In 2005, a Dinka girl of about nine or 10 was brought to Uganda with a family seeking refuge from the war-torn region in Southern Sudan they hailed from. The young girl, who we’ll call Hope here for the sake of security, did not come of her own accord. She was actually kidnapped by an uncle who, it seems, intended to turn her into his family’s slave. Scared, homesick and alone, Hope was desperate to find a way home to her mother and father whom she loved and missed dearly. But having no money, no knowledge of Uganda’s languages and no friends to help, she found herself trapped in a foreign country and under the control of a demanding and often cruel uncle. (Hope thinks her father, who has many children from many wives but was particularly fond of her, probably tried to find her but was ultimately too poor and old to track her down.)

She lived with the family in a mud house where she was required to cook, clean and take care of the children. With 5 adults and 10 other children to clean up and look after, Hope had her work cut out for her. The family was not kind. For three years she was forced to work from dusk to dawn, was given little to eat and was beaten so often that even the neighbors took pity on her. But she was a smart girl. She learned both English and Luganda quickly, listening to and practicing with the neighbors whenever she had the chance. She was also resilient. Despite working 12-hour days 7 days a week and being verbally and physically abused by the men and boys she lived with, her spirit was not broken.

Then one day, Hope fell for an older boy. He was the son of another Sudanese family that occasionally visited her family. She doesn’t know for sure, but she suspects he was 17 or 18 years old at the time. Hope was 13. I don’t really know the circumstances, but I suspect she craved love, safety and affection so much that it wasn’t terribly difficult for him to lure her into sleeping with him. Maybe, she reasoned, if he really loved her he would rescue her.

What this one act actually amounted to was a broken promise, a broken heart and a baby in Hope’s belly. It wasn’t long before her family discovered she was pregnant. She might as well have signed her own death warrant. In the Dinka tribe, there is little mercy for girls who become pregnant out of wedlock. In fact, it is not unusual for members of her clan to kill unwed pregnant women. They consider it their right and that’s probably what Hope’s family intended to do to her. After all, now that she had been “tarnished” there was no way she would ever be able to secure a substantial dowry for the family. They now valued her even less than they had and they were angry with her for depriving them of the cows, goats and money she would have one day been traded for. And so the family began to beat her more often and more severely, often using her belly as a punching bag in an effort to kill the baby too. They would beat her until she was unconscious, and then beat her some more.

This went on for several days until a neighbor, who saw several beatings and had compassion for Hope, decided to help. With the help of some friends of mine they went to the police and facilitated the first rescue effort. Rescuing Hope was not easy. Dinka men are fiercely loyal to one another and with a few phone calls word spread rapidly that the police had come to take Hope. Within minutes, angry mob of Dinka men appeared from nowhere and created a human barricade. They refused to hand their “property” over to the police. The standoff lasted a while until the police were finally able to force their way through the mob and rescue Hope. Once they got her, they handed her over to the Sudanese Embassy, which delivered her right back to her family’s home.

The beatings continued and became even worse. In fact, one night, the neighbor informant said Hope was beaten severely until she was unconcious, tied up and forced to sleep outside like a dog. With the help of our friends again, the witness devised another plan to help Hope. This time, Hope would have to be rescued without the help of the police, the Sudanese Embassy or any other outside party. She would have to muster every ounce of courage and faith within her and attempt to run away in the night, when everyone was sleeping. She could bring nothing but the clothes on her back, and she would have to trust the people waiting for her at a designated location. 13 years old, pregnant, battered, alone and with little to lose, Hope courageously slipped away, into the night and into our lives.

On December 4, two weeks prior to her due date, Hope gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. She was staying with friends that live a few hours from us, but with Hope’s family members living all around the community, they felt it was unsafe for her to stay with them much longer. My sweet friend called just to ask me to pray, and over the next couple of days I felt we were absolutely supposed to offer our home to this precious girl and her child. The day after Christmas, our two new family members moved in.

