Maybe you’ve heard of Katie Davis, who at age 18 left the United States to live with children in Uganda. In 2008 she founded Amazima Ministries, which today provides education sponsorships to 600 children, daily meals to 1200 children, and a self-sustaining vocational program to women. She has adopted 14 girls who call her Mom. There’s a video of her story below, and a link to her best-selling book at the right.
I don’t know Katie. I’ve only recently become aware of her impressive story, which is jaw-dropping even on the most superficial level of understanding. But Katie’s blog has moved me to even deeper respect for her. I think I expected her thoughts to be characterized by the kind of cocky confidence that plagued my young-adult faith. I didn’t expect humilty, transparency, or wisdom more typical of someone four times her age.
Katie has spent much of this year grieving the death of a young mother, a friend, who lived in Katie’s home. In a particularly moving post (April 26, 2013) she wrestles with why God gave her faith to expect the woman’s healing, even while He knew she would die. Katie wrote:
“I think … He gave me the grace to believe that she would live so that in her final days she would feel hope and high spirits all around her, so that she would feel that she was fought for and that she was worth the fight. She was worth it. It’s His message to us on the cross and it is His message to the woman with the issue of blood [Mark 5:25-34] as He stoops down to look into her eyes, to speak to her, to meet her need: ‘You are worth it.’ And I want it to be my message to these hurting that He brings into our lives: You, you are worth it. We are for you. He is for you.”
She was fought for and she was worth the fight. The person, not the outcome, is worth the fight. I think of this as I read the story of the woman who refused to tip her gay waitress “because I don’t agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.” The story is crushing. How would this world be different if we knew how to approach strangers and say “you are worth my love” instead of “I don’t like the way you live”?
It might be easy to look at Katie’s life and declare it out of reach. Would I leave my comfortable life and go to Africa to serve? Probably not. But that’s hardly the point. Christ doesn’t call us all to the same story, and unless a plot twist awaits, Africa is unlikely to be part of mine. Still, He calls us all to the kind of radical love that beats in Katie’s heart. Her words have haunted me all day. Many people share the same path that I walk. Do I notice the ones who are hurting? Do I think they’re worth what I have to give? Do I give what I have readily?
When I look out on the world I tend to look at the problems rather than at the people. The danger of this perspective is that the world’s problems are insurmountably large. Desired results are often out of reach.
I don’t always know what it means to say to a person, “You are worth the fight.” It’s easier to say this and demonstrate it to people I love. It’s much harder to say it to the strangers God puts on my path. But Katie–thank you, Katie–inspires me to figure it out.