Friday, January 22, 2010

It is dark. It is quiet. The cold rain drips through her thatched roof soaking through the thin sheet she wraps around her skeletally frail body. Grace is 80 years old, blind, and all alone. Her HIV has progressed into full blown AIDS making it impossible for her tiny body to fight off any type of infection. The merciless cough caused by tuberculosis racks her body. In despair she cries out to God, a God she has not spoken to in twenty years, believing he had forsaken her when the AIDS virus took her precious husband and all 6 of her children from this earth. She wails to Him and asks if He can hear her. She knows that her life is near the end. She desperately wants to believe in something, anything, before she departs from this world. She begs the Lord that if He can hear her, if He is indeed real, He would send her a friend, a visitor, some kind of sign that someone out there cares. She falls asleep shivering, with a plastic trash bag over her head to keep the rain off her face.

The next day I make the familiar trek through the Masese III village, Patricia strapped to my back, bandaging wounds, testing for malaria, kissing foreheads. A woman from our beading group (go buy a beautifully handmade necklace and feed a child! www.147millionorphans.com) suggests that I go visit a blind old woman that she has heard of who may need some assistance, so I grab my dear friend Tamara and head deep into the village in the direction we have been pointed. I am not prepared for the sight that meets my eyes. Grace is indeed old and blind, but that only scratches the surface of her troubles. I actually spend a few minutes marveling at the fact that she is still alive. Her body is hardly strong enough to sit up, let alone stand or walk. She has not eaten in three days, and she hasn’t seen in 5 years. What gets to me most is the eerie quietness that surrounds her house, in the very back of the village near a trash pile, all the neighbors gone to work, even the wind seems quiet today. I think for a moment that her tiny mud house is exceptionally dark inside, and then I remember that for her, it is already dark anyway. I embrace this sweet woman, patting her back and kissing her cheeks and I tell her that Jesus loves her and I love her. “He does!” She exclaims. “He has sent me visitors as I asked!” Her excitement turns to a whisper, “I had stopped believing. I did not think God cared for me. Lord, I believe in You.” Tears streamed down both of our faces and together we began to pray to our Father who sees and hears and answers even the smallest of our requests.

All this took place about three months ago and was just the beginning of lots and lots of time spent with Grace. I would take her food a few times a week that her neighbors would help her cook every day. We went to many, many doctor’s appointments getting her treatment for her TB, blood transfusions, and lots of vitamins. When I brought the girls to meet her, they instantly fell in love with her sweet heart and immediately adopted her as their Jja Jja (grandmother). Most Sundays the girls and I pack up a picnic lunch and head over to Jja Jja Grace’s house to share a meal with her, read the Bible, sing and dance. The girls love it and Grace loves the house filled with noise and laughter. On Christmas day we ate lunch at her house and God gave all of us the most beautiful Christmas gift (second only to His Son, of course!) Jja Jja Grace, who just months ago had been too weak to stand, began to walk. She walked around the outside of her entire house (about ten square feet), praising the Lord the whole time. As neighbors came to watch and ask, we prayed with them to accept Jesus. Grace’s testimony was changing lives right before our eyes, and how blessed we felt to be a part of it.

Two days ago I went to visit Grace and was surprised to see that the food we had sent her for the week remained uncooked and uneaten. She said the neighbor who had been helping her cook the food had moved away three days ago, and she had not eaten since. I asked her how she had been taking her medicine, and she said that she feels around for each of her five packets of medicine and swallows one pill out of each. This presents a problem as they are all different, some to be taken 3 times a day, some to be taken two at a time, some with food, and some without. This clearly was not going to work. After talking to more of Grace’s neighbors and finding no one that was willing or even able to help, it struck me. We were going to have to move Jja Jja Grace in with us. To say that the idea of this overwhelmed me would be an extreme understatement. The girls helped me cook Grace’s lunch and wash some clothes for her, and we headed home so that I could think and pray about what to do next.

I rolled around in my bed not sleeping that night, “God are you truly asking me to do this?” And God said, “I think you know the answer. You don’t actually wonder if I am truly asking you to do this, you are just afraid of the inconvenience it may be to you to have a blind old woman in your care.” It was true. Somehow, adopting a grandmother seemed a lot more daunting than adopting a child. But it boiled down to this: Do I believe that Jesus was serious? Do I believe what He said was true? And the answer is yes. I believe that he was serious when He said to love my neighbor as myself, and I believe He meant this even when my neighbor was not tiny and cute and cuddly. I believe when He said to love my neighbor as MYSELF. He really meant to care for others as I would care for myself or my family, and I would never let myself or my family live in such conditions. How different it can be to “believe” the word of God and to take it literally.

