Friday, October 23, 2009

Hello and this is Mary Pat Davis, proud mama and Jjajja (grandmother) to 14 beautiful coffee colored children and also jlovie or Josie Love (my friend's new daughter and my soon to be neighbor)! Amazima Ministries supporters, prayer warriors and blog followers this has been a fun filled ride of 7 weeks in Bukaya. Upon arriving, I had asked Katie where all my street friends of Jinja were as I had not been called Muzungu (white person). She said, "Mom those are the Karamajongs." Oh, I thought... the Karamajongs are the village tribe comparable to the lepers Mother Theresa took care of, that Amazima Ministries is now feeding 5 days a week plus providing food to their families. The parents of these children are not sending them into the streets of Jinja to beg. Thanks for providing approx 8,000 meals a week!! Also, thank you Brittany's Hope Foundation for the feeding grant. Amazima Ministries now sponsors 400 children. They attend school, recieve medical care, and come to Katie's home on Saturday for lunch, Bible study and play time. Amazima Ministries is providing this thanks to your continued support! Thank you, thank you for improving the quality of life for GOD’s beautiful children. It is only possible with you!!

Favorite things while visiting Uganda…
14 children singing christian songs on the way to church
the blue Nile river (the only one flowing south to north...only GOD could make this possible)
nkwagala nnyo “I love you” constantly heard in this household
ordering the standard 20 pizzas for Friday night dinner and the restaurant calling and asking if we have any pizza boxes!??
no TV
outside Sunday sermon at Acacia church with the most incredible view and the wind gently blowing
riding a piki to town for 1,000 shillings (50 cents)
ordering cream for my coffee and the confused server scurrying politely around in the kitchen and arriving 20 minutes later with sour cream
no power so dinner, bath, and bedtime by candlelight
Katie’s children totally excited about a new light bulb in their bedroom! or new toothbrushes
and Katie’s newest family addition, adorable Patricia, named after her Jjajja

Friends and blog readers, my love, blessings, and most of all thanks for making Amazima Ministries International grow and prosper so quickly. These beautiful children thank me all the time and I am sending their thanks to each of you! Also thank you for loving my daughter Katie, who has taught me to live a more faith filled life without a specific plan!!! That is not my greatest strength. Continue to love, love, and love people that touch your life daily, as that is our greatest gift to GOD, our creator who make all things possible!! Katie, you are totally amazing and I love you so much. Love to my dearest husband, Scott and my strong son Bradley. I can hug and kiss you on Monday!! xoxoxo

Friday, October 9, 2009

Full Circle

Almost three years ago, I walked into an orphanage in Jinja, Uganda and fell in love with the sickest baby girl I had ever seen ( of course, I just didn't know what my life was going to be like...) Her name is Josephine. At a year old she could not hold up her own head or roll over, still had no teeth and was the size of a 2 month old. Mom and I took turns holding her and carrying her all over Jinja. When she was sick, we took her to the hospital and spent evenings holding her while nurses poked and prodded. I sang her to sleep. I cried when she cried. I begged the Lord that she wouldn't die. I went home with Josephine still in my heart and spent counless hours thinking and praying about her.

I watched her grow through other volunteers' pictures on facebook and was so thankful for Julie whose heart had also been stolen by this sweet girl. When I moved back to Uganda seven months later the first thing I did was scoop sweet Josephine, now able to sit up by herself, into my arms. She was still small, still had the same sweet smile, still held my heart. I was working pretty far from Jinja, teaching Kindergarten, but would sneak away in the afternoons to get back to the orphanage and hold little Josephine as often as I could. I would sneak her bananas a give her baths. I prayed and prayed and prayed that her forever family would come soon to take her home. She was happy, but she wasn't growing fast enough, she wasn't developing like the other children, and it was completely out of my power to do anything for her but continue to pray and love on her as much as I could.

10 months ago I sat in my new-found bestest friend Suzanne's house and she mentioned to me that if she ever had another baby girl, she would name her Josie Love. My heart lept. JOSEPHINE. I instantly stole her computer and showed her every picture I had of this precious little girl, talking too fast about what it would be like if Suzanne could bring her home. She looked at me as if I might be nuts and laughed but I left feeling like, just MAYBE, a seed had been planted.

7 months ago, Suzanne, Mike, and their two oldest children, along with some others came to visit. Of course the first thing I wanted to do was take them over to Jinja to meet sweet Josephine, who I of course had started referring to as Josie Love. The Mayernicks had been seriously praying about making her part of their family, but were unsure of what all her special needs may entail. But sweet Josie had done it again, she stole their hearts as well. Not long after they returned home, I got an excited phone call from Suzanne announcing that they felt that God was asking them to make Josie a Mayernick. I watch as their fears and uncertainties turned into excitement and joy. I continued to visit Josie at the orphanage whenever I could, but now I could whisper to her, "They are coming. Your Mommy and Daddy are coming to get you." My heart was full of joy.

