In 2007, Louis and Annie began a journey together that has landed their missional hearts in Lebanon. Each year since then, they have come closer and closer to long term (at least two years) full time mission work. God’s plan was to strengthen their relationship first, their resolve second, and to give them a baby before sending them to Lebanon full time. Therefore, as it seems God is leading they will land in their dream of full time mission work in 2013. This is the first of many newsletters in the months to come for this year of preparation.
Freshly descended from a four day plane ride extravaganza, our first excursion into the bustling metropolis of Beirut, Lebanon took us down the mountain into a convergent crossroads. Right before the sun’s heat is quenched by the Mediterranean its rays seep under the highway passing right through the Nab3a region. The towering columns that hold up the roadway may have at one point acted as a physical division between the Armenian and Muslim communities, but now it only shades an increasingly cosmopolitan boundary. Men bring out tables to sit and visit, people maneuver through overpopulated roadways, and many on their way to their next destination pause for a moment to have a conversation about Jesus with a dozen believers handing out scripture. Pastors, missionaries, seasoned believers, and new Christians come together with the concerted purpose of spreading the gospel. When the scripture for the day was distributed everyone hugged and scattered back to their own homes. This time one man lingered to talk with us about the powerful conversation he had had with two Muslim men about Jesus while passing out scripture with us. As his story came to a close he beckoned Pierre Houssney and I to journey with him out from under the bridge and into the slum that he called home. We were led past the off-ramp and through the streets. As we turned into a small alleyway we were met by his four children playing in the streets. He was so proud to tell us how they had learned to read and had been given a Bible which they read to him every day. We were welcomed through an industrial shop to a 10×10 square. Laced with mattresses and mold, for $250 a month this man called it home. Though all the food he had was laid out in pots and bags on one wall, he still asked his 12-year-old son to bring us Nescafe in plastic cups. We were honored to be in the home of a Syrian refugee named Mohammad. Without prompting he told us how he had ended up there. He left his family at home in Syria while he moved to Greece for a lucrative tailoring opportunity. He was able to send a significant amount of money home to his family only to find out that his wife had misused the funds, left him for his nephew, and no longer wanted their children. So he traveled back to Syria to retrieve what was left of his family. Through all these tumultuous struggles, it was in the eye of this storm that Mohammad heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus into his heart. The fear of persecution for his conversion mixed with the pain from his now broken family drew Mohammad over the mountains into Beirut. He is now living down the street from a Christian outreach center that helps refugees in similar conditions. He was looking forward to his baptism one week from our first meeting. The flicker in his eye was not indicative of someone who has been through his circumstances. He was as a child in the arms of his father. As the sunlight waned, the flickering light bulbs illuminated the end of our time with Mohammad. The conclusion of our conversation was framed by the call to prayer being projected throughout the neighborhood. It was a testament to a Christian with a Muslim Background like Mohammad that I was the only one in the room who even noticed the sound of the daily chant. We took pictures, embraced, and said farewell in hopes that our parting would not linger, but we would see each other sooner than heaven. –Louis
As we took these steps to visit Lebanon, it was with some trepidation that Annie stepped forward. Teaching has not been a wonderful experience for her these past four years, and she was finding it hard to voice hope or excitement. However, this last year when we found out that we are pregnant, she was greatly refreshed. Whereas all of the parts of living in a new country, finding work to do as missionaries, finding people to meet with, finding a new church to attend were extremely overwhelming and intense to her before, she has found peace and comfort in knowing that she will be responsible for raising a baby. The rest all has shrunk to a manageable size, so we are able to move forward in joy and peace. She feels content that we can live here, and I feel thrilled and proud to be leading her into long-term mission work.
We will still have a great many challenges as we now must prepare for the baby and also begin fundraising full time.
Prayer Requests This Month: July 1-7 Pray that we are able to stay in peace and joy while completing the move to Tucson with trips to storage and reorganizing.
July 8-14 Pray that we find boldness and hear God’s leading about who to begin meeting with about supporting us.
July 15-21 Pray that Annie can stop having morning sickness and begin to gain energy as we are in the last half of her pregnancy.
July 22-28 Pray that we can find Arabic (and possibly French) language classes that can fit into our busy schedules.
July 29-31 Pray about ways that you can support us while we are here in Tucson (i.e. Letters, phone calls, emails, visits, etc.)
This is the general idea for the upcoming year, God willing:
This Month: Louis will be taking his youth group from the past two years to camp as his farewell to them, and will be looking for a tent-making job while we are here in Arizona.. Together we will begin seeking out support for our return to Lebanon in approximately one year and sign up for Arabic (and possibly French) language classes.
The Rest of 2012-2013:
Raise financial support for living in Lebanon
Attend baby preparation classes
Have a baby
Take Arabic (and French?) classes from Pima Community College
We are so excited to be pregnant, and I am sure that we will have a lot to share with you about the progress of this little miracle in our lives. We will try to keep the updates in this newsletter limited so that we can focus on our prayer requests for our mission trips. However, it is our firm belief that our family is our first mission field. In raising our child we know that we need all of your support, for it takes a village to raise a child. Your prayers and encouragment will be greatly helpful and needed throughout our pregnancy and after our baby is born. We want to raise our child surrounded by God’s love and grace, knowing that you are all praying for the little munchkin to come. If you would like to know even more about the baby than we will tell you here, Click Here to follow our little online scrapbook/blog.
Since 2007, when Louis and I took our first trip into evangelistic work, we have been working with Georges Houssney the founder and director of Horizons International. This organization has provided us with love, support, and has helped us grow tremendously. We were thrilled in 2010 to be asked to join thenational staff of Horizons. Initially, this meant that we were going to run the weekendtrainings in Arizona as we continued to prepare for long-term mission work. Now, we are going to be joining the Lebanon team which changes our responsibilities from raising just enough money for a training to raising all of our living expenses while we work overseas.
We have set our fundraising goal with Horizons at $38,000 per year, which is about $3000 per month. We just need 40 people to donate $80 per month or some people donate more and a lot of people donate less.
We have an account with Horizons that you can send money to in our names.
Under the Bridge When Pierre told us that we would be doing street evangelism under the bridge, we thought first of trolls under little moss covered bridges.Then we discovered that the highways here have these huge overpasses with walking space … Continue reading →