Hope is tall because she is Dinka and doesn’t really look 14. The fact that she has a baby makes it hard to believe sometimes. But she is still very much a young girl. She loves to play and giggle ad get her hair done and do “homework” (which I give her since she is unable to go to school with her baby) with my girls. She is also becomming an excellet mother who absolutely adores her son.

When Hope moved in last December, I was told she would be here for only 2 or 3 weeks. My friends were hopeful that when her uncle’s refugee status expired in 2010, he and his family would return to Sudan, and Hope could move back in to their home. Hopefully after that, they would be able to help her find her mother. Here we are in March and as that has not yet happened, we are guessing that it may not happen any time soon. It is not safe for her to go stay with her friends, and not safe for her to venture to Sudan to look for other family. While my sweet girls are excited to have Hope around for a while, Hope is understadably grieving the loss of two families: her biological family in Sudan and my friends’ family who she thought she would be living with. She has been tossed around so much that she is just devestated right now.

Somehow, she remains resilient. She doesn’t often show her tears and spends most of the day playing with Grace, Jane, Patricia and I or joking with Christine and the big girls. My heart is broken for her, but I have been blessed to watch God renew ad transform her day by day. She continues to exude more joy with each passing week.

People who know of our situation keep asking “how I’m doing.” And here is the truth: each new person in a home throws off the routine all over again. It takes adjusting. When the new family member is a teenager, it often takes some arguing *ahem* discussion. It takes compromise and sacrifice from EVERY family member. But this is also the truth: I am blessed. We have room. Much more than it is challenging, it is fun. What a joy to provide someone in need of love with God’s greatest gift. What a priviledge to provide Hope with a family, to show her that she is not despesible, but loved unconditionally. Hope teaches me to laugh and to HOPE in the face of unimaginable heartache. Our whole family adores her.

Please continue to pray for Hope’s heart as she settles in, as I think she will be here for a while. We are still praying about what the Lord’s best is for her and her sweet son and will do everything in our power to help her get there.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for HOPE. Hope the person, and hope the promise. Thank you for your hope and redemption in her life and in the lives of all of our family members. Thank you for the blessing of being able to love your children. Thank you for a home that always has one more tiny corner for one more extra bed for one more precious daughter. Thank you for your love that just continues to fill us up as we continue to pour more out. Thank you for the opportunity to pour out more. We want more of you Lord. We want to be more life you Lord. We want to exude your hope to all we meet.

95 thoughts on “

  1. Praying for you and for Hope and her son that reunion will occur with loved ones and that God will be glorified in this situation. Thank you for being the instrument of his love them!

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  2. Dear Katie, I have been following your blog for the last 2 months. I am so touched by your open heart and love for the Lord. I will continue to lift you up and your ministry. I got saved at 8 because I wanted to be a missionary like Amy Carmicheal. I am amazed at how your obedience has transformed so many lives. In my thoughts and prayer, Sabina

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  3. I have been reading your blog for the last few weeks. I want you to know that I am praying for you and you are doing amazing things!
    In Christ, Michaela Horton

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  4. Katie,
    What a blessing to have Hope in your home. Thank you also for the conformation that I am not loosing my mind. While adding 3 new children to our home and having to deal with 4 different cultures and languages, this has been a hard transition. I am grateful to know that I am not alone. I know that the Lord is with me, but it is hard to say the very least…and yes the children do argue…wow, do they.

    i am praying for you and your new additions. I love you dearly and love your heart for Jesus. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    blessings

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  5. I just stumbled on your blog!….and i cried, i cried for my heart because i have neglected others….i cried because what you are doing will be used as an example to the rest of christians on the last day…..i cried because you loved the lord so much that you gave up all for him…and i am still crying and pleading to the lord to change my heart to see with his eyes and be filled with boldness to follow him…..i will pray for Hope and i will pray for you too…i don't know you but i can say this i love you with the love of christ…your blog has changed my life and now i will not allow myself to live a mediocre christian life.

    your sister in christ.

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  6. You dont know me and i dont know how often you get your responses. I just feel like i should let you know i think you are a very amazing woman. With strength, love, compassion, and i admire you for that.

