I had the honor of meeting one of my greatest role models this month.
Her name is Katie Davis Majors. She moved to Uganda at age 18 to teach kindergarten for a year, but quickly fell in love with the country and the people and decided to remain in the country permanently. She soon began the adoption process for 14 girls and founded a Uganda-based nonprofit, Amazima, which provides child sponsorship and services for families.
Katie always has visitors in her home. Her family cares for the sick and provides food for the poor and hungry. Her life is always busy and filled with hospital visits and ministry in the slums of Jinja. In 2009, she wrote a book about her experiences,“Kisses from Katie,” and her story has changed my life, and many others.
I was enamored by Katie’s compassion and courage when I first read through her book in high school. She was a success story, a dreamer who allowed herself to be used by God in extraordinary ways. I wanted to be like her, and so did hundreds of women across America.
In August, Katie announced the forming of a promotional team for her second book, “Daring to Hope.” I quickly jumped on the opportunity to apply for the launch team to dive into more of Katie’s life story. After the team for “Daring to Hope” formed, I learned that two members from my social club were also part of the team. We acknowledged this, but we were nothing more than mere club members.
The launch team was brought together in a Facebook group by the publishing team. More than a thousand people were part of the group, and members began flooding the page with their stories of inspiration and hope retrieved from reading Katie’s books. They shared about their families, struggles and prayers. These people began loving each other.
A few months later, Katie visited Nashville for a book signing. Those club members, with whom I hardly had a friendship, hopped in my little Chevy Cruze and drove 5 hours to meet the woman we all admired. We spent 10 hours in the car together, learning about one another and discussing the problems of the world with each other.
We only spent about 3 hours in Nashville. We briefly said “hi” to Katie as she signed our copies of “Daring to Hope” and smiled for a picture, a total of maybe 45 seconds. Though my nervous wreck of a self was ecstatic to meet the woman whom helped steer my life toward missions, I was even more enlightened by the people who she had helped bring into my life, the three other people I spent the day with.
Katie helped bring thousands of people together through her testimony, but she does not know the influence she has had in so many lives. She does not know my story, or the stories of my fellow social club members. We do not know how we may have influenced people we encountered during our mission trip experiences or during out time at Harding.
Maybe no one can ever know the extent to which their life impacts the lives of others. Each student at Harding experiences the effects of prior professors, students and administrators. After students graduate, they take values and knowledge from Harding with them, which in turn are passed on to others. It’s the ripple effect, where the pebble never sees how far its action reaches.