Tuesday, August 4, 2009

update at 8:30 pm, wednesday: Sumini has severe malaria, please pray for her! Seein her so sick brings back many emotional memories for Momma...

Friends and Family (and stalkers, just kidding!),

This week has been a wonderful, hard, emotional roller coaster for me. I was hesitant to mention in my writing before that this week my brother, my dad and Ben will be here. Some of you know and some of you don't... Ben was my highschool boyfriend and though I am absolutely still in love with him, the fact that I have decided to live in Uganda permanently complicates things a little. I know people who follow my life closely are probably shocked to hear this, it is just not something I felt comfortable sharing. I have not blogged about this because when your life is an open book like mine, people sometimes feel entitled to say things that are unnecessary or far too personal. I was apprehensive about his trip here (he has been here before, but that was before I had children) and mostly I just wanted it to be a private thing between he and I and the Lord. As God would have it, Ben's time here has been more wonderful than I could have ever asked or imagined. I am so grateful for this time and will continue to trust the Lord with our relationship. I know that His plan is far better than my desires, and I am thankful for that. Thanks for your prayers. Anyway, since I am all a jumble of emotions, I decided to let Ben write this one himself...


I am sure that everyone who reads Katie’s blog has their own picture of what Uganda is, the work Katie does, and the people’s lives that are changed. My own picture of Uganda was filled with many mixed emotions. A part of me was thrilled that I could even have a part in this amazing girls life and could hear firsthand the fantastic works that God has done through Katie. However there was always another part of me that never could get a clear picture, it almost seemed National Geographic, it did not seem real. Now one reason was probably because of the history Katie and I share and how hard it is to be so far away from someone you love and admire so much. Maybe that’s what kept me from really understanding what she does and what drives her. Regardless of my lack of understanding in the past this week I have spent in Uganda has truly opened my eyes to the picture of Gods work here. It is Real.

The story I am about to tell is about a little Karomajong boy named “Michael” who we think is around 3. Before I try to explain in words the emotions and details of this experience I would like to say that this was one of the first times I have wept for someone. Katie and I were up at the school where she feeds hundreds of the hungry, neglected Karomajong children who nearly survive on the small bowl of rice and beans. Once we rounded up the mass of little faces Katie turned to me and said, “Where is that hungry little boy?” I couldn’t even begin to guess who she could have talking about. In the sea of hungry children how could there possibly be one that was so neglected he could stand out? Katie pointed to a small tree where a boy with short white hair sat. I had never seen a face like his. No emotion was in his face as Katie and I looked him over and gave him food and water. I sat next to him as his sad eyes surveyed the food in front of him. As he ate we saw small burn marks on his arm and feet so blistered and cracked I did not know how he walked. Katie told me children can only have white hair if they are deprived of almost all protein for more than 6 months. She knew he needed help and asked for his parents. Only the father came, because the mother was nearing child labor, and Katie asked if we could take him home and clean him up. Katie asked the father for the boy’s name, the father said he didn’t know it as a voice from one of the children said “His name is Michael”. He made no noise as we drove him to Katie’s house. Once there, I began talking off his clothes to wash him only to find more burn marks on his legs and back. Katie thought it was from his mother punishing him with burnt sticks. He asked to go back home, my heart broke as I saw this poor boy being washed for probably the first time in a very long time.

When I finished bathing him, Katie began to perform what seemed a small surgery on the boy’s feet. She started by cutting away the large piece of skin hanging from his heals and inner feet. Then she started to cut out his jiggers, a small bug that burrows deep in the foot, out of his feet. The boy made no noise, but tears were rolling down his face. Katie then began to cut the skin away so the rocks and mud could be dug out of the holes left by the jiggers. Michael wept silently in pain as the rocks were removed. I have never cried like I did when I saw this poor, so uncared for child going through so much pain. Once she had removed all the bugs, rocks, and egg sacs from his poor little feet, Katie ran to the bathroom and threw up. We bandaged him up, put a fresh pair of socks on his feet, and a pair of shoes to match. His face showed no emotion as I sat there holding him. I so wanted for some expression of relief or happiness to cross his face as he slowly rested his small hand on my leg. Michael’s face never changed.

