Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ears That Don't Hear

A warm July sun streams through Juniper branches, and we sit in their shade eating ice cream sandwiches. Henry’s eyes close as the summer breeze tickles his ebony cheeks. I smile while warblers happily chirp, and I ask Henry if he likes the birds’ songs. He keeps his eyes closed, licking the frozen treat. I wait and repeat the question. Then I remember. He doesn’t hear me. He can’t hear the birds. He won’t respond unless he opens his eyes, looks at me and reads my lips; even then, natures’ high-toned melodies are lost to him.
A few days earlier, the diagnosis of Henry’s profound hearing loss carried waves of shock and sadness. We thought he couldn’t comprehend certain sounds but long awaited tests results revealed a severely profound impairment. Henry has lived for 7 years without understanding functional language.  He has ears that can't hear.

As I watched Henry that late July afternoon, I realized how many time my ears have failed to hear. I’ve compromised that ability through selfishness - especially to maintain my “oh so important agenda.”  In retrospect, my rejection to listen with understanding ears became the main nemesis in many blotched situations:
  • “Authoritarian ears” neglected children’s explanations that I assumed were excuses.
  • “Western ears” misinterpreted cultural innuendos on the foreign mission field leaving Kenyans confused by my actions.
  • “Rebellious ears” willingly ignored my Creator - the very One who formed them to hear!  
…Yet, every time I ask the Lord to change my selfishness to sensitivity, His kindness causes my ears to hear resonances of tenderness, confidence, acceptance and hope. Things that sound like God.

How do I end this post that prods me to sincerely hear as I parent a child who currently can’t?  Remember
Remember we are gifted with this amazing sense to...
  • Respond without preconceived judgment.
  • Build communicating bridges over haunting misconceptions.
  • Enjoy His Still Small Voice that urges us to listen carefully.

“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” Matthew 11:15

Praises and prayers…
We received an extension for Henry’s non-immigrant visa for 6 months. Please pray as we actively pursue medical assistance for the cochlear implant surgery. 

Taleah and Henry both started school and are doing well overall. Please pray for good friendships, for a timely intervention concerning Henry’s educational needs and for Taleah to feel peaceful and encouraged.

Tavin is working a full time job and saving money to start school next year. Please pray for him to know and understand the Lord’s revealing plan.

Please keep the ministry in Kenya in your prayers. The Resource Center continues to thrive and the biosand water filter project keeps producing.  God’s word is taught and those who have ears are hearing the good news! Your continued support helps keep these programs growing.

David and team continue water filter project.
Bible trivia challenge!
Watching Nick Vijicic video - Life Without Limbs

Pastor Mary teaching a Bible foundation class
Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement. 
hugs from the haugers O00Oo

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"We Don't Know...Yet."

If I had a nickel for every time I said that phrase over these last 4 months, our support would be covered for months! As missionaries on furlough, most conversations start like this…

“Your back!”
“For how long?”
“We don’t know… yet.”
“When are you going back to Kenya?”
“We don’t know… yet.”
“What will Tavin and Taleah do when you leave?”
“We don’t know… yet.”
“Are you going to rent your place again?
“We don’t know…yet.”

I could go on, but you get the idea.  For this lengthy yet over due post, I try to explain our redundant, ambivalent answer given to many reasonable questions, and hopefully pray for us. I wanted to refrain from writing till we had some concrete news to share but details are far from settled… Sooo:

We are currently on furlough with a USA immigration (USCIS) visa for Henry that expires September 27th. Henry is 100% adopted - our child, our son; but since we adopted as residents of Kenya, USCIS requires us to have legal and physical custody of Henry for 2 years while living outside the USA after the adoption finalized (November 2014).  We’ve been in USA since March 28th and this time does not count towards the 2-year requirement rule. (Note: this would not be a current problem if we were not detained by Kenya's adoption moratorium that went into effect in the middle of our process.)  Sooo, (it gets more complicated):

In May, Henry's hearing was informally checked by BOCS. He failed those tests, which led to more formal testing in June.  In July, Henry was diagnosed with bilateral nerosensorial profound hearing loss. In other words, he can’t hear information. (Think if you only heard loud garbled announcements made at airports… Yeah. That’s Henry’s world of sound.  Fyi though - doctors/audiologists are AMAZED at his coping strategies Click link for how Henry hears you.) Henry is now a candidate for cochlear implant surgery that involves mega money, tedious therapies and time-time-time. 

