Tag Archives: child sponsorship

Book Review: Kisses from Katie

 

This book is profoundly disturbing. And it shakes me to the core. Kisses from Katie is the story of a high school senior who travels to Uganda and subsequently invests her life in the people she meets there. Katie Davis says her life is not extraordinary, but she goes on to describe extraordinary ways the Lord shows up in desperate circumstances.

Katie Davis came with no formal training, no formal backing and no formal plan. She was compelled to get involved, and took the first step. She used her hands and feet to show God’s love in practical ways, and became known in an impoverished land as “Mommy.” Indeed, at age 18, she fed, schooled, applied medical help, housed and eventually adopted. Now, ten years later, Katie’s nonprofit has a Board of Directors, farming education to sustain life, food outreach, a self-sustaining vocational program and sponsors over 700 children.

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Katie says, “Jesus wrecked my life.”

I’ve run into that phrase before. It means she became uncomfortable with her comfortable life. And her words create discomfort with the way we’re doing things in Western society.

Katie found a paradox in Uganda: “amazing, breathtaking beauty juxtaposed against immense poverty and desolation.”

She says, “Materially speaking, the people who began to fill my life were the poorest I had ever met and yet they overflowed with the riches of the heart. They lived in houses of sticks or stones and mud; they slept on hard dirt floors. But they did not blame God for this or ask Him for more. They knew their circumstances were due to the brokenness of this world and they simply praised Jesus for keeping them alive through it all.”

Katie saw children dying from preventable diseases and knew she had to find help. She began to contact people in her hometown of Nashville, TN in search of those willing to come alongside her. She described the need, not as statistics, but as “people I know and love.”

Katie’s approach to her life and work in Uganda might be considered radical, even controversial. She gives to people who cannot repay. She helps those who should be able to help themselves. Yet, the message is an important one. We must get involved. When God’s people reach out to others, that love will transform people, one life at a time.

If you want to stay comfortable, don’t read this book. It gets under your skin. However, I challenge you to get your own copy and a pen. Highlight ideas, quotes and values. Let two worlds merge in your own heart as you seek how the Lord will lead you to be obedient, as a missionary, right where you are. And, in your imperfect, inadequate efforts to serve Him, you will find new release as you lean on Christ.

Sally


Out of Africa

I still weep when I look at the pictures from Uganda. How can a trip to another continent render one so utterly speechless? Maybe it’s the culture shock, but, would you believe culture shock is harder coming back home? If you have running tap water in your house, you have more than most people in Third World countries. You are wealthy! 

One of the home visits we made was to a widow’s in Gulu. She takes care of her grandchildren because their parents, her children, have died of aids. Her home is a tiny mud hut with a thatch roof. Inside, she had a rocking chair and a fire pit. She was thrilled to invite us in, and brought a bench inside, just so she could host us in her home.
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There’s no welfare from the government in Africa. People survive off the land and the love of others who have compassion on them. We brought gifts of lotions, soap and shirts, and small toys for the children, as well as beans and rice. You would have thought she received great riches, her gratitude was so profound.
One organization that is making a difference in their lives is Children of Promise, a child sponsorship program of the Church of God. The program they developed for the widows is called TAPP, and is described this way,
“Tumaini Aids Prevention Program is a holistic social program that reaches out to those infected and affected with HIV & Aids. It provides training, Home Based Care, income generating projects, education and social support for a hopeful life which encompasses the entire community.
The Church of God child sponsorship office is located in the Kasubi area, in the city of Kampala, Uganda. As the office doors would open each morning, more and more families were showing up needing assistance. The need to care for families affected by HIV was overwhelming. Soon it was obvious that a separate program should be created. They called this program TAPP. ‘Tumaini’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘hope’ and became the vision of this program.”
We have long been associated with TAPP through the beautiful beads made by the widows. They create the beads with strips of paper rolled into tight balls and strung together, and this is one of the ways they support their families. Take a look at their work here.
Read more about our home visits here.
In his book, Something Beautiful For God, The Classic Account of Mother Teresa’s Journey into Compassion, Malcolm Muggeridge says this about encountering impoverished people:
Accompanying Mother Teresa… to the Home for the Dying, to the lepers and unwanted children, I found I went through three phases. The first was horror mixed with pity, the second compassion pure and simple, and the third, reaching far beyond compassion, something I had never experienced before – an awareness that these dying and derelict men and women, these lepers with stumps instead of hands, these unwanted children, were not pitiable, repulsive or forlorn, but rather dear and delightful; as it might be, friends of long standing, brothers and sisters. How is it to be explained – the very heart and mystery of the Christian faith? To soothe those battered old heads, to grasp those poor stumps, to take in one’s arms those children consigned to dustbins, because it is His head, as they are His stumps and His children, of whom He said that whosoever received one such child in His name received Him. (pp. 52-53)
Indeed, we met our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews in those huts. And we were blessed.
Sally

Originally published August 28, 2014 at sallyswords