by Katie Davis
I never meant to be a mother. I mean, I guess I did; not right now, though. Not before I was married. Not when I was nineteen. Not to so, so many little people. Thankfully, God's plans do not seem to be affected much by my own.
I never meant to live in Uganda, a dot on the map in East Africa, on the opposite side of the planet from my family and all that is comfortable and familiar. Thankfully, God's plans also happen to be much better than my own.
You see, Jesus wrecked my life. For as long as I could remember, 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 wore cute shoes and drove a cute sports car. I had wonderful, supportive parents who so desired my success that they would have paid for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. But I loved Jesus.
And the fact that I loved Jesus was beginning to interfere with the plans I once had for my life and certainly with the plans others had for me. My heart had been apprehended by a great love, a love that compelled me to live differently. I had grown up in a Christian home, gone to church, and learned about Jesus all my life. Around the age of twelve or thirteen, I began to delve into the truths of Scripture. As I read and learned more and more of what Jesus said, I liked the lifestyle I saw around me less and less. I began to realize that God wanted more from me, and I wanted more of Him. He began to grow in me a desire to live intentionally, and different from anyone I had ever known.
Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said. This recognition didn't happen overnight; in fact I believe it was happening in my heart long before I even knew it. It was happening as I explored the possibility of overseas volunteer work, it was happening as I took my first three-week trip to Uganda, it was happening as I fell in love with a beautiful country full of gracious, joyful people and immense poverty and squalor that begged me to do more. It was happening in so many ways, and I couldn't deny it. I wanted to actually do what Jesus said to do.
So I quit my life.
Originally, my quitting was to be temporary, lasting just one year before I went to college and returned to normal, American teenager life. But after that year, which I spent in Uganda, returning to "normal" wasn't possible. I had seen what life was about and I could not pretend I didn't know. So I quit my life again, and for good this time. I quit college; I quit cute designer clothes and my little yellow convertible; I quit my boyfriend. I no longer have all the things the world says are important. I do not have a retirement fund; I do not even have electricity some days. But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and a peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than this earth. I cannot fathom being happier. Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully.
During the first few months I lived in Uganda, in fall of 2007, I wrote, "Sometimes working in a Third World country makes me feel like I am emptying the ocean with an eyedropper." Today, it often still feels that way. I have learned to be okay with this feeling because I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. I can change the world for fourteen little girls and for four hundred schoolchildren and for a sick and dying grandmother and for a malnourished, neglected, abused five-year-old. And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for.
In December of 2006, 18-year-old Katie Davis from Brentwood, Tennessee, traveled to Uganda for the first time. She was immediately captivated with the people and the culture. In the summer of 2007, Katie returned to Uganda to teach Kindergarten at an orphanage. As she walked the children home, she was shocked to see the sheer number of school-aged children sitting idly on the side of the road or working in the fields. God laid it on Katie's heart to start a child sponsorship program, matching orphaned and vulnerable children who are unable to afford schooling with sponsors anywhere in the world. Shortly thereafter, Katie established a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Amazima Ministries International. The organization seeks to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people of Uganda who need it most.