As I thought of all the different life changes that would need to take place for us to accommodate Jja Jja Grace completely overwhelmed me, but the only reasons I could think of to NOT move her in with us were completely selfish. We have enough room, we have enough food, we have enough love. We have enough. I kept coming back to Matthew 25, a passage etched in my hear that says:

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

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.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these brother’s of mine, you did not do for me.’

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I BELIEVE that when Jesus said, “I tell you the TRUTH,” He meant just that, that His words were true and He wasn’t kidding. YES, I believe that I am saved by faith through GRACE. Grace that is freely given and cannot be earned by anything I do. But I also believe that sometimes we rely so heavily on the Grace of God to cover our sins that we blatantly disobey His word and feel ok about it. “Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” THAT is what Jesus will say to those of us who do not care for the least of these. I believe this is true because I believe His word is true, EVERY word is true, plain and simple. That is a heavy, heartbreaking thought. How often have we neglected you, Lord?

“I’m sick,” He said, “will you look after me? Will you invite me in?”

Yes.

In the morning I sat the girls down for a family meeting, something that is quite routine at our house. I already knew what their response would be when I asked them what they thought about Jja Jja Grace coming to live with us; I knew that they would be more than willing, excited even. They are SO MUCH better than me at giving without holding anything back. The vote was unanimous, they jumped up and down and squealed and told me thank you for having such a good idea. I laughed to myself; this was SO not my idea.

We went back to Masese that day and after women’s meeting went down to Jja Jja Grace’s house to invite her to move into our home. Tears welled in her eyes and a grin crossed her face, “God has given me a family,” she cried. “All these years with no one, and He has given me a new family!” What happened next threw me for a loop though; she said no! I looked up and wondered. All that thinking and processing and not sleeping, and she said no. She said that she was too old to start a new life and would be too much of a burden on us. She said that Jesus would be the one to take care of her and we could just continue to do what we can at her house. The girls begged and pleaded, but she had made up her mind. I will not pretend that my selfish, human heart didn’t feel some relief.

As we left, all feeling encouraged by the love God has sewn into our relationships with Grace, I wondered if He just wanted to grow me. If He just wanted to see if I would say yes. If in some small way, I was like Abraham and He just wanted to make sure I was willing to sacrifice it all for Him, only to tell me that I didn’t really have to. Jja Jja Grace may still move in; she may not. I am leaving that one in God’s hands. I believe however that the act of Grace moving into our home was not really the point; God just wanted to work in my heart. I am so thankful that He loves me enough to teach and mold me on such a personal level. I am thankful for Jja Jja Grace and all she has taught me and my family about Jesus. I am thankful for the opportunity to look into the eyes of the least of these and know that Jesus is staring back at me. I am thankful for the opportunity to simply say, “Yes.”

135 comments:

HMK said...

Oh wow Katie.. that is such a God thing, isn't it? Praying for Jja Jja Grace as she continues on in her little home.

Sidnie said...

Katie, I look forward to your updates. You are such a beautiful woman.
This story about Jja Jja Grace is amazing and has tears rolling down my face.
As always, my prayers and love and thoughts are with you and your girls.

Lynnie said...

What a story! What a testimony! What love!

Praying for your journey along the way!

The Siler Family said...

WOW! What an amazing story! I LOVE how God works so painfully to grow our faith in Him. He strips us bare and waits to see what we will do! Glory be to GOD!

da momma said...

oh my goodness your stories amaze me everytime! I love you and dont know you yet sister! But God's glory inside you is blinding itself! YOU are a true daughter in Christ and you encourage us all over the world! Amen and bless you!!

Amy said...

You have completely humbled me with this post. My selfishness gets in the way often. Thank you for being honest about both your weakness and your victory.

God bless you!

Jewels of My Heart said...

Thank you for allowing Jesus to pour you out as He ministers to so many beloved souls in Uganda through you and your girls.
Thank you for your willingness to obey and be the answer to prayer for someone who had no hope....
Thank You Jesus for answering her prayer..... God's speed home sweet Grace....

manumit said...

Katie,

Thank you for being obedient to God. Your example has literally turned the spiritual life of our family upside down.

Dozens of teenagers and adults right outside of Houston, Texas are reading your blog and being challenged by your example. We pray for you everyday and then humbly and very fearfully (fearful of change, fearful of losing our comforts) say, "Here am I Lord send me."

We believe God will put opportunities in front of us right here in Texas, or he may send us elsewhere.

I know with with fourteen children and ministering you probably have very little time for blogging. Know this: your words are a testimony for God in America, the land of abundance, complacency, wastefulness, and sin. It is a testimony to many that are striving to figure what taking up our cross truly means.

God bless

Janel said...

