The 26-year-old lives as a missionary in Sydney with the Culture Project Australia. The Culture Project is a movement of young people who want to help “restore our culture to one where the only proper response to another human being is to treat them with love”.
Benedict sees this as an important mission.
“So many of the people we encounter do not know what real love is, or have never seen it in their own lives,” he said. “And if they do not know what love is, how can they know God, who is Love?”
Benedict joined the Culture Project because he saw a real need in Australia.
“People don't actually know their own worth or have often not received real love in their own lives,” he said. “And so, I really felt passionate about answering the call to make visible the invisible, because love isn’t just a word. We're called to actually show love to others, to embody that in our actions.”
During his first year as a full-time missionary, the group gave presentations to thousands of young people in schools, universities, camps and conferences about the dignity of the human person and the call to authentic, sacrificial love in healthy relationships. It also did outreach to the Gold Coast during Schoolies.
Schoolies outreach had the group speaking to people on the beach, sharing the message that they are always worth love, no matter what. Their conversations included sharing stories of how they had seen real love in action, and encouraging those they spoke to that they are capable of authentic love and of greatness.
To begin conversations, one member of the team of 23 young adults who took part in outreach with The Culture Project, Tim, used his talent of drawing portraits of people.
“While Tim was drawing them, his teammate would share with them stories about love and ask them questions,” Benedict said. “While drawing them he noticed how engaged their faces were, so clearly the people listening were paying attention to the messages and stories being shared with them.
“He would also write a note at the bottom of their portraits such as ‘You are worth love’, or ‘You are capable of greatness’. I'm sure these portraits would be treasured by those who received them and remind them of the conversation about love and their worth.”
Benedict is about to begin his second year as a missionary, deciding to return after he “learnt how to receive”.
“I received so much myself,” he said. “I grew so much. I want to be able to give what I have received in another year of mission.”
Benedict will be speaking this Monday night 3 February at Pints With A Purpose, 6.30pm, at the Northern Star, Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Come along to hear Benedict share his thoughts about love and how we can live that out in his talk: "Where is the LOVE?".