Story by Jo-Ann Jennings found in

Bixby’s 13-year old Matt Benjamin recently finished a half marathon, winning more than just a medal. He had raised $27,000, more than needed to build an orphanage in Uganda. He’s on to another race next week, and then it’s time to determine what his next project will be. His long time mission goal is to become a doctor.

Backtracking to 2007, Craig and Amy Bays, Tulsa, started Bless the Children Ministries in a small village of Uganda, Africa, which now serves over 150 orphans and has developed into a full community development project.  Last summer Matt went on a mission trip to serve with this ministry, spending almost two weeks among young orphans. As the week progressed, these children became more than orphans to Matt; they became his friends with names such as Paul, John, and Cramer.

It didn’t take long for Matt to realize his friends were sleeping alone on the dirt floor in a local church; they didn’t have parents, a home, or anybody to love them. They were outcasts in their community; but he believed he could change that. So Matt decided to try to help the children get a home by raising money as he prepared for and ran a half-marathon. His goal was to raise $20,000 to complete an orphan home for 20 children.

Matt said recently during an interview that even before he traveled to Uganda himself, he was touched by the stories brought back by the Bays family. After careful prayer, he decided to sponsor a child on his on. He saved his money all summer, and in the fall started giving $36 a month to the ministry which provided everything his adopted orphan, Paul Kato, needed. “I felt led to go on a mission trip then,” Matt said, adding that he prayed more about it before making his final decision.

Matt’s father Matthew said…

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