What a beautiful relationship you have created with this woman. I loved the picture I got in my head of all the worshiping, and singing, and dancing going on in her dark home. I can't imagine the excitement she feels of Jesus bringing her a 'family'. Just beautiful!

Jenny said...

Katie I'm SO happy to hear from you! I've been checking back every day for an update. :)

I think it's amazing that you are so willing to answer God's call, especially for precious Grace. I pray that whether she lives with you and the girls or not, God will watch over her and bless her.

Hugs & Love,
Jenny

Shannon said...

so...you're sort of amazing to me.

Cari said...

I am so moved by your post! It has encouraged me greatly today. I can totally relate to your paragraph about God just wanting to grow me. I vividly remember going through a situation in 2003 that God did exactly that. Oh, to see the face of Jesus in everyone I meet today is my prayer. May God continue to bless you all abundantly!

Gary and Michelle said...

Beautiful! If only we would all listen and obey God so willingly.

Michelle

Tony and Rett said...

Bawling....James 1:27...care for the widows and the orphans...you, my friend, are doing that.

I will pray for Grace...both big "G" Grace...and little "g" grace. I'd love to see her picture...to memorize her face....to pray...

Thank you friend, for your obedience!

Alisha said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I always look forward to reading your new posts. God bless you and your family!

Anonymous said...

You have such an amazing heart, Katie! God is not only changing you, but all of us through your story. Please keep sharing. I means so much to me!

xo
Natalie
Long Beach, CA

Cassie said...

Katie, your heart convicts me and brings tears to my eyes, I pray for you often, be blessed! thank you for your example!

lisha said...

Oh, how I love the Jesus that reflects from your sweet, sweet spirit. I sit here with both tears and laughter while I read-- the tears from hearing of Grace's initial situation and sadness (which, if I remember correctly, you wrote about before), the laughter from the joy of seeing God work it all for his glory. Thank you, thank you, for allowing us to experience it with you. I needed the reminder today.

Cathy said...

I need your meassages. I have only 4 children, one with cerebral palsey. I let myself become consumed in my own issues. Thank you for reminding me that it is God's agenda and not my own. I do have enough and He is Faithful. Thankyou.

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie, I love to follow your blog but it's hard to articulate a comment as each post is so moving,there are no words. You are a huge inspiration to me. Praying for you and your work from Liverpool, England. Katie x

Anonymous said...

Your faith is an inspiration to me. God Bless you and all the girls(young or old) in your life.
Rachelle (Spokane, WA)

Rachel said...

I was anxious for you to blog because it had been so long and I've been praying that you are safe. Each time I read your blog it convicts me because the one thing that continues to be between every single line that you write is THE LOVE OF JESUS. It is constant, it's in every single letter you type, it is inspiring. God has given you such a gift Katie, that you can be such a vessel for His love to the people of Uganda. I pray that He can use me in the same ways, and that I can remember that I don't have to be in a foreign land to let every single letter I type or every word I say be overflowing w/the LOVE OF JESUS.
May God continue to bless you and keep you and His face continue to shine upon you.
~R

Amy said...

Thank you. Once again you blessed me.

Mrs. McGoo said...

As always Katie, Thank you for your openness, your realness, and your faith with action FOR THE LORD.

I'm sharing today's post on my blog... gotta spread this word.

God bless,

Jim and April said...

Oh how I have missed your blogs! So happy you have updated! What encouragement and what a challenge you bring with your posts and always opening my eyes more and more! God uses your blogs so much Katie...thank you for them! Thank you for letting us see a glimpse of Uganda and this hurting world through your eyes. What a beautiful testimony of grace! My heart filled with so much joy as I read this and how God answered her prayer! What a mighty God we serve....

Taylor Norris said...

Katie, I want to tell you that you are a wonder and amazing, but I honestly know it's more than just you, it is our Lord working in you! So I will say thanks, thanks for letting Him work in you and thanks for saying "yes." Your story touches me very deeply! I'm praying for you and your girls and Jesus in your town!

Jon Jon Wesolowski said...

Philippians 2:14-16 (themessage) Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.

Meg said...

What an incredible story. You teach us all so much about selflessness and honesty. I appreciate all you do for everyone you touch.

PegS said...

Katie, your heart is so large and willing to love the "unloveable" that it puts my old (54) heart to shame!! May God strengthen you for all the "trials" He has planned for you, and may they induce the sweet aroma of a sacrificial heart. Amen.

Jenn in GA said...

this is the 4th or 5th time THIS WEEK that matt. 25 has been put before me, so i'm looking to the Lord to see what He wants me to be doing in response to that passage.

thanks for sharing your story. God is working on my heart, too, and it's an encouragement to know that others are attempting to be obedient as well.

Anna said...

