As we have spent this past few weeks in the States, our family has been so blessed to be surrounded by love and support from our community. Everyone has at some point shared the same sentiment. We are so unbelievably excited to be in the US and simultaneously yearning to return to Lebanon. Expectantly wishing for the time we can once again be amongst our refugees. Desperate to wake up amongst a nation of people who have begun to embrace the hope of Jesus even if this world has nothing left to offer.
Our life is a paradox, which seems only fitting since we worship a God who makes harmony from conflict. Fully God and fully man. Who wept while never ceasing to rejoice. In my devotional time four years ago I adapted a missionary poem called “Ants in the Sugar Bowl” about the challenges of working cross culturally while embracing the beauty of working in our father’s field. It seemed appropriate to share it now as we continue to live as strangers in a familiar land and prepare to return to our foreign home.
So I send you
To long hours and exhausting days
To garbage piled higher and higher every hour
To sweltering summers and frigid winters
To uncomfortable cars, smelly taxis, and crowded buses
To uncertain water and sporadic electricity
To exchange yes and no for maybe and I have no idea
To poverty you didn’t believe existed
To camps of humanity that stretch to the horizon
To abandoned construction sites filled with homeless families
To hundreds of thousands of children without education
To know and work with people who have lost everything
To a country suffocating from smog, refuse, and the invading world
To stare into the eyes of men and women preparing to die after being refused treatment
To buildings still bleeding rubble from decades of bullets and shrapnel
To people trapped living illegally with no hope of a future
So I send you, and I expect you to adjust
So I send you
To people desperate to know the God who walks the streets of the slum
To people who will give from their poverty
To finally feel you are worthy of the calling
To learn about yourself and the culture that reared you
To know God and make Him known to those who know Him not
To rooms too crowded to sit with people wanting only to hear the name of Jesus
To streets that only the deity of Christ would walk
To the sound of worship of native people in native languages with national music
To a national church that finally woke up
To songs that get louder when the electricity goes out
To chapels and churches bursting with seas of veiled women
To the cry from the Mosque being drowned out by the sound of praise
To spirits unbroken and hearts unshaken in the face of insurmountable odds
To hearing the voice salvation bursting forth in Arabic, French, Armenian, & Kurdish
To feeling unbelievable joy at the honor of laboring in the field of the true harvest
So I send you
Are you going, because I will be with going with you always even unto the very end of the age.
I encourage you to invest in the Lisses’ ministry to enable them to focus on their work rather than worry about their support.
Due to increased activities their budget has increased. Yet most of his supporters have not caught up with this increase.
I encourage you to give Louis a raise so he can continue to do the Lord’s work unhindered.
Thank you for your support in the past and I am counting on you to continue, even increase your support.
President, Horizons International
Culture shock has been enormous as well as various stages of traveler’s sickness in returning to Lebanon, but here we are!
We had a rough first week, but then the second week was pretty relaxed, followed by an extremely challenging week three, and we have just completed week four, which ended Sunday with a realization that we finally feel like we have returned to Lebanon.
It only took a month to get there, but we did.
And now that we have started to feel regular again I wanted to send out a quick message to all of you.
We are alive and well.
We are in Lebanon.
We love you all.
Thank you for your prayers.
In the coming weeks, please feel free to reach out to us for contact.
We are still getting our heads above water as far as the blog goes, but I will be sending out sporadic updates as I am able.
Time Has Flown By
Time has been going by so fast! The kids & I (Annie) are halfway through our time in America. If you haven’t seen us yet, please don’t hesitate to call or email, our schedule is pretty flexible and open and we want to see as many of you as possible.
I think the halfway point is a good time to share with you what my strategy for fundraising has been and is on this trip.
The idea to come for the summer without Louis was given to me by God when we were here last December and January. That winter trip was all about our family, getting Kyrie’s surgery accomplished, and celebrating her healing. We spent Christmas with our families, and we did not spend much time visiting with the people who support us, and we did not spend any time finding new partners.
Because of that lack of contact, I was inspired to start planning this trip to America around creating and deepening our partnerships. At the same time, I knew that the security training I would be attending would need a great deal of reflection and prayer. Needing a great deal of time to sit quietly and pray seemed at odds with running around to see every person who might be able to give financially or otherwise.
So, I asked God to give me clear directions that I could obey.
The word God gave me was Engage. Engage is the title of Horizons International’s course to teach people how to engage with Muslims. I have always been able to use the training to engage with basically anyone. It has given me a framework to reach out to non-Christians and Christians alike. Therefore, it was easy for me to hear God say I needed to use this framework in Arizona.
Not only do I want to Engage with people here, but to help people Engage with the ministry in Lebanon. There are so many ways to do this, and the first part is just having a relationship with us.
Also, I want to be an encouragement to people here in the States, to share ways that you have all kept us afloat and the joys of new ministries, stable ministries, growing ministries that I see in our communities here. These ministries that we have seen grow while we have been in Lebanon are such an encouragement to us as well.
