Are you in need of a jolt of inspiration as we launch into 2017? Check out EPL Mark’s review of a fantastically rich story of a modern day hero of the faith!
“Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, a New York Times bestseller, is an incredibly inspiring story of a young American teenager, Katie Davis, who initially went to Uganda on a three-week missions trip in 2007 to serve in an orphanage. She focused her attention and energy on the needy children there as an act of obedience to Jesus Christ, her savior. She points out that all through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation God directs Christians to love and serve and give to those in need, especially widows and orphans. So what started out to be short term developed into a lifelong commitment. Again and again God reminded Katie that she has one purpose, in Uganda and in life, and that is to love. So as God brought sick babies and older children stunted by malnutrition, serious illness, and neglect to her she loved them with abandon. In most cases these children, who were immobilized by sickness and poverty and totally without hope, became happy, sparkling, loving, healthy children in her care. This book describes the story of how God, through adoption created a family and made Katie the mother of 14 daughters by the time she was 22 years old (single women can only adopt girls in Uganda).
Katie’s story of Christ-like ministry is told in parallel fashion by the use of diary entries and her commentary on those diary entries. In this way, the reader is introduced to each of her daughters as the Lord sent them and the desperate circumstances surrounding their adoption into her family. Her loving descriptions of each child show how intimately she knows and loves each of them. This parallel approach helped me because I am one who needs a little more repetition and review than others may want. This book also contains a section with several pages of photographs. I found this helpful because she references so many of these people in her stories.
One might ask, “Did Katie eventually intend to bring all of her daughters to America and make Americans out of them?” That question was answered for me by a story she related about her daughter Sumini. In her diary entry for February 13, 2009 Katie flatly states, “I cannot, no matter how hard I try, convince my children not to play with trash. They love it.” One day Katie was invited into the yard to the “store,” actually a bush with trash hanging all over it, broken boxes, dirty plastic bags, toilet paper rolls, milk carton etc. What did she do? She picked up some stones from the gravel driveway to use as currency and got some really good deals. She says, “My children are Ugandan to the core. I would never seek to change that.”
When I was first presented a copy of Kisses From Katie, I was interested to find out if Katie’s experience with Ugandans was anything like my own. In 2012 my wife and I joined a short-term missions trip with Hope Alive!, a missions organization that serves fragile families in Uganda. We witnessed some of the same squalor on a home visit in a Kampala slum that Katie describes. After reading this story I got out the pictures we took of the beautiful people we met in Uganda. I cannot tell you how profound it was to actually meet both of the children we sponsor. Katie’s story is a wake up call to me to write to Ukongo Abraham and Caroline, to try to encourage them in their faith and be a little more a part of there lives. I have been invited by Hope Alive! to teach elementary school in Gulu once their school gets established. If God calls me to this I hope that, like Katie Davis, I would be willing and able to love my students with abandon.”