Liss Upcoming Events

With our return to the States there will be a whirlwind of activity in trying to reach our funding goal, see all of our family and extended church family, birthdays, holidays, and the birth of a new baby! With all of this in mind we thought many of you would like to know where we will be and to make sure we will be seeing you. Therefore, here is a list of all of our currently upcoming events. We have also added an upcoming events section to our blog which should automatically list the next few events we have on our Google calendar. If you would like to plan a meeting one-on-one, organize a small or large group, or invite us to your church, let us know.

November 1 Arrive back in the States (Phoenix)
November 10 First OBGYN Visit for Baby #2 in Tucson
November 15 & 16 Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Tucson
November 18-23 Colorado
November 25 6:30 PM Fundraising Dinner at Christ’s Community Church 4530 W Thunderbird Rd, Glendale, AZ 85306

Please RSVP to mktwitch@cox.net

November 30 Tanque Verde Lutheran Church in Tucson
December 6 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM OPEN HOUSE in Mesa @ The Horner Residence

Everyone Invited

Come and Go When You Please (Optional to Bring Food or Drink)

December 7 Light of the Desert Lutheran Church in Cave Creek

& Ultreya at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Tucson

December 13 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM OPEN HOUSE in Tucson @ the Liss Residence

Everyone Invited

Come and Go When You Please (Optional to Bring Food or Drink)

December 14 Desert Hope Lutheran Church in Tucson
December 20 2:30 PM St. John’s Lutheran Church Luncheon in Glendale
December 21 Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church in Tucson
December 29 Louis returns to Lebanon

A Story of New Faith

We came to Lebanon to work with the Muslims and new converts from Islam who come to the Horizons International Hope of the Nations ministry center. Our first goal has been language learning, and in our language learning search we met Ben Johnson, a Georgian man who pastors two Filipino churches here in Lebanon. As you have heard us talk about these Filipino churches that Louis has been helping pastor as Ben has needed him, you may be wondering about it all.

Here in Lebanon it is very common to have a live-in maid. In fact, our apartment is equipped with a maid’s room for that very purpose. Many of these women are allowed to leave only on Sundays, and so it is a blessing to have them attend church because on your one day off you may want to do other things. Even with that “day off” most of them have to be home to make dinner by five or six. Some of the women are only given one Sunday a month, and we had one such lady attending one of the churches.

This is the story of this woman’s witness to her employer. She was not always given Sunday off, and her ability to attend and lead in the church was challenged. She was very sad, of course, to not be able to have any community around her or to be able to go to worship God. Her employer got sick recently and she told him she would be praying for him. Before you knew it, he was healed and was able to walk without his cane! He came to her and said she could attend church every Sunday from now on because he believed that her God had healed him. Amen!

Once again, your prayers are helping in so many ways. Continue to pray for this subculture of Lebanon that they would be able to endure through hardships and praise our Lord with joy and thanksgiving.

Going “Home”

    Louis spent most of the month of October filling in for a pastor here in Lebanon at a Filipino church. He began his sermon series with a story about Davy. When we are out and about, shopping, at church, at the ministry center, or anywhere, and we are done for the day we turn to Davy and say, “Davy, let’s go home.” And Davy will be excited and reply, “Go home!” Sometimes even with a “Yeah!” which is super adorable from our almost 2-year-old. Then we arrive back to our apartment and it is a 50-50 chance that one of these two things will happen. He will at some point recognize our building and say, “Home!” OR Davy will come inside with and look around with a somewhat disappointed and sad expression and say, “Go home,” meaning we didn’t end up at the right home. What does home mean to him, we wonder? What does it mean to us?

There is a beautiful story told by many Christians of walking into a church for a service and by the end feeling that they have found “home.” I have such a heart for that in a church, the ability to welcome and love someone so instantaneously. I have never once walked into a church and had that feeling, but I hope that each person reading this takes the time to welcome new faces, to show love to those sitting in the services, events, meals, etc. so that we are home to as many as walk in our churches’ doors.

In the same way that I have never felt that a church had that “I’m home!” experience for me, when my parents moved our family to a new house when my siblings and I were young, I distinctly thought that it did not become my home. But the other house hadn’t felt like home. Everywhere it seemed was temporary. In college I felt that the NAU campus was the closest I came to a home, but going back there does not make me feel like a homecoming.

So, as I reflect on this homesickness I have, I hope that Davy also remains sad that this is not quite HOME. Because this earth is not quite home. There are tastes that people get, like that of walking into church, and for me the community of believers I had around me all the time at NAU. I hope that Davy always longs for the home that we have only tasted and imagined and dreamed about. And I pray that the people we love will be there. So, we must keep telling everyone about the hope found in Jesus Christ so that our friends and family here on earth will be our sisters and brothers in Heaven.

Tonight I am feeling this homesickness much more distinctly because as we attended the Filipino church today, Davy knew people’s names, and he played with the women without needing to see if we were still there, and he talked to them, and I was sad that we would be here only one more Sunday because this is our family. And I was sad that we will not be attending our Lebanese church who also has our family. And even in planning our many Sundays hopping around to different churches to share about what God is doing here in Lebanon and to grow our partnerships of spiritual and physical support, we will not be able to see all of our family every day. That is the dream. Every day getting to see our whole family, being able to worship and praise our Lord and Creator all together, not thousands of miles apart from pieces of our family, our body in Christ. And it does feel more and more like we are a body with parts all over, and the separation is painful.

