Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A defining moment

I never expected it to be so emotional. He was only four, and had no clue what was about to happen. I sat beside him in the doctor's office on a cracked leather red couch. He was wearing a pink sweatshirt and Cars pajama bottoms. He cried when the nurse pricked his finger. Cried quietly as we waited. I knew in that moment that what we were about to find out would determine so much about his life. Whether or not he would live with monthly doctor visits, medicine, and hospital trips. Three weeks ago, his mother died from HIV. He now lives with his grandmother and was facing the same diagnosis as his mother.

The nurse showed Emily and I a chart while we waited. Two lines meant positive. One line negative. My heart pounded. I fought unexpected tears and prayed. I wanted so badly for him to be okay. Minutes later, the nurse held out the test that held his small pool of blood. Negative.

Negative! I was overwhelmed with joy. We clapped and thanked God. Rejoiced that there would be no monthly doctor visits and medicine and sickness.

After driving them home, we visited at his compound. His grandmother smiled, grateful as we gave her some beans, peanuts, tomatoes, and onions to help out, as well as soap and medicine for a skin issue the  little boy has. She shared more about herself. She's a widow and is also raising two other grandchildren. Her family lives far away and it's hard to make ends meet. But she is happy today. Her grandson is well.

As I gave her the gift of food, I told her that it wasn't from me. That many people, all over the world, had given money to help people just like her. I told her that she was blessing her grandson by taking him in and caring for him, something that was very important to God.

We minister to many who deal with HIV on a daily basis. Widows, orphans, mothers, young people. Life is hard, but there is hope. Hope in a God who loves them.

"You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They can not be numbered." Psalm 139:16-17

To find out how you can get involved and make a difference with us, visit The ECHO Project


Friday, July 26, 2013

Amazing Humpback Whales

Wow, the last few weeks have flown by as we've hosted four groups including people from the US, Brazil, and South Africa. God blessed each visit though, including ten baptisms on the last day of English camp.

As soon as I can put a short video together, I will be sharing some of the highlights. In the meantime, Scott and I celebrated our anniversary with our kids by going out on an ocean safari on the Indian Ocean. We'd always wanted to go see the Humpback whales up close, but neither Scott or I ever had. What was saw was absolutely amazing. The photos really don't do justice to how close they were and how spectacular it was to watch them breach the water.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Free round-trip airline tickets!

Catch your attention? It caught mine. A couple weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail that started off this way. You have qualified for an award of two (2) round-trip airline tickets. And that wasn’t all. I was also qualified for two nights at a hotel, which meant that my total prize was worth over $1300. Wow! But while I’d love a free trip, something about the letter made me pause.

I glanced closer at the header telling me to fly The US Airlines. I’d heard of American Airlines, of course, but never The US Airlines. Which was partly why something seemed off. The other issue was that I’d never done anything to win this award. Feeling leery after my initial excitement, I decided to Google a portion of the letter to see if my suspicions were right.

Turns out they were.

There were several red flags. One, there is no US Airlines. Two, the letter required me to respond quickly in order to receive my prize. Other things you need to always look for are restrictions and, if talking to a person, high-pressure sales.

Stolen Identity

If you haven’t read my latest romantic suspense, Stolen Identity addresses similar issues. It’s a story about a widowed mother who gets caught up in a dangerous game when her identity is stolen. While the story is completely fiction, there is a strong thread of truth behind it. And honestly, the more I did research for this story, the madder I got. Scams like this hurt thousands and thousands of people each year and criminals are making billions. I’ve talked to a number of people over the past couple of years who have either fallen for something like this, or know someone who has. The results can be devastating.

So what can you practically do to avoid becoming a victim? One, check out some practical ideas to avoid being a victim of identity theft from the US Department of Justice

Two, whenever something seems too good to be true, remember it probably is! If in doubt, do your own research.

Three, when life spins out of control, remind yourself that your identity isn’t tied to the securities of this world. Hold instead to the hope found in our Heavenly Father.   

If you haven’t read Stolen Identity, you can order your copy here! And if have read it, consider posting a review on line.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

English Camp 2013

Typically, this time of year is the busiest and this year is no exception. So far, June and July have brought a team from the US, along with two groups from South Africa who came to see how they could get involved in our work. We have also welcomed back Jaco, Inge, and their boys who have spent the last six months in Brazil learning Portuguese.

On top of all of that, this week is our annual English Camp. We have a group from the US as well as Luis our former team mate from Brazil who have all come to help out. We also have a number of the disciples who are leading as ambassadors for the camp. Here are a few photos of the first day and a half of camp. We are exited to see what God will do this year as it always impacts those who attend.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Our China Story Part Two

Jayden has put together a video of photos from his trip to share. I've been amazed at how this trip confirmed his desire to return full-time to China one day. If you missed my original post about why Jayden and Scott went to China earlier this year, you can read about it here. For me, this story is a testimony of God's hand and a reminder of the importance of being open to his moving in our lives. One of the options Jayden is currently considering is running orphanage. We are looking at returning once he is in high school to spend several weeks volunteering in an orphanage. Learning Chinese is also in the future. Like Samuel, may we all respond to his call with the words, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

Jayden in China from Lisa Harris on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Video Highlights from Short-term Group

While the whole year seems to be flying by, June and July are always extra busy as we host a number of short-term groups. This year, we have people from the US, South Africa, and Brazil coming and are always blessed by their presence and encouragement.

I've posted a video below (press on the arrow on the photo) that shares some of the highlights from our first group, River Pointe Church in Texas.



River Pointe Church from Lisa Harris on Vimeo.