Last month, Mike and Suzanne came to pick up their sweet baby girl. In a rountine medical exam that takes place before and child goes to the US, sweet Josie Love tested positive for HIV and TB. As I thought back over the time I had known her, it seemed all too obvious. Yet when she tested negative at 5 months, no one ever thought to re-test her. My heart nearly broke in half for this sweet baby girl and for my devestated friends. If you have ever wondered what it looks like to truly follow the call of the Lord, to truly TRUST God, I invite you to meet the Mayernicks. I was blown away, and truly challenged and encouraged as I watched them process and decide to take Josie HOME, regardless of her condition.

Today Josephine is standing up, holding onto my knees, unaware that I am typing about her on my computer. She is singing and grinning that big grin, the same one that looked up at me three years ago, although now it is full of teeth. Josephine is staying with our family for a bit, while Mike and Suzanne finish some things in the US and we treat her here for TB.

As I look at her happy little face I am marveling at God's goodness, His plans that are greater than anything I could have ever imagined. This sweet baby girl who I fell in love with years ago is going home to live with two of my favorite people in the world. She will grow up down the street from my mom who loves her to pieces and she will live near one of the best children's hospitals in the nation... my words are failing me. I can't even convey how beautiful it all is.

We are priviledge to have a few weeks or a few months to love on Josie Love Mayernick, priviledged to have her family walking life with us, priviledged to watch the Hand of God move in these magnificent ways that only He can. We appreciate your prayers as we take on a few more sleepless nights, a lot more dirty diapers, and an abundance of joy.

Mike and Suzanne, I love you. Your baby girl loves you. Thank you for being the example you are to me, thank you for all you do for Amazima and my family, thank you for loving Jesus.

Jesus, thank you. I don't have enough words. You could do it all by yourself, and you choose to include little me. I am so humbled and so grateful. You knit our stories together so perfectly. Thank you for your perfect plan for Josie, thank you for allowing me to witness it, to be a part of it. Thank you for your love for this precious one.

Monday, October 5, 2009


SO MUCH God is doing in our lives right now, SO MUCH He is teaching me, SO MUCH to tell you all! I really want to share these stories in way that glorifies My Father who gave them to me, but don't seem to have enought words... So I am going to share them slowly over the next couple of days.
John is a sweet, 15 year old, Karamojong boy with the most beautiful servant's heart. He lives in Masese's Karamojong area with a very old grandmother - not his own grandmother, just a woman he cares for because she is so old and unable to walk well or find food for herself - and a baby who came from... I don't know where. I am constantly humbled by his sweet disposition, his desire to help this vulnerable grandmother and child even though they are unrelated. How many 15 year old boys do you know that spend their lives serving the least of these in their own community? He is precious.

Every Sunday my family eats lunch at a local restaraunt called Yummies (yea, laugh at it for a minute...) This Sunday John was waiting for us when we pulled up after church. He greeted us sweetly but then turned to show me a quarter-sized hole in the back of his foot. All we could really communicate in the little English he knows and the little Swahili I know was that a bottle had cut him. I could not figure out how a bottle made such a large, deep hole. Unfortunately, for severly malnourished children, even the smallest cut can become a gorge due to the body's inability to heal properly. While the big girls got situated inside, the little girls and I trecked of to the nearest pharmacy to pick up some antibiotic ointment, gauze and tape. After washing his foot as best we could with my bottled water, we bandaged him up good. He looked up and said, "I waited for you. I knew you would fix it." We gave John his food and sent him on his way, promising I would come back in the morning to re-bandage and start him on an antibiotic.

Monday morning, he sat waiting in the place I park my van at 7 am. He was not surprised to see me. As I handed him the antibiotic, explaining how to take it. I kind of wanted him to say thank you. But as I looked in his eyes I knew why he hadn't thanked me. Because this was expected. He knew that I was going to bandage his wound and give him medicine because that is what I do. His trust was much better than a thank you. As I washed the gash and covered it with a fresh bandage, he said once again, "I knew you were coming. You bring medicine like you said. You always come." As I took his sweet face into my hands, I whispered to him that Jesus loves Him and that He will ALWAYS show up, always come, always be there to help him.
* * *

Several weeks ago, Gwen's son Elijah was looking at pictures of some sweet Ugandan children on her computer. In an effort to teach him to be thankful for all that he has, Gwen explained to him that these children were hungy, sometimes not eating for days, some having no mommy or daddy, some unable to take a bath or drink clean water. Elijah looked up at her with no doubt, "Mom, don't worry, Katie will feed them. Katie will take care of them."
Over and over and over again God reminds me. I see these children's blind faith and I LONG for my faith in the Lord to be so trusting. HE WILL COME. I am waiting for Him. I KNOW that He will come and bandage my wounds and bind up my brokeness. He will always show up, just like He says, bringing the medicine, or whatever else is needed.
I look at these precious children. Hundreds and thousands and Hundreds of thousands of them. Hungry, with no mommy or daddy, some unable to eat or bathe for days, never having clean water to drink, never having adequate medical care when they are hurting. Could my faith be like Elijah's? Could I look at you without a hint of doubt and say, "Don't worry. God will feed them. God will take care of them." HE IS COMING. HE IS COMING to bandage our wounds, to bind up our broken hearts, to take our faces into His hands and whisper I am always here. HE IS COMING and all these children that are hurting and hungry and longing for love are going to be scooped into His everlasting arms and told that they are beautiful. They will no longer be hungry or hurting because they will be filled with His spirit. They are the least of these, they are His heart, and He is coming for them and for us. So we wait like John. We are expectant like Elijah. We will not be put to shame.

