Mama Ketty is a feisty, spry woman with closely cropped hair, a leathered face, deep set, dancing eyes and a strong spirit that never says “die.” She is 83 and has endured a lot in her lifetime….more than any other women her age that I have met anywhere in the world. Her life has been as far from pampered as you can possibly imagine. She has endured crushing poverty, evil regimes, senseless wars, life threatening illnesses time after time, and malicious attacks on her family.

She has borne 12 children, six sons and six daughters. Five of her children have already died, some as adults. One of her daughters was abducted by Kony’s rebels to be used as a sex slave for his soldiers. It is hard to even imagine the heart wrenching pain that Mama Ketty must bear. She has not heard anything from her since, but still faithfully prays for her and holds on to hope that someday she will return.

DSC_2318This remarkable woman was born in 1932. Besides all the other challenges of her life, she had to live through the years of Idi Amin who was the third President of Uganda, ruling from 1971 to 1979. Amin’s rule was characterized by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement. Human rights groups estimate the number of people killed to be as high as 500,000. Thousands of those who died were from Mama Ketty’s region.

Even worse than Idi Amin, Mama Ketty, as I mentioned earlier, lived through the horrific years of Joseph Kony. As far as I am concerned, he is without a doubt one of the most evil people on the face of the earth. He is responsible for ordering the abduction of thousands of children to become sex slaves and child soldiers. It is estimated that 66,000 children became his soldiers. Almost 2 million people were displaced internally from 1986 to 2009 and forced into concentration like camps. His primary target in those years was northern Uganda. The very region where Mama Ketty has lived all of her life.

Quite frankly, Mama Ketty has been to hell and back.


But as Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell…keep going!”

That’s Mama Ketty…she has ALWAYS kept going.

Despite the odds, Mama Ketty keeps bouncing back. She hangs in there. She keeps on dancing. She perseveres. She is a survivor. She is an overcomer.

Winston Churchill also said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never!”

That’s our Mama Ketty!

Her life achievements are many:

  • Gave birth to 12 amazing children who share her DNA and spirit.
  • Was the founder of the beautiful paper bead jewelry in northern Uganda.
  • Helped the women in her area start 4 small businesses.
  • Models to the world what it means to be a woman of God

Now you know why Mama Ketty is one of my heroes of the faith. She is a remarkable woman!

This lady is an extremely poor woman. All she has is a small piece of land with several mud huts on it. Just before we got to Gulu, Uganda last year, her modest home burned to the ground.


But last year, she did the unthinkable! The unimaginable! This poor widow, who has so little by any earthly standard, called me up in front of a group of ladies sitting under a tree on her land. Her burned out home and it charred remains were the backdrop.

As one of her granddaughters translated for her, she motioned to a plot on her property and said, “Diane, you have been so kind to us. Our lives have been changed by your love and generosity. We are deeply grateful that God brought you to us. As an expression of our gratitude, I would like to give you a piece of my land to build a Sister Acts Center on.”

I was speechless…and that doesn’t happen to me very often.

The piece of land she was giving to us had been appraised and valued at $16,000!

Let that sink in! One of the poorest people on that face of the earth…from one of the poorest countries on earth….gave ME…an American…the one thing of value in her life!


It reminds me of the story of the widow in the Bible. Jesus noticed her offering at the temple and spotlighted it to his disciples. He said, “She gave more than all the others because she gave all she had.”

That’s our dear Mama Ketty.

To be honest, I have not known how to respond to this gift! It is by far the most generous gift I have ever received. And to think it came from a poor, 83 yr old widow in a nation where the average annual income is about $500! That’s humbling!

So this is what we have decided. And it’s where we need your help!

Mama Ketty has NEVER had a nice home in her whole life. We want to build her a brick home with a kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom, bathroom and shower. We think it’s her time to have a decent home. If anyone deserves it, Mama Ketty does!

We want to start building next month. We think we can build it for about $8,000.

Do you agree? Are you in? Any widows out there who want to pitch in? Can you help us bless Mama Kety?

Let’s give Mama Ketty a Mother’s Day present in the month of May that she will never forget!

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