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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Suspense on the Run: Interview with Kathi Macias & Giveaway

This month, I was able to chat all the way to California via Skype with award-winning author Kathi Macias about her latest release, Special Delivery. This is the second book in her Freedom Series that deals with human trafficking.

Posted below is part one of my interview with Kathi. Part two will be up March 20th on our International Christian Fiction Writers Blog. You can learn more about Kathi, her books, and how to help put an end to human trafficking on her website.



GIVEAWAY:

Kathi is generously offering a giveaway of Special Delivery on both blogs. So for this first interview, please leave a comment along with any questions you might have for Kathi. And don't forget to include your email address! I will draw a winner next Monday night a midnight PST.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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, February 25, 2012

A Week in Photos

It's been another busy week focused primarily on moving our new teammates over from South Africa. We had a few set backs along the way and still haven't been able to move over the last of their things due to custom issues, but nothing here ever moves quickly! Here are a few photos for the week for those of you who follow our ministry.  

Scott teaching using drama at one of our churches in town.

A new family photo of David Cuna and his family. His niece lives with them now.

A number of South African friends helped drive trailers for the Le Roux family.

One very flat, very shredded tire caused a bit of a delay.

In addition to our weekly Ladies Bible study, we are now doing an
English/Portuguese language exchange in order to reach out to women in the community.

Even the kids are involved in the learning and teaching.

Jayden and Ernan teaching English and working on their Portuguese

Friday, February 24, 2012

Finding Balance

I love the heroine in the book I'm finishing up right now. She's strong, yet vulnerable. She wants to save the world, yet realizes all too well her own limitations (while hating the fact that she can't do it all!). In some ways, she's completely opposite from me. She has has a job, for one, that I could never handle. But we do have a few things in common. Mainly the fact that she feels pulled in so many directions. And because of this, she struggles to let the hero into her life.

We all know the feeling. There is only so much time in a day. Demands are heavy between family, friends, career, and--oh yeah--the ever persistent call of the laundry and 'What's for dinner, mom?' We feel guilty if we say say no, stressed if we say yes, but we don't want to let people down. We want to be the friend who's always on call. The mom who serves dinner straight off the Food Network channel. The social butterfly on Facebook. The wife who looks as if she stepped out of a beauty salon the moment she wakes up.

Right.

I struggle with this pretty much every day. I have expectations placed on me as a mom, a wife, friend, writer, missionary, and sometimes I simply fall short. Okay, a lot of the time I fall short. Because quite frankly, I can't do it all. It took me, though, a long time to realize this. My wonderful husband reminded me one day that not only was I not Superwoman, but I didn't have to be Superwoman. Wow. What a relief! I can actually leave saving the entire world to someone else.

Seriously, though, it's something I still have to remind myself over and over. I can only do so much, and God knows that. He has called me to make a difference in the world around me, and to do the best that I can as a mother, wife, and friend, but He also expects me to be reasonable in my expectations. To say no, when I need to. To spend time being quiet in front of Him. To recharge myself spiritually. To take care of myself physically. It's a tough balance, but one we need to look at honestly.

David said in Psalm 27:11 "Teach me your way, Oh Lord; lead me in a straight path..."

When I think of a straight path, I think of focus and direction. God doesn't expect us to run around simply pleasing everyone, because in the end we only wear ourselves out. Remember Jesus' words to Martha in Luke 10:38-41..."Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one things is needed." Jesus understood the pull of everything thing that we need to do, but he reminded her that sometimes we have to focus on the important and not just the urgent.

Here are some suggestions that help me on a day-to-day basis to find that balance.

1. Take time everyday to renew yourself spiritually. This will help focus your day on Him and bring a calmness to your spirit.

2. Take time to eat right and exercise. You'll be amazed at how much more energy you have for others when you are taking care of yourself.

3. Simplify your life. There are sites on line like the FlyLady (I haven't used this site personally) who can help you declutter and organize your life.

4. It's better to do a few things well instead of spreading yourself too thin and trying to do everything. You don't have to do it all. (This means saying no sometimes!)

5. Get involved in a ministry you feel passionate about. I've noticed over and over in my own life that when I'm doing things for others who are in need, I forget my own problems and worries and it energizes me.

