A Facebook friend asked for advice on a good read to end out her summer, so I thought I’d comment on my latest read, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis:Because I have been on two mission trips to Uganda, the opening tag on the inside cover grabbed my attention:
“With reckless abandon, Katie Davis followed her heart to care for orphans living in extreme poverty in Uganda.”
Katie was 18. Katie is now 22, living in Uganda, where she is in the process of adopting thirteen little girls and is the founder and director of Amazima, a ministry that reaches hundreds of other children in Uganda. It’s an amazing story, well-written and inspiring!
Uganda is a country that has been ravaged with AIDS. 49.9 % of the population is 15 and under. The average life expectancy is 53. [www.cia.gov] Seems hopeless, yet these are a people with bright smiles and generous hearts. After two visits to Uganda, I know first hand what it feels like to travel to a place far from home into a world filled with poverty, disease, and uncertainty. The children are beautiful and are anxious to meet us even though we come empty-handed. Our last trip was not a medical mission trip or an effort to ease the poverty. Our mission was to bring them knowledge and truth, with only a Bible and love– they brought us joy and purpose. Our 17-year-old son taught in their school while we led Bible conferences out on remote islands on Lake Victoria, in an effort to help and encourage missionaries serving there full-time. Our church has been making these trips to Uganda for many years now supporting current missionaries working on the islands. I can honestly say that being involved in international mission work on a more personal level changed me forever. I had taught about missions, given to missions, and participated locally, but my first overseas experience (Poland, 1995) changed my heart. For me to stand in a mud hut in Uganda, or a village church in Poland, singing with believers of other languages was an experience no words could describe… except maybe this passage from the book of Revelation:
I know what you’re thinking–just what so many think when they are challenged to be missions minded: “If I say ‘yes’ to God, He’ll make me move to Africa!” For me, this book wasn’t about being challenged to pack up my life and live in a foreign country–it’s about being obedient to what I know God has called me to today, then trusting Him with tomorrow–wherever He leads. I want to be “on mission” for Him where ever I am and be willing to experience His best for me even if it’s hard or challenging, or even a little scary! My testimony is one that of all the places He has taken me, I have found nothing but the fruit of walking in the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. It doesn’t mean I haven’t had difficulties or trials. It just means that when I’m pursuing Him, He provides just what I need to get through.
Even when I am unsure of myself, if I’m obedient, God shows up. On a 2010 Uganda trip I was asked to lead a women’s conference in a hut more than an hour’s boat ride away from the island village we were staying in. One particular day I was praying and asking God why I had to be leading women when it was the children that had captured my heart. I have to admit the boat ride that day seemed extra long and extra crowded (our boat was often over-loaded!), my discomfort probably because my feet were obedient, but my heart was not. We arrived at our normal time, but in Africa, time is much more relaxed, and none of the women had arrived yet. As frustrating as it was, God had a plan. When the nearby schoolmarm heard that we had arrived, she asked for permission for the children to come sing to us! Do you know what that did to my heart?! GOD MET ME IN MY “MOMENT”! He knew just what I needed!
Through my tears I was able to tell them why I had come all the way from America to Uganda–to share with them how much God loved them, and how He loved me so much that He let me come to Uganda to tell them about Jesus! I can’t explain it, but my heart wanted to burst with joy! Every time I see those pictures or watch the videos, I am reminded of HOW MUCH HE LOVES US!
1 John 3:1
“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!”
I am so jealous of you. More and more I meet people who have taken mission trips and I would love to take one.
Just do it!! You won’t regret it– It is truly life changing, and I find myself CRAVING more! My daughter is now a missionary to Madagascar, and we look forward to a lifetime of serving in this way!
My sweet grandson, Nolan drew a winner!!
KAREN!!! If you will email me or message me on facebook, I will mail it to you!!
Reblogged this on wateringcanblog and commented:
Don’t miss the VIDEO!! Just click on the > to watch the children singing to me! LAST CHANCE TO WIN the book! I’ll pick a random winner tomorrow!
Courtney, THANKS for sharing! I was so excited for you to get to experience what I’m talking about! You’ll have to read Katie’s book! I’ll post the winner tomorrow! :0)
I haven’t read Katie’s book but I’ve followed her blog in the past. Amazing life!
Here’s a little bit of one way God encouraged me on my trip…
When our luggage was lost in Bolivia and our “real” mission was delayed I wondered how many opportunities we were missing. While on a long drive out to a village, we spoke in broken spanish with a local pastor.
He told us that had we arrived “on time” to this village, we would have arrived at the height of a several day long party. Much of the village would have been in their homes intoxicated or knocked out from the night before and certainly not open to the gospel. We came at the appointed time in spite of our plans. So thankful to be a small part of it. I love how God gives us gifts that were obviously packaged just for us, like your children’s choir gift. Takes my breath away when we see He loves us so personally.
I’m kind of “in” with the picker… But I still want to read.the book too! 🙂
Haha! Well I’ll let you borrow mine!
Jennifer, thanks for the sweet offer!! I will let my grandson pick a name out of a hat, and if it’s you, I’ll let Karen know! :0)
I read this book and loved it!! It was so inspiring. Not that I doubt God’s power, but it was amazing to read how God continues to meet their needs the very moment that they need it. What an amazing memory you have of your time in Africa!! It brought tears to my eyes!
If I win, please give it to Karen. : )
What a beautiful testimony of what God did thru you in Africa. As I was reading your blog I could not stop the tears. I have had an intense desire to go to Uganda for a number of years. I am praying that next summer will be the summer my feet take me there to share the good news. I am ready to get uncomfortable, hot, dirty and whatever it takes to be blessed by those precious people.
I would love to read that book, a friend of mine just recently recommended it.
Enjoyed reading your blog, look forward to future entries.
Karen, Thanks so much! I can tell you that you’ll never regret it! Beware! Reading this book will make you want to go even more! :0)
Ron still talks about the trip and the stars. Once again “Proof” How God works, even the little things!
YES!! You totally get it! Those experiences are burned in our hearts forever! Did you show Ron the video?!