Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Among The Least Newsletter





 

 PO Box 3543  Pagosa Springs, Colorado  81147

When looking at 2018 from a bird’s eye view, I say, “good riddance!” Last year felt like a BIG battle – relentless and overwhelming.  It prompts thoughts of an old African proverb – “a lion who chases a gazelle runs for its food, but the gazelle runs for its life.” We’ve been gazelles for the last 12 months, facing BIG problems, too many to mention in a newsletter, too fierce for our fragile humanity.

Recently, I remembered a journal entry written long ago that led me see God’s perspective of 2018.  His relationship with us changes the race from saving our lives, to a walk of giving our lives for others.

      Journal entry Feb. 2010
“I know God cares about everything that concerns me. He longs to share my morning plans, afternoon daydreams and evening thoughts. He asks me to bring pleas and desires before Him with thanksgiving. Even as the earth churns in huge turmoil – abused children, gruesome conflicts and corruption looming large, He never sees any need as too small or too big. Actually, those are places to start conversations with God, who weaves my life into the larger picture.
While I pray for what I believe are immense difficulties, like vulnerable children and persecuted mamas, they are only big to me because, well, I'm not God. He crafts answers to enormous problems; Incredibly, He makes those answers small enough to fit into my hands, and equips me to carry His solutions over a pain-plagued earth.
I think of Elijah who laid his own body across a dead boy. Imagine for moment - the child's body probably smelled from the desert heat. He was cold and unresponsive; like so many people today.  Could I literally lay my life over death and believe for the impossible? Elijah did, and God moved - He resurrected the boy. He restored life.
Can I truly embrace someone who lives in gripping poverty, a neglected orphan, a victimized widow, a strange foreigner?
Can I care for one at the cost of self-sacrifice, knowing God will care for me?
If I believe God - I can. He uses both small and big to build His kingdom.”

By knowing Him, we remember those in crisis with a core that feels their suffering, as though we were suffering too. It's easy to forget something we don't feel. If we turn away from disgusting odors, ugly attitudes or unintelligible speech, how can we relate to those whom Jesus refers to as “the least of these?” If we ignore perceptions that don't line up with ours, how can we give the gospel to those who live in darkness? God shares answers for the wounded with those who are not offended by woundedness.
 God mends our hearts to bind up the brokenhearted. God removes scale of sin off our eyes, to guide those blinded by lies and help them truly see. Christ sets us free to carry liberty to those who are captive, where He releases them into destinies of His design.
Keep giving Him the small - the two fish and five loaves - and watch Him feed multitudes. He shows us things that break His giant heart, and because of our relationship, He enables us to be His hands and feet in a sad and dirty world.
 Simple concerns, like a child showing a parent a tiny scrape on a fingertip and expecting comforting words, are significant to our heavenly Dad. From those experiences of closeness, we learn to love with the same love He lavishes on us.


How God made our BIG difficulties of 2018 small enough – step by step:


1. Henry’s months of USA immigration issues ended in gaining a USA passport.  God provided every step of the way.  He also helped Henry respond well to 16 weeks of latent TB treatments.  In spite of Henry’s developmental delays, CP and hearing loss, and speech impediment, he remains a happy, inquisitive boy; who, just the other day, engaged a sales clerk at Ross, asking her to help him find a fast pair of running shoes. Henry’s uninhibited request was difficult for the clerk to understand but he persisted. Their conversation made us laugh.

2.  After a nearly fatal fall, I watched God bring friends who set up schedules to assure both me and my family were cared for well. They gently supported me through months of recovery.  Somewhere along the recuperating path we became advisors for two university projects on adoption and development in Kenya. Locally, we’re directing our children’s church program and continue to encourage adoptive families through Among the Least.

3.  The vehicle for Among the Least in Kenya could be a nightmare to manage; but God has orchestrated the missionary community to rent it as needed, and payment 
goes to the mamas requiring extra money school fees. 

4.  After the grand opening of the Resource Center and Clinic, the government closed it down till the church could put up a roof/ceiling that met “new building code standard” (which changes like the weather!).  During that time, Pastor Mary had a hysterectomy – a serious operation to endure at a local Kenyan hospital. Throughout that interim, the church took more responsibility towards the building and developing of its programs – a necessary step in the family preservation arena. And, the new roof was approved!

