Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wrecked and Wondering

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have seen a blog show up time and time again: www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com. From being posted on more than one blog I keep up with, to being shown all over a few Facebook pages... I knew I had to go take a look at this blog and see what was causing everyone to spread the word. All I had gathered prior to reading the blog for myself was that it consisted of a young lady that was doing the work of God in Uganda.

So on Sunday (Nov 1), I made myself stop and began reading the blog. It started in 2007 and I began at the beginning... reading post after post as to Katie's experience and God's calling for Katie and His perfect provision. I found myself reading every single post that day, from 2007 to 2008 to present day 2009. And I was left with this... "What now?!"

Here are a few posts that Katie has left that specifically impacted me. Please take the time to read these, and let me give you a little background knowledge. Katie is now twenty-one (just turned), and two years ago she went to Uganda on a short term mission trip. Since that time she has fed thousands of men, women, and especially children. She has started a non profit organization, Amazima Ministries International that works to provide the financial assistance to put the children of Uganda through school and provide them not only an education, but medical care, food, and the love of Christ. Katie is mother to 14 beautiful children. They live with her in Uganda and call her Momma. Her daily experiences now are to love in Uganda as Christ loves. To care for those that have not been cared for, to feed thousands, to share the love of Jesus Christ to young and old, and to teach us here, Stateside that God has plans for us and is willing to use us if we make ourselves open and available as Katie has and have FAITH!

From Katie's blog:

well since you asked...
I LOVE getting comments on my blog. They are so uplifting an encouraging. It is so nice to know that I am prayed for and prayed with. So thank you for all of your encouraging words regarding potty training and all your prayers for precious Maggie!

Pretty much daily Gwen answers comments that are in reality questions. I think its time I answered some of them publicly myself, so that Gwen doesn't have to keep explaining things like my "faith doctrine" to total strangers.

Since I am still potty training (currently nap time...) AND I am pretty certain I have Ecoli, I have a bit of free time on my hands :)

"What is your faith doctrine?"
I think this is a pretty strange question. I KNOW that it is not a question Jesus would have asked anyone before serving or loving or communicating with them. I am also saddened to think that my LOVE FOR JESUS may not be so apparent in my writing that it answers that question automatically. But here it is for those still asking: Jesus wrecked my life. All my life, I had everything this world says is important. In high school I was class president, homecoming queen, top of my class. I dated cute boys and drove a cute car. I had supportive parents who so desired my success that they would pay for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. BUT, I loved Jesus. Jesus says to Nicodemus that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must be born again. Check. Jesus says to another guy that in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven one must sell everything they have a give it to the poor and then COME, follow Him. Oh... I realized that I had loved and admired and worshipped Jesus without doing what He did. So I quit my life. Originally it was to be temporary, just a year before I went back to normal Brentwood life and college. It wasn't possible. I had seen what life was about and I couldn't pretend I didn't know. So I quit my life again, but for good this time. I quit college, I quit my cute designer and my little yellow convertible, I quit my boyfriend. I no longer have everything that the world says is important. BUT, I have everything that I know is important. I have never been happier, and I have never been closer to the Lover of my Soul and my Savior. JESUS wrecked my life, shattered it to put it back together more beautifully. I am in LOVE with Him. Period.

"What made you decide to be a missionary? Do you like being a missionary?"
I think that missionary is a funny word. I think that if you declare yourself a Christian, you MUST also be a missionary, your mission to live and to love like Christ, to share Christ with others. My walk with the Lord and my life should not seem so unusual that it has to have a special label. I'm just a mom. I just strive to live and to love people like Christ. The people just happen to be brown and poorer than you. It's not a special mission, It's everyone's mission. I do not deserve a title, and if you are going to give me one, I prefer "Lover of Jesus." And yes, I like it.

"As a young single woman, don't you think living in Africa is dangerous? Are you afraid?"
I am more afraid of America. Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear things that can destroy the body but to fear things that can destroy the soul. I can literally feel my soul suffocating in the safety of Brentwood and all it's numbness, complacency and comfort. Scary.