Isn’t This a Fundraising Trip?
When I ask Kyrie a yes or no question, her answer is usually, “Yes or No”. While it is confusing when she says it, it is the most appropriate answer for me here.
Yes or no.
I am here hoping to be fully funded, but I am not raising money the way we did our first year of fundraising.
The money I am basically leaving in God’s hands. Yes, we are under funded and need to raise our amount in order to stay in Lebanon, but I believe God wants us in Lebanon, and so that part of the ministry will be taken care of by God.
I do not want to make it hard to give us money, however, so CLICK HERE if you would like to start giving monthly, or a one time gift.
Throughout this post I have linked previous articles that relate, so if you see a link, click on it to find out more of the story. Especially for those new to the blog, this is a great way to work your way back through time to connect with us.
If God is leading you to become a financial partner, CLICK HERE to donate through Horizons. There is a drop-down menu to designate funds for Louis Liss.
Annie will be in the States until August 20! Please sign up to meet with her to encourage each other in all that the Lord is doing! CLICK HERE to make an appointment, or reply to the email when you subscribe to our newsletter.
If the appointment page is confusing, I made a walkthrough HERE.
Last week I attended a training in San Diego along with other missionaries working in or headed to places all over the world to share about Jesus Christ.
This training was informational as well as hands on covering all types of situations that may cause a crisis in our various work places.
Of course, you might imagine the need for a training like this with Louis and I working in the Middle East.
I have decided to take this week to process through the training and write up several journal entries before attempting to share my thoughts with the world, but I wanted to share a basic overview and to let you all know I am back in the State of Arizona to start meeting with people and fundraising again. Please CLICK HERE to reserve a time to get together, pray, and hear about what we are doing in Lebanon. You can call or email me as well.
If you have any questions, even specifics about our own security or about the Middle East, please leave a comment or send us an email.
What Did This Training Change About Your Plans?
Being able to do our own Risk Assessments will allow us to expand our mission work wisely. In the past a location we knew had risks was off limits because we felt unequipped to assess those risks. This training helped guide future risk assessment for our own travel within Lebanon.
This training also brought to light the limitations of our knowledge and our organization, Horizons International. Recognizing the essentials that are missing helps us pray and also act on our own behalf within our organization.
How Can You Use This Training Immediately?
My goal of gaining confidence and eloquence was definitely met. Of course I need some time to gather my thoughts about what I just learned before I could give a speech, but I know the direction to go in order to be an advocate for my family.
This week will be full of prayer about problem areas that came up in this training, research on topics and sites that were shared in the training, and drafting letters to the appropriate people in order to get Crisis Management Policies underway.
In travelling, so much of this training is applicable right away, and I am much more confident in future travels.
Did Horizons Send You to This Training?
I was encouraged to attend this training by several other missionaries when we went to MTI back in 2014. When we were put in charge of internships in Beirut, incoming interns’ parents often have asked us what policies are in place in case of an emergency.
Horizons has no such policies.
Therefore, I knew that with or without Horizons’ support, I needed to attend this training in order to protect my own family.
I sent the kids fun pictures throughout the week and am happily back at home with them now, which is why some of the pictures are more silly in nature.
I (Annie) have been in America coming up on two weeks this Tuesday. I haven’t had a chance to check in because I left my computer in Lebanon with Louis and we have taken our two broken computers into a shop in Phoenix in hopes of salvaging pictures and maybe a workable computer.
So, I thought I would check in at this point and let you know that we are well. So here is a quick bullet point list of our trip so far:
- JET LAG: I didn’t know kids would struggle with jet lag, but boy did they! It was insane! The first week was spent just trying to keep them awake during the day with toy stores, swimming, and games.
- Visits and Appointments: I started meeting with partners to share encouraging stories and the plan moving forward. If you would like to see me, the best way is to text or call me at 480-242-6979, email me, or sign up on the calendar page by clicking the day and time you are available and writing your name into the Title.
- Planning for attending the CriCon training.
- This is a training to prepare me to write policy for crisis encounters that may occur for our staff in Lebanon and as they go into other places in the world.
- I will update you after the training with a debrief, but for now be praying because I will be leaving the kids in Mesa with my parents during the training.
- If you would like detailed prayer updates for things like this CLICK HERE to join our prayer team. Items with sensitive information are only emailed to this group.
- Ministry preparations and prayer time to determine what God has for me in the upcoming year
- Praying a lot that God will bring forward people who can help us get our funds from 38% to 100%.
- Culture Shock: Getting gas the first time in our car was a bit overwhelming, and every trip to Walmart I end up leaving before I can even get through half of my list because it is so overwhelming.
What Did I Miss?
Some of you have been receiving our newsletters in your emails, seeing them on facebook, or reading our blogs for a long time. Others are just finding us. All of you are noticing there has been an increased amount of writing being put out. Some of you have been commenting that you feel like you might miss something now.
