I never saw myself as a blogger, social business enthusiast, Africa obsessed, completely motivated to do more selfless acts kind of person…but now I do. My life has changed as I know it and truly all because of the words of one little boy on a movie. ok wait, Im getting ahead of myself so let me back up. When people look up to others it usually is someone who is in the spotlight. For me, I am envious of the person who has accomplished huge goals set out to solely help improve the lives of others while gaining nothing in return except fulfillment. That is so admirable to me. I would have these dreams of being involved in something like this one day, but never really spoke of it. A few months ago I watched “Invisible Children”, great movie. There is a scene in this movie were one of the little boys looks into the camera (not scripted) and asks..begs really, for us, the viewer to not turn this movie off and forget about him, to not forget what he is having to go through, to help. Most people, naturally would turn the movie off go get in bed maybe watch the news, fall asleep before waking up in the morning to the alarm. They would go on with the normal everyday routines they are used to and thats that. This wasn’t exactly how my story went. This little boys face was permanently painted in my thoughts. Truly everything I did, everything I watched, ate, engaged in, I thought how lucky am I? Why am I so privileged to live this luxurious life, why was he so unlucky? I thought about him and how he asked US not to forget about him, but it was like he asked the viewer not to forget its like he asked ME..CASEY ZARUBA pleeeeease don’t forget about me. And I didn’t. So as a little more time went on and this little boy consumed my every moment which is how this trip to Africa to work in an orphanage came about.
Now look, my husband and I are two 25 year olds one just starting a career with lots of students loans to pay off (my husband) and the other one who is still in school (not full time bc we cant afford it). So how in the WORLD are we going to afford a close to $7000 trip to Uganda, Africa. OH yeah…and I want this $7000 trip to happen in 8 months. Ok yeah thanks Ill get back to you on that. I wrote out a lengthy letter expressing my reasoning for wanting to go on this Africa trip, what it meant to me and the children we would be helping. I also included the information that we would be having a “Charity” garage sale in which hopefully all of the items for the sale would be donated. With MUCH hesitation I also put a paypal link at the bottom in case anyone was able to give a monetary donation but not items for the sale. I sent it to my mother in law, who shortened and read over for me. (she’s good at that kind of stuff) and I posted to facebook. AAHHHHH Noone has ever even heard me talk about Africa or a mission trip or helping in an orphanage, where is this coming from?!?!?!
To say I was nervous was a monstrous understatement. I was so nervous about the response, but I knew there HAD to be some reason this little boy wouldn’t leave me. It was HIM, I knew it was and I kind of wanted to ignore it because of the intimidation I felt but I couldn’t deny it. He was here, here to invade my personal space, here to make me feel uncomfortable, here to change me into the person I have truly secretly always longed to be.
It was Him, It was Jesus.
Ok so let me scooch on back a little ( I get ahead of myself when I am excited about what Im talking about ) So, I posted this “Africa” letter on facebook. The next day, the first donation came in. I was walking to the cafeteria at work, checking my email on my phone (I know technology crazed) and there is was.
“You have received a Pay Pal donation of $500.00”
I immediately called my husband, Tyler. “Honey, you are not going to believe this!! We received a $500 Pay Pal donation for our trip.”
I told him who it was from. He had not spoken to this girl since high school. We both agreed he would contact her and make sure she didn’t type the wrong amount in and if so we would give this money right back to her. MUCH to our surprise, she replied back quickly saying she absolutely meant to give us $500 and thought it was amazing what we were wanting to do and that she and her husband would love to do something like this one day but she was expecting and wasn’t able to so wanted to help us out. I was literally speechless. I wanted to drive to this girls house and hug her. I don’t know if we hadn’t started out with such a large donation or someone who so totally believed in us if we would have been so motivated. There HE was again, in my bubble, invading my space, getting into things I was wanting to do.
It was HIM again, It was Jesus.
So then the donations for the garage sale started flowing in as well as donations. I know it is sad of me to say, but I never knew people were so giving. I really think people WANT to believe in the good of others and sometimes I like to think that giving to OUR cause on this trip to Africa was them having hope and belief that the selfless, they are out there. Little do all these people who have given know that we couldn’t do anything without these giving, amazing people. Things are going great…the garage sale is happening in 2 weeks, after months of collecting. Our garage is full of stuff..and I mean GOOD stuff!! Someone even donated 2 GORGEOUS wedding dress they had. One of which I sold today for $300 toward our trip!!
