Sunday, March 20, 2011


I think it's going to take me a little while to get back into the swing of blogging again. It's such a great discipline to write regularly. When I used to post regularly, I began to see life through "blog-colored glasses." I guess people still think like that but with Facebook instead.

Personally, I have to be careful with both blogs and Facebook. I feel like I'm the only one who struggles with this - but envy knocks at my door pretty regularly if I'm not careful. I've written about that struggle a couple times before. Pastor Matt has preached about how envy is the need to be special. Or was it the need to be needed? Now I don't remember. Anyway, they both resonate with me.

My friend is writing a book on abiding in Christ. I've been able to read one chapter, and it's amazing. Just that one chapter has stuck with me and has encouraged me to set my eyes on Christ in various situations. Usually those situations have to do with envy, since that's such a big weakness.

In her book, she talks about Jeremiah 17. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by the stream. I won't go into everything she teaches about, but one thing has to do with where we send our roots for nourisment. So on a good day, I'm asking myself, "Where am I sending my roots? To God or to man?" I still have a lot of growth to do in this process, but I do think I'm moving forward rather than backwards.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I think I'm back

Today I was inspired by a client to start writing on here again. It's been a long time, and I have a feeling that it's going to take me a little while to get into the swing of things.

I have two "new years resolutions" this year. One is to get my front yard to look great. The other is to discover how to use my photography business for God. The first one I have made very little progress on. The clock is ticking as it's beginning to get hot and my planting window will continue to narrow down. We would love to plant one or two fruit trees as well as some roses and lavender. We also need to stay on top of the weeds and put some mulch down. I have Lisa to thank for these plans!

My second resolution is coming along. It's not as easy as it seems. I know that art is glorifying to God, but I personally don't want it to be that foggy and indirect. I want to give this business completely to God and have it be an open vessel for him to use. That's scary and exciting at the same time. If you have a business and have figured this out, give me advice!

I have the urge to end this with "Love you" as if I'm writing an email to a close friend.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Back Then

When I was little we had a dog named Winston. He was a little Shih tzu, and we had him drink his water out of a hamster water dispenser. Often my friend and I would lock ourselves in the bathroom where his drink dispenser was kept. Then secretly we would drink out of it.

When I was little my grandpa told me that it's easier to catch fireflies if you sprinkle salt on their butts. It didn't work.

When I was little my sister and I used to wrap tooth paste in toilet paper and eat it.

When I was little I had a crush on a boy named Robert Vis and was convinced that he had a crush on me too. He didn't...yet.

When I was little my friend and I were excited about selling perfume we made by soaking roses in water.

When I was little I was horribly afraid of the dark and of sleeping by myself. Every night I would pester my mom to come in my room and tuck me in again because I was scared. Eventually I felt I needed a better reason. So, I went in the bathroom, filled up a cup of water, poured it in my bed, and told my mom that I wet the bed and could she change the sheets for me.

When I was little my sister and I would play barbies with the radio playing in the background. To this day, 80's music makes me think of playing with barbie dolls.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Have and Have not

You are alive today for one reason, one purpose. And that is for the glory of His name.

You may have an awesome job today, but that's not why you were kept alive.
You may hang out with great friends, but you weren't given this day for that.
You may have a spouse and children, but that's still not your primary purpose.

You may hate your job as it brings you so much pain. Praise God because that's not what defines you.
You may feel so lonely and left out. Praise God because that's not what gives you worth.
You may long for a spouse and children and feel like it will never happen. Praise God because you can still fully glorify him.
And, that's why God sustained you through the night to open your eyes and breath this morning.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have good things. Enjoy your awesome job, friends and family. I'm thankful for those things. But, often as I enjoy them, I grow so accustomed to them. Then when they're taken away, I doubt my purpose and worth. It seems silly.

Or, if you feel like you've never had those good things, you are waiting for your turn. Maybe you're in despair and never expect that chance. Lift your head because you are here for the glory of his name and not to enjoy good things. For his glory, not yours. That's true for the most fortunate and the least fortunate. Often it is the ones with the least who are able to grasp their true worth while the ones with the most are blinded and may never see. If you feel unglorified, praise God because you can more freely give it all to him!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A process

I suppose there are a lot of constants in my life lately, but one of them is some kind of pursuit that I can't quite articulate. It's a pursuit of God. It's a desire for complete freedom. It's a search for who God created Leah to be. It's a lot of confusion about how to get to those places.

I'm convinced that there's so much more out there for me to know and experience in God. I know because I see it in other people; I know the stories. I know with no doubts that I can be free on earth from many of the things that weigh me down. And I am pretty sure that I'm not living as the Leah that God had in mind. Some of the God-intended Leah comes through but not wholly.

