Kisses from Katie

I recently read “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis.  It’s a young lady (age 22) sharing the story of her life in Uganda, Africa.  After graduating high school here in America (being a typical mall-shopping, convertible-driving, yuppy American teen), she decided to postpone college and do missions in Uganda for one year.  Well, she fell in love with the people and hurt for their deep needs.  She couldn’t stop serving.  A few years later, she’s now adopted 14 Ugandan girls and lives there with them.  She truly takes care of “the least of these,” taking in children who are diseased, starving, malnourished, and abused.  Her story is gripping and heart-changing.  It really makes you question your own priorities in life.  She’s got it right.  GO and serve.  I don’t think anything would please God more than to see His people caring for “the least of these,” the people that everyone else turns from and ignores.  The book is captivating and you’ll have trouble putting it down, making it a quick read.  I encourage you to read it!  Here’s some of my favorite quotes from Katie from the book…

“But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul:  complacency, comfort, and ignorance.  I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.”

“I laugh now to think how stressed out I was about geckos in my bed, washing my laundry by hand with bar soap, or bathe outside in a bucket.  Every day, though, as I looked around at beautiful, expectant faces with huge coffee-brown eyes hungry for the love of Jesus, I knew that I was here just to love, and the rest I would figure out in time.”

“The eyes that peered out of that six-year-old face were a hundred years old and seen more tragedy in their short lifetime than most ever will.  … And in that same moment of sadness, I was blown away by the fact that God cared enough for this child, had cared enough for me, to put us together in that moment, to allow me to hold him in my arms and love him in a way he had not been loved in a long time.”

“I just keep filling up my little eyedropper, keep filling it up and emptying my ocean one drop at a time.  I’m not here to eliminate poverty, to eradicate disease, or to put a stop to people abandoning babies.  I’m just here to love.”

“I am blown away that my God, who could do this all by Himself, would choose to let me be a little part of it.”

“I wanted to be taught by those I teach.”

“I could not stop thinking about people in the States- and being appalled by our luxuries- when people on our same planet were living in such poverty and need.”

“Day after day, I witnessed poverty that was unimaginable.  Hungry, naked, fly-covered children lay in the dirt crying for a mother would never come because HIV had taken her life.”

“People who believe in God are supposed to share with the poor.  Clearly, from God’s perspective, those who are blessed with riches are supposed to share with the poor, meaning that those who don’t have the resources to get what they need can do so, to the point that the poor aren’t so poor anymore.”

“They are boys and girls I know personally.  I feed them and bathe them and bandage their wounds.  They are not anonymous, they are not statistics; they are people I love and people God loves.”

“As I sat up late that night trying to keep her alive one minute, one breath at a time, I had to ask myself, Why do I have so much?  And why have I always had so much?  Why do my family and friends have so much?  And do they even know that far, far away from the luxuries of the western world, a little songbird of a girl is fighting for her life?  The roles could have so easily been reversed.  I wondered how God had chosen me to be born into such luxury when this little girl had been born into such hopelessness.”

“My heart began to break over and over for the other children around the world who had no one to protect them, no one to speak up for them, no one to sit up with them at night and control their fevers.  Who would hold them?  Who would sing to them?”

“Disease is certainly not a sin.  And poverty is not a sin; it is a condition, a circumstance that allows God’s work to be displayed.”

“I wanted people who were warm under their down comforters to know that there were other children like Sumini out there, all alone.”

“I wanted other Americans to know that while their children were alive today, more than 16,000 other children are not, because they died of hunger-related causes in the last twenty-four hours.  I wanted them to know that another 3,000 children in the world, mostly in Africa, will die of malaria today- which is both preventable and treatable.  God wants us to care for the poor, not just care about them, but to truly TAKE CARE of them.  God told us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but so many of our neighbors are starving to death while our tables are filled with abundance.”

“Why, with all the wealth, technology, and resources that exist in the western world, have we not solved these problems?  It is possible for children to live!  And yet they are dying by the thousands.  While we sit here full and content, everything we ever need right within our reach.”

