a story of giving from penury that has changed my life

The difficulty I have in writing this post is that I want to say everything I’m thinking here in the first sentence to prevent the chance that you might not read all of this and miss stuff that seems so critical to me. But, since the first sentence is already complete, and I have too much to say, that won’t be possible.

Please just read this. If you can’t, skip what I say and scroll down to the links, and click on them and read what you find. I think it’s important and I hope you will, too.

First of all, let me say that I apologize for using my work nonsense to illustrate in the previous post – it was too long and may have missed the point entirely – it was just the example in my mind at the time. Please get the heart and forget about the fluff.

Second, please realize I’m not trying to load you down with undue burdens in this recent series of posts, out of her penury, and underutilization. I’m merely expressing what’s on my brain, and what I believe God is challenging me with recently. As the title of this post indicates with seeming hyperbole, I believe my life is changing in response.

The story I want to share with you now was discovered after this turmoil began inside me, but it has definitely fanned the flames in a significant way, as some of you have already experienced as victims of one of my many recent rambling expositions on this.

At face value, this story is about starving children in Africa, which I’m reluctant to admit mostly because I believe that idea has nearly become cliche in American and many European cultures, judging by my own personal anecdotal experience.

When we see TV programs or blogs or news stories, or Bono, talking about starving children in Africa, we (as in me and some of the people I know, and many more I presume) typically move quickly past. We know the story (we think) and we’re doing what we can (we think) and we don’t need to hear more about it or get more guilt trip (we think).

Please don’t do that this time.

There is something unique in this story, I can assure you, and the testimony is overwhelming, both in regard to penury and capacity.

Everyone I know is busy beyond belief. Everyone has plenty of concerns and problems and responsibilities. I get that. Most people I know are Christians and, as such, they understand the need to give and generally do so generously and sacrificially.

But I can’t shake the feeling we’ve limited ourselves. Do we really love with all of our hearts, and are we giving all we can to the right things, to the things God has called us to? Speaking for myself, I’m sure I’ve imposed my own limitations, bound by the things I hold, and as a result, I’ve been inhibited from experiencing abundance in Christ.

That’s what seems unique to me about this testimony from a ridiculously young woman, in this way over her head, with a testimony of love for Jesus, and her “neighbors” that has shaken me. To Katie Davis, it’s not just about the stereotypical children in Africa. To her it’s about Jesus, and she sees him in them, and she knows their names, and she holds them (Him) in her arms.

I humbly submit, then, for your consideration, what I’ve stumbled upon: Katie Davis and Amazima Ministries.  The following is an excerpt of a recent blog post from Katie in which she recaps the last few years of her life:

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. [Please read the full post by clicking here]

Here is a quote from today’s blog post from Katie:

Wednesday as I met with the Karamjong children for Bible study a woman walked up to me and handed me a baby that I presumed to be dead. And then she breathed.

The mother told me that she was quite positive that she (the mother) had HIV and therefore was not breastfeeding her 10 pound, 9 month old little girl. I asked, quite obviously, what she had been feeding her then? And this was the response that awaited me, “Nothing. We have no food.” Um. NO wonder the baby looked dead. She almost was. I pleaded the mother to let me take her with me, to be tested for HIV and be fed. The mother instanly agreed but fist wanted to show me her house. [Please read the rest by clicking here]

I could go on, but I’m just going to encourage you to pursue it from here on your own.  The following link will lead you to more of the story:  Amazima Ministries

I’m also permanently adding a link to Katie’s site here on my blog and hoping many of you will pursue that.  I’m not asking you to donate, although that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I’m hoping that the ingredient of this story in the recipe of your life will find it’s God-given mark.

Katie Davis and her story have reset my thoughts on penury and capacity – not by imposing expectations to do more and try harder, but by making me seek honest answers about the value of the way I spend my days.

No, we can’t all go care for starving children in Africa.  What are we doing here, though?  The best answer to that question, I propose, is whatever God has called us to, and that has something to do with loving with ALL of our hearts.

6 thoughts on “a story of giving from penury that has changed my life”

  1. Nope. Not hyperbole. Just the miracle that is being in Christ– life continues to have, well, life-changing moments.

    And I like the thoughts about underutilization as I wrestle with making the most of my time: ” Be very careful, then how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of very opportunity , because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Eph5


  2. Wow. Thank-you Dale, for once again sharing your heart. For encouraging me to love God with all of my heart. I pulled up Katie’s blog and read some posts out loud (through many tears) to my guys. Unbelievable and amazing.


  3. “as some of you have already experienced as victims of one of my many recent rambling expositions on this.”

    guess i really dodged a bullet yesterday. 😉

    and you’re right, we need to be doing what it is that God has called us to do…and be who he has called us to be. all part of the journey.


  4. It seems to me that perhaps God has been working on you in this regard for a while now. If I recall correctly, not that long ago you read Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. In response you wrote a piece and posted a picture that seemed to get some attention. In that blog post you wrote something that struck me:

    “If a church exists in the world, and doesn’t have the power of God, does it make a difference? Do we care? What should we do? Will we do it? When?”

    I put that quote on my bulletin board in my little box here at work. I see it daily and pray for our churches and for the people in and around them who need to get beyond themselves and dig in on what God has for them. (Yes I pray that same thing for me, too) All this to say: God is working. Thank you for your willingness to let us experience your heart and conscience with these posts. God is working.



  5. Can someone please tell me what sacrificial giving looks like? I mean for many of us…here in the States….where we want for nothing. I thought I knew….but it turns out I don’t have a clue. I have to read but just one story from Amazima Ministries and Katies Blog to know I don’t know the first thing about sacrificial giving. And it makes my heart heavy.


    1. Jeff – great question, and reflective of where my thoughts have been on this very topic. Heavy heart. Yep.

      Practical answers are elusive, though I believe it’s necessary to pursue them individually as the answers will be purpose/calling relevant as God has set each of us in a place for his Kingdom. Pressing into God, as we should always, is the right way to perceive that answer.

      Generally, though, the answer must come back to the idea of picking up our individual crosses, and following Him. To love with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, to be found in the fellowship of his suffering, for the joy set before him. In other words, to feel the weight of Christ’s burden and to respond in his strength and love.

      It’s vague and dissatisfying. However, I remember your response to another reader’s comment in the old post you referenced above – go to God first, then act.

      However you arrive at direction, the truth will be a bold affront to your life, as it has been to mine, and I’m convinced that’s part of the process.



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