Friday, June 30, 2006

Bribes Wanted

Scott asked me to once again post another prayer request as God continues to do amazing things to prepare the way for the clinic.

Due to God's wonderful power and his answering our prayers, the medicine is to arrive in Lusaka, Zambia on Saturday the first.

The problem is, this is a holiday weekend and they admittedly forgot to tell us that not only do we need to have a clearing agent, but they don't plan to work until Tuesday. Basically, they are looking for bribes.

We have medicines that will spoil if not properly refrigerated, so please pray that God will yet again grant us another miracle as we work feverishly to clear the medicines through customs.

Continue praying as well that this ministry will be a blessing and life changing experience for many. I'll have lots of pictures to post on our return.

Blessings--and don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win one of my books in my end of the month drawing.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006


UPDATE: God has just preformed His first miracle for our upcoming ministry trip! In the past few hours, the Doctor recieved his approval to practice at the clinic in Zambia, and Holland just confirmed that it was shipping the medicines now! Wow! Plus nine additional boxes of medicines were donated, and we have worked out a way to get them to Zambia in time for the clinic.

One thing I've learned is that while people and systems are never predictable. . .


He's shown his faithfulness so clearly these past few days. Please continue to pray that all the details will continue to be worked out, that He will grant us energy and wisdom during the long trip ahead of us, and that He will move among the people, and bring many to Him.

Keep praying!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Clinic Update and a FREE book drawing!

Thank you all for your prayers. We just received news that the medicines can not be shipped until July! Well, that's a bit late for next week's clinic. So, despite the huge disappointment I'm feeling right not, we're on to plan B. We are still working out the details, but for now, it looks as if the doctor will spend his time volunteering at the local hospital, which will still be a blessing to the people.

And instead of the clinic, we've decided that I will run a VBS for the children. This will take a lot of energy to pull together, but I'm excited to see how God will use this to reach out. I will also use material that I've already put together so at least I'm not starting by scratch.

As for the free book. . .The rest of my week will be spent buried in my book deadline and planning for our ministry trip. So, to make things fun, leave a comment and I'll have a drawing the end of the month for a free copy of my latest book Rebecca's Heart.

Spread the news and have a great week!


Urgent Prayers for Medical Clinic!

With the plans in place for the medical clinic to take place in Zambia next week, there are still some major details that have to be taken care of in order to run it.

1. As of today, the medicines to be used at the clinic have still not been shipped from Holland. Even after they arrive, they will have to go through customs and transported from the capital to Mongu.

2. Final approval for the Doctor coming from the states. We are hoping to hear that this has been taken care of.

3. While we run the clinic, we will also be having a big evangelistic push. Every patient will be prayed with and the Jesus film will be playing in their language each day. As of now, we have not been able to contact the man in Zimbabwe with the church’s Jesus film equipment.

While all of these things have been in the works for quite a long time, things continue to be blocked. But I read an amazing passage this morning from II Kings.

“When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. ‘Oh, sir, what will we do now?’ the young man cried to Elisha.

"Don't be afraid," Elisha told him, "For there are more on our side than on theirs!" Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!"

The Lord opened the young man's eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire." II Kings 6

What a powerful reminder that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Our God is on our side!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

School's out!

While most of you are well into summer vacation, we've just ended our second term and are getting ready to enjoy our winter break. The end of every term brings about a whirlwind of activities from the meetings with teachers, to final soccer games, to report cards, to school cake sales. After such a busy week, we are looking foward to a few days of down time before we leave on our ministry trip to Zambia next week.

I've also been thankful for God's blessings of new friends as we continue to settle into into the area. This week was spent getting to know a few people better by visiting over tea and working with some of the teachers at Jayden's class's cake sale.

Please continue to pray that all the red tape for our upcoming medical clinic will go through. With only a week and a half left, there are still a few things that must be done. We are praying that God will put us in contact with the right people who will push this through and that the medicines will arrive on time.

From a chill South Africa!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006



I’m so excited to be able to share my recent chat with inspirational author Susie Warren. Not only is she a prolific writer, Susie’s also a former missionary to Russia which gives us a thing or two in common. And her latest release, Everything’s Coming Up Josey is for everyone who wanted to know what it’s REALLY like to be a missionary. You won’t want to miss this book or any of her other books!

LISA: What was your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book, and how many books have you sold since then?

SUSIE: Disbelief? Shock and Awe? I remember reading the email and thinking…is this some sort of cruel joke? And after I confirmed that no, Tyndale seriously wanted to publish MY book, well then, I think there was some loudness, maybe screaming, probably some chocolate consuming involved. Oh, and tears of joy and thankfulness. Not necessarily in that order. By the end of this year, I’ll have 17 books on the market. Yeah, wow.