5.  As our family knows, adoption in Kenya embroils a daunting process. The Lord used our experience, to help us walk with another missionary family in the tussle of adopting.  They finalized in June and in September, traveled together to USA for furlough.
Commitment to family preservation, adoption and foster care creates very personal journeys – ones encompassing a spectrum of emotions and behaviors that require confidentiality.  We are honored to come along side those who father the fatherless and share the widows’ burdens. God doesn’t promise ease or reward, but He does provide help in our times of need. He makes resolutions to BIG crisis that fit in our finite hands to carry on.

Thank you for all your continued prayer and support.
If you’d like more information about Among the Least’s local outreach or the work in Kenya, please contact to us at:
       amongtheleast.org 
         mlthauger@hotmail.com
 
   
    

Monday, November 12, 2018

Soon



Soon.

We read that word frequently in Scripture.  The other day my daughter asked, “What does God mean when He says ‘soon?’ It’s been thousands of years of waiting.”  I didn’t know how to answer her; besides, I wondered the same thing. I feel disappointed when my idea of “soon” doesn’t line up with God’s.

We believed “soon” we would be back in Kenya, assisting in the next stage of ministry transition. We were wrong.  In May, following months plodding through the immigration process and requesting prayer, Henry finally received his USA citizenship. Yeah!  We thought, “We are on our way!” 
      Then Henry  endured 17 weeks of daily TB treatment. 
      Then Mark experienced ER visits for high blood pressure.
      Then I had my own ER visits, a life flight to Denver for a C1, C2 fractured neck and fractured femur, which took months of tedious recovery. 
      Then Tavin changed his career trajectory, and Taleah joined a charter home school program.

Our “soon” reflects 2 years of delays, but we’ve learned a few things during the waiting:

Biblically, “soon” reveals the speed that an event approaches, not the duration before it arrives. In other words, an event approaches rapidly without our limits of when or how it must occur. The word emphasizes the imminence and appropriateness of time, irrespective of how long it takes.  Remember Daniel?  As “soon” as he set his heart to pray, he was heard, yet the answer delayed.  There is no idleness on God’s part (2 Peter 3:8) because He is not constrained to human timelines. The action we are looking forward to rests solely with Him (Romans 16:20 ).  Our anticipation must not center on the event but on the event’s Creator.  We focus on spiritual growth and humble service while we wait. When fleshly impatience flares, His grace carries us.

Meanwhile, ministry in Kenya continues without our in-country presence.  Weekly communication and periodic updates show fruitfulness. The Resource Center and medical clinic assist the marginalized.  The women’s groups continue to meet and encourage one another.  The water project completed training in a rural village.

By the Lord’s amazing power, Mark and I healed better than the doctors’ predicted. We’ve plugged back into serving locally by developing more vision and structure for our church’s children’s program, diligently working with Henry’s teachers and therapists to improve his hearing, understanding and speech.  We make ourselves available to families in the process of adopting.  We’re working on writing a curriculum to aid both short-term mission teams when they visit orphanages, and the orphaned children’s caregivers.  We’re also helping advise a design team at School of Mines who are creating a development project for Kenya.  Waiting certainly does not include apathy!

“Soon”  and how that happens remains God’s business, and regardless of how often I try to convince Him it means NOW, I appreciate the value of waiting upon Him. In His providential timing, we'll be back to Kenya.

Waiting on God provides amazing views!
A recent clean water training for a church in Nyang'ande.

Thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement!
hugs from the Haugers O0ooo


Monday, June 18, 2018

This!



This video made our hearts rejoice!  Sadly, we were not there to participate, but generous Believers dedicating the Resource Center made sure to remember us - all!  A great big THANKS to all who prayed, donated and encouraged this work.  God made the dream come true!

You might be wondering where we are - well, we are in Pagosa, still dealing with the drama surrounding Henry's immigration/medical issues.

The arduous USCIS journey continues: currently, we secured Henry's temporary green card and were just notified of an immigration interview scheduled in Denver for July 19th.  Coincidentally, we applied for Henry's USA passport using all his original, official papers (State Dept. requirements) - the same papers we need for the pending meeting with USCIS. Please pray they return our documents promptly.

Since Henry's cochlear implant surgery, he now hears the birds sing. He participates in daily therapy to help him understand all the new sounds and pronounce words he's never heard before. Unfortunately, Henry also got a positive tuberculosis result (latent). After more prayer, research and advice from friends who are medical professionals, Henry is on a 4-month TB treatment regime that must be videoed and prevents us from traveling internationally.

