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Friday, December 21, 2012

House update

I keep forgetting to post recent photos of our house building project as several of you have asked, so here you go. Progress is extremely slow, so I'm not counting on moving any time soon. :-) 



Living area


Living/dining room

Hallway

Kitchen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas & my giveaway winners

A big thank you to all of you who stopped by and commented here on my blog and on FB for my Heart of Africa Christmas giveaway. My two winners are. . .Deborah V. and Melanie! I'll be in contact with you soon.

And to all of my friends, readers, ministry partners, wishing you a very Merry Christmas and God's blessings on you in the new year.

Lisa



Saturday, December 15, 2012

A house for Joachimn

Here are a couple photos of a new house built for a blind man, Joachimn in Sumbarane. Thank you so much to those who have joined with The ECHO Project to make a difference in people's lives. Joachimn now has a place to live! Thank you Bento, as well, for leading this building project. We are planning to build several more houses for homeless elderly.   





Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is doing the impossible, possible?


I wanted to weep this morning when I finally met him for the first time, we will call him Mike. He smiled up at me with those big brown eyes, a little shy and timid. His parents have died. He doesn’t know how old he is, we guess about 8. His stomach is still swollen from being sick.

The sores he had on his body a few weeks ago are healing from gifts of soap and food, but as I looked at him, I wondered about his heart. Does he feel loved? Does he feel scared at night? Does he feel alone?

Yesterday, the hospital diagnosed him HIV+. I’m not sure he understands what that means, but for one so young, who has been through so much, the road ahead is going to be hard.

And he isn’t the only one. The hospital asked us to help them follow up on those they are trying to work with in the villages, actually pages worth of names. There are many more who are dying. So many who feel lost and alone. They need to know that they are loved. That they aren’t alone. That there is One who created them and loves them.

But it still seems completely overwhelming to me. My mind spins as I try to figure out where to start? Can I really do anything to help?

My youngest and I are reading J. Hudson Taylor’s autobiography. Taylor was one of the first missionaries in to China many, many years ago. As we read together, I find that his story is convicting me over and over. His faith. His prayer life. His passion. His love and faith amazes and humbles me.

All God's giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.” J. Hudson Taylor

It’s not a new idea, but for me it is still profound. I’ve thought about it many times when what I see around me seems impossible. It makes me encouraged to realize that I don’t always have to be strong. I don’t have to have all the answers. All I have to do is listen and follow His call.

Even when it seems impossible.

There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” J. Hudson Taylor

What I see here might seem challenging, but isn’t unique to this part of the world. You don’t have to look far to see people who are hurting. It’s come to the point to where I don’t want to check out the news anymore. There is so much hate, anger, hopelessness, and evil in our world.   

Maybe you are the one who is hurting. Maybe you feel unloved, scared at night, and alone with no answers. We might live in a fallen world, but there is hope.

Which means we as a church must move out of our comfort zone and make a difference. Give even when it hurts. Love the unloveable. Give hope to the hopeless. Share Christ’s message of life.

I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize that He is able to carry out His will for me. It does not matter where He places me, or how. That is for Him to consider, not me, for in the easiest positions He will give me grace, and in the most difficult ones His grace is sufficient.” J. Hudson Taylor

Paul said it this way in II Corinthians 4:17. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Be a blessing today,

Lisa Harris

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Heart of Africa Giveaway

It's hard to believe that 2012 is coming to an end. As I look back, it's definitely been a year of ups and downs, but I've seen God's hand over and over, and I am so grateful for His strength and peace.

Each year, I love giving away something from the Heart of Africa. This year, I have two, 2013 calenders from our ECHO Project fall fundraiser. All of these animal photos were taken by Scott and I, so they are extra special to me.

How to enter?

I'd love to hear what you are doing this holiday season. So please leave a comment (Facebook or blog) along with your email, and I will draw two winners from all the comments. Giveaway will close Sunday night, December 16th at midnight, PST.

I'm also doing a giveaway on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog today, so be sure and hop over there for a chance to win an ebook copy of Undercover Cowboy.

Thanks for the blessing and encouragement so many of you have been in my life!

Merry Christmas,

Lisa


PS Sorry, but the calendar giveaway is limited to US mailing addresses only.


Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lion family and safari favorites

It's hard to believe that this year is about to come to an end. We are busy, enjoying having our oldest home from boarding school, finishing up a couple more weeks of school, writing to meet my current deadlines, and ministry. Here are some photos from our recent family time away I'd like to share with you. I'm always so amazed by God's incredible beauty.

