on October 9, 2011
It isn't often that a book can grab me in the introduction in a grip so tightly I can scarce put it down; but, this one did. It isn't often I read a book where every word resonated within me like a bell; but, this one did, clanging loudly and forcefully. It isn't often a book makes me re-examine my core beliefs and values; but, this one did, leaving me shaking some moments, laughing at others and crying at still more. It is a book that is oddly hard to put down yet I had to walk away after every chapter to think about it (and grab a few more tissues). It is a book that stays with you and tickles your conscience; one that keeps you up at night asking yourself questions you don't really want to confront.
This is the story of a young woman named Katie Davis who abandoned her Mid southern upbringing just after graduation from high school to travel across the world and become a modern-day American Mother Theresa. She spends her days ministering to the sick, feeding the poor and changing the family tree of almost everyone she comes in contact with. At the tender age of 22, she has adopted 13 young girls and has created a loving home in the face of adversity that most of us cannot even begin to grasp. Her story is so outrageous that is seemed impossible to me before I started reading. Page by page, word by word, Katie had me hooked. She has a way of writing, of telling her story, that feels like two friends having a heart-to-heart. And what a heart that girl has!
I came to believe absolutely what she does to the core: that one individual can change the world, one person at a time. She makes it seem so easy. But Katie believes it so much more strongly than any one person I have ever read about and that is what made this story so inspirational for me. Ultimately, it wasn't only her Christian convictions (which are cement-hard and awe-inspiring); it is her bravely in the face of absolute defeat and diversity. To face daily the struggles that she does (poverty, disease, famine, abuse and endless, endless need), and keep on going make her a hero that any reader could find inspiration from.
But her Christian conviction bothered me. Because this book changed me and I didn't really want to be changed. This is where all Christians should be warned because after reading this book, you cannot remain the same kind of Christian you were before. This is a book about stepping out of your Christian comfort zone and living the religion and while that kind of talk is popular right now all over churches all over the land, this girl did it. This book is powerful and comfortable and so very true.
It isn't a book you can cast off after you've read it. It isn't one you can put aside and then move on to the next great hero. It is a story that will stay with you and change you and will cause you to look for ways to create the kind of change you see in the book.
And after you've read, what are you going to do about it?
Because the first question I had was 'How is it possible to do what she did?'
Now I am left only with this question, 'How is it possible not to do what she did?'
on October 18, 2011
We moved to Brentwood, Tennessee, in January 2006. My youngest daughter, Caroline, was a junior in high school. You can imagine how nervous we were as parents on how the move would go for an almost-senior (and for the two other kids still in the house). Within days Caroline met two Katies who welcomed her to Ravenwood High School and made her feel as if she had grown up in their circle of friends. I'm still sighing with relief.
One of the wonderful Katies - Katie Davis - took a different path after graduation to say the least. She is now the unmarried mother of 14 young girls. Is that even possible? Is this one of those stories about youth gone bad?
I need to give a warning to any potential readers at this point. Do not pick up Kisses from Katie if you live a comfortable life and don't want anything or anyone messing up your comfort zone.
Katie's story is a story of youth gone good. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking - and in reading it you will never be satisfied with a status quo lifestyle again. If you have never felt a gentle nudge from God that you have something beyond yourself to accomplish in this world - or if you have suppressed and ignored the nudge - this book serves as a loud, clanging, blaring wakeup call to hear and embrace your call.
"Kids" can be idealists - and when Caroline told me Katie was going to do a yearlong mission project before attending college, I thought that sounded great - that it would be good for her. Little did I know ... I did know Katie's parents were quite nervous when she said the project would be serving in an orphanage in Uganda. After surveying the situation in Africa carefully, her dad reluctantly gave his permission for her to go - with the condition that she promise to come back and enroll in college and move on with her life. She was true to her word - but even as she attended classes the fall of her return, she was miserable, thinking only of her "girls" back in Uganda.
Katie - high school homecoming queen and student body president and honor student and girlfriend to a handsome, committed, spiritual, star athlete - had every reason to "come home." But her heart was back in Uganda with the motherless children she had fallen in love with. Is it any wonder that the name she has been given by the people of her village is "Mommy." Katie's ongoing adventures in Uganda are amazing and fit the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. In her case, it is not stranger, but more incredible.
My family has been blessed by the Katie who befriended the "new kid" at school. We've been privileged to meet two of her daughters, Patricia and Grace. Most of all we have been inspired to step out of our comfort zone and to look around to see what God is doing in the world that we need to take part in.
I can't recommend Kisses from Katie highly enough for the spiritual blessings you will experience reading this story of relentless love and redemption.
on October 9, 2011
She's twenty-two years old, raising fourteen little girls in a dot on a map called Uganda. How did Katie Davis, high school student from Nashville, Tennessee, end up mothering children in East Africa? In her own words . . .