Our dilemmas that require the repetitive “We don’t know…yet” are:

1.     Do we do the surgery and when? Henry will loose whatever natural hearing he has if we elect to go this direction. We need a long stretch of time in USA for it to benefit Henry.
2.     How do we finance this? Henry is not a citizen yet so insurance for him in USA is E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E. He does not qualify for government medical programs because he is not a citizen. Every grant program we seen so far has citizen requirements.
3.     How do we start this process that needs consistent attention if Henry is not allowed to stay in USA or get citizenship?

Things we’ve done to discover solutions to the “We don’t know…yet” are:

1.     Prayer – prayed and praying!
2.     Researching speech development for children with hearing loss and how to introduce hearing to a child who has never genuinely heard the variety of sounds that form communication.
3.     Filed our $350 visa extension for Henry with the USCIS.
4.     Contacted our US Rep. Scott Tipton asking him to contact USCIS on our behalf and request Henry’s citizenship. This will help free us to make decisions that are in our family’s best interest and continue working as missionaries without travel restrictions.

What’s happening now?

1.     Henry got hearing aids this week. The aids will only enhance the sound he can already hear. They are the first step to introduce hearing changes to Henry. He is also attending a summer school session to help with socialization.
2.     We wait, patiently, persistently, proactively for God, knowing He works all things well.
3.     The ministry in Kenya continues – We interact with the management team regularly. Resource Center files are completed via our internet correspondence.  The mamas keep meeting regularly for bible study and a new tailoring class starts soon.

Saying, “We don’t know… yet” to Henry’s situation and our pending mission strategies (implementing orphan caregiver programs and taking DIGGS Resource Center model to African leadership conferences) is difficult, except for the word - yet.  That word carries hope because we know Jesus - the One who knows all.  He directs the universe and has the hairs on our heads numbered. Nothing escapes His attention. His love for us is unlimited. We remain confident in Him - faithful God.  

Those who wait on the Lord are not put to shame. Psalm 25:3.

We are abundantly grateful for your continued support at this time. Please be free to connect with us through phone calls, emails and comments. We love hearing from you.

Mark and Lisa have a full schedule of speaking for August.
Tavin has a full time job and his own vehicle.
Taleah does part-time work and dance.
Henry continues to thrive and adapt well.
The ministry in Kenya keeps functioning without crisis.

Favor with USCIS.
Some health issues for Lisa.
Henry’s continued development.
God’s wisdom for pending decisions.
One of the mama’s we worked with, Rose Brenda, was in a serious motorbike accident. She is pregnant medically unstable.

Big brother drives!
Ants in Kenya are a big problem but Taleah likes these ones.
Henry gets new "ears!" and our amazing audiologist.
Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement
hugs from the haugers

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Few Observations from This Side…

A Few Observations from This Side…

1. Cats and dogs are so much fatter here.
2. I can leave a plate of food unattended without swarms of ants devouring it.
3. Security checkpoints are only at airports.
4. Road traffic makes sense.
5. Small children do not roam the streets unsupervised.
6. No one begs for anything.

After transitioning between hotels and homes, we finally settled in one place for the next few months. We are experiencing things that go along with re-entry like unpredictable fatigue, confusion from the copious amount of choices and strange cravings for chili mango and ginger soda at 2:00 am.

Our schedule changes daily as we learn about Henry’s developmental assessments. He underwent a bunch of labs to make sure he’s parasite-free and has no underlying condition that is causing some periodic vomiting. Extensive audio screening revealed Henry requires hearing aids and cochlear implant surgery. His lagging speech development is our biggest concern, but overall he’s adjusting well to his temporary home in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Our trip to Texas in June has been postponed until we get our Henry boy the care he needs.

Tavin graduated from Pagosa Springs High School on June 4th. We look back at this last year in awe at how God provided a free, uncomplicated answer for Tavin to complete his senior year. Thanks to some GREAT people in the education arena in Pagosa, we watched to watch our “first-born” walk across the stage and receive his diploma. His future holds a variety of options that we are helping him investigate.

Since Taleah finished 9th grade through Calvary Online, she’s busy catching up with friends, enjoying dance class and appreciating her “favorite place in the whole world.”

We certainly miss our dear Kenyan friends but are happy to hear the mamas continue to meet for Bible study and accountability. The Resource Center hosted youth/children activities for vulnerable kids from the surrounding slum while mamas’ participate in catering class and sewing training.

