Saturday, January 10, 2015

HOLY: What?


HOLY.

For me, this word had gotten a bad rap. It conjured up images of stuffy, stoic scholars dressed in elaborate deceptions, sitting on shaky judgment seats while enforcing religious rules. No one trusts these delegates of fear. Or my Imagination of HOLY envisioned some pious recluses, donned in sheets of cloth, murmuring ancient sayings while wandering down dark arched halls. Whatever I might see when I heard the word, HOLY, it usually included NOT HAVING FUN. 

When I first became a believer and heard the word HOLY spoken in Sunday sermons, referring to the congregation, I shuddered with dread. UGH. I didn’t want to be HOLY. 
I wanted to have FUN - to enjoy, to laugh, to eat, drink and be merry. That word HOLY seemed to overshadow me with a dark cloud of duty, striving, critical competition and approval seeking. I rebelled. I thought, “Ok. I’ll believe in Jesus, do good to people and that’s about it. This HOLY stuff is for the birds."

Boy, was I wrong.

First, I was wrong about the word, HOLY. It didn’t mean rigid rules or hiding under sheets of cloth or stoic scholars. It met something entirely different. In defense of my misunderstanding, I’d never heard the truth about HOLY. My assumption of trying to be “good enough” looked like it was modeled well among many Christians, and that’s where my problem started. I believed a lie.

One day, in my quest to reconcile the Jesus I admired and the word HOLY, I found it…

This nugget of freedom –

HOLY: "intact, complete, taken away from common usage, designed for higher purposes."

I had been taking the word HOLY and applying it according to standards I don’t even like – standards based on appearance and not the heart.  That’s why I felt so uncomfortable in places where holiness was judged by how I did something instead of who God was making me to be. When I started meditating on HOLY as God intended; my life began reflecting a Creator who LOVES me. His ways don’t bring fierce judgment but direction on how to live a beautiful life, full of joy and destiny.

I am free to be who God made me to be. I am intact not stressed. I am complete not striving. I’m taken away from common usage – not needing to do what everyone else is doing. I’m designed for my higher purpose – to be the best me! I'm embracing HOLY.

As I continue reflecting on this understanding of HOLY, I see how God has opened doors to share it with women in Kenya. Many of these widowed mamas, single mamas, young girls are poisoned by lies – “HOLY is only for men of God, HOLY doesn’t include them. They are too poor for HOLY, too weak, too needy, too uneducated, undeserving, unloved…


This false idea of HOLY has led some to gossip about each other or even leave the faith because they thought they could never measure up.

  But I see HOLY HOPE! 
   
God reveals himself in strange ways, like sewing group discussions that lead to healthy introspection, or visiting under mango trees, sipping ruby-colored roselle tea and praying for brokenness to be healed.
   

God is showing these women Jesus was sent for them to live intact, to live complete, to leave behind common usage and embrace their higher purposes 
 of loving God and caring for others.

 My HOLY goals for 2015?
  • Let myself soberly reflect on the epistles as they relate to my journey with Jesus.
  • Entrust my family more and more to the unending security of God’s grace.
  • Move with HOLY Spirit’s gracious discernment in ministry among the least.    
“But be holy - "intact, complete, taken away from common usage, designed for higher purposes" now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy, who invited you to be his child. He himself has said, “You must be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16.

Enjoy a HOLY new year!

    Love, ~lisa

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Month in Review...

It's that time where the industrious create "year in review newsletters."  Considering we post monthly updates, you might get bored with the redundancy, so here's a photo story of 
"this month in review."

Like the Kenyan weaver birds that busily build, we find ourselves 
continuing to build useful projects that serve people in Jesus name. 

The widowed/single mamas of WOW (Woman of Worth) 
enjoy prayer, bible reading and fellowship. Two more
mamas have joined us.
Although  possessing little themselves, they diligently 
work on projects to give back to those in the community 
who struggle -  we like to call this  "the widow's mite."

After 46 days back in the orphanage, Lil Man is home with us - his 
family.  Friends at the home gathered to sing, eat cake and say 
good bye (although we only live a few blocks away and he sees 
them regularly.) The sweet send off helped us transition him 
without disturbance.

Sharing cake is a tradition at celebrations and Henry
was happy to feed Moses.
 Now that Lil Man is back home, we do strange things 
like eat under the table. 
 Nothing like a 5 year old to keep you laughing!
 Helping harvest our first bananas!

We said good bye to a new, dear friend who assisted us in
 "handling" Henry's confusion while he stayed at the orphanage.
These croquet champions were all instrumental in 
encouraging us through Henry's transitions.

Serving in the village - one of the poorest districts in Kenya -
never fails to humble us.

The mamas kindness, hard work, willingness to give, to learn 
teaches us about the depth of God's grace. Ministry here is 
always mutually refreshing.
Helpful Henry. It's his gift!
Harvesting and packaging roselle tea to sell.
They distribute the profit to those in need.
Calendars used to roll paper beads are first studied with curiosity.
Lack of access to information is a root problem we're trying to change.
Henry gets an "ouchie" and the mama's rush to tend him.
Learning together how to bring God's transforming 
Word to those among the least.
Mark and David prepare a water filter for Mama Janet's
home. Janet cares for 3 orphaned girls.
With constant labor of working the garden, hand washing, caring 
for little ones, preparing cook fires and food... the ease of using
this filter to clean water amazes the mamas.
Village Chandelier

Meanwhile, back at New Life, the orphaned kiddos special 
needs join festivities of a grand opening of their new home.
A blessing to attend and photograph!

