The book is the simply, sweetly, humbly, honestly, and astoundingly faithful and joyful, hope-filled, thankful, blessedly inspiring true testimony of a teenager who is literally catapulted out of her upscale, enormously comfortable, American dream, pie-in-the-sky, happily-ever-after kind of lifestyle in the U.S. to an astonishingly raw, poignant, heart-wrenching, heart-warming, heart-stirring, soul-stirring, tear-jerking, captivating, emotionally gripping, beautiful-beyond-description, joyful-beyond-words, awe-inspiring life in Uganda. Need I say more?
Okay, I will. Katie gave up EVERYTHING comfortable, familiar, secure, and easy in America – a loving family, a boyfriend she hoped to marry, best buddies, a college education, a promising future, her parents’ dreams for her life, and all her own dreams to move to a bug-infested, disease-riddled, potentially dangerous, primitive nation with once-in-a-while electricity, a rat in her bathroom, starving orphans, dying adults, hospitals without care, people walking miles for water, nine-year-old’s raising families, and the list goes on. And on.
But despite challenges that never end, Katie’s faith in Jesus Christ is so on fire that she refuses to return to America, starts a ministry, adopts 14 children, and takes into her home over 100 kids at a time to provide everything from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to sharing His love, laughs, giggles, games, education, support, hugs, mothering, food, medical care, hope, security, and this list, too, never ceases.
Some books are written with eloquence. Some books are Pulitzer prize material. Some books are New York Times Bestseller list qualifiers. Some books are written by gifted writers. Some books are fancy. Some books are mouth-drop-open-WOW books in how phenomenal the writing is. Katie’s book is not, and that’s one reason I absolutely adore it.
Because rather than get caught up in amazing writing, I am caught up in Katie’s heart. Her humility. Her grace. Her relentless passion for Jesus. Her relentless love for the children of Uganda. Her relentless passion to serve. Her relentless love for all the people of Uganda, not just the children. Her mommy-hood. She is literally called “mommy” by countless people – by an entire community, and probably more.
She not only has a mommy’s heart for this impoverished nation. She has the Father’s heart so very alive in her. And she does not focus her attention, nor this book, on the dire straits of this country. Though certainly she speaks of the endless hurdles. But her heart more than anything else is focused on Jesus, God’s Word, and the love of God as it manifests in her, through her, in the children, through her ministry, and all around.
Katie, undoubtedly, is a shining light. She manifests the love, the light, the hope, the grace, the mercy, the forgiveness, the salvation, the eternal friendship, of the Lord God almighty. I am reminded of Paul in the Bible who says there is nothing fancy about his words. The power that abounds through him, he so clearly states, is not of him. It is of God. And this is true of Katie, too.
Her heart is simple. Her book is simple. And, because of this simplicity, the Father’s love is breathtakingly prevalent in everything she shares, in everything she does. She is so utterly humble; she takes no credit. She bows down before the throne of God, and this is ever evident in her book. She is as in awe of the Lord’s work through her as I am reading her book.
It wasn’t so long ago a woman told me there is a difference between a believer and a follower of Jesus. The woman helped me to see a believer simply places his or her faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Sadly, this is not always followed with the commitment to actually follow Jesus. A Jesus follower says YES to Jesus, and denies his or her own dreams, takes up his or her cross, and accompanies Jesus wherever He leads as best he or she is able. If you don’t believe me, believe the Lord as He describes what it means to follow Jesus in Matthew 16:24 of the Bible.
Even less than mid-way through this amazing read, I am struck by how profoundly committed Katie is to be a follower of Jesus. How easy it would have been for her to get on a plane and return to the life she had planned for herself, and the life her parents had planned for her, even the life her friends perhaps had hoped for her to have. But Katie doesn’t turn back.
She has already made her turn. She has turned from her past, and presses increasingly into the Father’s heart – and into the life He has set before her. Forsaking all of the American dream, forsaking everything easy, natural, familiar, secure, safe, comfortable, and expected. As she herself says, she gives up her own life as the Bible teaches so that she can live the life the Lord has planned for her (see Matthew 10:39). A life of sacrifice.
The unbridled joy Katie manifests, the purity she presents, the giggles and smiles and hugs and nurturing and mothering and more she shares, the grief she surely must experience at times, she shares so candidly. If you have ever read a book in which you can see straight into someone’s heart, you know what I mean. And if you have not, you will experience a treat beyond measure.
I truly do not know how anyone could read this book and remain the same. I can only imagine that others, like myself, would be led in reading Katie’s book – in getting a virtual tour of her heart and life – to examine their own lives. How could I possibly read a treasure of a book like this one and not question my own life?
Am I truly living the life God has called me to live? Am I staying in my comfort zone, or I am out where the Lord has called me living the life HE has called me to live to the very fullest? Am I living for myself, or am I living for Him? Have I found my Uganda? Have I packed my bags, fastened my belt on the plane, and flown off to the new land to which He has called me? And, above all else, am I living and teaching the Word of God as I see Katie doing in her life?
Perhaps you understood now how I simply cannot wait to finish Katie’s book to write a review. I can only hope that others reading this mid-view will get a hold of Katie’s book and join me on this piece of my journey as the Lord uses her book to draw me into deeper intimacy with Him, to draw me forward in my walk with Him, to draw me further into the life He has called me to live – for His glory.
Speaking of glory, Katie is so abundantly clear in her book that she gives God every ounce of glory for everything good that comes to pass. As a reader, I find myself watching Katie’s life from the most incredibly unique perspective. I get to see her life, her children, Uganda, a nation in need I cannot even fathom, from the eyes of her heart. It is as though I am on my knees beside her as she kneels before the Lord, ever loving Him, ever serving Him, ever giving Him glory. She reverences the Lord beyond description, and she takes the reader with her to this lowly place of reverence.
And just as she bends down low, she soars to high places as she celebrates the joys and victories she witnesses and is a part of as the Lord moves mightily in her and mightily through her.
As much as I look forward to reading the rest of this book, I know I will be sad to finish it. I am not quite sure I have ever been invited on such a journey in a book. I have read thousands of books in my lifetime, but never do I recall having the author lovingly sit me down in the passenger seat, give me a wonderful God hug, and drive off with me on her journey. I have never met Katie, but she is so transparent with her heart that to me she is a friend, a neighbor, a sister in Christ. She makes me feel welcome as her reader.
I hope you might get a copy of her book for yourself and join her on her journey. I would be mightily surprised if your life will ever be the same.