Lord, I know you will come. I know you are here. Let me bring all my wounds and brokeness to you expectantly, without a doubt. Remind me that all the children I touch, and all the children I don't, are yours. Yours in this broken life, and yours in eternity. Come, Lord Jesus. We wait in Hope.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Some sweet words from Jesus...

"My dear children, I am with you. I watch closely as you struggle for holiness. Often, you are uncertain of your spiritual condition. You strive to serve but feel conflicted by the times in which you are serving. There are some things that all humanity deals with regardless of where in history they are placed. First, there will always be a difference between the world’s path and heaven’s path. These two paths, while they can run along side each other for increments, will always separate. Ultimately, each man will have to choose. Every man, to a greater or lesser degree, will have to contend with choosing first good over evil and then he will have to make another choice and that is the choice of choosing My plan for his life over his own plan for his life. After that, the choices become even more studied in that the man must choose My plan in each day, in each task and even in each moment. You may say, dear apostle, that this is a difficult call for a man, to study his actions in each day. You may say, this is asking a lot. You are right. I, Jesus, am asking a lot of you. I ask for your full commitment and I do so without apology. Dearest apostles, if you give me your full commitment, there is no limit to what I can do. Look at your life. You have said yes to me on many days. Examine what I have done with your yes answers. Consider what I am building with the commitments of so many children of God who are willing to be directed by the Saviour, their King. I am building a structure of love. I am building a structure through which many are returning. Truly, your hearts, open and filled with My love, call out to others. You provide for Me a welcome to those who feel separated. If they can be taken into your heart for even a brief moment and experience Me, with My love, then they will have the courage to both approach Me directly and to accept Me directly. Please, do not count the sacrifices when you consider your service. Do not count the loss of worldly respect. Count only the souls who are comforted and consoled. Count the repentance and healing of so many who have been restored to unity with heaven. Count the humility that I have bestowed on you, dear apostle, since you began to learn about true holiness. I am your King. I can give you anything. I choose to give you peace and holiness. I choose to make of you a resolute servant. Accept My will in your life and you will then be able to accept all of the graces heaven has stored up for you. "

Message from Anne, lay apostle

Lord, may we seek you path, regardless of how alluring the world's path can look sometimes. May we choose good in an evil generation, may we choose Your plan even when it is harder, may we choose YOU every moment of every day. We want to be fully committed to You. We want the days we say "yes" to become every day. We repent from lukewarmness, from mediocrity, from normalcy. We want to shine so brightly for You that others can't help but see, can't help but feel your love. Let us look at EVERY encounter as an opportunity to show your love. Lord on the days where helping just one more person seems like too much, help me to choose You. On the days when satan whispers "you can't save everyone, why are you trying" let me choose You. On the days when it would be too easy to pop in a movie for my children instead of reading Scripture with them, let me choose You. When harsh words are easier to find than kind ones, let me choose You. Father, like Paul, I know what I want to do, what I should do, and yet I find myself failing, discouraged. Thank You for your grace. Thank You that You who sit so HIGH would look low upon people like me and use us as a vessel for you. How blessed we are to even be called servants, to be able to share in your Kingdom and share your love with others. Thank you for the cross, where you have given us peace and holiness. Father we long to say Yes to You.

He is teaching me to stop for ONE. And it is hard and it is ugly. Because every time I stop for that ONE sick child, that ONE hungry old man, that ONE new baby girl, my mind races with the statistics of how many more there are that I am not touching, not feeding, not saving. God whispers every time though that this ONE is enough. That this ONE is feeling His love and that is eternal. ETERNAL. I think of sweet baby Happy who died at 4 months after we did all that we could. I didn't understand how God had led me to feel so attached to that little girl if His plan was to take her all along. I think of Michael who is back at home with his step mom, healthy now, but more than likely still mistreated. God knows that as a single woman I cannot legally adopt a little boy, how could my heart be so knit to his. I think tonight of Gloria who's brain was so damaged from her high fever she may always be in a vegetable like state. God in His infinite wisdom KNEW that if I had been there a few days sooner, this could have been prevented. But then I think of 14 little girls who have a home and food and a Mommy and know Jesus. I think of 600 Karamajong children, modern day lepers in Uganda, singing about God's love for them and leaving with their bellies full. I think of 400 sponsored children who sometimes show up on Saturday in new clothes because now that Amazima is providing them with all their basic needs (food, education, medical care) their parents can afford to buy them a NEW DRESS. I see thousands of deep brown eyes and feel thousands of little brown hands and I know that even on the hardest day, stopping is worth it. 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 that ONE no matter how hopeless. Jesus, give us the stregth to say yes to whoever you put in our paths today.