God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called 🙂
Can I Call You Mommy?
WHEN YOU HEAR Katie Davis’ story, or read her amazing book, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, you might find yourself searching for background clues as to how a senior class president and homecoming queen from Tennessee finds herself moving to Uganda, starting a nonprofit organization, and beginning the process to adopt 13 children, all before her 23rd birthday.
Barring any easier explanation, you might think Katie is simply a better person than most. Katie, however, flatly refutes that characterization. “I am not superhuman,” Katie states in response to questions sent to her at home in the small town of Jinja along Lake Victoria. “But God doesn’t need us to be perfect in order to use us. He needs us to be willing. Then He makes the impossible happen.”
As a teenager in Brentwood, an affluent suburb of Nashville, Katie understood that her plan to move to a third-world country and do mission work struck her parents about as logically as aspiring to “play quarterback in the NFL or fly to the moon,” Katie writes in her book, which was released last year and has spent time on the New York Times bestseller list. But she had taken a short trip to volunteer in a Ugandan orphanage during her senior year and was overcome by the suffering she witnessed, and humbled by the potential for even one person to help relieve it in simple ways like giving love, food, and medicine to hungry, sick, or even abandoned children. She struck a compromise with her parents: she would go to Uganda for a year and then come home to attend college, a bargain that evokes that old joke: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”
Katie arrived in Uganda with a job teaching kindergarten but quickly observed a disturbing truth: a great number of local children of all ages were unable to attend school at all, because their parents could barely afford food, much less school fees. As she scrambled to put together enough of her own money to pay school fees and buy supplies for some of the hardest cases, she knew she had to do more. Before the first year was over she had founded Amazima Ministries, dedicated to raising money to pay for school, supplies, food, and medicine for impoverished Ugandan children.
As Katie continued to witness the hardships of people she encountered every day, she gradually wove more, not less, of herself into the fabric of the village, relentlessly looking for ways to help her new friends recover from illness, beat addiction, or simply feed their children. Then she befriended three little girls whose father had died of AIDS and whose mother had long disappeared; at nine, the oldest sister, Agnes, was the primary caregiver for her sisters, seven-year-old Mary and five-year-old Scovia.
“I looked around for places these precious girls could go but found nothing satisfactory,” Katie writes in her book. “They had no living relatives capable of taking care of them. An orphanage was out of the question, in my opinion. I found myself desperately praying that God would show me what to do. And that is when it happened. Shy, five-year-old Scovia tiptoed into my room… and then, as though she had been pondering the question for ages, she asked, ‘Can I call you Mommy?'”
By beginning the long process to eventually adopt Scovia and her sisters, the first three of the 13 girls who now call Katie “Mommy,” Katie knew that from that point forward, Uganda was her home. Along with raising her daughters, Katie since has grown the boots-on-the-ground work of Amazima beyond her wildest ambitions. Along with helping hundreds of vulnerable children to attend school, Amazima also operates a transformative outreach program in the Ugandan slum community of Masese, which includes providing regular meals, vocational programs, Bible study, and low-cost or free healthcare to the more than 1,600 desperately poor people who live there. Katie, at first derided by some of the more suspicious locals as “that small white girl,” is so beloved that not only her own children but hundreds of people in the villages surrounding their home, adults included, now like to call her “Mommy,” because they know her as the one who will always stop to share a meal, bandage a wound, or offer a kind word. Her life even by her own description is “crazy, chaotic,” yet somehow, when Katie describes it, it all makes sense.
“I never could have chosen or planned all this,” Katie says. “But God knew. And His way is always better than we can ever imagine or expect. He chose Uganda; I just put one foot in front of the other, and He paved the way for the rest.
“He is still paving the way!”
-From a website called see the good that we get at work every week!