Meet my friend, Kate. During her years in college, her longing to be in Africa competed with the necessity of completing her studies. She couldn’t get to Africa soon enough. She had passion. She had gifts. She was ready to go. But God held her back. He had work He wanted to do in her and things He wanted to teach her before He would mobilize her. Although frustrated with the delay, Kate was faithful to complete her degree and seek God’s plan. In July, Kate stepped into her dream and traveled to Uganda to care for orphans.
Kate, you recently came back to the United States from Uganda. What were you doing in Uganda?
I have been doing some missionary work the past few months, serving in a variety of ways. From bringing dinner to a friend down the road, to taking boys living on the streets to the local hospital. From holding sick and crying children, to helping foster babies who are being adopted. I was able to be a part of serving difference orphanages and getting to know so many sweet children and precious people. Each and every day looked different and I am so thankful I was able to help out in so many different ways.
Kate, I know this will be hard, but tell me about one child who particularly touched your heart.
Wow, that is a tough question. During my 4 months in Uganda I met over 500 kids, each one touching my heart in such a special way. I honestly don’t think I can narrow it down to one child, so I will briefly tell you about two.
One child I became close with was “D”. D is about twelve years old and living on the streets. He came up to me one day while I was in town and asked for money. I sat him and his friends down and enjoyed lunch with them. I listened as each of them told me their stories, stories they were so proud to share. It was heart-wrenching to hear. D has no idea where his mom is, or if she’s even alive. His dad and stepmother kicked him out and told him he was a bad kid. So, D spends his days begging for food and his nights sleeping on the dirt in an alley. I was able to spend a lot of time talking to D and caring for him. He has definitely changed my life and I cannot wait to get back and love him some more.
Baby J is the other child that stole a piece of my heart in a major way. Baby J is 8 months old and pretty sick. He was found, abandoned, on the side of the road and now lives in an orphanage with over 60 other children. When he was found he weighed less than 10lbs, at 6 months old. The Aunties there love him, but it is hard to care for so many young children. Baby J is HIV positive and has Tuberculosis. Because he has TB he is unable to start his ARV’s for his HIV, thus making him prone to getting sick often. Baby J sleeps on the floor most nights of the week, getting lots of bites all over his little body. I have seen him come a long way in his short time there and I cannot wait to go back and help the Aunties care for him, and the other children there, more.
Kate, I’m so thankful for you, for the way you are caring for these children. When you look back over your life, how do you see God preparing you to serve Him in Africa?
Looking back over my life, one of the biggest ways I know God has prepared me to serve Him in Africa is always placing children in my life. Whether it’s my mom’s home daycare, teaching at a preschool, nannying, church with young children or my nieces, I’ve been around children my entire life. God has definitely given me a Mother’s heart and that has prepared me to love and care for the children in Uganda that have never had one.
God is also continually teaching me about patience and sitting still before him. This has definitely prepared me for a place like Africa. Waiting and trusting are two very difficult things. I look back and think about hard circumstances that have occurred and actually thank God for them now because they have helped prepare me for everyday life in Africa. God knew that I would deal with a ridiculous amount of children who have nothing, and He knew that I would have to trust Him and have patience. He knew that I would be doing things on HIS time, and because He knew that, He gave me obstacles prior to Africa to help prepare me for it.
There are also smaller things, too. Playing guitar and photography have played a part in my Uganda life. I’ve led worship for kids, and adults, and I’ve been able to take pictures to show the beauty of the children. God has definitely prepared me in a number of ways and it’s just neat to see the pieces of my life coming together and realizing why the Lord placed them in my life.
Kate, how do you make time to read your Bible and pray when you literally have so needs pulling on you each day?
It’s hard. It’s very very hard. And, honestly, it doesn’t always look like I want it to – and, even more honestly, it doesn’t always happen. BUT, when it doesn’t happen you can tell. Your mood changes. Your patience leaves. The desire in your heart to serve the least of these actually lessens. Carving out that time each day is so tough but so important. I had to start all over again. I had to figure out my new day around my time with the Lord all over again. It was so easy to put things like visits to the street boys or taking care of extremely sick babies before sitting before the Lord. So, what I had to do was make sure that each day I stopped and sat in God’s presence before moving on to anything else. It’s very tough with everything you’re seeing around you, but it’s not impossible to do.
Kate, what advice would you give to a young woman who is seeking God’s purpose for her life?
Read God’s Word. Sit and listen. Ask Him what His purpose is for you. Then say yes to Him. The details, the specifics, they will come. We need only to say yes to our Father.
Kate, what are your plans and how can people come alongside you as you serve orphans in Uganda?
I am planning to go back to Uganda, Africa sometime in January. I will be volunteering at an orphanage there for children with special needs and I will be helping to care for a few boys living on the streets. I will also be helping out, in any way I can, with an orphanage a few hours away with kids living in terrible living conditions. And I’m open to whatever else the Lord has for me!
Currently I am at home in Charlottesville fundraising. It’s never fun asking for money, but, because it’s for these precious, precious children, I am doing it. And I am doing it with all of my heart. The Lord tells me to go to Uganda to care for these kids and I obey. So, if the Lord tells me to fundraise for the kids, I will also obey. So, one way people can support me is through financial giving. My part in this orphan crisis happens to be going there to serve, being the hands and feet. But others have a part that looks different, and I need the help of those others. Another way people can support me is committing to pray for me. I simply cannot do what I am doing without prayers. I am so blessed to have people come alongside of me, and really am thankful for any help people are willing to give!
Kate is an ordinary young woman serving an extraordinary God. Over time, the Lord has shown Kate her spiritual gifts, ignited passions, strengthened her skills, talents, and abilities, and given her experiences which have prepared her for mobilization. She would be the first to tell you that she hasn’t “arrived,” but rather is pressing on to glorify the Lord and maximize her joy by caring for orphans in Uganda.
As Kate has said, not all of us are called to travel to Uganda to serve orphans, but we all are called to care for the fatherless. One way of fulfilling this call is to support Kate as she raises money to get back to Uganda.
Kate has made it super easy to make a financial contribution. Just go to her blog, His Daughter, His Lily, and click on the “Make A Donation” button.
God has mobilized Kate, and He wants to mobilize each of us. I am thrilled to see Kate step into her sweet spot, and I want to see you step into your sweet spot too.
In January, I’ll begin a book study of Eric Rees, S.H.A.P.E: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life. In the next week, I’ll let you know how you can participate in this study. Leave me a message to let me know you’re interested and visit Kate’s blog to support her as she cares for orphans in Uganda.