C.S. Lewis puts it this way:
"I shall feel rather nervous meeting a lion," said Susan.
"That you will, dearie, and make no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there is anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking they're either braver than most or just silly."
"Then He isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "Who said anything about safe?! Of Course He isn't safe. But He is good. He is the King I tell you."
(The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

No, I do not always stay safe. He's the King I tell you! We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger God is right there with us, and there is no better place to be than in His hands. We are supposed to SHUDDER, knees knocking, when we think of our Lord and all He has called us to. So here I am, trembling.

"Is it responsible to adopt so many children?"
Is it responsible to let them starve in the streets?

"What are you going to do next/with your home/with your children/with your ministry/in five years/when you are older/ect?"
I am not concerned with what I am going to do. I am interested only in what I am becoming. Each day, I am hoping to become more like the One who created me.

There is an old Franciscan saying, "Preach the Gospel. And when necessary, use words." So I am going to quit this silly preaching with words and go make dinner for my precious ones. Your questions are welcome.

It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.

I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.

I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.

It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.

It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.

I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.

It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.

First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.

I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.

We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand.

Ironically, my heart and mind had already started thinking of Africa and orphans prior to ever coming upon Katie's blog, the Journey. Recently, my church announced its short term mission projects that will be going underway this next summer. Of those trips listed two of them tugged on my heart and mind... one to Ethiopia working with missionaries that are associated with The Forsaken Children and the second trip was one my Sunday School classmates took last summer - to Agua Viva Children's Home in Guatemala. I've made a commitment saying that if the Lord opens up my summer schedule (where nothing mandatory is in the way) during one of these two trips timeframe, then I'm going. I'm serving.

So after reading Katie's blog, all I can say is that I'm wrecked and I'm wondering. I'm wrecked because my heart is hurting for the orphans, for those that haven't been told they are loved today or yesterday or ever. For the babies that aren't held before the fall asleep. For the children that go to sleep hungry. For the need that is so evident around us in this world. Here. There. Everywhere. I'm wrecked and I'm listening. I'm wrecked and I'm wondering. I'm wonder, what do I DO NOW?! Wondering where do I go from here? Wondering with the knowledge and the way God has allowed me to be wrecked by this, where do I go and what do I do?

Wrecked and Wondering.

If you're interested, here are a few more blogs/websites that speak about this stuff also:
http://147millionorphans.com/ - you can even buy apparel here that helps feed orphans!

Ps. I'm learning that every little bit helps. If everyone chipped in something small, lots of folks together make something big. After reading Katie's blog I mailed a $5.00 check while I wrestle with the Lord as to what I'm supposed to do. Here is a link to Amazima Ministries International, this page shows how EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS: http://amazima.org/waystohelp.html

Spread the word!

James 1:27 - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."


Erin Marie said...

Thanks for posting that.. I'm Wrecked and wondering!

Katie Dunlap said...

Wow... well said! I am "wrecked and wondering," too. I'm so glad that God is stirring in our hearts, though. You might be interested in reading "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker. It's an excellent book that speaks a lot about social justice & being the body of Christ to "the least of these." (She's hilarious, too). Thanks for helping spread the word about Katie, Amazima & the orphan crisis in general. Keep us posted on how God leads you! Can't wait to see you for a little while this weekend :).

BMS said...

One of my friends' sister-in-law adopted 3 orphan siblings from Guatemala and they are the most beautiful kids ever. Ryan and I will definitely adopt if our genetic tests come back positive. There are too many kids out there that need love.

Kelly said...

Praying for God to guide you with this new stirring in your soul. Praying for him to clearly direct you how to act - go, send, and/or pray for these kids. Joe and Karyn (The Forsaken Children founders from my SS class) will be home Dec. 12- Jan. 12 if you'd like to talk to them. I'll try to remember to let you know what Sunday they are going to share in our class!

Mrs. McGoo said...

Thanks Katie -I'll see if I can grab it to read over Thanksgiving.

Kelly - I'd definitely be interested in visiting with them! Keep me in the loop. Thanks.

Tabitha Harder said...

AMEN! Thanks for posting this Heather :) Katie Davis is an amazing young woman and I am so inspired by her story. Wrecked and wondering is the best way to put it.........so true.