    I am 28 years old with 5 of my own kids whom i thank my heavenly father every day for there being in my life and there safty. To here the thinkgs these kids go thorough breaks my heart. I will keep you and these kids in mine and my family prayers 🙂

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  7. Katie,
    I treasure your blog and pray for each of these children whose lives God is using you to touch.

    I have a request, though… is there any way you could change your blog background to a light color with dark type? The black background and white type are so hard to read and hurt my eyes. Usually I paste your posts into Word so I can read them there, and I wonder if your other readers are having this issue as well. 🙂

    Regardless, keep writing. We love your blog.

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  8. wow i am overcome with grief — the story about hope was so painful for me to read i can only imagine how much she must hurt! I am so thankful that she and her son are safe for the moment! I will pray for safety, healing and prosperity–

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  9. you are such an inspiration. i am so intrigued by your stories, life, and Gods promises and miracles he does for you. i am currently deciding whether to leave US again for missions work. thank you for your stories

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  10. Katie,

    Thank you so much for speaking the words and living the life that Jesus asks us to speak and to live. Thank you that as a 21 year old you are speaking truths that Christian leaders the world over are not willing to speak. Thank you for speaking these truths into my life that my soul is so desperate to receive, that my ears are so desperate to hear, and that I so so rarely hear from Christian leaders. I have recently come across your blog and have been working my way through it all…. the words you are speaking and the example you are living have literally been changing my life (that is, JESUS is changing my life as He speaks through you) and giving me the courage, strength, and conviction to live as Jesus asks us to live. Thank you for living with such courage and faith- it is serving as an example to so many of your Christian brothers and sisters around the world when such modern-day examples are so lacking. Press on and continue to LOVE…. you are storing up great rewards in heaven, which is where our real reward lies and where our TREASURE is. 🙂

    God bless you and much LOVE to you!!

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  11. Keep going sister. My husband and I are praying for you and the girls. You are such an encouragement to us. May the Lord continue to give you the strength and grace you need for every situation.

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  12. I don't know who gets to read this but I run the Children's program at my church. We give a portion of our offering to this ministry b/c Katie's story is so…real. The kids can relate to her and her blog in a way that they can't to other missionaries. So thank you. They look forward to the weeks when I let them look at the blog and we discuss what is going on. This week we will be checking it out, and praying hard. Thank you!

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  13. Wow! I will be praying for her, for you, and for many others like her.

    We are in the process of adopting a girl from Russia. We feel God's call on our lives to go overseas to serve in orphan ministry or something of the sort. I'm glad I found your blog…you are an encouragement to keep trusting God with the plans he has for our future, whatever that may be. Thanks for sharing your life with us, and with so many others. God bless you!

    Carala

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  14. I will be praying for Hope and her son and lots of nights I stop at my little prayer kneeler (foraged from my mom's basement) and pray for safety over your home…both spiritual and physical safety for you and your girls.

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  15. Hi, Katie! I don't want to share anything personal online, but I will tell you that I'm in middle school.
    I just wanted to let you know that it has truly been a blessing to be able to read your blog. Every time I read it my heart is filled with love and compassion for these Ugandans you write about. I have been to Swaziland myself, and while reading all of your stories, I want to visit Africa again so badly! Oh, and I also go to David Platt's church, which you have mentioned in an earlier post; I LOVE my church(:
    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to keep others posted. I pray for your wisdom, your family, and the people God chooses to cross your path daily.
    God bless!
    Psalm 63:1-8
    1 John 2:15-17

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  16. Katie, I know you may not have time to read all of the comments, as their are obviously LOTS of people who truly care about you. I came across your blog in the ec devotion magazine. I'm 19 years old and your story has continually inspired me. Thank you for allowing God to use you to impact thousands of lives for His kingdom. I keep coming back hear to read more stories and to see the pictures of God's people. Thank you for following Him whole-heartidly! Prayers are numerous to our Lord for you and the people of whom you are ministering to.
    Thank you for living out 2 Timothy 4:12 “Do not let anyone look down on you b/c you are young, but set an example to the believers in love, life, speech, faith and purity.” Thank you for being an example to all believers & me.