Oh you are so beautiful! Your life has touched me deeply. We have been on an adoption journey of our own little Grace and I have been dealing with such grief that it is not working out like I thought it would. Its nice to be reminded that Gods Ways arent our ways.....

shinelight said...

I am so thankful for your post this morning. I feel really challenged by your words about Grace, I don't think I've ever thought about it in this way. I am so grateful that you have and that you have the courage to speak about it. Great words to think about and apply to my life. Thank you so much Katie!

botanical brouhaha said...

I am always so totally excited when I see that you've written a new post and then so totally moved by your words...because God is obviously speaking through you. We are praying for Grace...and praying that we will see the opportunities in our town to love those that need it most. Great to hear from you! Praying for your family as always...

Vonnie said...

May God blessings be with you. Your post has touched my heart and more importantly my soul. I will seek God's purpose.

Rebecca said...

Katie,
The testimonies you share of how Jesus is working in your life never fails to bring joyous tears to my eyes. Thank you for helping me pause and truly think about His Word. May God bless you all.

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

PRAISING GOD for mercy to this wonderful grandma. WOW- feeling it close and personal. May God open my eyes to REALLY see His plans for me and our family.

Autumn C said...

Beautiful lesson...praying for more beautiful lessons and for Grace.

noahandlylasmommi said...

Praying for you and for Grace!

Michelle said...

So glad to read from you! :-) And isn't it amazing how our children are so much more giving than we are? God has blessed you beyond measure with your precious girls. Know that this mama of 3 girls in Texas prays for you every day!

emily said...

Gospel-living, alive and well. Such a beautiful picture of dying to self and doing as He commands, to be His hands and feet and to simply meet the needs of those in front of us.

Thank you for sharing Katie!

Kaycee said...

You are an amazing person with an amazing testimony to share. Thank you for sharing all that you do.

drea said...

Oh My Goodness!!! Katie...the silence has just tortured me!! I love your heart and the heart of your girls. We love Ja Ja Grace too. What a precious precious gift from the Lord and a wonderful example of obedience.

Thank you for posting...Thank you for your poiented words of Gods truth.

We are leaving for Kenya tomorrow, then off to pick up our babies we fasted together for 1 year ago!! We are so excited to bring Meskerem, Eyob and Samuel home. I am already dreaming of more, the Lord may have to move us...where we can care for far more then 9!

Mama 2 three said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! Tears are streaming down my face, as I pray that I will also have the oppurtunity to trust and obey our Heavenly Father, no matter what he asks me to do!
God Bless you!

alissa said...

That was beautiful, as always, Katie. Isn't God so good? I mean, He teaches us a lesson (trust Him) and we go "Oh yes! Good lesson God, I know. I'll trust you now." Then we forget and He teaches us again...then we forget..and he teaches us again...on and on. And He is so good to not just give up on us and say,"You foolish person. I'm done with you." He is ever so patient. Hallelujah.

Amber said...

Katie,

I just found your blog yesterday and I've been pouring through your posts ever since. God has been speaking to me as I read and I am so excited because I feel He is calling for me to do something similar. I am going to Kenya here soon, and I'm glad that I've been able to read your accounts before I go and experience mine.

God bless,
Amber

Amanda Kay VN said...

Wow - Your stories always encourage and challenge me. Praise God for what he is doing through you! I pray that he will continue to give you strength and courage to help those who are in need. Most importantly those who are in need of Him.

sara said...

Yes, yes, yes. This is so good. So, what the Lord has been teaching me. He tells me to do something that seems impossible to me. And I say I can't do it. And then I obey anyway and He pours His grace all over me. Isn't He so good to keep teaching our stubborn hearts? Thank you for this word today. It's a good word, Katie.

hopeful one said...

I love reading your post. You are absolutely right, sometimes grace becomes are reason for disobediance. Thank you for reminding me to be diligent in my race and not just get excited about someone elses obediance. Im running a very different race than yours, but running mine non-the-less and grateful for people like you who remind me of its importance.

babydoc said...

Missed you on the net Katie, thank you so much for sharing that so eloquently as you always do. I had a similar experience recently, something in my life I have refused to submit to the Lord for ages, and a few days ago, He gave me the grace to and I felt Him say that was all I needed to do, that was the test...we'll see.

God's blessings this weekend.

Lots of love

Liz, UK

Anonymous said...

Oh, to have the heart of a follower. Thank you for your inspiration. Because of your words here, others are following.

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Beautiful, convicting post! I know I am guilty of loving children in need much easier than adults in need. But they are all God's children!

Karl and Sadie said...

I love reading what you are doing. You are an amazing person!

Becca said...

I love your blog and I love this story! Thanks for being willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to Grace and so many others!

