Saturday, April 29, 2017

One-liners and More




It’s spring in the Rockies!  I imagine the lack of April showers will probably bring May snow ;).  This month’s update - our journal entry.  Hope it will give you an idea where our hearts wander.

These one-liners developed from our years overseas while living among the least…
  • Mercy and grace only carry redemption when founded on truth. 
  • Programs need good policies and procedures, but it’s good relationships that make them successful.
  • We can’t love our right to be right more than we love our neighbor.
  • Suffering, or lack of it, is never a good indicator of someone’s spirituality.
  • Jesus must be seen for who He is, not for whom we might pretend Him to be.
  • Normal is not necessary. (It’s actually highly overrated.)
  • There is a big difference between identity and destiny.
  • Someone might be on the right team but play by the wrong rules.
  • Our freedom is connected to others.
  • Our story is bigger than us.
  • There lives unspeakable beauty in unrequited sacrifice.
  • Frying bacon and rain have the same sound.
  • The first step in the fight against injustice is to repent of our own.

Someday these might be chapter headings for a book or blog post titles, but for now they are simple summaries of experiences carried in us. 

Living in a culture that doesn’t belong to us exposed stuff we didn’t know was harbored, like how westernized we perceived Jesus to be. How different it felt being the “other color.” How big the relational gap is between poverty and wealth. How Kenya’s widowed mamas and orphan children really survive.  



Regardless of the extremes faced everyday that tempted to shut us down, God’s Word held us. Reading the Bible was not just to gain good teaching or a devotion ritual. His Word fed us grace to minister to the ungracious. It provided peace to wait for corruption to ease. It sustained us with mercy to accept unknowns and strength to forgive offenses.

Perhaps our season stateside, which has been unpredictable at best, generates dependence on God’s Word. Certainly the Lord doesn’t use manipulation to force us toward Him.  He knows human control complicates messy situations. What we think is best usually isn’t because of biased positions and tainted opinions. Letting circumstances stay slightly out of our ability to completely govern creates a safely mechanism, if we learn to trust Him who governs all.

So, could some irrepressible chaos be crucial for constructive spiritual maturity?  Does God want us to reach into what’s difficult so He can create useful empathy? Should we avoid pressures at the cost of missing His heart for the lost and broken? Maybe unresolved situations are needed for us to understand global realities and join God to influence them for better.


Below are a few more one-liners from quiet times while watching seasons change. They form questions that challenge a future vision…

  • Jesus didn’t die for us to stay comfortable.
  • He died for us to live – live as Christ.
  • He rose again to empower us to be the miraculous.

How do we live as Christ?
How do we bring solutions to the impossible?
How do we change the world unless we live among those who need their world changed?

1Peter 4: 7-19
The Message


video

Hope you enjoy the video of activities from the RESOURCE CENTER - a safe Christian place for mamas and vulnerable children to learn about Jesus and useful skills. Activities are donation based. Thanks for your gifts!




Please join us in praying for:
Henry as his immigration and education processes unfold.
Tavin as he pursues college plans.
Taleah as she finishes up her school year.
The Resource Center team in Kenya as they facilitate extra activities this month.
The Kajulu Women and WOW to follow the Lord’s leading and keep studying their Bibles well.
The children at Joyland to have what they need to know and follow Jesus.
The Water Project team as they write a proposal to bring piped water to the host compound for constructing filters.
Mark and Lisa as we plan for the future.

 Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and support.
hugs from the haugers
Ooo0O

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stuck! You Know That Feeling?


STUCK! Ugh.Don’t you hate that feeling?
You know - being caught in the proverbial limbo where pending plans hinge on a decision that can’t be determined yet.
Well, that’s where we are.
Trying to navigate United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) and Henry’s USA citizenship is a daily task of applications, petitions, paperwork, phone calls, photocopies and $$$.  If you recall, we originally wrote about Henry’s immigration story here.  Little did we know the saga would continue so long!  We just filed 6 application/petitions with 39 documents and fees. Praying for a favorable response!