There are many more things that can be done to help find balance in your life. What have you found that helps you in your own day to day struggle to find balance?

Be blessed,

Lisa

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Don't Panic!

It's been one of those weeks. You know what I mean. Everything seems to go wrong and while you know you shouldn't panic, sometimes it's hard not to. It's been everything from little things like my laptop power cord shorting out, to more serious things like Scott's truck breaking down in the capital. 

Thankfully, in the case of the truck, it was only a hole in the radiator, so he was able to get it fixed, but of course the problems didn't stop there. One of the reasons he was in Maputo was to finalize the customs issues of bringing over our new teammates and their things. He's been working with a clearing agent for several weeks now and everything was supposed to be arranged for them to cross the boarder on Saturday. Trucks and trailers with their drivers were lined up, paperwork finished. . . 

Then Scott was told this morning that customs is closed over the weekends, and we wouldn't be able to go through on Saturday. 

What?

Don't panic. Right.

So with two days left until the big move, everyone had to start scrambling to figure out plan B. Some of the drivers had to work during the week and couldn't make the trip if it wasn't over the weekend. Which meant we were now short on drivers.   

It's taken a lot of scrambling, and by now I think we're on plan D or F, but we do have a new plan and we're not panicking. (For the most part)

The situation made me think, though, about when Peter tried to walk on the water to Jesus. It didn't take long for him to notice the waves and the storm around him started closing in, and he panicked. I guess I'm no different, and to be honest, I'm sure I'd have been just like Peter and panicked. 

When the storms hit around us, it's easy to want to run. Panic sets in. We fumble. It's scary.

Today I also remembered another verse in Psalm 46. 

"Be still and know that I am God."

Be still. Don't panic. Yes, things are tough, but He's still God. 

It is hard. Life can be overwhelming and crazy, but listen to His voice today. Take a moment to feel his presence and know that HE is God.

Be blessed,

Lisa

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The need for hope

Last week Scott took a team of disciples to build three houses for those in need. Here is their story.





    “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor 
    and helpless, and see that they get justice.”  Proverbs 31:8

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Defining moments...

Yesterday was one of those defining moments for me. One of those moments that reminded me again why I'm in Mozambique. We delivered school supply packets to about seventy-five needy children. What made it even more moving to me, was that all the supplies had been paid for by another group of kids from the Fellowship @ Cinco Ranch in Texas who spent last summer collecting change for The ECHO Project. Here is the video of our visit to the schools.


We need you! This year, we're looking for churches' children & youth programs to get involved with our Change for Children. It's simple. We provide a DVD with 10 fun segments on life in Africa to show your kids. The kids then collect change over a set period of time and donate that money to The ECHO Project. All money raised will go directly to make a difference in the life of children here in Mozambique.

Contact us here to get a copy of your DVD and start making a difference!

Be blessed!

Lisa

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Suspense on the Run Winner...

Thanks to all of you who left comments on Keven Newsome's interview. Using Random.org, the winner of the thriller, Winter, is Patricia PacJac Carroll!

In the coming weeks, watch here for interviews and book giveaways with authors Kathi Macias, Sandra Orchard, DiAnn Mills, Lynette Eason and more!

Lisa

Ministry Photo Update

One of Julia's twins at 4 1/2 weeks.  So cute!

Team effort. The Le Roux Boy's carrying laundry to the Harris home to be dried. 
Baptism of João and Dalton

Reiner and his sunglasses.

Women's Saturday Bible class. 

Lisa holding the other twin before church. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

Answered Prayers

Disciple praying for the sick in the village.
On Saturday, I met with the women in town for our weekly Bible study. It was wonderful to see them again after many had been away during the December/January school break. We are studying women in the Bible, how God used them, and how God can use us as women. On Saturday, our lesson was about Hannah and how she turned to God in prayer for her needs.

For me, the reminder of how God answers prayers has been very real lately. Almost exactly one year ago, Scott and I sat in our mission’s board meeting in Houston at the end of our furlough, praying fervently that God would send us new teammates. There is so much work to be done here, that while we are discipling as many people as we can, we simply can’t do all that needs to be done.

Scott had planned to fly to Brazil to try and recruit some families last spring, but we felt that God was telling us not to run around trying to find people, but instead to simply pray and trust in Him to bring us the people we need, so we could focus on the work He has given us to do.

