(Photo: Courtesy of Amazima Ministries)
Grace is an 80-year-old woman living in Uganda. Her roof was leaking so bad inside her little hut, she had to cover her head with a plastic bag. For months, Grace sat there sick, dying from starvation and unable to walk.
But because of one woman’s passion to make a difference for God, Grace now has a warm bed in the local hospital. Grace is still dying, but she now has dignity, friends around that love her and a place waiting for her in heaven.
“Grace is my friend. She is a real person and she is a child of God,” said Katie Davis, the 22-year-old author of the new book Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, released Tuesday.
“Uganda is home to some 30 million people and only a third of them have clean running water. An astounding 51 percent make just $1 a day to live on and feed their families. These are not just numbers, these are real people," Davis told The Christian Post in an interview.
Davis' story has fascinated religious leaders and talk show hosts around the world. But Davis said she is just an ordinary person who is not brave, but only doing what God called her to do.
"It is about creating heaven here on earth. Something God calls all of us to do," she said.
"Offering a glass of water, a welcoming smile, a story of redemption or giving someone a place to belong is treating everyone with love just as Jesus lived," Davis said. "For a glimpse of the Savior in us, as Christians, can change the world one person at a time."
Davis' amazing journey for God started at the young age of nineteen. She left the comforts of an upper-middle class life in Nashville, Tenn., to move to Uganda, to start a nonprofit organization and adopt 13 orphans who needed a mother.
In the summer of 2007, when Davis walked through the streets of Uganda for the first time, she recalled being shocked to see the sheer number of school-aged children just sitting idly on the side of the road, begging for food or working in the fields.
She was so moved by the tragic scenes that she decided to do the unthinkable: help the needy in Uganda by relying on God's strength alone.
Today, four years later, she is a young dynamo of the Gospel, bringing love, joy, jobs and Jesus Christ to an entire village and region in the poverty-stricken country.
Those who know her say she is an inspiration and a testament to what God can do if someone is willing to give up selfish needs and serve others.
“Most everyone I knew thought I had gone off the deep end,” Davis said.
“I only knew oneperson in Uganda but didn’t know any of the language. I just knew I had a passion to make a difference somewhere. I ended up entering motherhood through a different door.”
Davis is a permanent resident of Uganda and president of Amazima Ministries, which serves more than 1,600 children and their families. The ministry feeds, clothes, hires, trains and teaches the Gospel to hundreds every day.
This light-hearted, small-in-stature young woman is referred by people in Uganda as “Aunt Katie.”
"God did not ask us to help the needy – He demands it," she said.
“He has entrusted me with so much. And from those who much has been entrusted, much more will be demanded,” Davis said. “Satan whispers to me to run. No book. No blog. No more homeless people in the guest room. Sometimes I think I am not good enough to have so many eyes on me."
Davis said when these thoughts enter her mind she prays. Then she looks out into her yard.
“I see only redemption,” Davis said. “I see traumatized children that have struggled through unspeakable events and now they are laughing. I see them embracing these former lifeless, starving people who are now healing because of our merciful Father.”
Davis said she does not know why God chose her to witness all the tragedy in Uganda. She is convinced, however, that God can work through anyone to accomplish something amazing in life wherever they live.
"God really can use ordinary people and lead them to do extraordinary things," she said.
Despite the rough conditions where Davis lives, she said she has found a life of service to God to be one of "great joy."
The young American woman said her adopted children, ages 3 to 16, bring constant delight to her and help her when starving people come to their door in the middle of the night.
“As the challenges grow, so does my faith,” Davis said. “I know I cannot save Uganda all by myself. But inspiring change one person at a time will have far-reaching rewards as we plant the seeds for God.”
Davis, now 22, is more than fascinating; she's inspiring, as she has wholeheartedly answered the call to serve.
Davis started a feeding program to help the poorest of the poor through her ministry that provides nourishing meals for hundreds every Monday through Friday. This allows the children to attend school and not go to the street to beg. The program also provides medical care and general health training.
“I had absolutely no desire to write a book about myself,” Davis said. “But this book is about Jesus Christ who is alive on this earth today. He not only knows every hair on my head but cares about every hair on my head including those around me now.”
Davis said she hopes those who read her book will get a glimpse into her life, which is “full of stupidity and God’s grace.”
“I wrote the book with the hope that as you cry and laugh with my family, you will be encouraged that God still uses flawed human beings to change the world, she said.
“And if he can use me. He can use you.”
The Republic of Uganda, also known as the “Pearl of Africa,” is a landlocked country in East Africa.
Amazima Ministries is planning several future projects to further its outreach to the Ugandan people, including a playground for children, a community garden, more Bible studies and agriculture classes, expansion of schools into other areas in the region and college for orphans.
For information visit: http://www.amazima.org/