"Jesus wrecked my life. For as long as I could remember, I had everything this world says is important. In high school, I was class president, homecoming queen, top of my class. I dated cute boys and wore cute shoes and drove a cute sports car. I had wonderful, supportive parents who so desired my success that they would have paid for me to go to college anywhere my heart desired. But I loved Jesus.
Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said . . . I wanted to actually do what Jesus said to do. So I quit my life. I quit college; I quit cute designer clothes and my little yellow convertible; I quit my boyfriend. I no longer have all the things the world says are important. I do not have a retirement fund; I do not even have electricity some days. But I have everything I know is important. I have a joy and a peace that are unimaginable and can come only from a place better than this earth. I cannot fathom being happier. Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully."
Katie's boldness and compassion truly inspired me. I was amazed to find such wisdom in one so young. The lessons she has learned touched my heart. Soak in her story and let it change you. Then pass it on to every young person you know.
on October 7, 2011
As a teenager fresh out of high school, Katie Davis embarked on what she thought would be a one year missions trip to Uganda. It turned out to be quite more than that. Leaving all the comforts of her upper-middle class existence, she has now committed her life to these people. She runs Amazima ministries which educates hundreds of children and presently feeds over 1,600 per day. And she has adopted 14 orphans.
She is 21 years old.
I'm just a mom. Thirty-something with five kids. Never been on a missions trip. Never adopted a child. But this book has inspired me more than any other because it is about much more than missions work. It is about a heart running after God with reckless abandon. Stepping out from behind the Christian "ideals" and really walking the thing out. Through her story, she shows me that walking out my faith is scary, but immeasurably rewarding. She shows me that doing so does not require special skill, advanced degrees or years of experience. Only a willing heart.
This is a life changing book.
If you want to get a taste for what you'll find in this book, visit Katie's blog ([...]) where you can read tidbits of her journey from a teenager fresh off the plane and arriving in Uganda to her role as a full time ministry leader and mom.
on July 16, 2012
Ready to be changed? Ready to be tempted to leave for Africa and hold dirty children? Because that's what this book did to me. I can't believe the things she goes through; diseased children living right next to her own, outhouses full of bugs, filth all around her, and all she can do is help one child at a time. She must be satisfied with that, because that's all she can do. I would go nuts. There's so many things that need changing there, so many children that need love... I wanted to adopt thirteen children just like she did. Yet she doesn't pretend that any of this is easy. She tells you again and again that she isn't perfect, that she struggles, but she makes you care about what she cares about so that you want to go through all of that with her. The small difference that she's making is still a difference in a land that needs a lot of people to join hands and make changes little bit by little bit. Her tale of her visit back to the United States probably gripped me the most. She talks about how frustrated she was by the money people would spend without a thought. While I was reading that book and for some time after I was done, going into any kind of store really bothered me. I couldn't spend money on anything, because all I could think is, "Six dollars could feed a child for a week," and after reading this book, I knew that one week could mean the difference between life and death. I'm still being really careful with my money, and I want to make a habit of radical giving. This book really brought things home to me. I've read about hunger and disease, I've seen it on TV and in the magazines, I was even on the mission field with my parents for two years when I was nine and ten years old. None of that, because of a young age, or because it wasn't someone's story, or maybe because it just wasn't the right time, made me react like this. I could barely eat sometimes because I was thinking of starving kids. I hated the sight of leftovers. Grocery stores bothered me more than any other kind of store. Most articles and things made me feel that so long as I was giving something, I was alright. But what's the five dollars I give compared to the fifteen I spend? Shouldn't the larger amount go to the thing that is truly important? Well, maybe you won't be struck like I was, but I think that there's a high chance that you will be, and I earnestly pray that you will be. We need to rise up like Katie and challenge the world's standard of what is really important. Way to go, Katie.
on November 6, 2011
So many other reviewers have said what I felt upon reading "Kisses From Katie" so I won't try to create some new, eloquent response. Like others, a quiet, nagging feeling had been whispering to me before I even bought this book and once I had finished it, that feeling became a loud clanging in my heart. Katie Davis is your ordinary southern girl who experiences an extraordinary "call" from Jesus to go to the ravaged nation of Uganda. But this is no classic missionary tale. She's too young, too un-seminaried to do anything more than share her story with us.
And it's this simple story that had me weeping, had me longing in confusion and asking, "well God, what do you want me to do now?" If you can read this book and not be truly bothered by how our first world problems have slowed the pulse of our faith as a nation to a boring gurgle...then please check your ticker. I felt very uncomfortable reading about how Katie left her family and the expected trajectory of her life to go find life in Christ that resounds with such a richness that it leaves me aware of a glaring lack of depth in my own walk with Jesus.
Now that I've finished this simple book, I have to take action. I truly hope you read this and feel (and DO) the same!
on October 25, 2011
This is an incredible story. My heart and prayers go out to a remarkable young woman who forfeited a college education and a comfortable life in the U.S. complete with a loving family and a wonderful boyfriend to go on a mission to Uganda. She is now the mother of 13 children. She had 14 but had to give one up when the biological mother returned.