I Have the Solution
Do not worry! If you have missed a post in the past or noticed that recently we aren’t posting everything to facebook, CLICK HERE! You will have the option of signing up for our Daily, Weekly, or Monthly email update. It takes everything we write for the blog and sends it to you in one beautiful email so you don’t miss a post ever again. CLICK HERE to subscribe.
If you want to know the dirt, the skinny, the low down even beyond what we write on the blog, CLICK HERE! You will be added to our small group of Prayer Warriors. While many people pray for us all the time, this is a group of people committed to covering us in prayer whenever they receive one of our prayer emails. You will receive alerts that cannot be made public on facebook, and you will be asked to pray during our Quarterly Prayer Challenges. Our Summer Prayer Challenge starts in just a few days, so CLICK HERE so you don’t miss out.
Have you been missing out on family stories, updates on our kids, or just wanting to see what Annie is going to do with her blog? CLICK HERE to subscribe to Annie’s blog. As I work on this blog I am seeking God’s direction, and it is sure to be undergoing changes slowly but surely over the next few years. It is the place we post family topics, so CLICK HERE to never miss a story about the kids, parenting, and being a homemaker in Lebanon.
Bonus Points: Share with Others so They Don’t Miss a Thing
At the end of March into the beginning of April we had about a week when staff from all over the world came to Lebanon for our Eastern Staff Summit. One of the biggest revelations for everyone was repeated over and over, “It’s all happening here. Horizons Beirut is the hub.” We have become the center, the catalyst, and the biggest of all the Horizons projects worldwide. The timing, people, and openness has made this a special place to be during this time in history. The only way that our staff outside of Lebanon could fully understand was by seeing it firsthand.
Please pray about making a personal visit to Lebanon.
For most people, travelling to Lebanon is out of the question. But because Louis is in charge of all visitors, coming to Lebanon is far easier than most people are aware of. This is by far the best way to be able to communicate to others what we are doing.
Share our newsletter at your church and small group.
Print our newsletter and put in the narthex or hand it out to your small group. When you receive the letters in your email you can click the button at the top that says View in Browser. This will put the newsletter into a print friendly window and you can print that out to share with people.
These are just a few examples of ways to keep from missing out on our ministry stories. Please pray about committing to share with others around you so we can encourage the worldwide church with the successes happening here in Lebanon.
If God is leading you to become a financial partner, CLICK HERE to donate through Horizons. Write Louis Liss in the designation / memo.
Annie will be in the States in just a few days! Please sign up to meet with her to encourage each other in all that the Lord is doing! CLICK HERE to make an appointment, or reply to the email when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Basic Financial Goals
$8,239.05 per month
Currently Pledged: $2,597 per month (32% of Monthly Goal)
2017 So Far
Contributions: $4,815.50 (58% of Monthly Goal)
Online Giving Fees: $573.11
Administration Fee: $481.55
Balance in Account at the end of March: $394.35
Contributions: $3,594.94 (44% of Monthly Goal)
Online Giving Fees: $20.98
Administration Fee: $359.49
Balance in Account at the end of April: $163.58
Total Contributions so far into 2017: $16,337.05 (17% of 2017 Goal)
Please feel free to ask us any questions about our budget. Annie is our budgeting queen and is ready to clarify and help you understand our budget. Just because we write the budget does not put that money into our account. Horizons does not pay us unless our partners put the money in our account. You are our partners, our shareholders. You are the ones that make this budget possible or not.
We need more people joining with us financially all the time. We want to share this ministry with you. Please Give by CLICKING HERE. Put Louis Liss in the memo.
We are fully relying on God for this budget. We know He will make it all possible. If the opportunities we are getting most excited about start to become realities there will be a great increase in work and it will be self-starter, entrepreneurial work which will require a strong support team backing our passions. Join our Prayer Team, Annie’s Blog (for moral support and accountability for her), and
Thank you for praying for us this week as Annie prepares to bring the kids back to the States for the summer.
If you would like to join our Prayer Warrior team, CLICK HERE. Once you are signed up for our team you will receive in depth prayer requests and prayer alerts when we have an urgent prayer request. It is the best way to stay in the know about what’s going on with our hearts.
Annie will be travelling for the first time with the kids without Louis. This is going to be a big adventure as well as a big challenge. Please pray for the travels, for the peace and patience we need to get along, and also for details that are usually handled by one adult while the other wrangles the kids can be handled easily with just me.
To Get More of the Story
There is so much more to say about this and we would love to share it with you if you will commit to being a Prayer Warrior for us.
Meet with Annie
If you are interested in finding out more, helping from the States, or praying with Annie while she is in the States, CLICK HERE to sign up for an appointment while she is in Arizona.
Lord, bless our missionaries as they travel. Give them your abundant peace. Provide for their needs in new situations and give them wisdom to make decisions along the way. Help them to share love and patience in excess throughout the trip. Surround them with the joy we feel for them returning to us as they arrive. Amen.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35