Anonymous said...

Katie,

Your words challenge me.

Thank you.

Jenny said...

Katie-
Thank you for sharing your stories! It's such a blessing to be able to read about what's going on in Masese, to hear the stories of the people even though I'm not there anymore. And every time I read what you've written, it reminds me how much I want to be back there and keeps that hope and excitement alive, that one day I will be back there. So thank you, for keeping Masese and Uganda a constant on my mind so I never forget, so I never fall back in to the complacent American life, but feel the constant tug to be back there.

Donna said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful reminder that so many are alone and need to "see" Jesus - God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Katie!

Josh and Kristi said...

Thank you for sharing. One day Grace will SEE you in heaven!

Cara said...

This has really blessed my heart. Thank you for listening to and obeying our Lord!

wendyworn said...

that is such a beautiful story. Thank you God for being so wonderful!

JMH said...

You continue to inspire me! I am working on obedience to God, and this is another fine example! I have shared your word with others and all are blessed!

The Ferrill's said...

Oh Lord thank you for how you speak to me through these stories shared.

Katie, we pray for you everyday....

Janet said...

Such a beautiful message! Thank you for sharing with us blog readers (i'm new to reading your blog and amazed by you and His work through you). May God continue to bless you!

Anonymous said...

What a great story! Thank you for sharing God's love with the world.

Melissa said...

I am so glad you posted this. I've missed reading about your lives in Uganda, and am always awed and inspired by the work God does through you and your willingness to accept what God has in store for you. Even when you don't want to. I hope you realize that you inspire others to go into the world and make disciples and serve others. I know my time is coming, and I am more motivated everytime I read your words. Thanks you.

anastasia93 said...

Beautiful, inspiring, wonderful, and amazing! thank you so much for sharing this story with all of us.
I'm only sixteen and you have inspired me so much. I feel like just gathering all eight of my siblings together and tell them how much I love them. so thank you!
may God bless you and keep you.

sunny-d said...

gazing into the invisible...only the Spirit can help us see what's going on there. I love the revelation you have of not boxing God. YES, he would definitely do all of that just to make you more like His son!! I love that you recognize it...thanks for sharing!! smooches

Meyerdrk said...

When we treasure Christ, we care about what He cares about...thanks for encouraging us all to love with abandon.

Anonymous said...

Katie, As usual you show us a God that is living with us all every minute of every day.We are so unworthy to receive his love and blessings, but he continues to bless us.Continued prays for you all and where ever God leads you. All Our Love,Uncle D. & Aunt V.

Lauren said...

Thank you for taking the time to share these incredible stories that are your life. God is using them to teach me and mold me and lead me. Praying for you & your precious family.

Kristi J said...

beautiful!! Great seeing you last week!! What a treat (and surprise :)!!! kristi j

Goosegirl said...

Wow Katie. Thank you for sharing this story. I am not sure how I well I would have obeyed. Thank you for the lesson.

The Boyds said...

This is truly a picture of true Christianity. It's a wonderful illustration of applying passages like Matt 25, 1 john 3, James 1:27 among so many more. You have definetly gone "outside the camp" where Christ is as it says in Hebrews 13:12-14- where it is poor, needy, unsafe, sick and there is suffering. I can only imagine how great a reward awaits you for all the treasure your're laying up where nothing can destroy. I think back to what Pat Robertson said about Haiti recently and how he said their under a curse because of what has befallen them. I think it's the other way around. We as Americans are under a curse- one of blinding affluence- living the good American, safe, do as we want life. We are the "rich" Jesus talks about and it is scary. Thanks for the model you are Katie of what it means to love and sacrifice your life for Him. My wife and I desire to be like you and leave it all behind one day and sacrifice all we can now.

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

I read this yesterday right when you posted but was unable to comment. Katie, my heart sits on the edge right with you - crying out to listen and do whatever He is asking right away with a good attitude. Every time you share the heart of God which is molding yours - mine breaks just a little bit more. I adore getting to know you and seeing life through His eyes and yours.

Love you and our prayers remain for your family!

Praying over Jja Jja!

Jill

Sandie said...

WOW! That was worth the wait. XX Sandie

Kirsten Smith said...

I'm praying for you all and for Jja Jja Grace. Thank you for living your faith-- and for sharing your journey with us. I just ran across this quote this morning, and I had to come back to your post and leave it.

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by
everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater
poverty than the person who has nothing to eat." -Mother Teresa

How profoundly true.

Kristine said...

You truly are God's hands and feet.

God bless you.

Kristine

Wendi and Benjamin Wood said...

Hi, Katie! I found your blog from 147million.com. I have put your blog in my reader and am so blessed by each entry! Wow!

