Tag Archives: Africa

A Fire-Eater Sat on my Lap . . .

Well, we head out again tomorrow. This time to Texas, then from there driving to PA through a series of pit-stops. Should be lots of fun!! We’re excited. But, in the midst of all of this, I have realized that my aspirations of posting regularly and of good quality have not been coming true. I’m not sure if it is due to lack of time or motivation, or just not feeling like I have much worth writing about at the moment. Whatever it is . . . it is.

I do however have a short story to share with you. I had planned to share it on Friday, but then I posted a review for Tyndale on Friday, and I started realizing that even with some stretching my story wasn’t going to be very long. So, here it is.

Basically, a fire-eater sat on my lap and ate fire.

That’s the gist of it. We were enjoying an awesome cultural evening during our time in Senegal which was complete with traditional music and dancing. Then, all of the sudden, out comes a fire-eater (which I have only ever heard tell of and have never witnessed before). He began with some dancing with fire, then a little bit of blowing fire, then rubbing fire up and down his arms and legs. My teammate got to hold his little bowl of coals while he was doing something early on in his show, and I thought to myself “Wow, cool, she got to be a part of his show!” (read: a little jealous).

Next thing, Mr. Fire-eater has two long sticks with what looks like flaming marshmallows on the ends (but, they weren’t marshmallows, just for the record.) He dances around a little and then goes and sits on some lady and starts eating the flaming things off of the stick. Then . . . next thing I know . . . he is sitting on MY lap, eating flaming things off of his stick! So, please, any of you with similar experiences – what reaction does this warrant? I was not completely sure what to do, but I guess that was okay, because sitting there looking terrified seemed to be sufficient.

Jealousy was gone. A little bit of awkward giggliness was in its place. But it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.

No Greater Love by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand: Review

Business wasn’t going well in America, and an opportunity arose right before his eyes that he could not say no to. He boarded a plane and went on a short trip to Ethiopia to help with a project of saving children that had been left to die because they were believed to be cursed. These children are called mingi children and they may be condemned to die for a number of reasons. Levi worked with the newborn orphanage for these children for just a few short weeks, but he knew there was no way he could go home and forget the children he had seen in Ethiopia, and the hopelessness that was their lives. Once he arrived back in America, he began the process of shutting down his business and packing up his wife and three children to move to Ethiopia.

Levi and his family made it to Jinka, Ethiopia, and they began working with the mingi children by providing funding and management for the new orphanage. Most things were done by Ethiopians, but Levi and his wife Jessie provided a lot of brainstorming and implemented a lot of changes to help benefit the children living in the orphanage. No Greater Love walks you through the joys and trials that Levi and his family faced during their years in Ethiopia. There were great excitements as they saw children rescued and given new hope, and there were deep sorrows when adoptions fell through and the tribal elders tried to shut down the work that was happening.

This is a book you should read. Levi recounts the years in Ethiopia very candidly and does not hide the difficulties that he struggled with or the despair that he felt. This is a real man with a real family that was doing a real work for God. He did not make the right decision every time, but he didn’t hide that. He took the failures that he experienced and he let God use them for His glory. Christians are called to glorify God, through their lives, through advancing the Gospel, through loving our neighbors. This book will challenge you to think through what you are doing presently to glorify God. How are you demonstrating love, and who are you picturing Jesus to? To be completely honest with you, I was caught up in the details of this story, for I am captivated by the story of adoption, and I cannot comment much on the literary qualities of the book. The book is written in a very conversational manner, and it is as though you are sitting down to coffee with Levi and hearing about how God has changed his life and challenged his faith in Ethiopia. I do recommend that if you are interested at all in what God is doing in the world at large, you should read this book. God is alive and offering hope to children around the world.


I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.