LISA: Tell us some of the background behind the idea for Everything’s Coming up Josey?

SUSIE: For years, my friends (the ones who received my Warren Report during our missionary service in Russia) would tell me – write your story! Only, I couldn’t quite figure out the format. It all sounded so…blah. UNTIL Steeple Hill challenged me to write chick lit. I love the chick voice, and when I sat down to “give it a try” the words just flowed from me. I found myself laughing out loud and thought, hey, maybe I CAN write chick lit. So, I researched the craft, and took down every crazy thing that happened to me that first year in Russia, and finally got to write about all the crazy ideas and experiences of a freshman missionary. No, Josey isn’t autobiographical…but it’s close enough. *g*

LISA: I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Are there ways that Josey made an impact on your life?

SUSIE: Josey learns that God has prepared her all her life for her season in Russia and I believe that in writing her story, God reminded me that he uses each season of life to prepare for the next. Although I’m not in the season of international missionary right now, He gave me the ideas and material for this season as a writer. It gives me peace, also, that He’s at work in my life, wherever I’m at.

LISA: As a former missionary can you tell us about how your experiences in Russia changed your life?

SUSIE: I had the rare opportunity see God at work in very real, tangible ways. Like, when I prayed for toilet paper, or for babysitting help, or even for my car to have enough gas to make it home on a cold Siberian night. My life in Russia taught me that God cares about EVERY area of my life…and if I can just trust Him, I’ll find more joy and peace than if I had struggled through alone, on my terms.

LISA: Everything’s Coming Up Josey is your first Chick Lit. Share how writing this book was different from writing your romantic suspense?

SUSIE: Chick lit is more authentic, I think – especially the first person voice. The character can say what is really on her mind, without having to couch it in internal thought, or author intrusion. Also, I like Chick because it deals with the nitty gritty of every day issues that can seem so huge to us at the time. Romantic Suspense is also more of an event oriented story, where Chick is a slice of life. There is so much humor to be found in everyday life if we’re willing to look at it with the right perspective. I enjoy exploring that.

LISA: You’re quite a prolific writer. Can you share with us some of your other series/books available?

SUSIE: Some would say I don’t have a ‘niche’ because I’ve written everything from historical romance to historical suspense, to mystery, contemporary romantic suspense and now Chick. But I sorta want my niche to be “A Great Read by SMW” – the idea that regardless of the genre, you’ll get a story packed with adventure, humor, suspense and characters who touch your lives. With that preamble out of the way, here are my series…(and thanks for asking!)

The Deep Haven series – suspense and romance on Minnesota’s north shore (Book 1 – Happily Ever After was a 2003 Christy Award finalist, and ACFW Book of the Year. *g*) Happily Ever After, Tying the Knot, The Perfect Match.

The Heirs of Anton –.A suspense romance series set in Russia about four generations of women who solve a mystery and discover God’s promises along the way. Ekaterina, Nadia, Marina, Oksana

Team Hope – A team of Search and Rescuers who put their lives…and hearts…on the line for others. Waiting for Dawn (free online read) Flee the Night, Escape to Morning, Expect the Sunrise

Mission: Russia – A group of friends – Russians and Americans -- fighting for freedom. The first book – In Sheep’s Clothing is a 2006 Christy Award finalist! Book 2 – Sands of Time, out in September 2006.

Everything’s Coming up Josey – what happens when a girl from Minnesota follows her dreams to Russia...?

LISA: Wow, what a fantastic list! And contrats on the being a Christy Award finalist. That’s no small thing. I’ve read many of your books, have a few in my to read pile, and need to grab a copy of the rest.

Now, what is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

SUSIE: That it IS a journey, and if I look at the competition out there, the journey becomes overwhelming, and just about selling books. But if I keep my eyes on God, and listen to His voice, the journey is about discovering who he is in my life and how He longs to delight me with every story, every word. Every season.

LISA: How do you balance family and writing?

SUSIE: Ah, balance. *g* Well, for one, I try and pare down the non-essentials from the essentials. I have two kids I homeschool, so I try and focus on them first. Then, I go to my office and spend about 6 hours working. My kids have learned to respect my time, because I respect theirs. That’s an important lesson, I think. When my other two come home from school, I take time out to debrief their day, maybe give them a snack. We also have dinner together as a family. And, I try not to be a tyrant about things like clean rooms and balanced meals. Sometimes pizza and messy rooms are okay. *g*

LISA: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

SUSIE: I am really excited about a new series I’ll have out (hopefully) in 2008 with Tyndale – a merging of my suspense/romance and chick voice – I call it Super Chick. I think the correct genre is Chick Thrill. It’s about a woman named PJ Sugar who finds her niche as a PI assistant…going undercover to solve crimes. It’s also about the universal search to discover who we are in Christ…and the many different identities a woman wears. I think it’s a perfect combination of my chick voice, and SR stories.