I think one of the reviewers mentioned that Katie makes it all "seem so easy." Well, yes and no. She does amaze me when she continues to say "maybe just one more." I know that her house isn't that big but her heart certainly is huge. She must have the patience of a dozen Mother Teresas. Didn't Mother Teresa have a staff of nuns working for her? Katie's mom sometimes comes to help out, and the children help one another and care for one another. Katie takes in children on occasion to nurse them and then returns them to their parents and educates the parents on how to care for them. The squalor many of these children come from and the diseases their poor little bodies are saddled with boggles the mind. And then there's the blind elderly woman living in squalor whom Katie teaches about Jesus and helps to care for.
Katie doesn't minimize the hard times--when she is nursing children with scabies, worms, burn marks, and so on and leaving the room for a moment to vomit and then returning to her work. She tells us that she goes to hard places, dark places at times when the type of life she has chosen, rewarding though it may be, can feel futile and frustrating, not to mention the fact that she is bereft of adult companionship. Katie makes it clear that the joy and the love she receives from the children makes it all worthwhile most of the time but in no way is it an easy life.
This book will make you feel differently about life. I looked at a fashion magazine and almost felt like gagging! I have volunteered in orphanages in Asia and I have had a taste of the love and joy underprivileged children can give. Katie is amazing, and I hope and pray that more people will think of ways they can help even if it doesn't involve adopting 13 children and settling down in Africa. A beautiful story, well worth reading.
on August 12, 2014
Katie Davis is quite a woman! She is living out Jesus' command to His followers to go and make disciples and bring the gospel in tangible ways to the poor. She deserves great honor for the sacrifices she has made in being obedient to our Lord and Master. She truly loves Jesus more than her own life. What a shining example of someone who is not bound by lust for more material possessions and the false security they bring. She is like a Mother Theresa. Amazing young lady! Her arduous work has saved countless lives both physically and spiritually.
I did enjoy her book and am grateful she took the time to write it. I hate to say anything negative about her book. I'd give the book 3.5 stars as it was a bit "preachy" and repetitive at times. I think it's an important to book to read. It will help shake us awake from the daily grind and the pursuit of so much mammon,especially in the West. It will help us reprioritize what's truly valuable in this life. I hope others will read this book and follow her example.
on October 10, 2011
This book has ruined me...in a good way.
I'm so incredibly inspired by Katie, by our God. What a remarkable servant of Christ she is. She plainly states that there is not reasonable explanation that God has used her the way He has except for the fact that she was available. Katie is a perfect example of someone who truly believes and lives that "her life is not her own."
I couldn't put down this amazing story of hope and redemption. In the far off Ugandan country that many of us never consider, there is a young woman who many of us could learn from if we'll just allow it. Katie is a terrific writer. Her journal entries are dispersed throughout the book. I must warn you though: Keep a tissue handy.
This story will motivate you to make a difference, inspire you to live on purpose and draw you into a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Because He is so good.
on January 21, 2016
Let me start off by stating that I believe this is an amazing young woman who displays her love for the Lord by being willing to follow His calling for her life. The reason I gave a three star rating is that although she may be amazing, I did not find the book itself to be that amazing. Her story could have been told in a better manner in my opinion. I have read many books on missionaries. Most often the thing I love most about them is the authors ability to draw me so deeply into their story that I feel as if I am there walking right alongside them. In particular, I feel the most drawn in when an author is able to really open up and be transparent about their struggles on the mission field. Having done missionary work, I know that the struggles and sacrifices can be heartening. By being transparent and revealing the depths of the struggles, it helps others struggling and gives glory to God as well. Honestly, I feel as if Kathie tried to paint the "perfect portrait" of her experiences. Sure, she did mention several times that she sacrificed and experienced pain. Yet, they were vague statements that failed to draw one into her experience and pain. Of course, Katie may not have wanted to be that transparent, but the more transparent one is with their struggles, the more they can touch the hearts of others who are struggling. Overall, much of the book shared experiences she had with the people she ministered to. However, it seemed the stories just skimmed the surface. I've just read so many missionary stories where the story was told so well that I felt like I knew the people, situation, and politics so well. I could see the sights, smell the smells, hear the sounds, and feel the pulse of the country where the missionary is. This book did not draw me in that manner. One aspect of her book I did find particularly unattractive was her attitude towards American Christians. Her tone in the book is judgemental and in some ways she appears to resent the prosperity of Christians. She infers that American Christians sit in their comfy houses doing nothing for the Kingdom of God while poor kids are dying in Africa. Yet, she mentions that she has to come to American to fundraise. I'm sure many of the people she complains about are the ones financially supporting her ministry endeavors. God may physically send Katie to do the work of His hands. She needs to realize that God also blesses others financially to be able to support ministries like hers. Perhaps, she should think about that before continuing to complain that American Christians aren't doing enough. Having said all of this, I do think she is an amazing young lady whom God is using. I am sure she may write a follow-up book in the future as her ministry progress. Hopefully, with wisdom and maturity, any future books will be written in a more engaging manner.