In the short span of six years, Katie Davis went from living as a typical Tennessee high school senior to founding a child sponsorship ministry and becoming a single mom to 13 adopted daughters. Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption (Howard Books) tells the story of how Katie's gap year ministering in a Ugandan orphanage eventually led to her development of Amazima Ministries. TCW's Aryantu Otiti sat down with Katie to learn more about her adventure of saying yes to God.
How did you know it was God's will for you to move to Africa and start this ministry?
I was absolutely sure God wanted me in Uganda for a period of time, but I had no idea what God was going to do in that time—and I never knew it would be this big! If someone would have told me five years ago that God's calling upon my life was to have this organization, to sponsor 700 children, and to feed all these other children, I would have been scared. But it all happened so gradually; it was one small step of obedience at a time. I always felt God's confirmation in each of the small steps—in helping the person right in front of me or helping the family near me. Before I knew it, it had grown into this huge thing!
When you moved to Uganda, were you afraid of going out on your own, so far away from home?
Some missionaries have a tendency to paint a beautiful picture and make the mission field seem really rosy—but it wasn't always rosy for me. There were times when I was sad, uncomfortable, and lonely, but I don't think I was ever fearful because I felt God's confirmation that I was in the place where he wanted me to be.
What were your first days in Africa like?
The first few days I was here I was just so excited; everything was beautiful and so new and different. I found the people here friendlier and much more welcoming than the people I knew where I came from. Ugandans in general have the gift of hospitality and of grace to outsiders, and I was very impressed and excited about that.
So initially I thought, This is so exciting, I want to stay here forever! But then when reality began to set in, I felt, Oh my gosh, no I don't. This is hard. This is harder than I thought it would be. But I'm glad I pushed through that hard part.
How did your parents feel about your move?
At first, my parents were not so sure about it all. But it's been really phenomenal to watch their faith grow; they are so supportive now. My mom serves on the board of Amazima and my dad helps with fund-raising. Now that my younger brother is in college, my mom comes to stay with me for a few months each year. My dad also tries to visit about once a year. It's been fun to watch how God has grown my parents' faith, first to the point of just being accepting of my move to Uganda, and now to the point of them being so supportive of what God is doing here.