Once in the car I reached into the glove compartment for some kind of treat to give my little friend. I had one sucker with a whistle in the handle. Michael watched me as I blew into the whistle “Wheeeee”. I slowly put the whistle up to his lips as the same noise came out, ”Wheeeee”. His eyes lit up and the round cheeks lifted to show his little white teeth for the first time … Michael smiled. I wish I could put in writing the emotions I felt when I saw the small glimpse of joy on his face. It was an expression I could tell had been hidden a long, long time. Everything finally made sense to me. I always knew the work Katie was doing and always was thrilled to hear about it, but the picture finally made sense. It made sense how someone could leave their family and move across the world, it made sense how someone could give their life to helping others, it made sense how Katie can wake up each day and be eager with excitement to do it again. In that one moment my life was changed. It was no longer just a story I heard, or photograph I saw… it was Real.

As Katie and I rode in the front we would hear the occasional “Wheeeee” and every time we would look back and see that precious little smile on his face. I carried Michael down to his mud hut on the back side of the mountain, to leave him with his family he was so waiting to see. His mother smiled as she saw him standing there, “He looks smart” is what she said. I so wished there was something else I could to for my new friend, I can only hope and pray that his parents will learn to appreciate and take care of him, and through that love and the love of Amazima Ministries he will learn the love that Jesus has for him.

I want to thank Katie and her family for allowing me to come take part in the Journey. This trip has truly been one I will never forget and will always be thankful for. You taught me what it truly means to serve others. You will always be in my prayers. I love you Katie.

68 comments:

auntie katie said...

to believe is worth saving..
love you
one love

Malia'sMama said...

Okay, I can often tear up at blogs, but to be openly crying... this posy did that. Bless this child and you in your work.

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

all i can say is thank you for allowing me the privilege of a moment into your life katie!

thank you for sharing the time together and how it opened your loves eyes for all that God is calling you to!

praising God for your willing hands and feet every day with joy being given through them!

my heart sings and leaps every time i get to share a moment of the work being done through you.

oh how i hope to meet you one day katie!

lots of love and prayers always remain!
jill

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

speechless.

Christy said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful

shepherdsgrace said...

crying..sniff, sniff...on the verge of sobs...

blessings on your work, our Papa's sweet, tender work...

blessings...blessings...blessings...

~Sarah

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Thank you for making a difference in the life of that boy and countless others!

Beautiful Mess said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Holly said...

What an amazing account of the experience... one that is hard to imagine without being there, and yet understanding it all the same. May that little boy find more reasons to smile.

Amy said...

Auntie Kate and Uncle Ben,

WOW! Katie- I can't believe I've been home over a year. I can still smell the air right before the rain, feel the 'kampala hair', see the dust on my feet. You are incredible Katie. Our God is incredible and you being such a willing and passionate servant is changing the hearts of so many people. You're a beautiful beautiful girl inside and out and I'm SO SO SO proud of you. Rachel and Air are going back to UG in a week and i wish i could go with them!

Praying for you and Ben dear friend! Love you millions!

amy

Tanya and Tony said...

heartbreaking and beautiful.....

thank you both for sharing your hearts

(from a fellow "stalker" wanting to get more involved in God's work, heading to Ethiopia to pick up our son in 2 weeks).

Tracy said...

Beautiful Ben and Katie! Ben, thank you for so clearly illustrating the difference between knowing about Jesus, praying to Him and loving Him from afar--- and actually touching and serving Him first hand....thank you for being a doer and not a hearer only. Thank you for "holding to His teaching being His disciple, knowing the truth and being set free to be His hands...John 8:31----and He is so glorified!

love being able to pray for sweet Michael by name!

Mamita J said...

I'm a lurker. Not a stalker. :-)

Thank you for sharing this...it's good to hear about your work from someone else's perspective.

Katie...I love your heart. I love what you are doing. I'm praying for you.

We've used some of your blog posts to teach Sunday School (College age) because you are a great example of living your life for Christ.

In christ,
Julie

Tracy said...

Oh my! I am speechless, but my heart has been so touched by your words.

Jenn in GA said...

this is a beautiful example of what God does with His love. He gives it to us to give to each other. You give it to Ben. He gives it to you. You give it to Ugandan children. Ugandan children give it to you and to the others who visit. Ben gives His love to Michael. One day, Michael will give that love to someone else.

