Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wandering Wednesday- The Heart of Africa + a Book Giveaway

by Lisa Harris @heartofafrica

The summer I turned twenty, I visited Africa for the first time. I spent two months with missionaries in Kenya, getting a taste of what it would be like to live there full time. I started out wanting a chance to save the world, and ended up learning and receiving more than I ever imagined.

I studied language, learned how to cook their food, studied culture, made lifelong friends, and discovered that no matter where I went, Africa was now a part of me.

And it has been ever since.

I ended up getting married and raising three kids on this continent. It's not always been easy, but it's where God called us. If given the choice I'd do it all over again, even though sometimes being so far away from friends and family can be almost physically painful. It is here that I call home.

I've been looking through photos lately in an attempt to organize, and with it have come so many memories of this beautiful continent and the years we've spent here. Friends, joys, losses and deaths. . .they have all been a part of the experience. We've spent time both rejoicing with those we know, and crying for the deep heartache that is often found here in the middle of corruption and poverty. It has impacted my life and made me who I am today.

I hope you enjoy wandering a bit today through the heart of Africa, and seeing some of its stunning beauty through my eyes.


When you think of Africa, you probably think of huts and animals. We've been places where I've felt like I stepped decades into the past.

In Zambia, there are groups of people who live in temporary housing on the edges of the water, moving when the plains flood to higher ground.

There are no roads, only waterways. Crops are planted, fish caught, corn pounded, and goods transported on long, hollowed out logs.

When our kids were small we spent time in one of the towns on the edge of Zambia where we have churches and were able to go out on the water for miles into the middle of the flood plains.


One of the most amazing trips I've taken in Africa, was the return trip from a medical clinic in Zambia. We flew with a missionary aviation group on a small plane and got permission to fly over Victoria Falls. This first photo is from the ground.
These two are from the air. We were able to circle around several times. I had seen the falls from the ground, and it's beautiful, but what we saw from the air was truly spectacular. 


If you've ever followed my blog, you might know that I love photography and especially photos of animals. We've been able to take a lot of short-term mission groups through Kruger National Park and have gone there for family time as well. There's nothing like being out in the bush with no cellphones or interruptions and just God's beauty! 


We've lived over fourteen years in Southern Africa. We've walked along both the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans and saw the beautiful mountain ranges of South Africa. We've slept in huts, shopped in big city malls, eaten prawns on the beach and rice and sauce cooked over the fire. We've driven 4x4s through the bush and taken local taxis.



One of the things I love most about writing is the research, and to be honest, I probably spend way too much time on it! I'm getting ready to start a follow up to the novel I wrote with Lynne Gentry. Ghost Heart was set in Tanzania, a place where I'd never actually visited. That meant hours of searching the internet, reading, and talking to people who know the area first hand. All in an effort to make the story come alive for the readers. The second book in this series is set in another part of Africa I've never visited--the beautiful and yet often dangerous Gulf of Guinea.

I've been able to write a number of books set on this continent. Sometimes I set them in places I knew well. Other times I spent hours researching to make sure I had my facts right. From Northern Rhodesia in the 1920s to modern-day South Africa, Tanzania, the Sahara, to even a fictional country in central Africa for my Mission Hope series. It's a vast backdrop with endless storyline possibilities.

Thanks for taking the time to travel with me through this stunning land.


I'm giving away an ebook copy of Blood Covenant, a romantic suspense set in Africa. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you. Giveaway closes Saturday, April 14th, midnight, PST. Happy reading!

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over thirteen years working as missionaries in Africa. When she's not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website.


  1. Love love love reading a little of your backstory, Lisa. I had no idea you fell in love with Africa at such a young age.

    Such beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    I thought of you when the Mozambique team entered the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games last night. And wondered if any of the athletes had been touched by your ministry at some point of their lives.

    And I'm very excited to read that you and Lynne are working on the sequel to Ghost Heart.

    Blessings to you and Scott, Lisa.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ian, and sharing your kind words! Sadly, I wasn't able to see any of the Olympics as we don't have television or streaming. But it would have been wonderful to cheer on this country!! We can't wait to finish up Ghost Heart's sequel as well! Hopefully this year if we can pull it off. :-)

  2. Thanks for a great post and beautiful pictures! I’ve never traveled to Africa but hopefully will one day.

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by the blog, Mindy! So glad you enjoyed the photos!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Donna! I've grown to love photography living here. :-)

  4. I loved seeing Africa through your eyes and your photos. I loved reading Ghost Heart and am looking forward to this second book.
    debbiewilder (at) comcast (dot) net

    1. So glad you enjoyed the photos, Debbie! And Ghost Heart as well! Super excited about the follow up!

  5. Sorry for the delay in drawing a winner! I haven't been able to leave a comment on Blogger for some reason. I drew Mindy's name and will be sending you a copy of Blood Covenant. Thanks everyone for dropping by!