As I read the entry today, I cried... does Jja Jja Grace even realize how many hearts that she has touched by allowing you to share her story with so many... may many MANY more be saved knowing who our true savior, Jesus Christ is... from her story, your story, Katie... because YOU, Katie were obedient!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your testimonies... please don't stop. It inspires, encourages, and motivates so many... I would love to put you on my FB page and blog to encourage others to pray...May God bless you and the newest member of your family! =-)

natali said...

What a beautiful story! I'll keep Jja Jja Grace in my prayers :)

miss mary said...

Oh wow, what a wonderful story to read. How amazing is God. This is truly his work in your life as well as Jja Jja's. God is working through you so much , blessed one.
You are touching so many lives where you are and around the world. God Bless. Praying for you, your children and your ministry. Much love and hugs to you.

scrappy quilter said...

Wow I have goosebumps here reading this and tears in my eyes. You are such a testimony to God's grace along with how He stretches us to increase our faith. Hugs

Heather said...

As always, BEAUTIFUL!! Simply beautiful.

Rachel said...

This post was worth waiting almost a month for! Keep posting what God is doing and how you are choosing to be obedient. It encourages others to do the same.

Jacki said...

My heart goes out to you and all that you are doing. May God continue to work through you as you touch so deeply those around you. You have surrended so much fear for His sake.

themiddlemom said...

There are no words to describe how proud I am of you (even though I don't know you personally!), how blessed I am by your example of ministry and obedience, how grateful I am for your honesty and transparency. You are a gift!

Jan J. said...

Katie,

You are such a witness to me - you a young woman and me a 49-year-old woman. God shined a special light into the world when you were born. Jja Jja is indeed a blessed woman to have the greatest gift of all - a beautiful family and the kindest, godliest daughter I have ever known of. God bless your family and your service and faithfulness to a faithful Heavenly Father.

Yellow Pineapple said...

Many blessings...

Jacq & Jason said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story! We will be praying for you.

Holly said...

Thank you, Katie. You are wise far beyond your years, and you have so much to teach us so often selfish Americans. I will ponder this and pray, pray, pray about what God would have ME do.

Lisa @ Simplified Saving said...

Thanks for sharing your heart! What a blessing to read and see how God is working in you and through you. I'm praying that God continues to use you mightily!

Corrine said...

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the world, it always blesses me to read about what God is doing in your journey and it excites me to look more into what he is doing in my journey through this life! Praying for you, your family and everyone you come in contact with!

Always remember God is in control! :)

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

You are just an amazing young women, Katie. I am encouraged by you and blessed by what you write.

so many of us are. Thank you for sharing with us. We, myself included, need to be more like this.

I just don't have words... but thank you.

Felice said...

Katie, I found out about you through my niece Alea who visited you this fall. I have since been following your blog entries and have been so inspired! I spoke at church last week on God's Divine Ability and told your story as my primary example. Everyone loved hearing about your work and the walk you are taking with Our Lord. I am keeping you in my prayers and will send you the money I received for giving the talk. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing!

kathy55439 said...

My prayers are with you, Grace, and your little ones. I am praying to find a home where I can work with orphans in mid 2011. I have never left the US but fell God calling me. I plan to do this for 3 to 6 months. I pray God guilds my steps.

Debra said...

Katie, what God does through you and your life is nothing short of glorious ... His glory. Thank you for sharing your story ... His story in your life! While He is not calling me (right now) to Africa, we are all called.

There are little girls in my house that are learning from you and the little girls in your house. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Katie,

Great story....can you tell us the rest of the story for Grace living by herself? Meals, medicine, etc. all appear impossible.

Shelley said...

"I am thankful for the opportunity to simply say Yes." Thank YOU for this reminder. Your words have such a ripple effect.

Katie said...

hey! another 20-something Katie here from Memphis, Tennessee.... i have been so encouraged by your walk with Jesus and the way you are bringing His Kingdom to life in Uganda. i have learned MUCH from your posts. more than anything, you make me want to know Him more! thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. know that i am praying for you!! (and hollar if you ever want someone to move over there to serve :)

kathy55439 said...

I am making the hits to your Blog go way up this weekend LOL.

I but I wanted to read it all and the music that plays is just the songs I need this weekend.

God Bless YOu

Dee said...

Thank You!

Mommy Magee said...

So glad to read your post. Praying for you and asking others to pray for you and your children. So glad God led me to your blog. It is such a blessing to me.

Kat said...

Thank you for sharing Katie! Your stories are always so challenging and encouraging!

Sarah said...

happy tears...

thankful for your sharing...

thankful for Christ's work in you,

blessings and love,
Sarah in Oklahoma

here is what the Lord has been doing in our life:
http://flyingheartfield.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/wheeeeee/

nothing is too big for Him, or too little...sigh...He is so good!

