Thursday, May 28, 2015

May Update: Just A Word...


Just a Word…

Sometimes that’s all it takes to keep you from anxious thoughts, fear, worry, confusion. A word fitly spoken carries soothing peace – the kind of peace that hides you when tempestuous trials pound with vengeance.



I periodically attend a bible study for missionary women. One sunny Thursday afternoon we were discussing hearing the voice of God. The question was asked, “What’s your hardest issue to trust the Lord?” I blurted out, “TIME.”

Time is my love language. When I feel it’s not managed well, I sense trepidation, like a looming storm threatening to destroy opportunities. Insecurity and uncertainty hails down, flooding questions nag me at 3:00 am…


“When will this adoption saga end? Will we be able to travel home together and visit family we’ve not seen in years? Will Tavin be able to finish his senior year in the States and make plans to enter college? When can we apply for Lil Man’s passport and visa? When can we purchase tickets? Will the Resource Center be completed by July? Can we move all our things there? How will it all mesh so it’s completed at the right time?”


In the midst of this tempest, I received two birthday gifts: a watch from Carolyne, a ministry leader and a scripture magnet from our missionary friend, Bev. Imagine my surprise when these two presents combined and God spoke, reminding me…



He is ever faithful. He can be trusted to accomplish His plan on time. He knows my struggles, He sent His Word. It encompasses me with peace. What about you? What encouraging Word hides you in Him?


Thanks for joining us in praying with gratefulness…

May adoption procedures in Kenya resume without complications. Let the social workers, lawyers and judges defend the cause of the fatherless. Our adoption process has another court date – June 10. Appreciating prayers!



Our missionary permits are approved but lost on some bureaucrat's mounded desk. Seriously. Only grace for this one.


A huge thank you to those who sent donations for the Resource Center. We are half way there! (Oops. Forgot to carry my camera to the site.)

Please pray as we deliver water filters next week. May the Lord open hearts to embrace Jesus.

Please pray for the Kajulu mamas and at risk kiddos to overcome sicknesses that invades the village during rainy season. Let them be healed in Jesus name.




Please remember the Joyland students who live in Dadaab refugee camp. Because of continuing terrorist attacks close to Dadaab - a place overflowing with refugees from Sudan and Somalia - Kenya has pending plans to close the camp. These innocent kids will be repatriated to unstable countries filled with violence, and human rights abuses.







Be free to share requests with us so we can trust the Lord with you.
Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
hugs from the haugers Ooo0o

Friday, May 15, 2015

Liberty: an advantage of knowing


Liberty: an advantage of knowing. 

Over a year ago I copied those words in my journal.  My time serving in a developing nation proves their accuracy. I realize the liberty that shaped my life experiences opened doors of opportunity, assets and connections. I received advantage beyond those who can't eat so generously of liberty’s fruit.  

As I interact with the widowed and single mamas from Kisumu’s slums and rural villages, some older than myself, there is a marked difference in how I understand problem solving.  My education and exposure to diversity within a well-structured, safe environment enables me to make suggestions where they stare in disbelief and question, “Is that possible?” 

Yes, it is possible.

But only with their help, motivation and implementation; they are necessary to make solutions become realities. 

My large “advantage of knowing” is very restricted without the mamas’ inputting their “limited liberty” of cultural nuances, which escape my western perspective. Many of these women have only had bits of formal education in run down schools.  Inadequate access to information, nutrition and health care built small spaces for their scope of life. Yet, what they do know, I do not; and it’s their “missing piece” that creates complete answers to complex questions like…
  • How do we maneuver projects to avoid corruption and benefit vulnerable children?
  • How do we introduce resources so they are utilized to improve everyone’s situations and not just a select few?
  • How do we work among the least and not be viewed as the leader?
My liberty. My “advantage of knowing” only works well when it’s couple with another’s, and together we make it available to more.

With your prayers, support and encouragement, we have worked along side our Kenyan friends to develop biblical development programs.  This ministry is moving to a Resource Center being built on property the local church has provided.  This new location will enable more desperate women to obtain Christian-based services. 

If you’d like to help complete this structure, please make a donation through paypal on the sidebar of this blog or send your gift to:
Among the Least  PO Box 3543  Pagosa Springs, CO  81147
Please include note: For Resource Center.
Let’s spread  liberty!
"It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. 
That’s an act of true freedom."
Galatians 5:13-15

Monday, April 27, 2015

April Update: Truth About Pain

Sad news filled ears and hearts over this last month – from the death of dear young ones in our stateside small town to the catastrophic Nepal earthquake. A quick look on any broadcast station adds more tragedies, unrest and tensions. On the heels of Kenya’s current terrorist attack, we experience sicknesses and loss here on the mission field of our calling. Painful times are not lacking for anyone.