So tonight, with 11 days left in Lebanon, I grieve the loss of new family members while I celebrate those I will get to see in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. At our training back in April there was a very important life lesson that we repeat many times a month to one another:

I pray that when you leave here it hurts.

Because that means you were loved, and you loved well.

And it hurts. It hurts to do what we do. But what better joy is there for us as believers than to see the men and women who we are discipling and evangelizing in heaven? And you will get to heaven and will meet men and women who by your prayers and support of us here in Lebanon have come to Christ.

    

October Newsletter: Written by Louis Liss

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A “Normal” Day At The Center
     This is the view from the roof of our ministry center. Many of you been wanting to know about what an average day looks like for me as we do ministry here in Lebanon. Three days a weeks we spend in formal language training, Sunday is church, and every other day is a new and unpredictable experience. I have had trouble answering this question until now because of the extreme variation from one day to the next, but over the course of enough time certain patterns have begun to emerge.
     1st Public Transportation: I leave home and walk to the main street to wait from 10 seconds to 30 minutes for either a bus, mini-bus (van), taxi, or serviice (cheap taxi) to come by and take me to our refugee center for between $1 and $6.66 depending on 10 different variables and situations. I get dropped off on the side of the 5 lane highway and must run across to get into our slum called Nabaa. 2nd Discovering the Plan: When I walk through the gates of our Hope of the Nations Center I discover either 50 things I expected happening simultaneously or 1,000 things I didn’t expect. I had a meeting scheduled last week with someone living in the center and walked in to discover that the shared men’s bedroom had been turned into an OBGYN (Embarrassingly I only discovered this after opening the door) 3rd Riding the Wave of Chaos: After finding out what the day will hold. I get the amazing opportunity to share the gospel with refugees in my limited Arabic, Disciple the men living at the center and the high school boys who spend all day there, and meet with our interns about all the new challenges they are facing. 4th Evening Worship: We have a dozen different meetings during the week, but four days a week we have worship services for Kurds, Armenians, and two big combined services where 200 people and 100 kids come to worship at the same time as the evening call to prayer is pumped through the speakers of the local Mosque. Out of respect we crank our speakers even louder and flood the neighborhood with worship music. Finally, I take public transportation back to our apartment for a late dinner and to begin day 2: e-mails.

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High School Ministry
It turns out I like high schoolers after all. After spending my seminary internship as a youth director and running two-dozen retreats for high school students, I was confident that it was just a stepping stone to a bigger role in ministry. So I moved my entire family across the world only to discover that youth weren’t a stepping stone they were the destination. The adult men are amazing, but the ones who truly have a fiery passion for spending time in the word and a desire to be discipled are the young men. I want to share with you about my friend Rizan. He and his family are Kurdish Syrians who have been living in Lebanon for two years. He has lost so much time in school because of the war that he is three years behind in school, so he decided to instead spend all day every day at the Center. He has been reading through the Bible in a year and I asked him to bring me any question he has. So every time I see him we get to stumble through broken Arabic and broken English to answer his deep theological concerns. The church he attends is now sponsoring him to attend the local seminary since he is too ashamed to go to school. Please be praying for Rizan as he embarks on this exciting new part of his life and I continue discipling him through this process.

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New Job
As some of you know we became the Coordinators for Foreign Teams and Visitors in Lebanon. The plan for foreigners visiting Lebanon to do ministry at our center before we came has been: When they arrive at 1:00 AM from the airport we drop them off in our lovely slum named Nabaa where no one speaks English and let them fend for themselves until they need a ride back to the airport. For some reason people have not enjoyed this experience so far. With interns already coming before we arrived, we felt a clear call from God to care for and disciple these short term staff. So far we have had a young man named Andres from Mexico who came for a month and we still have a young woman here named Annie who will be with us until December.

We quickly threw together curriculum for Pre-Arrival, Orientation, and Continued Teaching. It has been an immediate success and has solved a dozen issues with our foreigners, their ministry, and harmony with national staff. It has been a tremendous blessing to us as well. We thrive and grow by being able to disciple men and women to share the gospel. It has been a very slow process for us to grow as quickly as we would like for ourselves at the center, because of the huge language barrier. This has been an amazing experience to make disciples who can affect change in peoples’ lives at the center in a short term context.

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Davey’s Arabic
     There is a standard 6 month breakthrough that missionaries experience where they start moving from surviving to thriving. The feeling of drowning begins to turn into a felling swimming as we persevere through cultural and language barriers. Davey struggled a lot initially not just because of sickness. When we left America he had an extremely high English comprehension and then being immersed in Arabic caused him extreme frustration because he couldn’t understand anyone.
     We have been working diligently to teach him Arabic greetings and phrases. This not only has brought him a lot of joy but is an amazing testimony to every Arab that we see who understand how committed we are to sharing about Jesus that we would teach our child their language. Because many Lebanese speak conversational English, it is common for English speaking missionaries to not learn Arabic. Davey is an amazing avenue for us to share that just as Jesus came and learned our language we have come to immerse ourselves in their culture in order to share the salvation of Jesus in Lebanon.