   

 Considering our USCIS issue,  plans for returning to Kenya are not set like concrete. We must wait for “Advance Parole” approval before Henry can journey abroad. Our tentative idea is to travel to Kisumu in May and stay until early August. We will leave then because Kenya’s presidential elections loom large on August 8th. Our last experience with that found us hiding in a tin church while automatic gunfire and tear gas crazed the Kondele community - a situation not worth repeating.

Although we wade through unknowns, the Resource Center and Clean Water Project continue to thrive. Look what you helped make happen...
The Resource Center is a quality Christian place for vulnerable kids to gather and know they are loved. Inside are games, art supplies, books, toys and teachers who care that these little ones are not left to neglect and abuse. The learning focus is Jesus. The Center needs electricity to expand the programs. Please keep praying.
Clean Water Project provides bio-sand water filters along with the message of Living Water to communities.  It takes hard work to build and deliver the concrete containers, but it is worth it to see families have access to healthy water and the Gospel. This income-generating ministry also needs help to secure the development compound. Please pray as we investigate options.
Good work David and all who invested!
We’re excited about an emerging project called 2 Continent Baskets. We designed a solution to tackle these 2 big problems:
1. Adoption expenses can be overwhelming (average $25,000 for non foster/adopt).
2. Many moms in Kenya are a risk of loosing their children to orphanages.
Among the Least wants to help carry these burdens by partnering with a family preservation project in Kenya. Moms  earn a fair wage creating marketable crafts from sustainable materials. These items are then offered to perspective adoptive families for fundraising sales to finance their adoptions. This initiative is presently assisting a local family.  Cool graphics to inspire involvement...
As our family currently lives in the limbo of uncertainty dealing with ambivalent authorities, we are practicing peace, rest, patience, self-control and whatever other good thing that will get us through this phase. Pressures of feeling bogged down by the swamp of bureaucracy ease when we focus on our Creator - He secures our present and guides our future.

To you, our valuable supporter, thanks for sharing our tenuous “limbo” and praying for us. Thanks for continuing to sponsor worthwhile programs that help widowed/single mothers and vulnerable children. Thanks for helping to bring clean water into communities thirsty for the Gospel. God bless you!

 
       hugs from the haugers Ooo0o                                                                                                        

Saturday, February 18, 2017

This Photo!

   These kids. Posing outside the Resource Center. Safe.  Learning about Jesus. Having fun.

You helped make this happen. Providing a quality Christian place for vulnerable kids to gather and know they are loved.  Inside that door are games, art supplies, books, toys and teachers who care that these little ones are not left to neglect and abuse.  
"Asante sana Everybody!"

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Emmanuel, God with Us. Where?



Relentlessly dismal news hangs over us like thick grey skies, predicting gloomy days ahead. From bomb ravaging Aleppo, to friends’ struggle with cancer, tragic fires, plane crashes, terror and corruption, one might wonder about the Christmas greeting:  
Emmanuel - God with us.

God with us?
The question pleads, “Really? Where?”

I’ve been tempted to ask this since returning from Kenya. Our first Christmas home in 5 years but hard realities of living in a developing nation return to haunt me… broken children crawling, limping, hoping for a smile. HIV positive mamas, orphaned babies, millions of abandoned, neglected, forgotten... God with us?  I cry at the loss while colorful lights twinkle.

Where is He? The Savior heralded by an angel to lowly shepherds so long ago:
“Don’t be afraid! I bring good news of great joy to all people.”

“God is with you.” The voice resonates in my heart.
I’m reminded of a recent prayer time when an acquaintance assured me with confidence, “God wants you to know He is with you.” Or the stranger at the mall on Black Friday who took a risk by walking over to me, placing her hand on my shoulder and confessing, albeit uncomfortably, “I’m supposed to tell you God is near. He’s with you.”

These reminders shake my core. I recognize the mistake of missing this truth. Instead of welcoming God in the midst of misery and believing He restores all in His time, I expected God to follow my plan to right the wrongs. I forgot; there is an enemy named evil. Sadly, God get blamed for all its ugly turmoil. God also becomes guilty of mankind’s depravities – choices to inflict wickedness that spreads like a pandemic. The consequences ruin even innocence. Maybe God hates evil because its wounds infect us - His beloved. 

