a time.
Find out my first step to financially help “Bring Love In”. Bookworm Craze: Curly Bookworm’s books on sale. (Click the title to read about the book sale). The proceeds will go to this wonderful organization. I’m saving a particular amount to donate. This could be small to jump start. But great things start from small beginnings right? Any creative idea to share how to raise funds for the orphans and widows? You can leave a comment, or write an e-mail to me: email@example.com (subject: Creative Ideas for Bring Love In).
If you aren’t a subscriber yet to this blog, I encourage you to enlist at the bottom left corner of this blog for you to keep updated.
Let’s keep the book rolling. Join the Bookworm Challenge!
© 2015 LAF
Note: Photos credit to Levi Benkert, CNN and Google. Videos credit to (Bring Love In) YouTube and Vimeo . This blog has a copyright . The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.