At just 18 years old, Katie Davis did what most girls her age would not. The homecoming queen and senior class president had a world of opportunity on her horizon, and she traded it all for a life that many cannot imagine.
In December of her senior year of high school, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda, where God wrote new desires on her heart, and opened her eyes to a different kind of opportunity.
In praying and seeking God about her next steps after graduation, Katie decided to forgo university and her yellow convertible. Instead, she committed one year to teaching kindergarten in an orphanage in Uganda.
It was her obedience to God, and faith in what she could not see, that led to Katie making Uganda her permanent home in 2008.
She launched Amazima Ministries, named after the native Ugandan word for “truth.” The organization seeks to transform lives, restore relationships and radically change communities through the truth of Jesus Christ.
Her book Kisses from Katie—A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption became a New York Times bestseller.
By the time she was just 23 years old, Katie had become a mother to 13 young girls whom she adopted and raised as her own.
Katie tells TODAY that she learned the most valuable lesson about true love and what it means to love through the foster and adoption process.
“In those early days of laying sleepy heads on pillows and training tiny hearts to know Jesus, I had no comprehension of the wild, devastating, uncontainable love I would feel for them. I didn’t know that they would somehow become extensions of me, that when they hurt I would hurt more deeply than I ever had before, and that when they showed delight over a success or an excitement for God’s Word, my heart would swell within me and I would be unable to contain tears of joy. I didn’t know that sometimes I would look at them and feel so much love that my heart would physically ache within my chest.”
That understanding of unconditional love would one day influence Katie not just as a mother, but also a wife.
Enter: Benji Majors.
The two grew up in the same town of Franklin, Tennessee, but only met for the first time when Majors arrived in Uganda to serve as a missionary.
“We shared a hometown with only a few hilltops to keep our adolescent lives from ever intersecting,” Katie writes on her blog.
“My husband’s love is just another way God has chosen to pour [out] His extravagant love on me, another constant reminder that He rejoices over me, and over each one of our daughters. I watch them come alive under the loving gaze of their new father, I hear the delight and the certainty in their voices as they call ‘Dad.’”
When the couple tied the knot in 2015, Katie didn’t have sisters or friends beside her as her bridesmaids, but 13 beautiful daughters who continue to be living proof of God’s faithfulness, redemption and love.
Katie says just because she lives in Uganda and shares the love of Jesus with people she meets doesn’t mean she’s a “missionary” more than anyone else.
“I live in Uganda with my husband and my children. The people here, they are my neighbors, my friends, my family. These are the streets on which we live, the community we pray with, the friends we eat with, the people I wave to on the street. This is my home. What I do here, you can do there, right where you are.”
Amazima Ministries is just one of the many ways you can join the movement and empower a generation of children with education and Jesus Christ.
But like Katie says, you don’t have to be in Uganda to be a missionary. You don’t have to adopt 13 children to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
You can simply do something to share the love of God with those around you. Be a good neighbor, meet someone new, face each day with the joy of the Lord, and be filled with the spirit to bless those around you. “Right where you are.”
Be sure to check out Katie’s new book, “Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful,” available now!