Jen said...

Katie,

Not only are you incredibly gifted in love and can give it so freely and eagerly as you do, but the Lord has gifted you with your writing. The experiences you share with us about life in Uganda come to life before our eyes as we read your blog. It isn't just a story that is happening to a girl we've never met... you put all of us right there with you, tears streaming down, wanting to reach out and help Grace no matter the sacrifice. It is my prayer that your heart and your words would call more and more people to act. To step away from the lives they lead, GO and make a difference. GO and make disciples. Keep up the incredible work, keep being the kind of vessel the Lord needs to expand His Kingdom. Keep lighting a fire under all of us.

--Jen McDaniel
First Baptist Church, Hendersonville

Lauren said...

Katie - this blog post totally parallels something that happened in my life this weekend, so I thank you for your thoughts and your parallel to Abraham. Your post opened my eyes to how God is using this situation to grow me!

Amy said...

Beautiful!

Alysa said...

Amazing story. I am humbled by what I've read today and I agree with what another person said...I am so glad that God led me to your blog right now. I needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing.

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

OH, how we've missed you, Katie. I pray your visit home brought you much strength. Praise the LORD for the lessons he send, praise Him for your obedience, praise Him for your testimony! We must all continue to pray for Jja Jja Grace. Perhaps you can tell her how large her family truly is, how brothers and sisters around the world pray for her.
Blessings from south Georgia!
Robbie

Stefanie and Bill said...

Thank you for your encouragement! My husband and I are in the process of adopting our fifth and sixth child from Ukraine! I find myself asking the same questions. Thank you for reminding me of God's response and encouraging me to trust Him!
Stefanie in NY

B'sBabyFarm said...

Katie, I just found your blog a few nights ago and have read almost every post. I have dreamed about you and your girls. I even had a dream about little Michael. I feel like that's just God making sure what you've said really makes an impact on me. And it has. Every thing you've said is so heartbreaking, so convicting and so inspiring and CHALLENGING. Thank you for that.

Shane said...

How many people knew by the second paragraph that Katie and her family was going to move Jja Jja Grace in with them? Katie, your so predictable and that is why we all love you sooo much!

cowgirltn said...

Katie your posts leave me sitting on the edge of my seat. Your story is so amazing. I found you through Holy Family in Brentwood as part of our prayer chain. Boy am I glad, you touch my spirit with your gifts.

lorismusings said...

I LOVE your posts and look often to see if you have something new. I enjoy immensely reading about your family in Uganda and people you work with there. But, I also love the spiritual lessons you share.

Two comments. First, I think in the story Jesus tells about the sheep and the goats is that we are known by our fruits. No, we do not get to heaven because of our works - you are right - it is ALL Jesus! But we show forth what has happened in our hearts in how we treat each other.

Secondly, God didn't need to test Abraham to find out if he would obey. God already KNEW that Abraham would obey. Who needed to know was Abraham. Abraham needed to know that he would obey God in the hardest thing that God could ask of him. And, Abraham needed to see that it wasn't really his ability to obey - it was God's provision in ALL things!

Tracy said...

Every time you blog I realize, this is church. This is the "best" church teachings I've heard this week/month. I am so moved by how God uses you. I am moved by your obedience and willingness to act. I just want to say THANK YOU for what you are doing in Uganda and for the volumes it speaks to us in the United States. My heart breaks for the heartbreak in your world. I rejoice with you for God's goodness and provisions through every situation there. I am praying for Uganda. And for Katie!

Tracy

Liz said...

I just found your blog a couple days ago, and I am so thankful I have. Your stories are so encouraging and bring the gospel to life. It is so easy to read the word, and then move on with your day as if you haven't just read the very breath of Christ. I appreciate your honesty about your struggles. We are beginning to explore adoption right now, and your life is such a reminder of how to live as Christ and to love your neighbor as yourself. Thanks.

praisinyahweh said...

without words ... AMEN

Julie Ferwerda said...

Katie,
We have posted your story at www.OneMillionArrows.com. We feature a young person each week from around the globe who is changing his/her world for Christ. Thanks for your amazing story and faithfulness! I have a daughter about your age who also has a deep love for missions.
Julie Ferwerda
info@onemillionarrows.com

Christina said...

I really respect all that you are doing. I have often disappointed myself that I am willing to love infant orphans but that I am a lot less willing to love the unlovely, the elderly, the sick. Praying for you and your girls - also, I am very curious as to how you started your work in Uganda. If you get this, would you mind posting how you began your ministry?

David and Sarah said...

What a beautiful God we have. What a beautiful family you have. Thank you for being Jesus to Jja Jja Grace.

