Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis; published 2011 by Howard Books
I expected this story to be touching. I expected it to be eye-opening and moving. I expected it to be inspiring.
But Kisses from Katie goes beyond all that. It’s not just a story of one girl’s seemingly crazy faith in God; it’s a story that inspires crazy faith in yourself and demands action. You can’t be comfortable in your mainstream Christian-suburban lifestyle when you read about what Katie is doing to live out the Gospel.
Katie Davis was in the middle of her senior year of high school when she went to Uganda for the first time and her heart was broken by what she saw there. She had everything that people value: a cute car, a handsome boyfriend whom she loved, popularity, many good friends, a loving family. Her parents were going to pay for her college tuition. Her life was planned out, and it was a happy one. But she decided to go back to Uganda after graduation to teach kindergarten for a year. During that year, she saw needs that she could not ignore: children starving and suffering from terrible diseases, parents working as hard as they could and still not being able to afford their children’s education, children forced to grow up too fast.
So she started paying for some of the children to go to school and asking that people back home pay for some scholarships as well. Then she started feeding many of the children. Then she bought a house so that she could have some of the children who were sick stay with her. Then she adopted a set of three orphaned sisters. At this point, she was in too deep. A year came and went, and she could not leave what God was clearly calling her to.
Did I mention that Katie Davis is currently 23—the same age as me!—and she has adopted fourteen children? This book makes me wonder what my life would look like if I were as willing as Katie is. But Katie also explains that you don’t have to move to Uganda and pick “jiggers” from children’s feet everyday. (Out of curiosity, I Googled “jiggers” to look for a possible photo to use here. You’re welcome.) Katie’s message is not that you have to be a radical enthusiast; you just have to faithfully say yes to what God asks. Amazing things will happen.
The ministry that Katie started in Uganda is called Amazima, meaning “truth.” You can find out more about the book and her ministry here.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life.” (24)
“God did not make too many people and not enough resources to go around.” (49)
“I have learned that something happens when one makes herself available to God: He starts moving in ways no one could imagine…” (57)
“I realize that since I have chosen an unusual path it is easier for outsiders to look at my life and come to the conclusion that it is something extraordinary. That I am courageous. That I am strong. That I am special. But I am just a plain girl from Tennessee. Broken in many ways, sinful, and inadequate. Common and simple with nothing special about me. Nothing special except I choose to say ‘yes.’” (114)