“The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any orphan statistics left.  No more143 million orphans, no more 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases, no more 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions.  No more 2.3 million who live with HIV.  That adds up to 164.8 million needy children.  The truth is that God loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible.”

“God really does have the whole world sitting in the palm of His hand.  All of us are, literally, neighbors.  Many think of Uganda as another world, a place barely connected to the societies and cultures they consider more advanced.  That’s simply not true.”

“People are people.  They all need food and water and medicine, but mostly they need love and truth and Jesus.  I can do that.  We can do that.  We can give those things to these people.”

“I saw children starving to death, sleeping under rags and in chicken feces, withering away from disease.  Many of us, in our fear of giving everything away that we wouldn’t have enough for ourselves, are failing to do what He said to do for the least of His people.”

“When I imagine God creating each one of us and planting a purpose deep in our hearts, I never imagine that purpose being mediocrity.”

“Paul says in his letter to the Philippians that he “knows the secret.”  He has been well fed and he has been starving; he has lived in abundance and he has lived with nothing.  His revelation?  That he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him.”

“I am asking big things from God, like 147 million orphaned children in the world to each have a mommy who knows that they like for dinner.”

“Jesus knows we are a family, He doesn’t see the colors of our skin.  Besides, in heaven I am going to be black; I have already asked God for it!”

“The projects our ministry has started in this community are wonderful, but they meet the needs of only some people.  This is okay.  If I continue to preach and live the gospel- even if outward conditions never change- and these people can live eternally with Jesus in heaven someday, a few years of suffering will pale in comparison.”

“Resurrection is real.  Life is more powerful than death.  Light can pierce darkness.  I may never see the end of horrendous situations on this earth, so instead of trying to fix the situations here and now, I will focus on helping these people come to heaven with me, so we may say together:  “Death and sadness have been swallowed up in a victory.  Oh, death, where is your victory?  Death, where is your sting? (1 Cor 15:54).  Christ has overcome the mess that is this world.”

“I was angry because I believed, and still believe, that the God who created the universe did not create too many children in His image and not enough love to go around.”

“He doesn’t ask me to take them all but to stop for just one.  Because as I do it for one of “the least of these,” I do it for him.  Stop for the little boy with white hair and scabs covering his body, stop for the baby girl with feces covering her dress, so weak that she can’t hold up her head.  Stop and love the ones right in front of me and trust Him with the rest.  This is sometimes a hard and ugly lesson.  Because every time I stop for that one sick child, that one hungry old man, that one new baby girl, my mind races with the statistics of how many more I am not touching, not feeding, not saving.  God whispers every time, though, that this one is enough.  It is enough that this one is feeling His love and that love is eternal.  Eternal.”

“The other day a woman came up to me with burns covering her body.  I wanted to cry thinking of how much help she needed and how many others there were who needed help too.  God pushed me forward, “Today, it is her day.”  So to the hospital we went.”

“We are just called to love with abandon, to enter our neighbor’s sufferings and love them right there.”

“God’s people are the solution to the world’s problem of fatherless, motherless boys and girls.”

“It’s different when it’s your child who is suffering.  But should it be?  Every human being on this planet is God’s child, perfectly made and beloved and cherished by Him.  Even though the world tells us that it’s all right, it’s wrong that we can hurt so much for our own children but not for other children.”

“Did I believe that Jesus was serious?  Did I believe what He said was true?  Yes, I believe He was serious when He said to love my neighbor as myself, and I believe He meant this even when my neighbor was not tiny and cute and cuddly.  He really meant to care for others as I would care for my family or myself, and I would never let my family or myself live in such conditions.  Grace was old and blind and had not eaten in three days.  I stood there looking at her marveling at the fact that she was still alive.  “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in?, or needing clothes and clothe you?  Whatever you do for the least of these brothers of mine, you do for me.”  Sometimes I hear Jesus whispering “I’m sick, will you look after me?  Will you invite me in?”

“How blessed we are to even be called servants, to be able to share in His kingdom.”

“I would like to say that as I become more and more surrounded with sorrow and destitution, it gets easier or less painful.  But it doesn’t.  The brokenness of this world does not become any less sad.  Each and every time, it is overwhelmingly devastating that people have to live, and die, like this- like I see happening around me.”