LISA: Because I know where are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published?

SUSIE: Research the publisher you’d like to be published with. Discover what kind of books they publish, and then ask yourself what niche/twist you have to offer. An original story that still fits with their publishing style will catch the eye of a publisher. And work on craft…because in the end, usually the good story is the story that sells.

LISA: Great advise. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

SUSIE: Thank you, back!! *g*

For more information on all of Susie’s books, check out her website and blog!

Susan May Warren
author of...soul-stirring fiction
Read my blog!
Susan May Warren's blogs at

Friday, June 16, 2006

Goodbye to Sharon Dittrick

Yesterday, most of Scott's family gathered in Grand Junction for the memorial service of Sharon Dittrick, his aunt and Janelle's sister. I've always felt so blessed to have married into such a large close family, and Sharon and her children were especially close to Scott. Rod was once Scott's college roommate, and we always stop through Little Rock to see Sherilee, Randy and the kids whenever we can.

We were blessed to be able to stay with Sharon when we were in the states last year and spend some time with her before she died. As her family gathers this week to remember special times together, my prayers and thoughts are with you all.

Goodbye Sharon. We miss you!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Remembering what's really important

We finished the kids’ homework this afternoon when they decided to go bike riding. The sun was shining and there was time before dinner, so I send them outside to have fun.

But no. They wanted Mom to come riding with them.

I groaned inside. I was tired, had dinner to prepare, and a Bible study to teach in a couple of hours, not to mention that dreaded deadline that I was, as always, behind on.

I smiled and told them I was feeling too old and too tired to ride today.

Jayden countered that I was only twenty-four and thus had to have plenty of energy.

I smiled at the compliment. Don’t I wish I was only twenty-four.

Then I remembered that days like this don’t come everyday. Days when my boys just want to be with me, play with me, and laugh with me. Tomorrow they’ll be hanging out with friends or off to school. But today they want me. So I put on my helmet and took off down the road behind them with a smile in my heart.

Take a moment today to remember what’s really important. Family, friends, God’s love, life. . .and have a great day!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Once again I find myself in the middle of a heavy book deadline. Of course, I've really put this on myself. My deadline isn't until August 1st, but I'd like to finish the manuscript by July 1st. July is a busy month of ministry for me personally as I am coordinating the upcoming medical clinic we are running in Zambia. There will be a number of things to do ahead of time and I want to be able to focus on the work once we are there.

I'll be sharing more about the clinic in the next week or so, but instead of coming up with something profound for the day, I thought I'd share a couple of great pictures, then get back to my word count.



Saturday, June 10, 2006


Gabriel had a soccer match in Polokwane, about an hour from here. Besides the fact that we had to leave at six this morning, (on a Saturday!) we had a great time. He played well and always enjoys getting out on the field and giving it his all. Since McDonalds is a huge treat for us (we don’t have one nearby), I spoiled the kids with happy meals on the way home. Then they all fell asleep and I cranked up the praise music and enjoyed the drive home through the mountains, past tea and banana plantations, and through the pine forests.

Our team is a bit spread out at the moment. Scott and Janelle are in the states for Janelle’s sister’s memorial service. Their family is very close, so I am thankful Scott is blessed to go as most of his family will be there. He has also spent some time dealing with the house we still own in Dallas. (We tried to sell it unsuccessfully before we left for Africa) The renters that have been living there are moving out and we are putting it on the market. We really need it to sell right away and the market is not great right now. PLEASE pray that it will sell quickly.

Allen has gone to Zimbabwe for the weekend for training, so please pray for him as well as he is traveling and teaching. Lastly, our medical clinic and evangelistic campaign is just around the corner in Zambia, and we need a prayer covering for all the preliminary details to fall into place and that many will be blessed both physically and spiritually through this.



Thursday, June 08, 2006

HEART TO HEART: An interview with writer Sharon Hinck

I’ve just started reading Sharon’s debut book, The Secret Life of Becky Miller, and this is a book you need to read. Not only it is hilarious, the spiritual message is powerful.
I recently chatted with Sharon about her book, beginning with her initial reaction when she found out that she’d sold her first book.