If you've followed our blog, you know about the complicated 
issues surrounding the land purchase for the local church we 
are part of. The trails were firey but God is the Great Redeemer! 
The church is now considered the rightful owner of this hotly 
contested plot. Praise Jesus! 
This month found the pastors praying 
over newly appointed leaders of various departments - one 
being our ministry partner, Carolyne. She now heads
Love in Action Ministry to the poor.
 
Pastor and Elders join hands - a three-fold cord
 not quickly broken.
Mark's service always includes everything from teaching to 
building to managing to holding babies.  Love this guy!

Lastly, we were surprised to be gifted with a trip to the 
coast for RnR we've not had in three years. A donor 
designated gesture that greatly influenced our mental health!
No more teachers or school books!
Just water time...
Kayaking...
Exploring...
Dancing...
And sand - so much sand!
Creepy things visiting the pool...
 Of course - the real RnR!

But RnR doesn't last forever so back to ministry we are passionate about. 
Please pray for us and the following situations...
  • Intercountry adoptions in Kenya have been suspended indefinitely.  Our adoption of Henry should not be affected since we are handling the process as residents and already have placement. With so many true orphans and abandoned babies in Kenya, we're praying this ruling can be overturned and adoptions will resume.  
  • For the church leaders to have have solid Bible knowledge, wisdom from above, and the character of Christ to minister in love.
  • For the mamas to continue to grow in their faith and good works that God has prepared for them.
  • That we and the team in US have wisdom in making decisions about sending a shipping container filled with ministry items to use for a resource center.
  • For the physically challenged children of Joyland who are back in the refugee camp. May they stay healthy, safe and keep focused on their heavenly Father. 
As always, we're overwhelming grateful for being able to 
live the call and for those who help make it happen.

Asante sana!
Mungu awabariki this Christmas season.
hugs from the haugers
                                                                                                  Ooo0o

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kadogo Multiplied

 
Kadogo means small in Swahili. We are constantly humbled by God’s power to take kadogo and multiply it to express His love. Below is a list of words from the Bible that are kadogo but POTENT in their influence. 
  • Sparrows. If a tiny bird does not escape the Creator’s attention, neither do you. Matt 10:29.
  • Loaves and fish become creative ingredients for a miracle. John 6:9.
  • Cup of cool water given in Jesus name brings His reward. Matt 10:42.
  • Seeds of faith move mountains. Luke 17:6.
  • A child welcomed into Jesus Presence because the kingdom is made up of these. Luke 18:16.
  • Flowers wild in the fields are not arrayed more beautiful than you. Luke 12:27.
  • A word in season brings refreshment. Psalm 119:17-20.
How does God take the seemly insignificant and transform it into the glorious meaningful?

1. Ask Him - “Lord, my “kadogo” comes up short, but in your Hands - it’s more than enough. I’m giving you my small ______________ (self, possessions, money, time, attention, resources…)

2. Believe Him - Know that He’ll take whatever small thing you offer and multiply it beyond your natural abilities. In other words, it will take His grace and not your striving to make beautiful ministry happen.

3. Celebrate Him - Don’t look around comparing your life to others. That only breeds discontent, frustration, and covetousness.  Instead, CHOOSE to celebrate Jesus moment by moment. Watch Him gently embrace your smallness and touch the world!

Here are some "kadogo multiplied" stories from our life in Kenya…

A small donation for an overlock machine, and another for materials, and another for supplies then soon the mamas - without husbands, without extra resources, but giving their little time - are making washable sanitary pads for poor village girls.  This kadogo act of kindness coupled with a gospel witness will improve school attendance that can provide a hopeful future and end the cycle of neglect and poverty - a BIG impact from such small offerings blended together by the Master Maker of good and perfect gifts.
 
One tiny baby, abandoned… No amount of searching found a relative to claim him.  He’s a boy now needing a family.  Small choices - small changes in light of the obvious impact that a mama’s love, a baba’s acceptance and siblings’ joy will have on his life.  A decision to humbly say, “Yes God,” can transform a destiny, regardless of how long he stays.

Four teenage girls gather under the jacaranda tree on the school campus. Sitting close under the shady branches they share snacks. One Musl*m, one Hindu, two Christians talking about lessons and boys and hair and music till the little Musl*m girl reveals her fear of the increasing threat of Ebola.  A Christian girl places a warm hand on the Musl*m girl’s arm and seriously explains, “When you are afraid, you can call to Jesus. Ask Him to help you. He will never let you stay alone.” A small nugget of truth given with tenderness can open the door for the Lord to change an life for eternity.

An insignificant cup of clear water was murky minutes ago, almost consumed by a toddler with a runny nose.  A quick pour through the filter and now his mama holds a plastic bottle filled with water that won’t make her child sick.  She listens to the Bible lesson that Jesus, the Living Water longs for her to thirst no more.  The Creator of Life brings new life to a mom and a child through a cup of clean water.
In a wheelchair not made for African mud, my body - weakened and fragile - can still be a missionary in the hovels of the poor.  It is where we hear God speak. It is where we see Him take those destitute and set them among royalty.  Only Jesus…  to Him be all the glory.

    Nothing about you is too kadogo for God to multiply.  Just let Him have it and hold on…
“It's the SMALL things that are important! Love or an act of kindness - those are the things that keep darkness at bay.” The Hobbit “An Unexpected Journey.”
Asante sana for your encouragement support and prayers.
hugs from the haugers
Ooo0o