I'm not discouraged right now. I am just in a process that won't take as long as I thought before.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I've been doing a word study throughout the Bible of "Envy." It's been good but also left me wondering what the difference between envy and jealousy are. Often they are both included when a bunch of sins are listed. So, now after a little bit of digging, I have discovered some definitions.

Envy: Wanting what someone else has.
Jealousy: Liking something so much that you don't want to share it.

Most of the verses containing "jealous" have to do with God being jealous for his people. He does not want to share when it comes to his children. They are his and his alone. All other gods and idols better step off. Or, jealous is also used in reference toward God's people being "zealous" for him. I don't know why zealous is listed in my concordance with jealous, but it must be related (Haven't dug that deep yet).

Bottom line, the only thing we should be jealous for is God. God is the only thing we should like so much that we don't want to share (Evangelism. I know. Just bear with me). If I like anything so much that I don't want to share it, that's idolatry. For me, I love realizing how horrible a sin really is so that when I'm tempted with it, Satan can't convince me that it's not that big of a deal. Hopefully, the next time it comes on I'll be able to remember the ugly underbelly of this beast, resist the temptation, and watch the enemy run in the opposite direction.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A word for my evening

My friend, you are precious to God. If there are areas of your life where you are bound and captive, bow before Jesus Christ and ask Him to set you free. Get to know the Lord as your best friend and he will never let you down.

Brother Yun - Living Water

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I love when Abel gets the little smile that happens when he's trying so badly to hold it back. It's closed mouth and reaches wide across his face. I have yet to get an adequate picture of that precious little jewel.

I love getting my hair played with, cut, or accidentally touched when someone is scratching my back.

I value and also have fear of those brief moments when I realize how fragile we are walking around in these temporary bodies. But, at this moment I'm reminded of how invincible are our souls. Cool.

I love Carl's Jr. chocolate chip cookies, but I really don't like anything else about that place.

I have a new found love for horchata. Honestly, I feel like Starbucks could put it in a fancy clear cup, name it something froofy, and make millions.

I love Helga, our body pillow. She was introduced to our bed when I was pregnant and couldn't enjoy sleep anymore without her help. Since the pregnancy, Rob has stolen her and we have renamed her Olaf.

I love freckles. When I was little I used to take an eyebrow pencil and try to darken mine and make more.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Our consolation

Yesterday I was reminded in Brother Yun's Living Water that God is always on the throne and nothing takes him by surprise. Whether or not he causes things to happen, he is still in control of all things in the past, present, and future.

Rob and I have had to remind each other of this truth at least four times today. Today wisdom and trust will be displayed in how well we can let go or jump in depending on the Lord's leading.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Welcome Back

Three seemingly unrelated things:

1. I realize that I've totally let this blog go in the last couple of months. But now I'm inspired again to begin writing.

2. In the last year I've grown in the Lord in some ways and slipped back in others. I've grown in my faith in the workings of the Holy Spirit. I've slipped in my discipline to be in the Word and prayer regularly. I try to blame it on mommyhood, but really it's a lack of discipline and a "losing of my first love" - Rev. 2:4-5. Obviously this is not ok. I'm very motivated right now to repent and begin doing the things I did at first, which is really simply being in the word and prayer regularly.

I read today in Living Water that God only uses those who are in intimate relationship to him. I totally agree. I think I've been used less and less as I've let my love grow cold.

3. I'm hungry to see the power of the Holy Spirit. I've tasted it, but I want to see it all around me. I've seen someone be miraculously healed. Rob has met a man who God used to raise a young girl from the dead. I know people who have stormed the gates of hell in Mount Carmel-like prayer battles - and won! I've met a man who was healed of insanity.

So, yes, I've tasted. But, I read in Acts 1:8 "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you." I read a book called Defeating Dark Angels that tells the story of a born again woman who used to be involved in the occult. At that time, she had the ability to sense people's spiritual power. She recounts that they could always discern who the Christians were because they had the most spiritual power out of everyone. However, they were rarely intimidated because Christians don't know how to use the power they've been given.

I'm ready for that reality to come to an end and the power of the Holy Spirit to be the well-known characteristic of every believer.

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Christmas solution

This morning I have been discouraged. Over the last couple of months a few things have continually frustrated me causing me to distrust and want to take control of situations. I guess that's how I respond to injustice. I feel the need to protect and make things right. Then that's where the discouragement comes in because usually it's not possible to respond and succeed in that way. I can't always fix things and create justice again.

