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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

No Turning Back

Sometime days I think God is trying to tell me something. I clicked on a link on FB today to an article talking about no turning back. That sometimes the cost of following Jesus ends up being more than you thought when you first decided to follow him.

I’ve been thinking about not turning back for several months now. The first time was at church back in the states when the worship leader lead “I have decided to follow, Jesus.”

I remember singing that song hundreds of times as a child growing up. And decided there was going to be no turning back for me. When I felt the call from God to be a missionary, the pull was at times unexplainable, but undeniably. I might have been young, but I was going off to save the world.

Except sometimes the world hasn't turned out to be what I imagined. And as I sat in that pew that Sunday not too long ago, after more than a decade of living in Africa, I wanted to turn back.

I didn’t want to leave my oldest behind to go to university in the states. I didn’t want to drop off my youngest at boarding school. I wanted us to be a family. To have Christmas together in our own home, to celebrate birthdays as a family, and to watch my kids grow up the way you’re supposed to. The way that seems normal, and good, and best.

Because sometimes not turning back is just too hard.

My husband gave what I’m feeling a name. It’s called grief. I’m grieving this stage of life. The part that begins the normal empty next stage, except for us it means that my three kids are living in three different countries. I expected the red tape, power outages, and water shortages, but this is hard, and not what I ever imagined life as a missionary would be like.

Go ahead and fill in the blanks for your own life. Because I know that for each one of us, life doesn’t always go the way we once imagined. Life can be joyous, but it can also be tough. The unplanned losses and dreams are hard to deal with.

But on those days when I don’t want to move forward, when I simply want to walk away, I'm realizing I have no other option but to look to Him. And I take another tentative step forward.

No turning back. No turning back.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.

(Ps. 46:1-4) NTL

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

For those of you who follow my blog, you might have noticed that I've been absent the past few months. My family and I returned to the US in July for just under five months to help our oldest adjust to his first semester of university. Considering the fact that he moved to Africa when he was six, there's a lot of things he needed to adjust to as a third culture kid. Someone recently asked us if he was interested in doing a semester abroad through his college. Well, the truth is that for him this is a semester abroad!




While we were here, we were hoping to have a time of sabbatical rest after twelve years on the field. Well. . .that didn't happen. What did happen was homeschooling two kids, helping a third kiddo get settled into college, writing one book, seeing some beautiful sites while visiting supporters, friends, and family, and saying good-bye to two of our board members who passed away.


And now with New Years around the corner, we're actually extremely excited to get back to our own beds and routine and not live out of a suitcase anymore!

But in spite of the fact we're going home tired, we are grateful for the chance to see family (it had been three and a half years since two of our kids saw their grandparents!) visit with friends, and express our thanks to churches and individuals who have supported us so faithfully. 

Plus, we've been thrilled to hear about how the Christians are continuing the work while we've been gone. We can’t wait to jump back into the work and learn more about how God has moved while we’ve been in the US. These photos are of some special evangelism training that was taught by the leaders while we were gone.




My prayer for each of you is during this sometimes too hectic time of year, that you will find the true Reason for the Season in Him. 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. . .and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Merry Christmas!

Lisa Harris


PS If you are someone you know gets an Ereader or Ipad for Christmas, be sure to take advantage of the free download of my award-winning romantic suspense novel DangerousPassage!


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Happy Release Day!

Thanks so much to all of you who stopped by and shared about your fun park adventures. I loved reading the comments! A big congrats to Kelley who is the winner of my Heart of Africa giveaway, celebrating the release of Vendetta.

My honey and I are away for the week celebrating our 25th anniversary so I'm offline, but I wanted to remind you--if you haven't ordered your copy--that Vendetta is now available on line and at your local bookstores!

Happy reading!

Lisa

Amazon             Barnes and Noble     Christianbook.com


Friday, September 25, 2015

Behind the scenes with Nikki Boyd part two (+ a giveaway)

One of the things I love about writing is the behind the scenes research that goes into a story. Vendetta, book one in the Nikki Boyd Files, is one of those series that has given me a glimpse a completely different world. Between the setting of the stunning Smoky Mountains and Nikki's work on a missing person task force, I found myself completely pulled into both the tough terrain of the area and a look at how police work so hard to find those who have gone missing. If you didn't catch my part one of behind the scenes with Nikki Boyd, you can check it out here. Recently I was able to take a bunch of photographs when our family visited the park last month. One of the things our family did while we were there was white water rafting, which was a blast. 

Along with the gorgeous setting, Vendetta also deals with some tough issues about what happens with someone goes missing and how friends and family often respond. In Vendetta, this case ends up clashing with Nikki's past as she works against time to find a missing teenage girl. Nikki has a lot of motivation to do what she does because of the loss of her own sister which has shown her both the side of the authorities and as the victim. And with that the emotional pull she feels to bring justice to a sitaution isn't always easy.


“Sometimes there is nothing you can do to change your circumstances. Sometimes all you can do is hold on for dear life and pray that God will help you find a way through the storm. Sometimes he shows you a way to escape, and sometimes he walks through the fires with you.” (Nikki from Vendetta)

Sometimes my own spiritual struggles come to light in my books as I wrestle with the tough things I see around me. I've come to realize that because we live in a fallen world, life is hard, but even in the times when we feel as if there is no way out, He will walk through the storm with us.