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Stephanie

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  17. What a beautiful testimony of Jesus! His love is shining through!! Thank you for loving and serving! This is what is real…all believers need to see this and open themselves up to HIS amazing HOPE and LOVE!

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  18. Katie, I was directed to your blog from a acquaintance's. I have spent the last five hours reading every post, engrossed in every detail of your story. With a broken heart and an uplifted spirit, I sit, with my head spinning. I'm in awe that you, the same age as I, have such an awesome testimony. I will be praying for you as your journey enfolds, and as God uses each new person who enters your life to show you something new. He is ever faithful, which, I have read, is plainly evident in your life.

    Love, Blessings, Prayers and Grace to you Katie, a servant of the King.

    Daveana

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  19. Katie-
    This story you have shared has truly touched me in a very personal way.
    I am a thirteen year old girl, just a year younger than Hope. I cannot even begin to IMAGINE what it would be like to be in such a situation. losing your family, having a BABY, and having to run away. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hurt for Hope.
    Please, if you ever read this comment and get the chance, tell her that I'm praying for her. That another girl her age loves her like she was my own sister.

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  20. Wow Katie, you must really get blessed with all these people that pray for you and are touched by your blog. I'm not sure if you will see this comment or not, but I wanted to see if you have heard of this moringa tree? It is supposed to be a powerful healing plant and I thought of you. It might be useful over there instead of prescriptions, if it will work.
    Be encouraged about finding a spouse because there are guys out there that would like to find a women like you, myself included.
    Also thanks for sharing the Radical series from Brook Hills, it has encouraged me to do some things. I hope this sweeps over america.
    Rest is our Father's love,
    Roger

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  21. thats SO sad!! I am around that age as well!! It makes me sad to hear that a kid my age was beaten! 😦 That the Lord God that she is alright and had a wonderful son! God is good!

    Love and Hope to all!
    ~Ren@e~

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  22. Wow God works miracles every day! I will be praying for Hope and her baby for their safety and health. God bless Hope and God bless you!

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  23. Katie, you do not know me but you have brought tears to my eyes, joy to my heart, and praise to our Father! Thank you for living life the way God made us to live! I pray for you as my sister in Christ. Thank you for reminding me that living for God and not of this world is exactly the best way to live even when it seems crazy or hard. You have a beautiful family!!!! God's love and light is shining through you!

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  24. Katie, you do not know me but you have brought tears to my eyes, joy to my heart, and praise to our Father! Thank you for living life the way God made us to live! I pray for you as my sister in Christ. Thank you for reminding me that living for God and not of this world is exactly the best way to live even when it seems crazy or hard. You have a beautiful family!!!! God's love and light is shining through you!

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  25. katie. a friend led me to your blog and i wanted to let you know that i have been challenged by your faithfulness to your calling. God is using you! it's so obvious. i laughed when i saw you went to ravenwood. i went to brentwood and had many friends at ravenwood. you and your family will be in my prayers.

    garrett

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  26. Hi Katie! I feel a little silly posting since I don't know you and you don't know me. A friend passed your blog along to me, and I'm not even sure how he came across it!

    I just returned from a two-week trip to Costa Rica and will be moving there in a couple of months to work with Young Life, a Christian youth outreach organization. I won't be working with the poor, but rather bringing the truth of Christ to the (often very wealthy) international community. It's not what I ever imagined doing, I wanted to be doing something more like what God has led you to do in Africa, but God has led me to this ministry, in this place, and it's still incredibly daunting!

    I've been trying to process this recent trip and my impending move and I've felt a little lonely and underprepared for this work God is calling me to. But reading you blog has been so encouraging to me! God used your words to remind me that HE himself will be my comforter, my joy. Thanks for helping me be courageous…for reminding me that God has called us to be AVAILABLE, whether we feel equipped or not and that He will do the equipping. Thanks for being so honest and vulnerable. Your blog has blessed me more than you can imagine!