I remember reading somewhere; “God only allows pain when something new will be born.” I also recall myself asking, “How do we see the hard, hurting world and know that this grueling pain means something new is coming?
 

Turning the pages of sacred scripture, experienced by lives endless, proves true - our Creator has a plan… 
(Romans 8 The Message.)



“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.”

Pain will come – guaranteed.

We might be tempted to abort the new thing that pain should usher in because we are afraid to labor through the challenges. We could give up since the work feels uncomfortable, inconvenient, overwhelming. Protecting ourselves from pain is natural but this birth is supernatural – creating redemptive beauty if we are willing to embrace the strenuous waiting…



“That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”



In all this, there is a plan. Not flagellant piety of a deserved curse, but confident anticipation that Eternal Goodness transforms mourning into dancing. Let pain have its way? No. Let God have His way in pain.

“God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Will you please let the Spirit pray through you with us?

  • For families of those suffering because of the loss of loved ones. 
  • For God’s redemptive plan to unfold to those who’ve not heard or know of His unconditional love.
  • For deliverance and healing to manifest in those who need the Lord’s merciful touch.
  • For us to continue steadfast in serving the poor in Jesus name, finding joy in His inspiring presence.
  • For our "labored waiting" of this adoption process to be finalized.
Below is a more specific request that focuses on the work God is doing in Kenya and a way you can help...



The church we've been working with for the last four years has acquired the hotly contested property; they graciously gave the ministry a large corner to build a resource center to minister to the poor in the surrounding slums. It will house all the resources we currently have at our place - sewing machines, lending library, materials, curriculum, book cases, tables, desks, chairs. file cabinet... We were going to use a shipping container but building was compatible and a more timely option.


With the first donation, the building began in earnest. Several days into digging, torrential rains threatened to capsize the efforts but God's grace preserved us. The digging was completed on time, yet cost more than budgeted because of extra labor during those rainy days.


 

Mark's oversight and diligent efforts to see the work succeed brings strength to relationships. He's known as the "friendly wazungu" among the crew. The church's contributions have also lead to great progress. In a country that notoriously robs the disadvantaged, it's inspiring to see the poor work hard and earn a fair wage - a testimony of God's provision.



 


The construction is almost done but we could use some help. The church is partnering with the ministry to finish the stonework and plaster. We still need a roof, windows with security grates, doors and a western toilet (yeah!). The estimated pending expense is approximately $4,000. If you feel moved to donate, please see giving details at the end of this post. Our desire is to create a place where more widowed/single mamas can access biblical help, counseling, skills training and become blessings in their communities.



Giving options:

  • Visit the blog and make donation through paypal. Be sure to designate your gift.
  • Mail a check to Among the Least and attach a sticky note that says, "For Kenya Resource Center." PO Box 3543 Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Asante sana for helping us share the redemptive love of Jesus with those who are victimized and among the least here in Kenya. Divine destiny awaits them!


hugs from the haugers  

                               Ooo0o

Thursday, April 16, 2015

About Friends: A Story from Terrorism


Monday afternoons I travel to be with the Women of Worth Group – an organized gathering of mama’s from surrounding slum areas who do table banking, bible study and hand crafts for selling or donating. Generally I enjoy my time with these mamas. I always leave with stories or news of their experiences reverberating in my mind, tugging at my heart. This Monday was no different.

We sit at a round table in an airy hut. After songs and prayer, the mamas pay loans, savings shares and charity offerings; they bring out flannel material to continue making washable sanity pads for orphaned village girls. This is when conversations spark hot and run deep. If I’m not teaching, I usually introduce a scripture in context and ask for thoughts. “What do you think Jesus met when He said,

 'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends. ‘ " John 15:12-15


An interesting discussion ensues:

Jackie, seriously direct, speaks boldly and laughs with passion: “Jesus wants us to obey Him since He is our friend.”


An even more direct and intimidating Janet huffs her reply: “Friends come and go. They do not obey. They are like vehicles. When one leaves, another will soon come to pick you.”

Everyone laughs. Janet defends her stand, “Is it not true? Yes. It is.”

A rare quietness settles over the group and it seems Janet begins considering how she should reintroduce her idea with a bit more clarity: “You know what happened to the students at the University in Garssia?”  Kenya mourns students.
(Kenya has faced over 50 Al Shabaab terrorist related attacks since 2011.)