This made me think of II Cor. 1:3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Katie and Ben, may you each keep seeking the expansion of His love in your lives.

suzanne said...

have no words....except praying for both of your hearts.....

David and Sarah said...

There are really no words, except that I am praying for these dear children, and praying for you both.

May God continue to pour out His love and blessings to you and through you.

Sarah

Christie said...

unbelievable....just so very touching...I wept at the imagery

The Hattons... said...

A very emotional post. Thank you both for making your story, and Michael's story, vulnerable to us.

I wish you both the best in your relationship as God unites your hearts ... wherever and whenever, always.

amyb777 said...

I'm left speechless. All honor, praise and glory to the God Who Sees.

Holli said...

wow - thank you for sharing! praying for what God has in store. Especially for that little Michael!

Anonymous said...

This Post is amazing! Ben....your sharing was a blessing and the story of the little boy was heart wrentching! May the Lord reveal to you both... His will for your lives and may His blessings be upon you both!

In Him,
Lisa from Tucson

drea said...

I believe it is worth saving too sweet friend.
I was just saying this moring to a friend that when we go to Ethiopia to pick up our children I want to take our oldest son. He has a passion for Africa, since he was a child, his heart was bent toward Africa, it is from God because I didn't place it there. I told her, Cadenn must go with us because there is a diffrence from "seeing" then seeing through someone elses eyes.
Praise God Ben sees from his own eyes, not just through yours. It sears the pictures on our hearts not just our minds. Praise God you and Ben were able to help one more child and to change his life forever.
I am praying for you sister, you know it!! You are leaving an eternal mark on lives so desperate for Jesus.

Cindy said...

What can I say except I cried through the whole thing. That was beautiful...absolutely beautiful.

I love that God has his hand on every detail of our lives, that He is in control, that He works all things for our good, that He opens our blind eyes (SO thankful He is opening mine), that He never lets us go, that He finishes what He starts. He is GOOD.

Eight Isn't Enough said...

You took my breath away with this latest post...God is doing such amazing things. I thank Ben for the incredible post of him sharing his heart and personal story with everyone.

Please tell us how we can help the Kamanjong (sp?) people. We are praying daily for you and the people there....may we be His hands and Feet also.

Leah M. said...

Amazing.

Aaron and Erica said...

Katie you are amazing (although I'm sure you could care less if people think that of you). Thank you for sharing your journey with us. May God continue to bless the work that you do for the least of these.

God's Grace said...

I don't often visit here these days due to time limitations, but when I do I am able to refocus my "life" and "purpose". What is truly important. Katie, I knew that you left everything behind to follow His call. And I know that the work set before you is truly amazing as is you.

I really have no words except to say I will pray for you, for both of you, for all of you. Terry

Anonymous said...

Katie (and Ben),
I just began to follow the blog the past few months, and have enjoyed seeing Uganda through your eyes. But I particularly appreciate this account that Ben shared, as it presents the painful reality that so many children face in Uganda - and throughout the continent of Africa. It just about brought me to tears when thinking about a little boy's life where pain is so engrained in his days that the steps taken to help him did not register as anything more than a bit more of his reality.
Thank you for sharing - even the painful and uncomfortable elements of service to His children. May He continue to bless your efforts, whether to one or many, in His name.
Blessings,
Duane Spangler

RuthAllie said...

I relate so much with this blog! Thank you for sharing you life with the world, your struggles and your joys. May the Lord bless your work.

Janell said...

For being the hands and feet of Jesus....thank you! Touched to tears. Moved to compassion. Praying.

Dad and Linda said...

We are proud of you! We thank God for you! We pray for you

Melissa Irwin said...

wow

Amy said...

Speechless...

KathyB. said...

I am blown away by what God has allowed you to do for Him. Praise Him!

I have added your blog to my sidebar and will be praying for you and your children. Thank-you.

Nancy said...

Ah, Katie. I will pray...for God to wrap you and Ben in His arms and His will, and for Jesus to be at the center of your relationship one with another, no matter what that relationship is in the future! But how very precious Ben's words were, and a very clear picture of your work, AND your heart!

