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Monday, April 18, 2016

Thank you from the Harris family



Our family would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of you who have prayed for us over the past few weeks. Your words of encouragement have been such a blessing! On top of that, we are extremely grateful for the financial support that will allow us to update our security system and replace some of the stolen items. Here's a short video expressing our thanks. We hope it will be encouraging to you as well!



Huge Thank you from the Harris family and African Outreach Ministires from Lisa Harris on Vimeo.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Diary of a Wimpy Mom


I’ve always loved writing suspense for a number of reasons. I love the fight for justice and the assurance that the good guys will win. I love taking a real world situation, like human trafficking (Dangerous Passage) or an epidemic (Blood Covenant) and then show men and women taking risks to make a difference in the lives of people. In a world where there are not always happy endings, I also love the ability to create that happy ending for my characters.

And yet recently, everything changed on how I feel about writing suspense.

Two weeks ago, after spending almost a week in the hospital for a serious infection, three armed men walked into our house. To make a long story short, they tied us up—gave me two black eyes and a mild concussion in the process—and robbed us, including my wedding ring off my finger. While the black eyes are now almost gone, I’m still dealing with the effects of the trauma we faced. Like today, the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down to write again, I froze. Did I really want to jump back into the middle of writing a hostage situation?

Because as coincidental as this might sound, the day before the robbery, I had decided to write a blog post entitled the Diary of a Wimpy Mom. I was in the middle of writing my current manuscript and thought how ironic it was that while I put my characters through extremely difficult, life and death situations, I have no desire to even get on a rollercoaster!

Right now, I’m working on a book set in the Sahara where my heroine is kidnapped, then rescued by the hero, but soon they both face a race across the desert for their lives. It made me think about my own life. I’ve had several people ask me if I’d ever experienced some of the things I write about in my books. Uh. . .no. Are you kidding me? While a lot of people love an adrenalin rush from extreme sports, amusement parks, and even high-stress jobs, I don’t. At all. Call me a wimp, but I don’t like anything that gets my adrenaline going. And certainly not any of the scenarios I put my characters through. (I almost felt guilty turning in my last Nikki Boyd story to my editor, because the poor girl went through so much!)

Which is why I’ve had to go back and remind myself why I write what I write. I’ve shared my reasons before in various interviews and blogs in the past. About God calling ordinary people and using them to make a difference in the world. About our response to that call. And about how He, then, is the one who will give us the strength to do extraordinary things for Him.
           
I reminded myself as well that we all struggle. Not necessarily in the same way I make my characters struggle, but in our normal day to day struggle. Working hard, paying bills, dealing with hurts and illness, and loss. . .

Which maybe is the bottom line as to why when I write my stories, I want my readers to never forget that the God who created the universe loves us and wants to be our strength no matter what is happening in the world around us. Jesus came to heal the empty and broken hearted, and those searching for freedom and hope. Psalm 91 says that He is our refuge and fortress. He will cover us with his feathers and under His wings where we will find refuge.

So for now, I’m going to keep writing stories of justice and hope. And, of course, a happy ending.

Be a blessing,

Lisa 


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Beauty in Sacrifice

New mother with twins
One of the things the ECHO Project has been doing over the past few years is identifying those who are struggling physically. Often this means a grandmother who is raising her children, or a young mother with twins who can't provide enough milk.

We've also seen the sacrifice a number of women in particular who have taken on additional mouths to feed even out of their own poverty. They bring in the orphaned, those sick with HIV/AID, and the homeless and care for them in their homes.

This is the beauty in sacrifice.

They are not giving not out of their excess, but in spite of their own needs. And in that they show Christ's love.

It reminds me when Jesus was watching people give to the treasury. The rich threw in large amounts, but it was a poor widow who caught Jesus' attention. She put in two very small copper coins that were only worth a few cents. And yet Jesus said she put in more than all the others. They had given out of their wealth. It didn't hurt them to give, or make them uncomfortable financially.

But the poor widow put in everything she had to live on.

Jesus is constantly calling us to be different. Not just to say we were following him, but to truly live each day as a beautiful sacrifice. That is why these are the women who challenge me everyday. They challenge me to get out of my comfort zone and not to just give of myself when it's easy. But when it's uncomfortable, which it hurts, and when I have to sacrifice my own needs to minister to those around me.

Because that is how He calls us to live.

We are grateful for those who have given to help us minister to those we work with. Here are some recent photos of how the money through the ECHO Project is being used. Please pray for us as well as we are in the process of purchasing land and building a Community of Hope for those who are need.

Delivering food packets


Giving formula to the twins

Example of a food packet






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.