“I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places.  Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow.  We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy.”

“I realize that the hard places are good because it is there that I gained more wisdom, and though with wisdom comes sorrow, on the other side of sorrow is joy.  And a funny thing happens when I realize this:  I want to go to the hard place again.  Again and again and again.  Going into the hard places, entering into the sorrow because He entered for us first and because by His grace, redemption and beauty are on the other side.”

“I opened my Bible to 1 Kings 17.  I hear the desperation in the widow’s rough scratchy voice, and I see the bags under her eyes as she wearily replies to the prophet, “I don’t have any bread- only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.  I am going to make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it- and then die.”  She has nothing left to give.  I know this kind of desperation.”

“First Kings continues “So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.  The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry!  He is always enough.  Like manna that fell for the Israelites, His grace falls, enough for today and then enough again for tomorrow.”

“I am learning to hope when nothing makes sense, even when what He is asking seems so impossible.  I beg Him to bring me close to His heart, to transform my heart that it might be more like His.  I think orphan care gets us close, because He sees us as orphans.  I think adoption gets us close, because this is how He brings us into His family.  The poor, the beggar, the widow, the prisoner, they get us close to His heart because these people are so dear to Him.”

“When babies starve and people die cold and alone and children are ripped from their parents- these are some of the injustices of a broken world.”

“Our Father could have stopped His Son’s torture at any time but instead watched it happen.  For me.  For you.  And I weep at the injustice of it.”

“I am not to leave this life unstained or unscarred.  Even Jesus kept His scars after the resurrection.  My stains are beautiful to Him and as I become dirtier and more beat up, I am becoming perfect, transformed into the image of the One who made me.  And I am thankful.”

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6 thoughts on “Kisses from Katie

  1. I am thankful for anyone who is helping to ease suffering in the world. That is important work that we all can do – every day – where ever we live. I think that is a big part of Katies message – that we dont need to move to Africa to be faithful servants of God. She says (p. 214) We arent really called to save the world, not even to save one person; Jesus does that. We are called to enter into our neighbors suffereing and love them right there.

    I just finished reading Katies book and I get the sense that, while she really desires to be living the life that she is living she has a continual need to justify it to us as well as to herself. I think she should just accept and embrace it and not worry about what anyone else thinks. Same thing about her doubts about her own faith. She alternately tells us that her faith is super strong and that she trusts Gods purpose for her but then she contradicts that and tells us that her faith is not complete: (p. 261): As I took his sweet little face into my hands, I shispered to him that Jesus loves him and that He will always show up, always come, always be there to help him. Conversely: (on the same p. 261) I see these childrens blind faith and I long for my faith in the Lord to be so trusting. It is ok to tell the true story of ones doubt. But please be consistent. We waiver if we are uncertain. Isnt the very definition of faith a lack of uncertainty?

    The second to last paragraph of the book states Katies summary of her story but I am disappointed with her summary. I dont think it represents what she has said previously throughout the book. She says (p.262) We are expectant like Gwens young son, Elijah. We will not be put to shame. Definition of Shame: to experience a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

    You have to read the quote in context to understand that the source of our shame could only be having been proven wrong in our belief that Jesus will return to come for us. Katies summary belief then is that the most important thing is that we be proven correct in our belief that Jesus will come again. ALARM BELLS, TURN OFF, WHAT? That right there represents what is so repulsive about much of the type of christianity malpracticed today.

    Is our goal as christians 1) to be proven right in our belief that Jesus will come again or 2) to love one another as Jesus has loved us? I believe (and I believe that Katy wants to believe) it is the latter. So why does she conclude, after all her Africa living and girl bathing, the former? Answer: She is imperfect (as are we all) and still has much work to do. I believe she will continue to do it.

    And while she is at it I hope she will revisit why skin color should be so important to her even though she realizes that it is not even noticed by Jesus. I cannot remember what page it is on but in the book Katie says: Jesus knows we are family, He doesnt see the colors of our skin. Besides, in Heaven I am going to be black; I have already asked God for it!

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