Other than Henry's news that holds us stateside, we are well.  Mark helps a landscaping business and does home repairs. Tavin likes his internship at a Christian camp on the Oregon coast. Taleah, our recently licensed driver, got a job at the local grocery store. Lisa does whatever she can to keep us moving.  Please pray for Lisa's continued healing and strength.

In all of this, we continue to regularly communicate with our Kenyan friends and colleagues, helping them to negotiate the ministry of caring for widows and vulnerable children in their midst.

As always, Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Say What?

You’re familiar with the phrase, “Say what?” Well, there’s so much to say that
I haven’t written in 3 months and that feels a bit overwhelming – like pile of papers growing out of control and needing attention. Well, I’ve finally mentally organized the mounds of information so I can “say what” you might want to know!  Grab a cuppa something yummy …

Summer in Kenya
Balmy evening air swept through the palm fronds. We sat at the water’s edge, watching a huge orange orb fall beyond the second largest lake in the world.  We would leave Kenya again, our second home, and didn’t know when we’d be back. Reflecting on our summer of ministry felt like the colorful dusk – beautiful with a bit of melancholy.

Highlights  
·  Watching the mamas read scripture from Luo bibles with their new reading glasses.
·  Evaluating programs with friends over chai and gingernut biscuits.
·  Seeing a healthy chicken project that was seed funded through AtL.  
·  Listening to plans for a new clinic above the Resource Center,
·  Helping the compound that hosts bio-sand filter construction get water successfully piped in.
·  Knowing all our friends were safe and healthy.
·  Good news certainly outnumbered trying times.

Tricky situations
An afternoon we took Henry to visit the children’s home where he lived for his first 5 years.  Although warmly welcomed, we could sense the anxiety he later expressed.  Helping him understand the untraditional beginnings of his life took some creative thinking, especially with his compromised hearing. Inspiration prevailed and Henry’s second visit went much better.

Sadly, the pending Kenyan presidential elections, empty shelves at the market and constant conversations about lacking ugali flour shrouded our interactions like descending darkness.

Actually, Kenya, in general seemed tense with political uncertainty.  We departed on the heels of horrible news – the Independent Electoral Commission ICT manager was brutally tortured, then murdered. As our  plane lifted off the tarmac we prayed for the sun to continue setting over a peaceful nation.

Upon returning to Pagosa, we found news that tension escalated into contested elections, an unprecedented Supreme Court decision, violence, deaths and another election, which didn’t resolve deep-seeded issues surrounding tribalism and corruption. 

Unfortunately, Kisumu bears the label of rebellious opposition stronghold.  We’ve never experienced that in any of our years living there.  We witnessed people who want a voice in their government to lift the severe economic depression, and encourage free market expansion without bribery.

Now, words like profiling, ethnic cleansing, economic disparity are associated with the country that hosted us for 5 years, the place we still facilitate fruitful ministry, the area we have friends close as family.

Sadly, the political unrest curbed ministry at the Resource Center.  Many were afraid to leave their homes. But lately, as the last hot election results cool down, the church is organizing new projects to serve the poor in their community. Our prayers continue – for truth, justice, forgiveness and peace to greet each day and last far beyond every sunset.

Stateside
Much to be done with Among the Least on this side!  A Two Nation Adoption Fundraiser idea began brewing a couple years ago. The idea – offer perspective adoptive families opportunities to host a sale of items crafted in Kenya. This event would raise funds for their adoption expenses and raise awareness of the work of family preservation in Kenya. Our “test sale” in November helped a local family raise $1,500 to put toward their adoption expenses.

Working from Colorado to assist in Kenya means hours of computer time developing spreadsheets, writing curriculum, and interacting via WhatsApp with the Resource Center Board.  We are also diligently working on updating our social media outreach, PR, and lending library. Thanks for all the encouragement!

Family
After acting as an immigration lawyer for the last year (wish I could have collected a pay check for that), documents and fees have been submitted. We continue waiting for a determination on Henry’s petition to immigrate to USA. Regardless that he is 100% our son, USA citizenship feels very far away, but sooner or later, it’s bound to happen. Praying it’s sooner!