We still need our faithful donors to help during this six-month furlough. With Henry’s medical assessments and immigration issues, we are looking to God’s provision to carry us. We feel grateful  as we seek the Lord and His next phase of serving victimized mamas and at risk children in Kisumu.

Please be free to contact us to know more about life Among the Least in Kenya.

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o

Friday, April 29, 2016

So Many Miles

So many miles…
1,989 + 6,238 + 382 + 487 + 1,587 …

A family of 5 traveling approximately 11,000 miles to various destinations and living out of suitcases for 31 days should make us expert packers, right?  After the first week our best laid packing plans unrolled into possession chaos:
   “Where’s my toothbrush?”
   “Those are my socks!” “
   “I know I packed that shirt…who took it?”
Plus, our generous family and friends added warm clothes to bless our un-acclimated bodies to the chilly temperatures…
Yep, time to get a trailer (or some warmer weather)!

After sorting through our compound in Kenya and transitioning ministry to the Resource Center at the local church, we began our long adventure over the ocean and across the USA to see family, visit friends and share stories of God’s amazing grace to those living among the least in Kisumu. We’ve received many warm and big-hearted welcomes.  THANK YOU for loving us so well!

We are happy to report the Kisumu Resource Center continues to prosper. A church in Ohio recently provided funds to build one porcelain toilet system for the elderly/physically challenged and two flushing squat potties. The Kenyan advisory board and management team provides unified leadership for ministry programs so those living in poverty have opportunity to belong, to contribute and to serve – just like the Bible teaches. 
 Kisumu Resource Center Family Day

As we settle into our Pagosa home for the next 5 months, our personal goals include:
  1.  Preparing Tavin to graduate from high school and investigate his next step. 
  2.  Helping Taleah reintegrate into a community she left over 5 years ago.
  3.  Navigating immigration rules and Henry’s path for healthy development.
  4.  Participating in some family debriefing sessions. 

Our speaking schedule takes us to Texas in June so please connect if you would like to know more about how we “equip developing-nation churches to biblically minister to people living in poverty, specifically widows and orphans” Does your organization or church support missions that need sustainability tools? We can assist. Working together creates caring churches.

"Hey, has anyone seen my mittens? I’m freezing!" 

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Just Check'in In...

Just check'in to share a quick update –

After living in the chaos of separating, packing and moving and packing some more, we are on our way to USA – with Henry. It feels surreal to write these words; after 2 years of “unknown” for this little orphaned boy (who’s grown tall) and consistent ministry with those living in extreme poverty, we are more than ready for furlough. We will miss our good friends in Kenya but we are EXCITED to see family and friends back home.

Serving in Kenya for 5 years reaped beautiful fruit of transformation. Culturally relevant discipleship programs built healthy relationships. Those living in poverty now serve in their communities. Victimized widowed mamas feel empowered to raise their children. Clean water is shared with the gospel message in villages and the slums. A functioning Resource Center equips the local church to biblically minister to those in need. Only God can take a seed of a vision and cause it to mature into meaningful reality.

If you’d like us to share some of our experiences of seeing God moving while living among the least, please be free to contact us and we can set aside some time to visit.  We can also present at churches, small groups and organizations. Below is our itinerary:
  • March 28th - 31, Washington DC.
  • April 1 -7 Buffalo, NY
  • April 8 – 17 Columbus, Ohio
  • April 17 -21 Driving to Colorado
  • April 22 Staying in Pagosa Springs (but can still travel to share)
Our time frame for returning to Kenya In not scheduled yet, but it will probably be in late December.

Please pray for us:
  • International travel with Henry -  a first for this boy!
  • Continued health and provision. (Taleah's still dealing with a painful tooth ache.)
  • Continued unity and effectiveness for the ministry in Kisumu.
The Resource Center Advisory Board, Management Team and some of the mamas.

We certainly appreciate all the prayers, support and encouragement.
As we say here in Swahili, “Asante sana. Nema shakuru. Mungu akubariki sana.”
“Thanks you so much. We are grateful. God bless you so much.”

hugs from the haugers Ooo0o

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oops! In all the excitement we forgot...

Oops! In all the excitement, we forgot our last post for “Week of Water.” What excitement? We have Henry’s non-immigrant visa to visit the USA! Yea Jesus! Thanks for all your prayers.

Below is the missing water post and prayer requests.

Meet David Otieno. He’s our “water guy” - the person in charge of constructing, delivering, and informing his community about bio-sand water filters. His own story helps share the importance of providing opportunity to access potable water...