A couple of minutes ago I was reading My Utmost for His Highest. It really had nothing to do with this subject, but all of a sudden I got a flash of thoughts about Christmas - not lights, trees, and presents this time. No, this time it was real Christmas that flashed through my mind. I got a surge of reassurance that Jesus is King and in control of it all. Nothing else matters because he's the only one who can bring justice to little or big issues. Everyone else will be frustrated. But with our eyes on him, we will begin to see real justice even if not immediate. I feel better.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My new blog!

Finally, Vis Photography has its very own blog. I only have one post up so far, but there's more to come. Check it out!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Long post, but totally worth it

Please read this and follow it by praying and committing to continue.

Diary of Joseph Ciza Nakamina: Director of HEAL Africa's North Kivu GBV programs
Goma, Congo
Saturday, November 1st, 2008

A tense but quiet night, thank God. In the early evening, there was gunfire by the airport, and we thought, "This is it! They are attacking!" But it died down. It was probably looters meeting a patrol. Col. Padiri has given orders to shoot looters on sight. Two dead men in military uniforms were left outside ULPGL gates (Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs), to make sure the message gets through to the others.

I left the house at 8 am. It makes my children anxious when I leave. My oldest son, Jean-Felix, who is six years old, has refused to eat. He is afraid all the time that the soldiers will break in. He asks, "When will the war end? When can I go back to school?" Even if some shops are open again in town, the schools have not re-opened. The stalemate could flash back into war at any minute, so parents are afraid to let their children out of their sight.

My wife is also anxious when I leave; she is finding it hard to feed us. No fresh food has come into town because no one will risk sending their truck out past the multiple army check points. The depots are not open, for fear of looting; a sack of beans is selling for 80$. A few Rutshuru traders got their trucks into the humanitarian convoy yesterday, bringing some vegetables and bananas to the market.

I took a car and drove out of town to Kayaruchinya, a health center just north of the airport. There's not much traffic about because people don't want to risk their car or motorbike being requisitioned by the military. What a contrast to the usual scene of bumper to bumper vehicles, with the cloud of motorbike taxis weaving in and out like mosquitoes.

The scene in Kanyaruchinya breaks my heart. There must be around 10,000 people crowded round the health centre. They are despondent, sitting in lines, waiting for someone to bring them help. The scenes of yesterday are fresh in their memory. Two children were crushed to death underfoot by adults in their rush to grab a handful of biscuits. These people have been waiting in the torrential rain, and the sun, without shelter, without water, since Tuesday. Kanyaruchinya is at the foot of the volcano: there are no wells, no streams, and no piped water in this vast expanse of black volcanic rock.

I look for the camp manager to see how HEAL Africa can help. These people came from the Kibumba camp, but no one has seen their manager since they fled; there is no one to orgnaise an orderly distribution. UNICEF is preparing for a distribution of rations again today; Mercy Corps is bringing in water with a tanker. All I can do is pray: May God multiply these rations – they are insignificant for such a crowd; and that is what causes a stampede.

We go back to the hospital around mid day. Since Friday, 23 more civilians have been brought to the hospital with serious war injuries – 15 men, 5 women, 3 children. My colleague Timothée Mwamba in the GBV emergency response team, brought help yesterday to 7 victims of rape – all of them under 18. In Katoyi, two teenage girls were shot during an attempted rape by men in uniform. We are limited in what we can do to respond: our vehicles are blocked on the other side of the battle front, and we cannot reach the people who are calling us to help. Tomorrow, we will try to get out to Bulengo and Mugunga on the road to Sake, to see how our partners have fared over the past week. Also Kirotshe and Minova hospitals, on the western shore of Lake Kivu, have asked us to take back to HEAL Africa two patients that they cannot help : a woman and a young girl, both with war injuries.

Since the beginning of this fresh round of fighting, our hospital with 150 beds has received 42 war wounded civilians, 27 of them from Wednesday and Thursday. I am so sad to see a little five year old girl, whose face and chest is completely burned. She just happened to be passing by a group of youngsters who had collected bullets around the edge of the army camp. They were playing with them, burning them, and some cartridges were still live. This little girl happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, when the live bullets exploded in the fire.

Bernard Kouchner and David Milliband arrive around 4 o'clock. It's pouring torrential rain. European security forces are all over town; we don't know where these two are going, or where they are staying or who they are seeing. But their arrival is a glimmer of hope for us. We are convinced that our town was saved by the outcry in the world, pushing these big powers to get involved.