On to the giveaway. . .

In celebration of the release of Vendetta--the kindle version comes out on Tuesday!--I wanted to have a fun giveaway. While I was at the park, I found a beautiful CD of music and mug that I'll be giving away. Leave a comment below with a way for me to contact you and while you're there, I'd love to hear about any memorable experiences you've had at a national park. Hopefully, none of them were quite as action packed and dangerous as Nikki's! Giveaway ends October 1st at midnight, EST.


Happy reading!!

Lisa


Official Rules for Giveaway: No purchase necessary. Giveaway is opened to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. Total prizes: One CD and one mug valued at $25. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator and will be notified via email with instructions on how to claim the book. If the winner does not leave an email or meet the above criteria (US resident 18+), another winner will be selected. If a winner does not follow the instructions within 24 hours to claim the prize, no prize will be awarded. Void where prohibited by law.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Behind the Scenes with Nikki Boyd: Part One

Vendetta--hot off the press!
There's nothing quite as exciting as getting a copy of one your books hot off the press, except maybe the journey it took to get to this point. Vendetta, book one in The Nikki Boyd Files, hits stores in a couple weeks, while I'm actually working on book three.

Originally, when I presented my idea to my editor, I was going to focus on different people on a missing person task force for each book of the series. My editor came back to me and said that the publisher wanted me to stick to telling the stories from Nikki's point of view. Now that I'm writing book three, I'm actually so glad we decided to do this, because I love, love, love her story. Nikki's motivation to do what she does comes from the loss of her own sister who went missing a decade ago, and she's never been found. This makes Nikki's journey very personal. She knows what it's like to be on the side of the victims' family, and that knowledge motivates her to ensure that other families don't go through what hers went through.

Another decision that was made early on in the writing of the series was where it would be set. I wanted a southern setting, and for book one, I needed it to be in the mountains. So while Nikki's team is based in Nashville, Vendetta takes place in and around the Smoky Mountains.

Now one of the things I love to do is travel. And while a lot of the settings I use for my books I've actually been able to visit (like Paris for Taken, for example) I'd never had the chance to visit the Smoky Mountains. So instead, I did tons of research. Which is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love research and the chance to discover places I don't know much about. The Appalachian Trail was one of these fun discoveries for me. I was blown away by some of the stories I read about people who walked the entire, 2000+ mile trek. Let me just say that at first, the idea of walking the Appalachian trail seemed completely glamorous and romantic, but let's face it. . .2000+ miles isn't easy. At all. And it isn't for the faint at heart. . .uh. . .me.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Vendetta is written, edits, are done, and the books is about to be printed. We were staying at a missionary cabin in Tennessee, and when I realized just how close we were to the Smoky Mountains, and my wonderful husband agreed to take me there!

It was so much fun to finally visit the place I'd researched as I wrote Nikki's story. I ended up being the tour guide who know my way around even though I'd never actually visited! This area was even far more beautiful than I ever imagined. I was also able to visit some of the actual scenes from where the book takes place. And as crazy as it sounds, I kept expecting to run into Nikki! But my one goal for the trip-- since I couldn't see Nikki--was to see a bear. And we did! We saw a mama and a couple of cubs which was so amazing, but unfortunately those photos didn't turn out.
My son and I next to the Appalachian Trail.






Hope you enjoyed the photos! They're stunning, aren't they! Check back in a week or so for Behind the Scenes Part Two and a special giveaway!

Happy reading,

Lisa

Monday, August 03, 2015

Cover Reveal!

I'm so excited to share with you the cover of my next Love Inspired Suspense! Coming this September is Desperate Escape.

When Dr. Maddie Gilbert is kidnapped by rebel forces in West Africa, special ops agent Grant Reese races to rescue her. But the ruthless drug traffickers holding Maddie hostage have powerful connections--maybe even inside the US government. And they'll go to any lengths to silence her--permanently. Grant knows that getting Maddie free and safe is just the first step of this mission. Because he's fallen for the spirited beauty, and as her enemies pursue them, Grand must face a second battle--the one to win her heart.

Desperate Escape is available now for pre-order on line along with Vendetta, book one in another brand new series coming in October!

Happy Reading!

Lisa

Monday, July 20, 2015

TucTuc Taxi!

As many of you know, the ECHO Project was started to help address some of the many needs we encounter around us everyday here in Africa. ECHO stands for Education, Compassion, Hope, and Opportunity. While most of the monthly ongoing help the ECHO project provides is in the way of medical, housing, schooling, and food assistance, occasionally there is an opportunity for us to help with a business loan that will provide continuing support of a family.

Alex is one of the young men the ECHO Project has been able to help in the past. He started by supporting himself by making bracelets and earrings. He was faithful in his work and used the money to put himself through driving school so he could get a better job. He then found work driving a Tuc Tuc taxi in our town, but often had to work seven days a week. He recently approached us for a long so he could be able to work for himself, as well as teach in the village, and go to church.

This is a photo of Alex and his new Tuc Tuc! Please pray for him and the success of his new business.

Lisa