“She’s sick again” David hung his head when we asked about his little girl. Three-year-old Mary was fighting diarrhea and fever for months. Consistent medical expenses to treat her were draining the family’s small income.

David and Nancy both grew up as orphans, raised by guardians. Neither knew the close care and comfort of a mom and dad. Mary’s chronic sicknesses made them feel helpless, instigating a root of rejection and threatening loss.

“Let’s pray.” We joined with David requesting God to intervene and show us the cause of Mary’s weakening condition.

In the following weeks David and Mark worked on bio-sand water filters, transporting them to widowed mama recipients. As we discussed the benefits of the filtered water, David had a thought… “Mary’s continual illness could be related to contaminated water.” David lives in a flood plane of Lake Victoria and many children suffer because their small bodies cannot effectively fight water-borne illnesses.

On a warm Sunday afternoon we delivered a bio-sand water filter to David’s humble home; since then, Mary’s health has dramatically improved.

Clean water ministered to this family - bringing health, income and assurance that their Heavenly Father knows how to care for them.

This “sustainable story” was seed funded by your generous donations.

Please join us in praying for…
  • Our travel plans.  We should be departing Kenya at the end of March for a stateside furlough. While there, we hope to visit with as many people as we can to share the vision of biblical ministry to those living in poverty.
  • Ministry in the Resource Center to function with unity and integrity found in God’s amazing grace. We’re excited about the advisory and management teams!
  • The widowed mamas who still need school fees to send their very bright older children to school. The mama’s are not just given funds. They contribute volunteer services to show appreciation for the help they receive.
  • Continued heath, provision and protection.

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week of Water 3: Do you know the Living Water?

Our third post in Week of Water shares the tract we 
use to explain the gospel message with those who 
are gathered to watch the process of setting up a 
bio-sand filter in a community.  
Do you know the Living Water?

Both natural and spiritual life requires water… God created human beings to enter into the world in birth through water.  We need clean water to sustain our lives - water free from parasites, harmful bacteria, and toxins.  Drinking water that is not clean makes you and your children sick with runny tummy that brings death. Also, not drinking enough water will make you feel weak and confused. If you miss water for many days, you will die.

Our physical need for water reflects our need for spiritual water.  The Bible says we all thirst for Living Water.  John 4:7-13 says a Samaritan woman was at a well, drawing her daily water.  She was embarrassed by her life because she had lived with many men.  Jesus walks to the well, asks the woman to give him a drink. She was surprised that Jesus, a Jew, would even speak to her because Jews and Samaritans disliked each other.  Jesus explained that if she knew who He was, she would ask him for Living Water. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again.  Whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty. The water that I will give him will become in him a well of life that lasts forever.”

Have you felt the Jesus won’t speak to you because of who you are?  Have you felt a desire for Living Water to satisfy your thirst for truth? Jesus can cleanse you from fear, shame and evil .  Ezekiel 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.   John 7:37 If any man thirst, let him come unto  (Jesus), and drink.  He that believeth on (Jesus), as the scripture says, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.   This promise is made to you and your children as it says in Is. 44:3 “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”

Who do you say that Jesus is?

John 3 says there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus.  He came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, did you come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”  Jesus answered, “ I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”  Jesus answered, “ Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  Nicodemus answered, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Isaiah 12:2-3 says we should draw water with joy from the wells of salvation.
Do you want Jesus to cleanses you from every act of wickedness? Do you want to be saved from the grip of evil? Do you want to know how to draw living water from the wells of salvation?  Do you want the life God intended for you?
1.  Accept that you need spiritual cleansing and acknowledge Jesus alone can bring you new life.
2.  Believe that Jesus, perfect in goodness, died on the cross, He suffered a horrible death - a penalty that should have been ours for the evil choices we make.  Jesus willingly suffered that penalty Himself so He can cleanse us with His precious blood. By Jesus Christ sacrifice you are washed clean from sin and free to have relationship with God Almighty.
3.  Confess aloud for God to forgive you, to wash away your old life and birth you into a new life in Christ. Thank Him for rescuing you with His amazing love.
YOU ARE BORN AGAIN! Live your new life by reading the Bible, praying and attending a healthy Bible - believing church.  May you drink deep from God’s endless Water of Life and grow into everything He created you to be.
Aunt Rose giving water cleaned by her biosand filter to children in the village.
There are four filter in this community and one more to be placed later this month.
That's five areas the gospel of Living Water is being proclaimed and disease-free water 
is available.

But now, because of your help, the number is decreasing 
and people hear the truth about Jesus.

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o