The good news - we received medical insurance for Henry.  Don’t even ask about the details of that story or you’ll need another 15 minutes to read this post.  Suffice it to say, God preformed a miracle. Henry finished all the screening associated with becoming a cochlear implant candidate. He will receive his new “ear” in Denver on December 27th. Then the work of helping him interpret all the new sounds begins in earnest!

Henry continues to acclimate well to his new western world and family.

Currently we are in Pagosa for the remainder of the school year. 

Mark keeps busy helping me, the kids and doing various jobs. He experienced high blood pressure that took him to the emergency twice. A diagnosis of sleep apnea seems to be the biggest factor in the blood pressure issue so he was fitted for a handsome CPAP mask.

Our sophomore, Taleah ran cross-country, sings in the choir and enjoys her wilderness class. She had 6 wisdom teeth removed!

Tavin finishes his first semester of college, studying sports and recreation.

Amidst filling my days the usual things moms do, I have been fighting a constant UTI since summer in Kenya. The doctor prescribed long-term medicine.  We trust God for healing.

Well, it looks like the end of “say what” for now. Enjoy a blessed Christmas and amazing New Year!
Resource Center rising! New clinic opens in April.
Reading His Word in their heart language.   
Kuku = Chicken.
Hjambo from WOW mamas.
Henry shows his sledding video to friends.
Helen at her new duka (shop).
Henry plays with kids at Joyland.
So grateful to visit with Loisa and her healthy kiddos!
Henry gets his long awaited CI surgery Dec. 27th.
Our cross-country rinner who had most imporved time.
College student taller than Dad.
Watching unfiltered beauty over Lake Victoria.
What watched us while we watched the sunset.

Asante sana for all your prayers, support and encouragment.
hugs from the haugers O0oo0
 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Suddenly



Suddenly! Things happens!  
And we’re certainly not familiar with that.
Regardless that “suddenly” happens 87 times in the Bible, our lifestyle has been more of the “wait 
on the Lord” experience - till now!  Without warning  “suddenly” erupted and overflowed in the 
Hauger house!

After months of working on applications and more months waiting on USCIS to make decisions on 
Henry’s USA immigration paperwork, we felt eternal but not divine. Then suddenly, his EAD card 
appears which led to a sudden SS#, which provides opportunity to pursue his medical insurance. 
At the same time, Henry’s travel documents suddenly arrived and we are able to travel back 
to Kenya for 6 weeks. Also, Tavin suddenly got accepted at college with a scholarship to study 
Sports and Recreation Ministry. Taleah got a driving permit and a car.

 
 
 
 
With all these suddenly occurrences, we scrambled to make plans; here they are:

June 20 - Drive to Sante Fe deal with more of Henry’s paperwork (yes, feels endless but we’re
confident that it will suddenly end someday!)

June 23 - Drive to Mt Vernon Ohio to drop Taleah off at her Aunt Brenda’s so she can 
enjoy cousin-time.

June 28 - Drive to Columbus International Airport and fly to Dulles International Airport 
where we will catch a connection to Frankfurt, Germany and on to Nairobi, Kenya.

While in Kenya, we arranged to do a case study on the Resource Center.  This in-depth evaluation will help determine how to design a model for other Kenyan churches to develop ministry to serve the poor. We will examine what works, what’s transferable, what’s indigenous, where are mistakes and can they be fixed.  Of course we will spend time with the amazing mamas and kiddos from Joyland. Henry will see his old stomping grounds.

 
 
 
 
August 3 - Leave Nairobi, heading stateside via Frankfurt.
August 4 -  Land in Buffalo, NY
August 5 - Attend Lisa’s family get-together in Western NY
August 6 – Head back to Pagosa in time for Taleah to go on camping trip with her cross-country 
team and get Tavin off to college.

The rest of August will be medical appointments for Henry. Oh, and Lisa’s Dad will be in 
Pagosa for a few weeks!

Summer filled up suddenly!  Please join with us in prayer for:
  1. Strength and safety as we travel long and far.
  2. Henry’s ability to experience healthy transitions.
  3. Taleah and Tavin as they manage their summer schedules. Tavin stays in Pagosa working and preparing for school.
  4. Quick obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  5. Sensitivity to hear and speak what the Lord intends.
  6. Hearts to perceive and understand what God expects.
  7. Amazing grace for the Resource Center board, the mamas and the kiddos whom we call our friends.     
We are grateful for your continued encouragement, prayers and support.
hugs from the haugers