While driving to the border to take care of some legal paper work for the car, we decided to drive through Kruger. There we saw three female lion with five cubs literally lying in the road. Here are a few of the highlights from our sightings, also including a leopard cub.

I'll be posting a giveaway of two animal calenders later this week, so be sure and watch for my post and leave a comment!

Be blessed today!

Lisa





Lioness in the tree

Baboon eating??


Comb Duck

Leopard cub in a rock cleft

Malachite kingfisher

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Amazing sighting!

We're spending some time together as a family. Very limited internet, but I wanted to share one of the highlights of our time. Will share more later, but what an amazing experience.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving



We will be celebrating our Thanksgiving a few days late as our eldest returns home on Friday. I'm  so excited about some time together as a family over the next few weeks while he is home on break.

Praying that each of you have a very special Thanksgiving as well.

Be blessed,  Lisa







Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The least of these



We recently received a call from a friend of ours who needed help with a situation. A young boy had been stopping by the lodge where she works, asking for food and money every few days. He was always dirty, his stomach extended, and sores covered his body. She and the other workers would give him something to eat, or a few metical (our currency), but she wanted to know what to do to help him more.

Scott took some of the disciples to visit him this week to find out more about his situation, and see what we could do to help.



He's an orphan who used to live with his grandmother, but now lives with his elderly aunt and uncle.

He doesn't know how old he is.

He doesn't go to school.

His body is covered with sores, his clothes worn and tattered.

He's malnourished.

His hands and feet are infested with tiny worms that live in the sand until they find away to burrow their ways into your hands and feet.

The situation is serious. So serious, in fact, that he has to go to the hospital this week to be treated.

In dealing with this young boy, I was reminded of the passage in Matthew 25. "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. . .for whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

As we move into Thanksgiving week, we all have so much to be thankful for. But there are people like this young boy living around us. And it doesn't matter where we live. They are lonely from divorce or the lost of a spouse. They are discouraged--worn and tattered--after losing a job, They are scared because they don't know what the future holds.

The world around us might seem unstable, but "God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT)

Be a blessing to someone today,

Lisa

Visit TheECHOProject.org to find out how you can make a difference here in Africa.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A huge thank you to The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch and Kosmos Coffee for choosing The ECHO Project as their 'Cause of the Month!' We really appreciate it!

To learn more about The ECHO Project and how you can get involved as a family, small group, or Sunday School Class, drop me an email or visit our website!

Lisa





Friday, November 16, 2012

Home again

Visiting a park in Lyon.
They say there is no place like home and that is true in so many ways. We arrived home almost a week ago, excited to be back with two of our kids (Gabe returns next week!), and immediately hit the ground running. So while it's great to be back, I'm still trying to catch my breath. :-) Our time in the States was a blessing. We were able to meet with some of the churches that help support us as well as individuals and friends. We were overwhelmed by the amount of love and support shown, especially to Jaco and Inge who decided to go ahead and make the planned trip with us to meet the African Outreach Ministries board, along with their two boys. 

Most of our time was spent running from one commitment to the next, but we still greatly enjoyed dinner with friends and supporters, meeting with our wonderful board members for a weekend retreat, and sharing with several groups of people interested in what is happening in Mozambique. 

I was able to see my mother and Scott his parents and one of his sisters, so that was an added blessing as well. I've posted a few photos from the trip I hope you enjoy. In the meantime, we're back to school, teaching, writing deadlines and house building! 

Be blessed!

Lisa



Hanging out with some of our college-aged friends from Sugar Land who've all been to Mozambique.
This group also put on a garage sale to raise money for Jaco and Inge. What a blessing they have been to us!

Ernan and Lander enjoying the aquarium restaurant in downtown Houston
My mother and I outside the same restaurant



Stunning Dalias in a Park in Lyon
(We stopped in Lyon for a couple of days on our way to the States to visit some missionary friends)

Scott sharing with our wonderful board members.

Visit with Scott's parents. We also were able to meet with a
supporting church while we were there and vote.

There are really no fall colors here in Mozambique, so I love seeing the lit up, fall colors.


Loved being able to see the Rocky Mountains as well (this is Mt. Garfield) as like with the fall colors, it's pretty flat here in Moz.

During a break at our board meeting, Scott took the time to try out the zip line. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Traveling

Scott and I will be traveling the next couple of weeks in the States for some ministry related meetings. We were blessed for the opportunity to stop for a couple of days in France on our way. I've just posted a bunch of photos on my Facebook page if you'd like to take a peek.

Jaco and Inge and their boys are going with us to the US as well to meet with the AOM board, so we ask for your prayers as we all travel.