 
All look up from their work, giving sober attention. Janet is referring to the terrorist attack on Mundy Thursday that killed 147 students in a place north east of us, about a two-day journey by bus.

“My neighbor’s daughter was killed.  My neighbor said the terrorists made the daughter call her and say she will never see the daughter again. After the daughter spoke those words – BOOM! It is when they shot her. Aye. My neighbor heard them shoot her daughter. The only girl. The 1st in family to go to University. A sacrifice for her. Imagine. Her daughter.

“Boom.” Janet whispers again slowly shaking her head. The mamas keep tracing patterns and cutting in silence.

Janet continues.

“Friends are like that situation. Hard life happens. People you know, those who love you come and go. You must be with those who can pick you up. Help you live right. I do not want to be dying with badness in me. When I die I want to have goodness. My neighbor. Her daughter had goodness. . Evil does not like good.  That is why she is in heaven now. She was Jesus' friend.”

The mamas listen, nodding their heads in agreement - something that rarely happens. 


As I sliced the black plastic lining with a sharp scissors, I felt the cutting away of ignorance. These women, whom I desired to be with, after years of stateside praying and planning, now surrounded me. I hear them applying verses to their difficult struggles to survive. Once desperately idle, I see them making something useful with their hands to share. Little bags, shoved deep into their bosoms carry extra shillings for their children’s care. My life in USA feels so very far away. All I read and researched sits before me in faces etched by incredible suffering. In the end, they want the same as I do - to bring goodness, to be Jesus' friend.

Please pray for those families who lost their children in a horrible massacre. Please pray for this hurting world to seek the God of goodness and become Jesus' friend.

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Update 2015: I Don't Believe in Prayer


I don’t believe in prayer.

Interesting title for a missionary prayer update, huh?

Well, it’s true. I don’t believe in prayer.

But,

I do BELIEVE IN GOD who responds to prayer.

Does it seem like I’m mincing words?  Well, I think language can help us focus on truth, which engages faith.

Believing in prayer makes me think the results are based on my method, my effort, my performance.

Believing in God who responds to prayer focuses on our relationship with a loving heavenly Father who’s full of mercy and grace. The bible says He desires communicating with us, His children. He uses prayers to line our will up with His divine providence. He moves mountains that stand in the way of His manifestation in our lives.

Will you pray with us and believe God?

1. For the Lord’s hand to continue to direct those who have authority over adoption in Kenya.

2. For pending plans to travel to USA late summer for an extended furlough to get some much needed attention concerning our kids’ medical needs and schooling.


3. The shipping container project is on hold, and since the Kenyan church now owns the hotly contested property, (miracle story!) it’s less expensive to build a resource center structure and move ministry there. Please pray for this process to unfold without unnecessary complications.

Church after a gang attack last year.
Mark praising the Lord for the new security fence and future site of the Moriah Resource Center.
4.  The wonderful family who rented our Pagosa home over the last three years bought a home and is moving out. If anyone knows of someone who needs a place… We’re doing short-term rental for 6 months with option to extend. We’re praying for the right connection.

5.  For the widowed/single mamas to keep finding the Lord in their ever challenging lives. May their busy hands be profitable for the children, community and God’s kingdom. Discipleship in Kenya, especially to the forgotten, endures as our heart’s passion. We’ve witnessed the transformation biblical teaching makes in these mama’s lives. Please pray especially for new mamas who joined WOW – Riel, Grace, and Josephine.


              Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.
           hugs from the haugers  OooO0

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Redemption: Full Circle



With his mother gone for 3 years and his father in a freshly dug grave, how would he live?

The question pierced George’s 13-year-old mind like a dull needle pushes in and out of a shabby cloth, trying to mend a tear that ruined its usefulness. That’s how George’s life was becoming – unfixable, useless. He constantly felt pricked by thoughts of abandonment and rejection. No one claimed him. His father’s older brother took advantage of him, selling off the land, claiming he would use the money to pay George and his brother’s school fees. He didn’t. Instead he threatened the boys with a machete, chasing them away from any sympathy a villager might want to show.

George was an orphan. So many orphans already fighting for opportunity, for attention, for acceptance, for love, George needed to find help.

By avoiding his crazy uncle, George worked odd jobs, earning enough to pay school fees. A few village mamas’ secretly help him. Afraid of the Uncle's wrath, they hid food in the bushes for George and some collected shillings to buy him a pair of used shoes. He survived, strengthened by the village mamas’ mercy and prayers.