Shortly after that meeting, we flew into South Africa for a couple days before returning home to Mozambique. While we were there, we went to a missions meeting at our former church and there met a couple, Jaco and Inge Le Roux, who wanted to come and visit us. They told us that they believed God was calling them to work in Mozambique in a few years when their boys were older, and they were interested in seeing our work first hand.
Jaco, Inge, Ernan, Lander, & Reiner

In April, they came for a week, still believing as they arrived, that there would be a time in the future that they might join us. But God had other plans. Toward the end of their time with us, they told us that they believed that God was calling them to leave South Africa and work with us—not in a few years—but now.

A lot has happened since that day. Over the past year, we have spent time with then as often as possible. They have worked closely both with AOM (our ministry) and their church to finalize all the details of going into ministry full time.

Jaco and Inge bring strong skills to our team, showing us clearly God’s hand in all of this. In South Africa, Jaco was involved in management positions in the Agricultural industry. Inge is an artist who has been a part of several art exhibitions. She also has experience in the agricultural industry. She will be homeschooling their three young boys.

We are currently exploring ways for them to use their skills to not only disciple believers, but also equip people with skills and means to earn a living in the area of agriculture. This will be a huge blessing to many and will help us to expand our current work through The ECHO Project.
Mandy Hunter & Mel Welch

And as exciting as we are for them to officially join us this month, God isn’t finished! In May, two single women from the UK will be joining our team. We first met Mel and Mandy while in language school in Brazil. Since that time, they have been working about four hours north of us, so they are already very familiar with life in Mozambique. Mandy is a nurse and Mel a teacher. They both have a heart for discipleship and for reaching out to the poorest of the poor. Again, we see God giving us exactly what we need to compliment the work here.

Please pray for Jaco and Inge and their three sweet boys as they make this huge transition, and for Mel and Mandy as they are currently in the UK, preparing to return in a couple months.

What about you? How is God working in your life today and what prayers has He answered recently?

Be blessed,

Lisa


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Lessons from the Heart of Africa: Significant life

African wildflowers
I sat in the village today, inside a twelve-by-six reed hut. Emily and I had come to give out vitamins to all the children and nursing mothers. We also brought another food packet for Julia and more formula for the twins.

After handing out the vitamins, the women started singing and as I listened I was reminded about a passage in Matthew 6.

Jesus said, "If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you."

With one of little boys, Silva, nestled against me in my lap, I looked around at each of the women and their children sitting on the dirt floor and thought about how much God cares for them. How much he loves each one of them, understands their hurts, and how important their lives are to Him.

 They don't have material possessions. They don't have electricity or running water, and life is hard. But God cares for them and sees each life as significant.

I was reminded about how God prompted people to give financially, so we could in turn supply Julia with food packets and her twins with formula. I thought about the blessing in how we were able to provide a village with vitamins to help ensure that their children grow strong. And I was moved by the smiles on their faces and the joy in their singing, and the fact that God had brought us all together.

How many of my own worries do I try to take on for myself? Jesus had the answer. He simply said, don't worry. Trust in me because I care for you.

Will life be perfect? No. Easy? Not always. But I want to learn to leave my burdens at the foot of the cross. To fully believe that He cares about every one of my concerns. And then in turn to let God use me  however He chooses.

It's worth repeating. "If my God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you."

Every life--every individual--is significant in God's eyes.

Be a blessing,

Lisa

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Suspense on the Run: Keven Newsome Interview & Giveaway




I'm excited to share with you the first of my Suspense on the Run Skype interviews. Every month throughout 2012, I'll be chatting with authors via Skype. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about bestselling authors like DiAnn Mills and Irene Hannon plus be introduced to new authors. And as an extra bonus, you'll also have the opportunity to win a copy of one of their books!


My first interview is with Keven Newsome, the author of WinterIf you'd like to watch the extended version of the interview click here. You can find out more about Keven's writing on his website


Keven's publisher, Splashdown Books, has offered to giveaway a free eBook copy of Keven Newsome's novel Winter. Please leave a comment below to be entered into the contest. The contest closes Monday, February 6th at midnight, PST.



Enjoy!

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.