Be blessed,  Lisa

Monday, October 08, 2012

Is God really in control?


The last couple of weeks have been tough. For those of you who haven't heard, two weeks ago our teammates' three-year-old son was life-flighted to South Africa after an accident that resulted in a serious head injury. After a week in ICU, he passed away last Wednesday morning. Today was the memorial service in South Africa. In many ways, it’s still hard to believe sweet little Reiner is gone. And sometimes it’s hard to understand why God didn't save him. 


It’s reminded me of a time in my own life when I asked so many of the same questions. Many years ago, after struggling with infertility, I got pregnant, but had a miscarriage and lost our baby. While I can't even begin to compare that loss with Reiner's death, I remember clearly the depression and panic attacks that followed. God seemed so far away. I remember crying out to Him. I remember being angry and frustrated, wondering why He’d allowed this to happen. Doesn’t the Bible say "ask and it will be given to you?" (Matthew 7:6)

I knew of God’s promise of rest to the weary and peace for the soul in need, but God instead became a distant figure who had left me to deal with my own humanity and confusion.

A friend came to me one day and challenged me to dig deeply into the word of God to discover for myself who God is and to develop an intimate relationship with Him. I was forced to answer one challenging question: Did I believe God was in control of everything, including my own life? If He wasn’t, there would be no reason for me to continue to follow Him. If He was in control, then I needed to let go and trust Him completely with my life. 

Healing takes time, and the road wasn’t easy, but I learned that with His power we can overcome our grief and doubts and begin to live a life filled with His spirit. He has promised to be our strength when we are weak, to give us hope when we are hopeless, and to love us when we feel unlovable. It’s never relying on our own strength to get us through difficult times, but leaning on the mighty arm of God and being continuously filled with His Spirit. Isaiah 41:10 tells us not to fear, because “I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I Peter 4:12 tells us not to be surprised at the painful trials we are suffering. But through Christ and the workings of His Spirit, the void can be filled. James tells us that we are blessed when we persevere under trial, because if we love him, we will receive a crown of life. (James 1:12) With God as our strength and heaven as our goal, the journey is worth it.

Be blessed today,

Lisa

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Reiner Le Roux


After a week in the ICU, our teammates' son, Reiner passed away in South Africa. The outpouring of prayers for this family has been incredible. We ask for your continued prayers for Jaco and Inge, Ernan, Lander, and their extended family as they face this difficult loss in the weeks and months to come.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
.


Monday, October 01, 2012

Strength Renewed with Shirley Corder + a FREE book giveaway!



Today I would like to welcome Shirley Corder to my blog. Shirl and I have been friends for many years, after meeting first on line. She runs a South African Christian writers group where she has encouraged many writers in their publishing journey. I'm so excited for her, because today is the official launch day of her book Strength Renewed.  

Strength Renewed is a book of 90 meditations based on actual incidents that happened during Shirl's cancer journey, tied in with relevant scriptures. It is written in chronological order, but each story stands alone, so they may be read in any order. Each devotion includes three questions to help the reader relate the message to her own journey. Strength Renewed was written primarily for patients and their loved ones, but it will also be helpful for those walking alongside the patient as family, friends, or part of the medical team.

During Shirl's own battle with cancer, she spent much time in the botanical gardens near her home, watching a pair of Vereaux's eagles and wishing she could rise and soar over the cancer valley. Isaiah 40:31 says that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. This became a favorite verse for Shirl and is the foundation verse on which she based this book.

Read through my interview with Shirl, then find out how you could win a copy of this book. If you know of someone that this book might minister to, please pass on the links.
LISA: What challenges did you face as a breast cancer patient?

SHIRL: Sjoe! Where to start? Apart from the usual side-effects of treatment which are widely publicized, there were a number of unanticipated things that blind-sided me. I found myself feeling inferior to normal people who didn't have cancer. I felt insecure in company, and felt as if everyone looked down on me because of my diagnosis. I think a lot of that was caused by the number of people who felt they had to tell me why I had cancer. Although these were all things I could do nothing about, they implied it was something I had done or failed to do so it was really my own fault. But also, I had always been an efficient, active person and the fact that I was no longer efficient and often lacked the stamina to do things told me (even if no one else thought of this) that I was no longer capable.

LISA: What challenges did you face as a survivor?

SHIRL: Getting my strength back. I looked forward to the end of treatment, expecting to immediately feel better. I didn't. Only a month after I finished treatment, my oncologist explained to me that the chemo was still in my system, and it would continue to work in cycles for some time. I wish I'd been warned about this in advance.

