Katie Davis, following a Christmas holiday visit to Uganda in 2006, accepted the invitation by the director of an orphanage in Uganda to join them as their Kindergarten teacher. On her first morning in class, prepared for a group of 14, 138 showed up … and Katie’s heart was lost to “her kids.” It is a fascinating story, told in her book, Kisses from Katie, and perhaps one incident a few years later, will tell the story.
“One of my favorite mornings after I returned to Uganda [following a one-semester attempt at a college education] began when my three oldest daughters [she was, at the time of her writing, in the process of adopting 13 children “of her own”] marched into my room, where I was still sleeping. ‘Mommy, there are children we need to help, please.’ ‘Okay,’ I said groggily, ‘where?’
They took me to the abandoned house down the road. In the back room were seven children on the dirt floor. They were completely filthy and starving. The oldest was eleven and the youngest was two years old. I had never seen children so sick. … They all had severe ringworm, malaria, and scabies … among other conditions. Two of them were the skinniest human beings I had ever seen.
Of course, the girls and I took them home. I have never been so proud of my family as I was when I watched their reaction. Prossy, Margaret, and Agnes went straight to the tub to give the children baths. … In less than an hour, our seven neighbors were a new bunch of children – bathed, dressed, fed, and giggling. …
This was one of many, many times I have watched my children embrace and welcome in our home strangers and people in need. … How beautiful it is to watch the unwanted feel loved and important, to watch strangers become family members (Kisses from Katie, p. 142).”
Katie Davis may seem to be a special case, but let us remember that at the beginning of this journey, Katie was just a teen-age girl with a deep love for children. She had, however, a deep-driving desire to serve. Circumstances challenged her willingness, and with each step, another door opened, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Our role within the family will surely not be played out in such an exotic setting as it was for Katie. But for each of us, especially those of us privileged to have a family of our own, ours is an awesome responsibility. The next generation will be guided, not so much by what we say, as by who we are. Katie lived the life. The life that she provided for her girls was, indeed, a godsend. Her love, her commitment to their well-being, the discipline she had to demand if her family was to remain viable were, in a real way, Christianity in action.
You can believe the task of cooking for, feeding, and educating a family like Katie’s was not a life of peaches and cream. Katie, now Katie Davis Majors, has little to say about this, overwhelmed as she is for the privilege of raising “my girls.” If we have been honored with a family, it is a privilege, indeed, to live a life before them that they can emulate, a privilege that is second to none.