Much love, hugs, and prayers!

Nancy in CT

Angela said...

Katie- I guess I am one of your "stalkers". I am one of Gwen's high school buddies and I have read your blog from beginning to end. I often feel moved- I always feel blessed- by what you write and I have pointed your blog out to dozens of people. But, reading what your boyfriends wrote- about how he understands the depth of your passion and NEED to minister in Africa- has made tears fall freely down my face. I envy his experience! Know that you are never alone. You have "stalkers" like me praying along with you! If you ever want to expand your ministry to include TX, tell Gwen to contact me!

Angela

emily said...

Wow. What a gift to read. Thank you Ben for sharing the story and offering another glimpse into Katies world.

Laura said...

You make me want to be a better christian if there is such a thing! What an amazing story!

anna said...

Oh my goodness!! Ben's experience with Michael brings back my memories with sweet, sweet Gladys...Oh how I miss that precious face!

Much love and prayers!
anna

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness...katie!!!! i so wish i could talk to you!! this is AMAZING!! I am so overwhelmed and crying and thanking God! Thank you, Ben for sharing such an important, touching moment. You are right...it is REAL!! May God continue to bless and provide everything you need, Katie, precious!! I also hope you are feeling much better!!
love you!!
Renee

alegria said...

thank you katie, for sharing your journey with us. For hearing the heart of God for those in Africa, and desiring to live a life doing what is on the heart of God, touching lives in such a personal manner. (:

I pray that He'll continue to guide and provide for you, even in your relationships. Jesus loves you. Thanks for being an example to us all. (:

~love said...

katie...i'm so thankful that you allowed ben to share that account. THAT is real....real love, real trust, real walking, real Jesus.

i'm asking God to help me sort out all these overwhelming feelings of discontent with living in America. this is the culture He has me in right now and i need to find out how He wants to be glorified right.here. sometimes i get so frustrated with all that we have when sweet little michael hasn't had protein (or love?) for over 6 months?! ugh.

praying for you, your girls, your continued trust w/ your relationship, your ministry....michael & uganda.

gloria said...

Beautiful.... thank you both for sharing with us just a glimpse of what the Father is doing in your lives and in th lives of those precious children.

He truly is amazing,

Gloria
<><

Jewels of My Heart said...

I simply cannot find the words to express what I am feeling.....
I will simply say with all my heart....
Thank You Jesus............ and Father God, please bless the children.....

He must become greater, but I must become less said...

Katie,

Could you use another person with two arms to love some children? If not, could you point me in a direction where I could be of some service. I want to come and help and I'm pretty sure I have the funding to do so. I looked at a trip that is going to be coming your way at the end of December, but I want to come sooner and I'm thinking I'm going to want to stay longer than 12 days. I know you've got a ton of children to take care of, so just when you get a chance could you get back to me. Thanks for the ministry you're doing.

Praying for you.

minnesotamom said...

Ben and Katie, thank you both for this post--it was an eye-opening, heart-tendering treasure.

gracefuldesigns said...

I am speachless...and brought to tears. Thank you so much for sharing this...please do not for a moment hesitate or regret sharing from your life...you are such an inspiration to me and I so pray that if its Gods will, I will be able to experience the REALness of what you are living right now. Yes I know it is not always joys...sorrows come with this earthly abode, but I so feel as if what you are doing brings so much more to life, to get out of ourselves and live as our Blessed Savior did...loving, serving, fathering and mothering the orphans around the world.

God bless you Katie and Ben in what ever God has for you!!1

Grace

Miss Mary said...

It's so good to know you're back and safe, it's good to be reading your posts again. I'm so glad Ben got to be a part of what you do also. It is good for the soul. This post along with a few others did make me cry . You have a good heart, and it's so good to know you are doing what you are doing and the difference you are making . because I felt so drawn to you and your kids I started giving last month to your cause, I felt God leading me to do this. I want to be able to help in any small way I can. May you, your work and your kids be Blessed always. Big hugs : -)

Jeanine said...

Breathless, tearful, and so very moved by this. Lord Jesus, rescue these little ones. Protect them and raise them up in joy.

Eight Isn't Enough said...

We will definitely be praying that God heals Sumani from Malaria.

andrea said...

oh my soul...

thank you for being the hands of Jesus to those children!