Our Creator’s great love keeps us from being utterly consumed. He came as a babe who grew to a man. He felt tired, hungry and thirsty. He wept, groaned and experienced agony.  His pure devotion, uncontaminated by evil, sacrificed to win our freedom from depravity.  He willingly took the reproach forced on Him to remain with us forever.

God came to live with us.

He’s still here.

God wants to reach the desperate in Syria, He longs to rescue the lost from dirty streets, hold the overlooked, and find the broken hidden in far-away hovels. He desires to feed the hungry, to satisfy thirsty souls, to comfort those who suffer and soothe their aches with healing balms.

How does God do that when the earth itself moans from the weight of inhumanity?

God lives in the hearts of those who ask Him. And from those hearts, He touches others with mercy. His truth-bonded grace carries redemption far beyond the temporal.  I see it when volunteers work with refugees and when our church shares food boxes with needy families. I read about it in a woman’s post thanking the community for their care during her grief and in beautiful letters from missionaries serving in desolate places. I receive it when helpful hands surround me, reminding me…

God is with you.

As you scan the horrible headlines or live in unnamed sorrow, please know Hope shines even when foggy confusion hovers. Believe the words of the angels spoken long ago –

“Don’t be afraid… there is good news that brings great joy…
Emmanuel, God with us.”





Thursday, December 15, 2016

Why The Silence?


Why the silence?

For the last 5 years I’ve written thoughts and experiences about our family, ministry and life in Kenya. I posted over 700 updates for those who supported our journey. It became therapeutic and a lovely way to record memories. For the last two months, I did not write. I avoided my blog and social media. It took me a while to respond to emails. I didn’t know what to say.

We’ve been stateside for 8 months. We have a few more to go.  When we left Kenya for a much-needed furlough, weariness followed me.  While home in Colorado, it shimmed up as my partner. Confusion joined in. Then Frustration appeared forming an overwhelming trio. For the last 8 weeks, every time I tried to write, these three actively get in the way. On the laptop, Word’s “new blank document” screen became my nemesis. I joined a great writing group to spark motivation but became disappointed by my lagging participation. I simply didn’t know how to communicate without feeling tired.

So. Very. Tired.


With that said, I apologize to those who support us for not keeping you updated.  Please know how sorry I feel, how lost I felt, and how I’m processing long term life in Kenya - the fight for Henry, the threats of security, the management of effective cross-cultural ministry - all while being a wife, a mom, a friend with profoundly limited strength in a extremely foreign setting.  Many of these things are still the reality we navigate from more familiar surroundings. I’m not feeling bad for my self. I certainly detest pity parties. I am recognizing I’ve been emotionally injured and the ever-healing wound sometimes seeps, especially when ignored.


As God nurture’s His “unforced rhythms of grace” within my heart, I’ve found my voice again but it may sound a bit different. Probably less-filtered.  I’m searching for my humor though... Might wanna end me a joke to flesh it out...


Thanks for understanding.

~lisa

Prayer desires:
  • Obviously, for me ~lisa.
  • The kids continued healthy transitions to life in USA.
  • Henry’s medical needs to be addressed effectively - a consensus on the best course of action. Also, that immigration issues solve without uncomplicated delay.
  • Mark’s bio-sand water filter training.
  • The ministry in Kisumu – may fruit remain and multiply.
Praise explosions:
  • Henry is doing so well acclimating to school (even though he did pull the fire alarm yesterday).
  • His Special Needs Resource Team is AWESOME! (Which includes my super sis!)
  • Taleah doesn’t experience anxiety attacks anymore. She really enjoys school, friends and singing in the traveling choir. She plans to attend One Thing at IHOP.
  • Tavin’s maintaining his job, car and gym membership. He’s also songwriting, studying for the ACT and is a huge help around the house.
  • The Resource Center’s amazing ministry to moms and children in Kisumu.
 

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