Also getting over the sense of insecurity. I grappled with a sense of failure and found it extremely difficult to admit that something normal was too hard for me. On a number of occasions I dug in my heels like a two-year-old and said, I can do this myself and a short while later I had to crawl back in tears and say, I couldn't do it. Please will you finish it for me?

Praise the Lord for a super-patient husband, who would drop what he was doing and sort out what Iíd left unfinished. (Like the shopping cart sitting in the middle of the shop! Like the half-cooked shepherd's pie! Like the dog standing shivering with half her hair trimmed! Like . . . you get the picture!)

LISA: Today, you're a published author. When did you start writing?

SHIRL: From the age of 14, I started writing songs and skits for the church, and for a period I wrote quite a bit of poetry. But then a few years before I got cancer, I felt a strong nudge to do a correspondence course in creative writing. I never had any dreams of being published so I can only think this was one of the ways the Lord prepared me for what was to come. During cancer treatment, I did quite a bit of journaling, and a year after treatment I knew the Lord wanted me to start sharing my story through publication.

LISA: Can you share briefly your road to publication?

SHIRL: The first article I ever wrote for publication was a meditation for The Upper Room and included an anecdote from my cancer treatment. To my amazement and delight, TUR picked it up and published it. I had several published with them before moving onto other markets as well, such as The Secret Place and a number of others initially in the USA and UK, but subsequently in South Africa as well.

In 2004 I attended the Sandy Cove Christian Writers conference as a result of a scholarship awarded by the Christian Writers Group (CWG). Although I didn't sell a manuscript, I learned a tremendous amount about the writing process. I started my first website as well as an online group for Christian Writers of South Africa, now known as CWOSA.

About six years ago, I sensed a clear call from the Lord that I would one day write a book of devotional messages for people going through the cancer valley. For the next few years, I collected ideas and continued to hone my writing skills. Three years ago, I knew the time had come, and I started work on the book.

At that point, Cec Murphey contacted me and offered to sponsor me to a second writers' conference. I immediately knew this was for Rise and Soar, the working title of my devotional book. Sure enough, I met Vicki Crumpton of Revell/Baker there, which eventually led to the publication of Strength Renewed which launched this month.

LISA: How has having breast cancer impacted on your life over the years?

SHIRL: Before cancer I was an active registered nurse. After cancer I became a full-time writer. Apart from this complete career change, cancer also changed my attitude and my priorities in so many ways. I became a better listener, more patient and understanding with others, and I find it easier to drop everything and come alongside a person in need. There was the BC (before cancer) Shirley and the AC (after cancer) Shirley. And I definitely prefer the AC version!

LISA: What advice would you give to the public regarding breast health awareness?

SHIRL: Be aware that breast cancer is horribly common. (1 in 8 baby girls will grow up to get breast cancer and those are old statistics.) Yet people must also realize that many of these statistics will be survivors! The key is to catch the disease in its early stages. People must also be aware that men get breast cancer, and even more rarely, some adolescents. Although male breast cancer is not common, it has a higher rate of fatality as it is often discovered too late.

All adults should do regular self-examinations in the shower or bath, when their hands are soapy. Ladies should do them each month at the same point of their menstrual cycles. All women must have regular annual mammograms from the age of 50 or younger, depending on medical advice. Breast cancer is one of the cancers that may run in families, so those with a history of a parent or sibling diagnosed with breast cancer must be especially diligent in watching for any suspicious lumps or thickening in the breast.

LISA: Where can we find your book online?

SHIRL: The print version is available wherever good books are sold, including Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and ChristianBooks.com. The Kindle version is available at Amazon.com, and the Nook version is at Barnes and Noble.

LISA: Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with my readers, Shirl. Shirl has a lot of great information, encouragement, recipes, and more on her blog, so be sure and visit her here.

NOW LET'S HEAR FROM YOU!

Please share with us a favorite Scripture that encourages you when times are hard. Leave your answer and email address under comments below and you will be entered into a draw for a free book.

Be blessed,

Lisa

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Money to help the Le Roux Family


Reiner Le Roux

I have had a number of people ask me how to contribute to the Le Roux Family in regards to their youngest son Reiner’s recent accident. They have insurance that covers his medical care, but not the life flight or the specialist like the neurosurgeon. There are also personal expenses, as they have to stay in a guest flat across the street from the hospital. The banking information given on Reiner's Face Book page will only work for South Africans.

If you live outside South Africa and would like to send money to help them cover their costs you can either send a check to AOM or pay via Pay Pal.