So again, let me back up a little. about a month ago somehow I stumbled upon a book called “Kisses for Katie” (Do yourself a favor, read it.) OK, I just sat here for probably 3 minutes thinking of how to begin talking about this book. For me, there are no words how this girl has also changed my life. The book is about this girl Katie Davis who is 23 now, originally from Brentwood, Tn near where I used to live (peaked my interest) who went on a mission trip to Uganda with her mom her senior year of high school and fell in love and decided to return. She made a deal with her parents saying if they allowed her to move to Uganda for a year to work in an orphanage teaching then she would return to the states and pursue a college career as her parents so desperately wanted.
She was off. And then she fell in love with some kids, ending up renting a house. fast forward adopted 13 Ugandan girls, started Amazima Ministries and now lives in Uganda full time running her ministry, which helps feed, school and provide basic medical care to HUNDREDS of people. Seriously she’s 24. Talk about trying to measure up to someone.
In her book, the way she speaks of Jesus, The way she is so madly in love with him and so un-bearingly faithful to him even when she has the world against her. It is something I felt, something I wished for, something I was so jealous of. Throughout this book she speaks of her experiences but she always gives credit to God. I love the entire book and would sit in the bath with a mask on my face and immerse myself in the life of Katie Davis and her love for Jesus. I also had a small short lived obsession with putting masks on my face, you know like the ones in the little packages. My husband had to have an intervention with me about my skin possibly falling off one day. masks..done. Thats beside the point I loved her entire book, cover to cover. However there was one spot in her book I remember that she spoke of. This moment in her life which was probably relatively insignificant compared all that she deals with and a moment she wrote in a book probably about 2 years ago, affected my life so strongly on February 11th.
So now I’ll tell you the moment. She tells the reader about just an ordinary day that she had to run to the little convenient store in town (which is a small town about an hour out of the city called Jinja) It was pouring rain outside and all she wanted to do was run in the store, get what she needed, get in her van and go home and snuggle up in her bed. When she came out of the store there was a little boy standing out in the rain, probably about the age of 6 or 7 and he was soak and wet from standing in the rain and asking for food. She wanted so bad to ignore that little voice in her head saying “Stop, turn around go back and help!” but, she didn’t. She went back to the little boy grabbed his hand and took him inside and bought him some food, gave him all the change she had and took off her sweatshirt and put it on him since he had barely any clothes on and was soaked. She handed him a wooden cross that she had in her pocket and placed it in his hand and told him Jesus loved him. She gave him a hug and began to run to her van. The little boy yelled “What’s your name!!!” she said, “Katie!” the little boy replied with “Katie, Auntie Katie. My name is Daniel!!” and they went there separate ways.
One year later Katie went to that same convenient store she had many times before. She walked inside and says she was almost plowed over by the powerful hug of someone around her waist. She looked down and the little boy said, “It’s ME, Daniel!” He pulled out the wooden cross Katie had given him a year earlier and the little boy said “You gave this to me, I have prayed for you every SINGLE day since then.” I mean how amazing to have a little boy spend an entire year praying for her because she gave him some food.
That story changed me. I have always been a christian but that day I decided to devote my life to the man who gave his up for me. I am human so I will always make mistakes and be less then perfect but I will never stop trying. He deserves it, all of it. I will listen to him. When he asks no matter how unsure or uncomfortable I am, I will follow.
Jesus was working magic in me before I even knew it. He worked that little boy in Invisible Children into my every thoughts to consume me to pursue this trip to Uganda. My obsession with Uganda lead me to reading Kisses for Katie which lead me to read the story of Daniel, which lead me to Him. Thats really all he wanted. Christ provides for the life we want and need. He sees our desires through and he provides a way when there isn’t a road to be seen. He gave his life for me. He gave his life for you. Us, the sinners, the people who lie and curse and disobey and are selfish. You see he loves us anyways. He is the one person who will always have hope and belief in us. He cannot answer a prayer if it isn’t prayed for. There is nothing he cant handle. I asked for a closer relationship. I told Him we couldn’t afford this trip, I told him people were going to think we are crazy to want to go to Africa, he said go anyways and has completely provided the way.
Give up your fears, go into the uncomfortable place were you talk about God, Jump into a forever life and a promise that is eternal, a promise that he makes to always be at our side, a promise of eternal bliss with him in heaven for just a few 100 years or so on earth.
Don’t doubt him and have a little faith.