Katie Davis Majors first visited Uganda in 2006 on a mission trip while a senior in high school. Bitten by the missions bug, she moved to Uganda after graduating from high school and founded Amazima Ministries International to help vulnerable children and families.
She soon adopted 13 orphan girls.
In “Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful,” Majors writes about her experiences in Uganda.
Majors suffered heart-wrenching pain after losing her adopted daughter Jane to Jane’s biological mom, realizing she couldn’t help win close friends’ addiction battles and losing others to AIDS after months of praying and caring for them.
She thought God would give her happy endings. Believing “that God’s blessing was evident only when things turned out well … I kept asking and waiting for the beauty to be revealed on my terms … all tied up nicely with a bow on top.”
Despite sad, messy endings, communion with God completely redefined His beauty for Majors. Like Abraham, she walked by faith where God directed. Despite every challenge, heartbreak, and unhappy ending, He gave her Himself. God promised Abraham, “‘I am your shield, your very great reward’” (Genesis 15:1). Jesus was compassionately moved to stop what He was doing to help individuals no matter how terrible, different or sinful they were. As He left heaven to live, suffer and die with us, so Majors desired: “Not to pity but to suffer with these people. To walk alongside. To build our home in community with them. To share in their burdens.”
Majors writes, Compassion “is not to pity, not to extend a hand of charity, but to be truly broken, to feel gut-wrenching pain when we see others suffer…. Maybe we are not called to alleviate suffering (as I had once imagined) as much as we are called to enter into the suffering of others and walk with them through it.”
She continues, God “did not view anyone as the next ministry project … but as someone just like me who needed to be lavished with His undeserved, unmerited blessing, love and favor…. We most deeply experience His beauty when we walk with others in the darkness.”
God stretched Majors to invite many hurting Ugandans to live in her home, however inconvenient or disruptive. Their pain became her pain. Paul wrote, “Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).
The prophet Habakkuk said during famine, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:18-19).
With insight beyond her years, Majors writes: “Maybe courage is not at all about the absence of fear but about obedience even when we are afraid. Maybe courage is trusting when we don’t know what is next, leaning into the hard and knowing that it will be hard, but more, God will be near. He … will provide … whatever He decides we most need.”
God desired not Majors’ ministry but her. He “is glorified when we give Him our hearts … and faithfully do the thing right in front of us, no matter how small or trivial.”
She writes, “Faithfulness is what we repeatedly do, whether or not we see the results. Faithfulness is when we pour into hard people over and over, when we continue to serve in difficult situations, when we intentionally choose to lean into Him in our troubles as well as our joys. Faithfulness is a habit formed in our hearts when no one is looking, when the day is done, and the stars creep out and our call isn’t easy but we don’t turn away.”
She continues, “It is a great honor to share the life of another, to bear witness in a way that says, ‘You matter. This matters. Your story matters.’ Because it … matters to God.”
Richard Penn is a member of Southeast Christian Church and was a missionary in the Philippines.