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The 700 Club

Encountering God's Goodness in Unexpected Places

MISSION TRIP FOR LIFE
During her senior year in high school in Nashville, TN, Katie, then 18, took a short mission trip to Uganda.  She was so moved by the people and the needs she saw that she knew her calling was to return.  After graduating from high school at the top of her class, Katie decided to skip college, break up with her boyfriend and move to Uganda.  Most of her friends thought she had lost her mind!  Katie only knew a few other people and didn’t speak the language.  For over next ten years, Katie adopted 13 girls, started a ministry that sends 600 kids to school and started a school with 72 students in February 2017.  

Jane who was a little over a year old had been abandoned in a large empty house.  A neighbor found her and brought her to Katie.  When there was no sign of any biological family member willing to care for her, Katie started the paperwork to make her a permanent member of their family.  “I called her mine, and I felt that the Lord had too,” says Katie.  Almost three years later, Jane’s biological mom showed up and wanted her daughter back.  “I have always been a huge proponent for family reunification,” says Katie, who has housed numbers of foster children and even adults over the years. “But this time it was the furthest thing from what I wanted because this time it was my daughter.”  Little Jane was confused by the stranger who was uprooting her life.  Katie tried to ensure a healthy and successful transition, but inside, she was devastated.  Later she cried out to Jesus.  “But my cries changed nothing,” she says.  Now Jane lived with a different mother in a different town.  For the first time, Katie questioned the God she had trusted wholeheartedly since she was a little girl.  Life as she had known it ceased to exist.

Weekly she made the five-hour drive to the small town where Jane now lived.  “I knew that at four years old she would be looking to me, the only person she had previously known as a parent, to reassure her that this change was good and safe and okay,” she says.  Katie tried to believe that God was good to her in that moment.  As she would kiss Jane goodbye, Katie begged God for her will to be done.  “This was not what I had signed up for,” says Katie.  “This is not okay with me, God.”

GRATITUDE
Katie still believed God was giving her all she needed, even if it wasn’t what she wanted.  “We needed to believe that God, who gave His son, was giving us all we needed…even without a happy ending.”  One day while washing dishes, Katie wrote on a sticky note: Thank You for the light streaming in the kitchen and the pile of dishes all clean.  She stuck the post-it on the wall.  She started to write down all the blessings she could see.  “I needed to see.  I needed to believe it,” she says.  In her wrestling with God, Katie says God began the long process of opening her eyes.  “Gratitude brought me into communion with God,” she says.  “This beauty came in His presence with me…even if my vision of the happy ending never came true.”

Benji originally came to Uganda on a short-term volunteer trip but felt God tell him to stay.  He led Bible studies with small groups of men and poured Christ’s love into their lives.  He often checked on Katie whom he asked out twice.  “I made it clear I wasn’t interested in dating,” she says.  Katie had given up on any romantic love in her life outside of her relationship with Jesus. Benji helped Katie out in any way he could.  After much prayer, they both decided to see more of each other.  “We learned the other’s heart and history during breaks from homeschool and during late-night trips to the hospital,” says Katie.  She wanted to follow Benji as he followed Jesus.  They married in 2015 and have a baby boy, Noah.           

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Guest Info

Credits

Founder, Amazima Ministries (Amazima means truth), since 2008, an organization that cares for vulnerable children and families in Uganda

Recently opened a new school with a capacity for 800 students

Best-selling author, her latest: Daring to Hope, Multnomah, 2017

Husband: Benji

Mom to 14 children (13 adopted)

Children: Prossy, 21; Margaret, 18; Agnes, 18; Ellie, 17; Hellen, 16; Mary, 16; Tibita, 16; Sarah, 16; Scovia, 15; Joyce, 14; Sumini, 13; Grace, 11; Patricia, 9; and Noah, 1

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