SHARON: My whole body went numb and tingly. I think I whooped, but then had a calm discussion with my agent about the contract. After I hung up, I was CONVINCED I’d imagined the entire phone call, and had to check my caller idea to confirm that my agent HAD actually called me.

LISA: Tell us some of the background behind the idea for your story.

SHARON: I’ve noticed in my own life and that of my friends, that we feel immense pressure to be great moms and wives and succeed in a career and/or volunteer in leadership positions at church, school, and community. Yet we never feel like we measure up. You’d think Christians would have more sense of God’s GRACE, but we seem even more driven, because we layer on the expectation to be a “super Christian” as well. I wanted to tell the story of a woman with these struggles who finds out that her life DOES make a difference (and she doesn’t have to be Mother Theresa for that to be true).

LISA: Wow, I can really relate to what you are saying. I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Do you relate to your heroine, Becky Miller, and if so, what kind of impact did she make on your life?

SHARON: Yes. She wrapped up all the crazy expectations into one neurotic bundle and showed me a lot about myself and my drive to do Something Big for God. She also reflects the truth God has been showing me about how His grace is made perfect in my weakness...not in my talents, strengths, accomplishments. In my WEAKNESS. Ugh. I hate weakness. I prefer the heroic, the strong. Letting Becky face failure, rejection, financial struggle, and unanswerable questions regarding some physical/health issues that arise was a little hard for me, because those are all things I continue to confront. Of course the good news is, she’s more of a hero than she realizes—in the small, loving decisions she makes in her “ordinary” life.

Because of Becky Miller’s story, my small group Bible study gals now don’t let me get away with it when I start harping about how I’m not measuring up to all I wish I was accomplishing. They tell me to read this novel called “The Secret Life of Becky Miller.” Gotta love those friends. GRRRR!

LISA: Becky Miller struggles to be the super mom so many of us feel we have to be. What advice to you have to us as women as we strive to juggle life without feeling as if we’ve joined the circus?

SHARON: The biggest trap I fall into is putting God’s responsibilities onto my shoulders. HE has provided salvation for the world. That’s not MY job. Yet often I act as if the entire world will fall apart if I don’t do more, more, more. And I forget that God can work in my husband’s life and my children’s lives, and meet the needs of my friends through many different means. It’s NOT all on me. I’m learning to show up each morning and let God know I’m available for where He wants to use me. I ask Him to guide my steps as the day goes along and alert me to when to step forward, and when to stop to breathe. (I used to show up each morning with my lengthy “To Do” list and tell Him to bless my plans).

LISA: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?

SHARON: I need to write for an audience of One. When I began writing novels, I worried about the time I was spending on something that might not ever see tangible “success.” But as God reassured me that He valued our time together over a keyboard, I decided to accept that IF my writing was proven to be a waste of time, my time was His to waste, and I would be at peace with that.

LISA: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?

SHARON: I have three more books coming out with Bethany House in the next few years. (A sequel to Becky Miller and two stand-alone novels). I’d like to improve as a writer. My dream is to be at peace with God’s will for my writing life and to neither dig in my heels in fear, nor rush ahead of His plans.

LISA: Because I know where are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published?

SHARON: Many author’s sites have great general tips, but I’ll share one specific one that I find many aspiring writers could benefit from. After writing your first novel and honing it as best you can, and getting critique from a writer’s group or skilled friends, while you are submitting it, BEGIN THE NEXT NOVEL. Most of the writer’s I know received their first contract on their fourth, fifth, or tenth novel. I know that sounds depressing, but many then were able to go back and get contracts on earlier manuscripts after getting their feet in the door. Meanwhile, you continue to learn so much through each story you complete. Write for the sheer joy of telling the story. Edit for the joy of learning to hone your craft. Submit the finished product out of a generous heart willing to share it, and start the process again. Don’t keep tinkering with one novel for years and years and years. Or if you must, at least write a second one on the side. :-)

So much of getting published is matching the right idea to the right house with the right hole in their list, with the right timing and the right editor who clicks with you. It’s hard to help that happen if you only bring one manuscript to the table.

LISA: I love your tag line--stories for the hero inside of all of us. Who’s your hero?

SHARON: Without a doubt, my husband, Ted. He has shown me depths of Christ-like love that amaze me. His willingness to read my work, encourage me, spend extra time with the kids when I need to write, all enabled me to pursue this dream. I have the typical artist personality—up, down, and inside out. His unwavering strength helps to ground me, and his mature faith in Christ reminds me where to keep my focus.

LISA: Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Sharon! And many blessings as you write for Him!

