Friday, August 19, 2011

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Hugs from the Haugers

Times of Grace

Of course everything moves slower here. Plenty to do without the choices that lend towards effective time management. Eight people with one driver. A household to create from one store (think Alco only). Food to prepare (for 8 people) on a table top burner. Water to boil, always boiling the water. We bouncing along in traffic among the peci-pecis, matutus, buses, cows, chickens and people ambling along the roadside. We wait. We wait in jams, for meetings to start, vendors to barter, decisions to be made... This is life for the last 14 days, and it probably won't change any time soon. As we live, we find ourselves moving on the rhythms of God's grace.

Just yesterday we went to a shop to find fabric for Becky and Addie to make curtains. Waiting outside, at a busy intersection of town, we saw a young boy fall to ground and start seizing. He convulsed while cars whizzed by without concern. We prayed. Mark ran to buy a water and walked over to the boy after he came back around. We find out that his name is Eric and he sniffs glue. His life is harder than the dangers of sniffing glue. Mark prays with Eric and we watch him wander away. We have to believe God follows after him. It's a time of grace.

Becky and Addie's room is on the upper level of our home. It has a veranda that overlooks our broken-bottle encrusted, cement security wall and into the neighborhood.. That evening Becky tells us about the girl she sees from her veranda who lives in a corrugated metal shack next to the wall. She has a baby. The baby cries a lot. The baby is hungry. The next day, as Becky washes her clothes, she finds the baby's new cleaned diaper cloths draped across the security wall, drying in the warm African sun. Becky has to do something that will help. We talk. We pray and the following morning, while the diapers are out drying, Becky pins a thousand note shilling on to one of them. She prays again believing God will make the difference from this simple act of kindness. Another moment in grace.

His name is Timothy, and he wanders up to me at the Nakumatt market. His stares at his feet and whispers, “Will you please take me?” He glances up at me, tears brimming in his chocolate eyes. His story is not uncommon here. Neglected. Alone. What can we do? How does God want to make a difference in the lives of the “Timothys” that overwhelm this land? I pray with him, telling him it's dangerous to ask people to take him home. Does he want a ride? A meal? Where is his home? I give him some change and he wanders away. That night my prayers surround Timothy, and I have to believe God is with him, surrounding him with what I could not yet offer.
We realize these grace moments fill our live not because of who we are or what we have to give. It's not about our efficiency or effectiveness. It's always about God and what He is doing. Yes, we'll work hard on projects that help the poor, participate in prayer and fasting, share the gospel. We'll cultivate good friendships and be thankful for our blessings. We'll acclimate to the differences we encounter daily but in the end, it's the moments of grace that show us were all in the same place; needing our Father's tenderness to heal our broken places.

Fish. It's What's for Dinner.

Talapia from Lake Victoria

Fish market

Looks good, huh? (gulp...)

Our selection

Is that a fish eyeball?


Making a Home

So here we are. In Kisumu. Carefully plodding through the sticky African mud,. We're ordering a bed-frame from the furniture-making stalls in the misty rain on a Thursday afternoon. The marketplace is a kaleidoscope of damp color. Children wander past. Men push heavy carts loaded with burdens – toiling labors of another day. I watch women exchange greetings and transact business as young ones hug their backs. I wonder what it will be like to live among them and share their stories.

Becky trudges over; her Keens are a sloppy mess. She smiles as she shares the details of the purchase: a handmade bed-frame, carved by roughed hands and a warm heart. A place to lay my head. In my home. In Kenya.

Our Journey Begins

Weaving in and out of traffic along the rim of the Great Rift Valley, we begin our great adventure in Kenya. In reality, this journey started long ago and many prayers away.
In 2001 Africa was planted in our hearts. God watered it with tears for the poor. He fed it with intercession for orphaned children. As bible school graduates with mission majors, the idea of living in a foreign country had always been on our radar; but, it took our 4 year old son to fertilize the ground of the field the Lord was calling us to harvest. His nightly prayers, asking God to help orphans in Africa led us ask how we as a family could share our lives with a hurting world.
The vision to “go” sprouted into our first trip. In 2006 we travel to Kenya. It was not what we would call a good experience. Surrounded by adversity that threatened our commitment, we returned to the states feeling lost, but with hope that God could restore the dream. After two more trips that produced amazingly sweet fruit, we endured the tests of time by waiting for God to push open the doors for long term ministry. Now, we are here.
I watch the road unfold before us, dotted with colorfully-clad bodies, small markets, zebras and baboons. Little ones play with sticks and old bike tires. We moved on through small villages and sprawling towns, carried down this artery of African life, carried to a destiny.
As we continue on this journey, we pray that God would keep revealing His heart for the fatherless and enabling us to work the ground He's given. We're believing Him for miracles of grace.