Years passed and now George is a man with a family of his own. He works a full time job as a ground’s foreman at an orphanage. He attends night school, studying to become an accountant. When the crazy uncle died, it was George who organized the funeral and paid the bills.

God heard the village mamas’ prayers and saw the acts of kindness they showed to George. He has become proof that compassion in Jesus name brings redemption.

Full circle.

Today, the mamas’ that aided George in his distress are old, some widowed, many caring for orphaned children. They belong to the Kajulu Group – a collection of beautifully real women who face hard lives with soft hearts.  George connected us with them. It’s his way of saying thanks for their provisions and prayers so many years ago.

Our symbiotic relationship with these mamas offers sweet fellowship over roselle tea, stewed kuku and millet ugali. Together we’ve learned to make liquid soap for them to sell.  We’ve found small market for fireless cookers.  We’ve cleaned media to fill biosand water filters. We share God’s Word. To see George sitting with these mamas, laughing, talking, planning for the future... God's miracle.

This hope-filled story of reciprocal care is not Kenya’s norm. 
  • For the average two million orphans, 9 out of 10 live in poverty and never complete their education.  
  • 40% of children age six to 16 are part of the work force.   
  • Women make up more than 50% of the population, but many are poor and illiterate. A large number are still affected by customary practiced that perpetuate oppression, especially among widows. Coping strategies for these mamas involves exploitive labor, including forced sex work.
Our goal is Kenya is to encourage mutual care in the name of Jesus. The poor, namely orphans and widows can thrive in their communities if three things continue to happen:
  1. Building biblical foundations for family sustainability.
  2. Teaching skills training coupled with discipleship for healthy Christian living.
  3. Praying for wisdom, mercy and grace in service to one another.

Like Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:9 – 24), God offers us all opportunities for redemption.

Full circle.

How do you share your redemption story? Be sure to pass it on.

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Update 2015


The book of Romans (15:30) finds the author asking
“Will you be (our) prayer partners? For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake 
and because of your love for (us) - given to you by the Holy Spirit - 
pray much with (us) for (the) work.”

We’re asking for the same… Because of love, 
will you partner in prayer for us and the work God is doing in Kenya?

These are our requests and shouts of joy…
Asking God for favor with all involved in Lil Man’s adoption process. 
We refuse to pay bribes. May God move the hearts of social workers, 
the lawyer and judge to make decisions in the best interest of Henry Jasper. 
 

Thanking the Lord for the JOY of delivering Luo Bibles to village mamas!  
Please pray as we facilitate bible study for women who have never 
known God’s Word for themselves.
Please pray for the WOW mamas to keep making progress in their 
spiritual walks and practical outreach to the community.

Smiling mamas can read God's Word in their heart language. 
"Erokamano. Nyasaye Opaki."
Sharing the Word.
Precious prayer time with gratefulness.
Amazing mamas now blessed with Bibles!

Some of our dear friends in Dadaab Refugee Camp were not sponsored 
to come back to school at Joyland. Since the ISIL crisis, funds for refugees’ 
education are not available.
Please pray the children at Joyland to be protected against violence and abuse.  
Please pray for the local youth to resist temptations to join terrorist groups in 
northern Kenya. May God’s words of comfort and peace find a home in their hearts.

 
We were awarded a grant to build 15 biosand water filters. 
May we have grace to complete the work with a focus of sharing the gospel.
A biosand filter will make this dirty lake water 
potable and prevent waterborne diseases.
Praising Jesus for the progress made on the church property. 
The permanent security wall is completed. 
Please pray with us about constructing a place for neglected 
mamas from the surrounding slums and villages to come, learn and 
access resources. The expected cost to build a multipurpose building 
is approximately $10,000.
Building the security wall. Many of these mamas 
now attend church.
Security guard poses with his machete.
Carolyne and Taleah strike a pose along the wall.
Mark poses too.
Without even knowing what was happening, a dear friend in USA 
felt impressed to share these verse a few days ago... 
Zech 2: 5. "For I, says the Lord, 'will be a wall of fire all around her 
and I will be the glory in her midst."
(Thanks Lynn!)

Please pray for our family to experience continued protection and provision.   
We are reapplying for our missionary permit. Our kiddos are in midterm and 
need an extra boost of confidence and commitment. We are also asking for
wisdom concerning options for the future.


Now glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is 
able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream 
of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.  
May He be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because 
of His master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ.   
(Ephesians 3:20.)

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