It's evening, and I'm going home after the rain. I can see some Goma people straggling back into town. These are the ones who fled to Sake on Tuesday. And then there are the new arrivals, the people who have been on the run all this year. It's pitiful to see mothers spreading their tattered cloths on the bare black rocks of Goma, and huddling against the wooden walls of houses, surrounded by their hungry children. They are begging for food. When I talked to some of them this morning, their one question was: When can we go home? Many of them have been living like this since April, with no help. They have survived by digging other people's gardens in return for a share of food. If there will be no more fighting, they want nothing more than to go home.

Back at home, I am so thankful for our meal of beans and rice. It comes from the stock we bought back in October. Always the same thing, but at least we have food on the table. The neighbourhood is quiet. There are many patrols of military police, and anyone suspected of thieving will be shot. So everyone stays inside, under voluntary curfew: no one comes out for fear of being mistaken for looters.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Uganda here we come!

By the way, the Vis family is going to Uganda in January. I'm pretty sure most of the people who read this blog know that by now, but I thought I should cover my bases. To stay up to date on our trip, go to

Honestly, I think this trip is going to be much different than normal short term trips. We are really trying to focus on how to build up the ministry that's already taking place and thriving there. Our first project starts now, and that's raising $20,000 extra dollars to purchase cows, pigs, chickens, a barn, supplies, and some crops. These items will help feed the Favor of God Ugandan staff as well as the orphans in the House of Hope Children’s Home. In addition, Favor of God can also sell meat, milk, and produce in the markets. This is another step toward becoming a self-sustaining ministry.

$20,000 is a ton of money, so if you know of any businesses or companies who would be interested in giving to this project, please send them our way or tell them about it yourself! But, hey every $5 adds to the final goal, so don't be bashful!

More about the trip later....but if you want to give to the trip or project you can donate online here. Make sure to type Rob and Leah Vis in the memo line.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vis Photography Special

50 free custom-designed Christmas postcards when you refer someone and they book a photo session.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Pictures!

My website has undergone a much-needed extreme makeover.  Check it out:  In celebration I'm offering a free photo shoot and 50 free custom-designed Christmas cards for your family pictures.  All you have to do is look through my website and find the word "vis" on one of the photos.  Then be the first to email me, and we'll go a' shooting!

We're very excited.  Soooo excited that I'll be offering more promotions in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Another beautiful wedding. My favorite part was seeing how Matt was different before and after the ceremony. Afterwards, he was so relaxed and happy. Then to see how he looked at Karen was the sweetest thing. I have a friend who says that once two people are married, it's no fun to hang out with just one of the two because their other half really does complete them. I totally got to see that with these two. Check out their gallery here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The tree

My best friend from college recently asked me to paint a picture of a tree for her boyfriend.  All she told me is that she wanted it to be an oak tree because of Isaiah 61:3 which is special to the two of them.  

Isaiah 61 is incredible.  It's about God taking the broken down and oppressed and making them stunning examples of his glory.  In verse three he says, "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."  This definitely intimidated me since I had the responsibility of portraying such a powerful message. But, I was pumped to have the opportunity of trying.  I hope that God blessed it so that when they look at it they can sense the Lord's love and future glory for his hurting children.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Horrible News

This is shocking.  I just heard about a gang of armed men who ravaged a small suburban neighborhood in New York.  They marched house to house and demanded that every family give up the children.  By the end, they had kidnapped 90 kids.  Some were killed, others were tortured.  The ones who managed to stay alive were meant to be assimilated into this new "family."  I'm heartbroken.  How does this make you feel?  What if these were your kids?  

Well, that didn't actually happen here.  It happened in Congo.  The LRA, a rebel group, abducted two classrooms full of 5th and 6th graders.  What happens to them now?  They will be brainwashed, tortured, raped, taught and made to kill.  Will they be rescued?  Possibly not.  Who would care enough?  It won't be the government, that's for sure.

Are you relieved that it didn't happen in New York?  Would you be willing to suspend that relief and give your burdened heart to these kids in prayer and action?  This is such a normal occurrence in many countries in Africa.  In northern Uganda children were stolen and made to kill for 20 years before anyone took notice.

President Bush is meeting with the president of Uganda this week to discuss the crisis.  Click here for an easy way to tell the president our concerns.  

Please realize that prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.  We have been given authority over the angels and demons.  Our prayers are instrumental in the spiritual battle constantly in action.  Please take an erasable marker and write Congo, Uganda, and Sudan on your bathroom mirror to remind you to pray regularly.  Go here to learn more so you know better how to pray.

Friday, September 12, 2008


This wedding was very special.  After witnessing their big day, I can definitely say with confidence that this is a well-loved couple.  We were blessed to be a part of the celebration!  Check out their gallery for more photos.