Dave and Michelle said...

Katie,

We came and saw you while you were in town. My wife and I enjoyed listening to the challenges you face and I'd like to say something that may sound different, but what amazed us (we are all 30's to 50s+ in age) is that, you're just a kid.

The beautiful thing about that is that it is evidence of what God is doing in your life. God has a habit of taking unlikely people and doing extraordinary things with them.

We all wanted to get our pictures taken with you because many in our Small Group at church read your blog.

Even last night in our group, they were talking about your latest entry and how much we are inspired to be more for Christ. There is a realization that we don't have to be twiced educated pastors to serve Christ. We just have to be available.

God is teaching us so much this year and your decision to make yourself available to Christ has challenged many people to be more for Him.

I pray God blesses you richly for your sacrifices.

sandihester said...

Katie, I friend who is adopting from Africa sent me your blog. Over the last couple of days I've spent hours reading it. My husband and I have a huge heart for missions and the nations. We will be praying for you - I'm not sure I've stopped praying for you since I came across your blog. I've been all around the world, but have never been to Africa - though I feel like I've been there because we have several friends who are missionaries there. I'm a Christian artist and have painted many paintings from Africa - you can see them on my blog www.paintingtheword.com (there's a page at the top that says missions). You have blessed me sister and we will be praying about how we can help/join you in your journey.

The Ferrill's said...

Thank you Ben for giving us a glimpse into life with Katie. No, you gave us a glimpse of life with CHRIST.
Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
God bless you all for inspiring us to DO MORE for HIS CHILDREN!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't remember how I "journeyed" to your blog, but you and the children have never left my thoughts and prayers since.

I envy you and the ability to make the choices you have. There are days that I wish I could go back in time to make a difference as you have.

Our son is from Russia. I thought I have felt the sadness in holding those orphans in my arms, but it seems as if that is nothing compared to Michael. God sent Michael to show Ben.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you but especially Michael.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you Katie and precious Sumini! May God heal and touch her body quickly and may her sisters understand how sick she is. May he uphold you this week with so many emotions flowing and be your strength and peace Friday night as the rest of the fam heads home. Miss you all so much already! Thank you again for everything. Give everyone a hug from Auntie "K".

The Hull's at #4 said...

So thankful that God loves each of us. Thank you Katie for loving on these little ones, so thankful God broke your heart for them.

Jennifer said...

I am amazed...absolutely beautiful. Thank you both for sharing!

Kari said...

Simply Love. I will never forget this beautiful story of what love is really all about.

Calico Sky said...

Thank you for your work, I will be praying a great deal for Michael.

philipa said...

thanks Katie and thanks Ben for allowing us to share in the miracles God did and is doing. I love you Ben so much and love you too Katie.

xxoo
Nise'

Erica said...

I'm a bit behind on blog reading. This post melted me. Not that I haven't openly cried reading your blog before but this one I had my husband read. This one hit me to the core. This one hurt my heart. Praying for you Katie, your heart, your babies, and the work God is doing in and through you.

Pastor Anna Marie Hopewell said...

Praise God for you Katie and the work you are doing. May Abba Father be your comforter as you reach out your hands to comfort those who have never been comforted on His behalf. In Jesus' name. Amen.

suzy said...

Through tears I write. What a beautiful thing it is you do.

BrittneyNicole said...

haha... staklers. love it. it is true. i am two days into this blog, and I can join the ranks.

but who wouldn't want to stalk a living testament!

thanks. this is important. i know you recognize that, but seriously. even more important than you could know.

shalom, dear katie.

Travis said...

I started reading the blog at the beginning, it has been great to hear the ongoing testimony of God's gracious work.

This post presenting the view from a visitor perspective provides touching insight into the ministry.

Unknown said...

I just wanted to stop marathon reading your whole blog to say hello. I say your little Uganda clock on the side of your blog and it says its about 7am there. I'm in Murray, KY (about 2 hours north of Nashville) sitting in my dorm room and started reading your blog from the first post about four hours ago. I don't know that you'll even get a chance to read this comment today or even within the next week but I just wanted you to know that you have a new follower and someone else praying for you, your girls, and your mission.
Courtney