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  27. i know quite well the fragile, vulnerable dance of opening your heart and home; it fills our lives with the unexpected and our memories with unending stories.

    looking forward to seeing the unexpected stories that your dance brings.

    ellen

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  28. Katie…thank you for blogging your Journey!!! Thank you for being real and honest and open in your blogs…thank you for sharing your heart! Through you a seed has been planted on my heart…in my SOUL…I am forever changed for having read through your journey. I pray for you and your family…and ALL of Uganda..and for Amazima. I would like to come with my husband next year for two weeks…it would be an amazing blessing for God to orchestrate us into the Journey that is Katie Davis. I have been up very late every night…talking to God..asking WHAT can I do. Katie what you are doing is what God placed on my heart years ago. And now I have a 3yr old, 5 yr old, 7 yr old and 3 step sons (7, 13 and 16)…I CRIED and lay in bed restless..feeling like I MISSED my call. I resented my every day ordinary American life (since starting to read your blog)…got frustrated when my daughter threw a fit over the color of her shirt, or my son over the length of his pants, or my youngest throwing his nightly fit over what I made for dinner. Inside my heart is screaming…we HAVE clothes..we HAVE food…alot of food..and yet we are unhappy and cranky. After several days of reading your blog..I decided to have my 7 year old daughter read it…you have placed a seed in her too. She is changing…she is looking at money differently. We now have a “Lunchbox” on the counter that says “God's Lunchbox” and anyone can choose to put their change there..or their dollars..and when it is full we are sending it to Amazima. Out of the blue my daughter Hailey asked me ..”Mommy..can I write a letter to Helen?”..and I said..Sweety who's Helen…and she gave me a silly look and said..It's KATIE'S DAUGHTER..and I think she's about my age..” Then we went to your blog and pulled up the pics..and sure enough there is precious little Helen 🙂 Is there a way that Hailey could write to your girls? I will help her…so that ALL of the girls get a letter 🙂 Hailey's favorite Blog is the “soup one”…”because Katie made her soup and let her sleep in her bed all night” It's amazing to me that everything that was in the Soup blog…how you talked about the dentist leaving..and letting u use his toold..and then you had to try to steralize them and pull that little girls tooth out…and give her medicine…THE BIGGEST thing that stands out to Hailey is how you LOVED on her..and made her soup..and let her sleep with you all night long 🙂 Gosh I feel as if my thoughts are bouncing around..and I've pretty much written a blog..on your blog 🙂 So for tonight I will wrap it up! We are praying..and we love you all!! If there's a way to write to all the girls that would be awesome!
    Could you guys pray for our family, that we would recognize our UNnecessary things…dowsize our spending and bills to what we NEED..and not what we want. And what things we can sell to help your hands and feet to reach even more! All Our love, The Housers

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  29. i have just found your blog today & have spent an hour ( while i'm at work…smile) reading about jsajsa grace & hope …i am blown away.
    i'm certain you don't want any praise for yourself but i am so amazed to see the hand of god on your life & therefore on all these girls…wow….
    i just wanted you to know that my family of 6 ( i have four daughters ) will be praying for you & yours here in atlanta
    xo

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  30. Jesus, please uphold Katie in Your strong arms tonight. Strengthen her with hope, envigorate her with revelation of Your love. Protect her household from the evil one and use each individual to speak life and truth and grace to one another, bringing honor to You. Provide for each of their needs and bring healing. I pray today for lifted burdens in Jesus' name. Bring helpers to strengthen Katie in her ministry to You. And I pray in agreement with Katie, that You would raise up workers for the harvest. In Jesus' name I pray with faith and expectation, according to Your Word.

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  31. wow. this is an amazing story.
    Hope, her son, you, and everyone else involved in this situation will be in my prayers! God bless you all with wisdom.
    Abby
    South Carolina

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  32. God bless you, Katie. I have come to your blog via a tweet I've been following.. and, I must say my heart goes out to you and God's work that has been entrusted to your hands. You made me realize how much my own struggles pale in comparison… I pray He will continue to sustain you.

    You are a blessing,
    Dette

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