In what can only be described as an amazing story and testament to the power of Christ working through His saints, Katie Davis, a 22-year-old Christian woman from Nashville Tennessee, has started a ministry in Uganda to feed, educate and provide health care to the poorest of the poor citizens, while also caring for 13 orphaned children
Ms. Davis, founder and head of Amazima Ministries, began her journey in 2006, when she went on a short term mission to Uganda, where she was immediately captivated by the people and culture. After a return trip in 2007, Davis felt moved to do even more to help the young impoverished people she encountered. Many of the poorest children are forced to spend their days begging for money and thus do not attend school (which are private and charge fees to attend).
“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.
Ms. Davis then put her concern and compassion into action. As the Amazima website details:
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. Sponsors pay $300 per year to send one child to school, providing school supplies, 3 hot meals each day, spiritual discipleship, and medical care. Originally planning to have 40 children in the program, Katie had signed up 150 by January 2008. Today the program sponsors over 400 children.
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. In the Ugandan language, Amazima means “truth.” Also, Katie became a mother for the first time in January of 2008 to three orphaned girls.
“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” — Proverbs 14:31
Ms. Davis is not on a missionary trip. The former High School Homecoming Queen is a permanent resident of Uganda and Amazima is her life’s work. In addition to sponsorship for students, Amazima also provides vocational training (according to a World Bank Report a staggering 83% of Ugandans aged 15-24 are unemployed), and health and HIV hygiene and educational programs. Uganda, where approximately 1.2 million people are HIV positive (including 64,000 children) has been ravaged by the HIV epidemic, so these resources are addressing a critical situation. Amazima keeps records of the HIV positive residents of the community and takes them for regular health checkups. Children suffering from malnutrition are rehabilitated with nutritional supplements provided by the World Health Organization.
Additionally, Bible studies, witnessing and praise of the Savior Jesus Christ are provided to the people all throughout the community. All of this started by a young lady in her teens who could not even speak the native language. In her first home in Uganda, Katie had no running water or electricity. But she acted out on faith and obedience to God.
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18)
Ms. Davis also had a burden for the Karimojon people of the Masese community. Seeing their extreme poverty, Ms. Davis started a feeding program that provides meals to 1,600 children Monday to Friday, to allow the children to be avoid starvation and attend school. Additionally, the children are provided with medical care, Bible study and health training. With a dedicated team, Amazima has become thriving light of hope and the love of Christ in one of the bleakest areas in the world.
“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.”
“Aunt Katie” as she is known in her community, also spoke of the spiritual challenges that she faces in her ministry:
“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.”
Those challenges lead her to the ultimate solution for a Christian in crisis: prayer. “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.”
“…plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:9)
She has now chronicled her incredible story in a book entitled: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption. Davis stated that the purpose of the book was not to discuss herself, but to discuss Jesus Christ.
“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.” When most young women are planning their future college plans, working on a career or focused on fashion, celebrity gossip and the dating scene, this young woman of Christ is letting Jesus live through her and following God’s Will, not her own. And the work is nothing short of phenomenal.
Amazima now is also working on construction projects in their local community, including a newly-built chapel to hold regular church services and a playground for the children. A greater long-term goal is to establish and build its own school. If you wish to sponsor a child in Uganda or support the ministry please go to their website at www.amazima.org. And certainly Christians should all offer spiritual support in the form of prayers for the ministry to keep thriving and growing with God’s grace.
The Bible states: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27). We all as believers have a command from The Lord to care for the poor and suffering in our own communities. Pray for Amazima Ministries but also use them as an opportunity for self-reflection. Katie Davis’ story is amazing, but it should be something that we are all willing and able to do. One of the most compelling quotes Katie gives in her interview below is that people who are Christian tell her “you’re so luck that you found your calling,” to which she replies “I didn’t find it. It’s in the Bible.” What some call her calling is the responsibility and duty of all Christians to carry out in their lives. But are we? Do we have a mind and burden for the poor? The disciple Tabitha, who worked with the Apostles in the early church was praised because she was ” .. always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36). Ms. Davis is clearly following in those footsteps. But how much are we living up the basic commands of Jesus Christ to take care of those in need? Sharing the Gospel should always be accompanied with sharing the love of Jesus Christ which is demonstrated by serving others and caring for their needs.
“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:” (Isaiah 58:10)
You do not have to travel to a foreign country to share the love of Christ with those in need. Every community has people who are suffering and are neglected. Whether it’s the poor, the elderly or those in jails or prison, these are perfect opportunities to help and spread the Gospel at the same time. Let’s pray for the strength to live up to the standards God has set for us.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25).