SHARON: Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog!

If you have any questions you’d like to ask Sharon, please leave a comment for her, and she will get back to you. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Secret Life of Becky Miller for yourself!



Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Suspense, Mysteries, Cozies...everywhere you look in the bookstores, they are taking up more and more shelf space. The reason is simple. People love them. People want them.

I’ve recently started writing for Barbour Publishing’s new mystery line, Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, where the first book in my Cozy Crumb Mystery series, Recipe for Murder, will be released in February of 2007. I’ve also joined up with the Keep Me In Suspense team to promote inspirational suspense and mysteries. For both readers and writers, this is your door to the inner workings of writing inspirational suspense and mysteries. We’ll talk about police procedures, clues, red herrings, and so much more. Like how to keep a reader on the edge of his seat. Or how to make your story a "page turner."

We'll also discuss the newest inspirational mysteries and suspense books coming out, who's writing them, and who’s publishing them. Whatever your question is, we’ll be here to tackle it.

Check out these upcoming guest bloggers!

James Scott Bell - bestselling author of legal thrillers.

Colleen Coble - bestselling author of romantic suspense

Kathy Mackel - bestselling author of "chillers"

John Robinson - critically acclaimed author of "film noir" detective thrillers

Gayle Roper - bestselling author of mysteries

Stop by today and sign up for blog postings to come automatically to your email box and be entered in June’s book giveaway contest.

Also, tomorrow I'll be posting my interview with Sharon Hinck and her fun debut novel with Bethany House, The Secret Life of Becky Miller. Be sure and stop by!


Lisa Harris

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I’m coordinating an upcoming medical clinic that will be held in Mongu, a town in the Western Province of Zambia. We have one doctor arriving from the states with several other Americans as well as a large number of Zambians who will help with this effort. The three day clinic we are holding in the beginning of July will run along side the showing of the Jesus film in the Lozi language and will have a strong evangelistic focus as we strive to meet both the people’s physical and spiritual needs.

Today, one of our church leaders in Zambia is meeting with the Deputy Secretary to insure that we are approved to hold the clinic. We are also awaiting the arrival of medicines that will be used during the clinic. Receiving these goods, of course, is essential to the running of the clinic.

As the time continues to get closer, please pray that the government will approve the clinic and that we will receive the medicines in time. Pray also that we might be a light to the people of southern Africa.

“He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19



Monday, June 05, 2006


This is my sweet daughter, darling princess. . .and language tutor. It’s amazing how quickly kids can pick up a language and how humbling it is when your children have to correct your pronunciation. When we lived in Joburg, English was everywhere, so I never considered learning Afrikaans. Now that we’ve moved to a more rural area of South Africa we are finding Afrikaans spoken everywhere.

Today, I sat outside with Mariah, laughing together as she tried to teaching me some of the basics. She speaks without an accent. I can barely pronounce the words, especially considering that every other word comes straight from your throat. She laughed with me and tried to get me to gutteralize the words. (okay, that’s probably not a word, but hopefully you get the point.)

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:3-5

May we all have the courage to become like children. Ever learning. Ever seeking. Ever laughing at the days to come.



Friday, June 02, 2006

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Matthew 4:18-25

(Photos taken along the coast of Mozambique)

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Okay, I don’t know about you, but I have a definite personal space marked around me with a big black permanent marker. Stay on your side of the line and I’m happy. Cross that line and well. . .You probably don’t even think about until someone walks up to you a few inches too close and makes you take that big step backward. Know what I mean?

Depending on who you are, your back ground, and culture, your personal space isn’t necessarily the same as mine. That’s when the problem comes in. If I need a foot and you need two, I’m liable to back you right up against a wall.

Take for instance yesterday at the store. I’m next in line and there’s one woman behind me. The store’s not crowded, but when I turn around there she is, standing less than an inch from me. I notice the long EMPTY space behind her. There’s no one there. No reason for her not to give me my much needed personal space.

And she didn’t even notice that she’d come WAY too close for my comfort.

I find this part of culture very interesting. Another good example is alone time. Not only do I need my space, I crave time alone. It’s something I don’t get too often living with three kids and being involved in ministry. While I love to be around people, I also find peace and renewal in a quiet room where all I can here is my own breathing.

The African culture is completely opposite. Scott once mentioned to an African friend how he’d love to spend a few days at a monastery in total quiet, just seeking God. To Scott, that was peace. To the African, the thought of being alone was literally frightening. He couldn’t imagine not being around people constantly. Noise and people made him feel safe.

It’s made me think how God has made each of us unique and has a plan for us.

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27