Monday, March 10, 2014

An Inviting Home In Africa

I grabbed four books to take with me on vacation. I should first mention that I am not a reader. I mean, I read blog posts by the hundreds. That stuff that you share on Facebook...I read that. I even enjoy starting books, however, I can count on my two hands how many books I've actually finished in the past ten years.

Make that one hand.

books on adoption

A friend had lent me a book ages ago and it had been sitting on our bookshelf since then. I felt that I was a little over zealous bringing four books along, but then again we were going on a cruise with no cell reception and relaxation was on the menu. Maybe since I would be out of my home (you know how sometimes leaving home helps you forget about all of the things staring at you that you need to finish) then I could muster up enough motivation to start, and maybe even finish, some of these books. 

We arrived at the airport and boarded our plane. Air Force One was just on the other side of the runway. We decided to let the president go first so we joined the lineup of waiting planes. With nowhere to go I pulled out the first book...that blue one that had been collecting dust on the shelf.

kisses from katie

Kisses from Katie is a story about a young girl who fresh out of high school went on an adventure to Uganda. She told her parents that it would only be for a year but her heart was impacted so much that coming back to America seemed impossible. She decided that Uganda was now her home. In the process of pouring out her life for the least of these, 14 young girls came into her life and by the end of the book she was working on adopting 13 of them. That doesn't even take into consideration the 250 children that would spend the night at her four bedroom home on Friday nights...let that sink in...TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY! (I thought housing 14 over Christmas was a stretch.) Along with the help of others they would make meals to serve hundreds...not to mention the numerous baths that she would give children trying to keep them healthy or in many cases bring them back to health.

kisses from katie by katie davis

We landed in Newark, NJ. We ran to get onto the last flight headed to Ft. Lauderdale. We missed our previous flight due to the wait on the runway.

Hopefully the President made it back to the White House ok.

As soon as we settled on the plane and took off I opened the book and continued where I had left off. I couldn't stop reading. I was however completely put together. "I'll take some cranberry juice please," I told the flight attendant as she passed by. Then at some point with the woman to my left on her kindle and the woman to my right drinking her ginger ale, I continued reading and the tears began flowing like rain.

I did my best to wipe them away discretely.

There were many stories that Katie told. None were for dramatic affect, she was just simply stating the facts of the conditions that the children lived in. At one point an infant girl came into her care. She had seen the conditions that the family lived in and it became evident why the child was so sick. Katie says, "For the first twenty-four hours, I could hardly stand to look at her. The hurt and the hunger in her lifeless little eyes were simply unbearable. Every time I changed her diaper, it was filled with large worms - big, fat earthworm-sized worms."

More tears filled my eyes.

The stories continued to unfold in grace, love, and mercy. Our plane touched down in Florida as I literally read the last line of the book. Sam couldn't get over the fact that I had just completed a book, let alone in basically one, slightly interrupted, sitting. I couldn't get over the fact that there is a girl in her mid-twenties making a great impact as she opens up her home in Uganda, Africa.

Every day since I've finished that book my heart has been shaken. Katie wrote, "A life changed is worth it, even if only one. God's love made known is worth it, even if only to one. I will not save them all. But I will keep trying. I will say 'Yes.' I will stop for one."

There were many ways that Katie cared for others beyond the many that she took into her home to adopt. If I can be honest, there is a struggle in my own heart. A struggle with the culture that I grew up in and can vividly see and the stories I have heard of a world across the sea that looks much different.

How do I have so much? How can I make a difference? How can I daily give up my life and desires to serve the least of these? How can I serve others when I feel so selfish at times?

I feel like this journey is only just beginning.

Ten years ago I told God that I would live in a hut in Africa...I would go anywhere. It is still true. However, we believe that God has placed our family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. How can I serve the least of these here? As I honestly share my heart, this is where I'm at. I don't have the answers but I'm determined to struggle through the questions.

How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus to this world?

to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world

I might have reached the end of the story and finished a book, but I realize that this isn't the end...

the end

it is only the beginning.

Have you read Kisses from Katie? Or have you read a different book that wrecked you for weeks after you reached the end of the pages?


Want to stay connected? Check out these great ways!

    

Sharing this at:

12 comments:

  1. I immediately put this book on hold at the library. Can't wait to read it! Thank you...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! I have read Kisses from Katie and I am in the middle of re-reading it right now. I, too, was shaken after reading it and it has haunted me since. Another good book is, Take Your Best Shot: Do Something Bigger Than Yourself by Austin Gutwein. Another incredible young man! I am very slowly reading this book to my two sons. One book that I have started reading but have yet to finish is The Hole in Our Gospel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am definitely considering re-reading it again as well. I just might have to check out those other books too! :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  3. Loved this book as well! What I just love about Katie Davis is that she is just an ordinary gal who took God's Word to heart and said yes to His plan. Sometimes I think we believe that God only uses truly extraordinary people to do His extraordinary work, but, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. He uses ordinary people who say yes with obedient and trusting hearts. If God used this book to speak to your heart, Sarah, I'd encourage you to read The Hole in Our Gospel, Radical, Crazy Love, No Longer a Slumdog, Christian Atheists, Follow Me, Not a Fan, and Half the Sky. All excellent, challenging and life-changing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristen,

      Yes, I totally agree...I'm so glad that we don't have to be extraordinary to be used by God! Someone else recommended The Hole In our Gospel too...I think I just might have my next book to read. Thanks Kristen!

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  4. I haven't read Kisses for Katie, but will add it to my reading list. My most recent "wreck your life" book is Seven by Jen Hatmaker. If you want another, "make you think" and want to take action book, you should check it out :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'm going to read this one too!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Kimberlee, I actually just finished reading Seven a few months ago...definitely "wrecked my life!" :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  5. It may not be our calling to live in a hut in Africa, but we can still make a difference in someone's life. Sometimes we don't know the good we do for someone else. A smile, a kind word, a shoulder to cry on, or a listening ear can make all the difference in someone's day or life. Katie wrote, "A life changed is worth it, even if only one. God's love made known is worth it, even if only to one.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting, I read every single one. Because spam is so prevalent I moderate all comments. I also will delete any that are inappropriate or hurtful. All other comments will be approved and published in between me chasing around my five little tornadoes! For any specific questions feel free to email me at aninvitinghome@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and following along!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...