With love and many prayers,
Sarah

Meagan said...

My aunt recommended I read your blogs today and I'm hooked already! Your strength amazes me, and I know your girls (and no doubt the entire village!) is so blessed to have you there. I look forward to reading more about you and your family. You will be in my prayers :)

Valerie said...

what a precious account Katie. Thank you for letting us read about what God is doing.

Sandy said...

Just started reading your blogs a month ago and this writing is a timely message from the Heart of God to His children. Thank you for your faithfulness.
I am studying about Abraham being obedient to God and it is counted to him as righteousness. Being obedient to the call of our Daddy is a wild ride with Blessing upon Blessing, isn't it? Being available to His call. Thank you, again, for the reminder.
Praying for you, your family and for Jja Jja Grace. You are in His Hands.
Lovingly,
Sandy in NC

Kristi said...

Katie,

God has been pointing out so many things I do wrong with a gentleness only he possesses. About an hour before reading this post I asked God to keep speaking the truth to me in love. He used this post to answer that prayer. I admit I am bad at knowing scripture and I just love how you point out his words when he teaches you something. That is the exact scripture I needed to hear.

Even though you struggle to do what he asks, you are a huge inspiration. You may not have the ideas, but saying yes makes you a role model for us all. Thank you so much for sharing.

with love and prayers,

Kristi

Sarah said...

Katie,
I know that when you get to Heaven, God is going to meet you and say "well done my good and faithful servant."
If only we were all as obedient...this world would be so different.
Hugs,
Sarah

Erica said...

Wow. You always challenge me and point me back to my master and all He has given. God is SO good. Praying for you.

jamiegag said...

Katie-
I am a friend of Tamara's in NC. Crying tonight as I read your blog and sense your heart. Makes me wonder why mine isn't as tender, as generous, why I feel overwhelmed with only my two little ones at home. Thanking God for your work there and the work He can do HERE through your heart to love there.
Jamie Greene

Carrie said...

I'm so happy to see updates on your blog, I've been checking since Christmas! I just know that every time I read something from you, it's going to be amazing! You are such an incredible person. You inspire me to better my walk with Christ, and be strong in my Faith. Sometimes I get tangled up with living a life around other people, not knowing myself, but I know when I walk with Him, I'm right where I need to be! You are living proof of that truth. I just adore you, and all your precious babies! (well, some aren't babie--but to me they are. ha ha!) :)

Rita said...

yes, God wanting us to just see if we would sacrafice what we wanted for what He wants. He just wants our obedience....the Lord i think is doing the exact same thing in my life right now....so an Abraham moment!!

Jessi Hacker said...

this is simply too profound to even comment on. I am amazed at your grace and mercy.

alison said...

My husband and I hosted an older girl one year from the Philippines who needed to be adopted. We felt like life was crazy but we knew we couldn't say "no" to an orphan in need. She was older than our oldest child by 8 years which meant huge changes for us, she had a past... Not sure what the outcome would be, we stepped forward and said yes to this sweet girl. Little did we know that God had other plans for at the same time he had another family already hand-picked for her in another continent. We were hurt, but knew God had reasons, even if it meant us sacrificing our plans, our resources, etc. For also at the same time, a little baby boy in Korea was growing in his birthmother's womb...the same womb that carried our daughter. I love your story and how you obeyed even when nothing happened, God just wanted you to obey. That is exactly how I felt with our story and I can't tell you how it overwhelms me thinking of all the details God orchestrated for these two children to be in their families. I do not understand why, but I'm so glad we obeyed.

Becky said...

My friend shared this w/ me, what a joy! Reading through it transported me to another time and place!~You are a very special woman who has been Blessed a million times over w/ a love so strong some people in this world will never experience~This is truly amazing! My PRAYERS will be with you!~

Starla said...

I am totally overwhelmed with uncontrollable tears. God is AMAZING! I pray his very best on Grace, your girls and You. I know HE must absoulutely delight in your obedience. Thanks for sharing your life...the life you have given to HIM.
Starla

Alita said...

Katie,

I found your blog thanks to my friend, Lashae. I am moved profoundly by your ability to articulate your heart and your experiences. I have also spent some time in East Africa taking care of orphans and my heart yearns to return. I know it's God's will for my life, as it clearly is for you. I look forward to keeping up with your blog and hopefully running into you someday when I am in Uganda again. Thank you for being an inspirational light for Christ in this dark world. Blessings, beautiful sister! :)

Joy Frameworks said...

You bring tears to my eyes with each post you write. I am so encouraged & blessed by your testimony and praise God for how He has worked in my heart through your words. To God be the glory, amen!

Anonymous said...

Wow!I will be praying for Jja Jja Grace a she continues on in her little home..