For checks, mark ‘Le Roux Mission’ and send to:

African Outreach Ministries
PO Box 999
Fresno, Texas 77545

Or make a donation online here on the AOM Pay Pal account. If you chooses to send money this way PLEASE also send an email to Scott (click on his name) telling him you have donated so he can earmark the funds and ensure that those funds will go directly to help the family. 

UPDATE ON REINER: Over the past few days there have been a lot of ups and downs in Reiner’s condition. Currently, the situation is still extremely critical. He had surgery to relieve the pressure on the brain Thursday night, but the pressure and oxygen to the brain continue to be an issue. For now, they are trying to keep him stable and are waiting for his body to start taking over again. Please continue praying for this family during this very difficult time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prayer for Teammate's Son

On Monday night, our teammate's son, Reiner, fell and hit his head. Because of the lack of medical care were we live, and the fact that we couldn't get a medi-flight to land here at night, his parents ended up driving him to the capital with him. We praise God that Mandy, who is a nurse and is working with our team, was able to be with him on the trip and take care of him. Scott followed behind with their other children. 
Arrangements were made for a medi-flight to meet Reiner and his mother at the Maputo airport where he was life-flighted to South Africa. As of today (Wednesday) he is sedated, but the doctors have finally been able to stablize him and are pleased with his condition. Please pray for Reiner, his family, and our team during this difficult time.

Lisa

Monday, September 24, 2012

All church get together

A couple of the sweet kids from Magola.
I thought you might enjoy some highlights of our recent all church get together in Magola. It turned out to be such a blessing despite the cold and rainy weather that thankfully held off for most of our service.  Afterward lunch, prepared by the women, we dedicated the water well to the community. It's so exciting to see the church have an impact on the community for good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Water Well Dedication


Last Sunday, we enjoyed all of our churches getting together for worship in Magola. Despite the cold and rainy weather, we had well over a hundred people come. I'll post a short video of this in a few days, but in the meantime, we also gave the well recently dug to the community and had a short dedication ceremony. I was touched again at how having water nearby will change these people's lives.



Be blessed,

Lisa

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Water in Magola!

Imagine having to walk a mile and a half to get your water because you didn't have a well in your village. Everything you need water for, cooking, cleaning, and bathing, has to be carried on your head.

We are so excited that the village of Magola now has water! A big thanks to the Fellowship at Cinco Ranch who funded this project. Watch the video below for some highlights.


Magola well 2 from Lisa Harris on Vimeo.

Here is a photo of the twins we have been providing with formula. They are crawling now and into everything!


The structure for the church is almost done in Magola as well. We will have big worship service next Sunday with all of our churches coming to Magola. In the afternoon, we will dedicate the well and officially give it to the village.




HOMES FOR THE HOMELESS: We are getting ready to build some more house for the elderly who either don't have a house or whose houses are falling down. You can find more about how you can help here.

Have a blessed week!

Lisa

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Homes for the Homeless

Late last year, through The ECHO Project, we put out a request for help for some of the elderly who were in need of a place to live. The response we received was overwhelming, and we were able to build four small houses. Mel and Mandy have recently come to work with us, and one of their heart's desires is to help the poorest of the poor.

Once again, we would like to partner with them to provide homes for several elderly who are in desperate need for a place to live. Two are living under trees and a third one is living in a hut that is falling down. One house costs approximately $200 to build, and through The ECHO Project we would like to fund three new houses.

If you are able to contribute toward the building of a house or sponsor one (or more) entirely, donations can be sent via check or through Pay Pal here. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

To learn more about what God is doing through the ECHO Project, please visit our website. All money raised for The ECHO Project goes directly to help those in need.

HOMES FOR THE HOMELESS VIDEO

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Safari Highlights

Between dropping off our eldest in South Africa to return to school, car maintenance, and other errands, we stopped off by Kruger on the way home for two days of rest after our very busy 'winter' and had some of the most amazing sightings we've ever had. Here are some of the highlights.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Africa in Photos

Here are a few recent photo I thought you all might enjoy. Thanks for stopping by!

Gabe asked me why I needed more family photos, but when our family is only together three times a year, a family photo means a lot to this mama!

Outside in our garden

Progress on our house! This is actually the garage that they are working on right now.

They are getting ready to lay the floor and start building the walls.


Lots and lots of bricks.

We spent our last day off at the beach with the kids.

 Love this view of the Indian Ocean! 


Mel and Mandy, from England, are working with us and have started a new women's class and prayer time out in one of the villages.



We are very blessed for them to be here with us.

Here I am at the end of my deadline. . .just kidding. Not me, but I am excited to be almost done with my next romantic suspense that's due September 1st. Next I'll be jumping into book two of my Revell series, the first of which comes out next year.

Be blessed,

Lisa