Giving Tuesday with the Lisses

This post was published to Mommy Book Blog at 10:40:05 AM 11/27/2018

Giving Tuesday with the Lisses

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This fall season has been marked with getting back into routines and so many ministries we have been working on over the past five years taking form.

LAB

The Language Academy of Beirut is something that Annie had been asked to participate in a few years ago, but the logistics did not lend themselves to a realistic plan at the time. It was a dream to have people on staff or internships with Horizons whether in Lebanon or outside of the country, and also for others outside of Horizons to be able to learn Arabic with language helpers here in Lebanon. This would have the benefit of providing jobs to people here, and also allowing us to expand our preparation for incoming staff and interns so that they are not landing in Beirut with no Arabic. Although two years ago was not the right time, doors have been opening and things have been falling into place for Annie to participate now. She wrote a curriculum packet and also has been evaluating the different current staff and interns’ levels to learn how best to place people. Rezan is the first teacher, and so he will soon be leaving our department to work for the Middle East Center for World Mission Language Acquisition Department. Rezan now has something like 13 Arabic classes every week, a full-time schedule of teaching. The next step is to start bringing in other teachers as well to take over our internship classes so that Rezan can focus on his students that are more permanent.

MEC

The MEC is a whole world of opportunities for our future as well, and as we continue to replace ourselves, we are folding our ministry into the MEC over time, and Louis hopes to be in a position to take a leadership role in the MEC to train nationals and internationals alike in cross cultural missions. We are dreaming of taking a team of Lebanese to another country on mission trips and transforming our trainings into useful material for Arabs, Asians, Americans, Europeans, and all others who come to the MEC. The MEC has many goals which will fulfill many of our deepest desires, and it is far too soon to even express everything we hope this can be, but we will share more as it becomes even more of a reality. This month we broke ground on our first MEC building purchase, which will serve as a prayer room directly behind our Horizons Café. This new purchase is a big step in moving from a dream to a reality for this center.

Beqaa

The ministry in the Beqaa, which has the largest group of refugees in tents, has also been expanding tremendously. A year ago there were one or two trips out to the Beqaa each week, and now there is a full team going four or five times a week. The team is made up mostly of people on our staff already working in admin or with other ministries who God has called to the Beqaa. Additionally, we have several new staff living in or moving to the Beqaa. Miriam is a Christian who already lives in the Beqaa who just joined Horizons staff, and Annie Ostrander who was our first intern ever, and has been on staff with us for several years now, will be moving out there soon. Additionally, our newest staff member to join us is a nurse who has on her heart to move out there. Finally, our family of five that just moved here will be moving out there in about six months.

New Staff

The staff influx has been tremendous. The stories of how people have found us can only be God! This new family, for instance, the husband, Tommy, was just walking through Beirut and ran into Louis and started talking to him. The nurse, Robbie, is working with another organization and we have been able to form a partnership between our two organizations. It has been an amazing time. Louis and Annie have both been very involved and redefining roles in this new season because onboarding several families and people at a time is much more time commitment than one at a time. Currently there are three more applications at various points in the process, and with both of us looking toward new ministries it has been a challenge.

Annie has taken the lead on the language component of onboarding because of her involvement with the LAB, and Louis with member care and pastoral care because that is his gift. Both of us meet with the new staff once a week for the first month to go through our own onboarding materials and to make sure that everything goes smoothly. This past week, Annie has been taking the Henderson family shopping for electronics for their new apartment. Annie also has on her heart to make sure that we are including the Henderson kids in this process, so she spent an afternoon with the older girls and processed through some of the culture with them and encouraged them. Of everything we have shared, that lifted Annie’s heart the most.

Family Ministry

Additionally, our own kids are being involved more. It seemed with David being at school two hours longer each day this year and having our day broken up by the two different bus pick up times, we would be limited, and it has in some ways, but it hasn’t completely closed us off. David has become much more proactive at school and has really found his footing, so he got the number of a classmate so that we could go over to her house. It was a wonderful playdate, the first time we have hung out with another family that was a school friend only. The visit was amazing, and we will be bringing them to our church’s cookie decorating and puppet show evening in December.

Kyrie has missed going to the café with us, and so we have been working in afternoons that we can all go to the café to practice Arabic and have the kids around for meetings. This has pushed David outside of his comfort zone and allowed her to use Arabic since this year her class is English only. Kyrie is also thrilled that the new family has three girls, and she has been having a lot of fun playing with them. It has helped the girls feel included and befriended after leaving their own friends in America.

We are all going down to Tyre for the first time since we got back to Lebanon this week! Annie has a huge heart for Tyre and since all these doors have been opening in these other ministries, hopefully God will start to show what he is going to do with Tyre, but it seems like it is going to be a family adventure! We can’t wait to share what God shows us. This week we will be going with a staff couple, Caleb and McKenna, and Caleb’s parents who came out for Thanksgiving. It will be a good member care time and also, we always love going to Tyre.

Not to Mention…

This is such a small portion of everything that is going on! Thank you for all your care and love and prayers. If you would like to send us a bit of Christmas, putting it into our account now means we will see it at Christmas time. We have a visitor coming from Tucson this year, which we are very excited about! As we get closer to that time we will let you know if he will have room to bring cards over with him or the like. We are so blessed to see God using us here in Lebanon, and we want you to know that nothing here would be possible without you.

Having a new family here and seeing how their first week has gone so well has brought many tears to Annie’s eyes as we remember the horror that we went through our second day here and into the following months (Month 1, Month 2, and our huge Change of Plans in Month 5) . Our motto has been “We don’t want anyone else to go through what we went through.” And the first week of this Henderson family being here has been the fruit of that. Your prayers have sustained us these past five years, and 6000 more words won’t be enough to express our sincere appreciation.

And then there was this chicken that wandered into our building this week! Oh, Lebanon!

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