One Week of Praying for Your Missionaries in Lebanon

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Davy Overlooking the Mediterranean

Hello again! Liss Family here. We have two weeks left before we are back in America for a month of holidays, family, and Kyrie’s surgery. In our ministry and lives, we are at a turn in the road. Therefore, as a family we are taking the next two weeks to pray and fast for 7 areas in our lives. We would love for you to seek the Lord along with us on these topics.

Monday    TRIP TO AMERICA

Tuesday    NEW MINISTRY GOALS & JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Wednesday    TIMING

Thursday    PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Friday        SCHOOL CHOICES

Saturday    RESIDENCY

Sunday        LOSS

We will be fasting in our own ways. The kids will be fasting dessert. Annie will be fasting snacks, and on Thursday fasting Breakfast and Lunch. Louis will be fasting a meal every day, and 2 meals on Thursday. We invite you to fast with us on these days if you are led by God to do so.

If you would like more specific prayer requests sent to your inbox each day, please CLICK HERE to give us your email address, and join us in praying this week in preparation for the Liss family’s return to America.

As part of Annie’s culture shock processing, she is running a FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. The purpose is for anyone who hopes to have a habit of writing, and will include directions for creating a family blog simultaneously with a Christmas Letter for this year. For those of you who are a part of our prayer team, or would like to be, this Writing Challenge will be a great way to pray for Annie and the family while they are back in the States as she shares about culture shock and challenges.

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Winterization

IMG_2634IMG_4524IMG_2630IMG_4588IMG_4595What do you think of when you hear the word Refugee? My perspective has changed dramatically in the past two years. When we bring people to our outreach center, people frequently ask, “Where are the refugees.” I show them the people walking in the streets, children running outside, the people running worship, and leading others to the Lord that they now know. Our ministry is currently to Urban Refugees. People like most of us in America. If we had everything taken from us we would move to a new home in a new city not to a tent. Here in Lebanon it is the poorest of the poor and those who lived in tents in Syria that ended up in what we call the Bekaa Valley. 500,000 men, women, and children living in communities of shacks.

Until last month I had never been to the camps. There are very few dangerous areas in Lebanon but I had heard stories from my friends of several incidents that had happened in tents close to the Syrian border. They shared about medical relief enclosures being set on fire, fights breaking out over food portions, and rumors or ISIS kidnappings.

So when I was asked if I wanted to help prepare one of the camps for Winter I was surprised that my immediate answer was, “Absolutely! I would love to! When do we leave?” I suppose part of me was thinking, “You have already followed God’s calling around the world and brought your family to a country bordering war. Why not go a little farther?” I love telling people that Jesus had a habit of being in the wrong place at the right time. So it makes sense that I would continue to follow after my Middle Easter savior.

We brought a few hundred gospels, mattresses, blankets, and heaters to a camp that the local churches were not reaching out to. In the past there had been big issues with people driving in with trucks of aid. One of our local ministry contacts went ahead and was able to gain the trust of the leader of the camp. So with his authority I stood on top of a mountain of mattresses and began to give them out under his direction two at a time.

I have to say I was surprised; it was different than I expected. The UN had responded with aid from all over the world and built plywood structures for each family. Each had electricity. Some had refrigerators and I had to laugh when I saw a satellite on top of one shack. A Lebanese local joked that refugees come with only the shirt on their back and a TV under their arm. Many things are different throughout the world but some of the humorous idiosyncrasies of poverty still prevail.

Though some of the conditions were better than a few of the homes I have visited in Beirut. The look of desperation on he faces of the mothers was identical. There were 8 different mattress coverings stacked randomly to the sky, and I was asked by one of these women if I could bring honor to her family by giving her matching mattresses. Realizing this was an issue that could shame others by giving them unmatched mattresses, I began to assess how consuming it would be trying to stand 20 feet in the air and match the mattresses that were beneath me.

After 2 hours we were able to give out over 100 gospels each with a matching sets of mattresses. The subtle smiles given to me before people hurried back to their homes confirmed the honor I could restore by this simple act of inconvenience. The second to last set was given to a couple that had just been married in the camp a day before. It reminded me of a movie where a couple in a concentration camp have a wedding service after dark. A reminder that life perseveres, and that if the light of human love can shine in the muddy darkened hovels of a refugee camp, how much greater will Christ’s light shine as his salvation brings true honor and true hope to the truly hopeless?

Kyrie Rebekah Has Arrived!

Now two weeks old, we have finally had the time to sit down and write to you about what has been going on the last few months.

The last time we sent out a newsletter Louis was in Lebanon working with the youth, the team, and some visitors from America and China.

Louis came home February 13th, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and we have been going since then.

The season of Lent kept us busy at our church here in the States, staying connected, building relationships, and teaching Davy about this season leading up to Holy Week.

TIROSH was March 19th – 21st, and since Annie was ready to pop, she decided to help out (secretly hoping to induce), so that she would be with Louis the entire time. In addition, Davy helped each day. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and teaching Davy about ministry as life, rather than ministry just being a part of our lives.

Just before Holy Week, Davy got a stomach virus which he passed along to Mommy. Because of the due date being literally the next day, when Mommy was vomiting violently on March 27th, her doctor told her to go into the hospital triage to get checked. In the hospital we were informed that Annie was having contractions every four minutes, and she was dilated. But after a few hours, Annie still really not feeling the so-called contractions, and rehydrated from the IV, we decided to go home to see our little boy.

2am March 28th, Annie woke up with pain increasing, and by 7am the contractions could not be denied any longer. At contractions 3 minutes apart we headed to the hospital, and at 1:30pm Kyrie entered the world!

When we went home, the stomach virus that had seemed to miraculously disappear had remained with Davy, so we spent Kyrie’s first few days home trying to keep Davy from sharing drinks, trying to figure out pediatricians, and trying to let Carol/Cadee/Louis’ mom rest because she had also gotten the virus. Also, it was Holy Week!

Davy’s homeschooling curriculum had a whole unit on Holy Week, we did the Resurrection Eggs as a family, and he was really excited to celebrate at church. He can tell the whole story of Jesus from Palm Sunday to Resurrection, and so it was fun to take him to church for Palm Sunday, for him to bring the Palm Leaf cross to Kyrie in the hospital, and each of the services throughout the week. Louis preached for Maunday Thursday. Davy even got to do his first cross nailing, where he nailed his sin of hitting to the cross. It was a really beautiful and special time for our family, and we were very glad to share it with Kyrie. Several times during the week Davy shared the story of Jesus with Kyrie, and he is really showing how great a big brother he is and will continue to be.

We are so excited ot be returning to Lebanon in May, God willing. We have a huge summer planned with teams, new staff, and continued language learning.

Prayer Requests:

  • Kyrie has to have a minor surgery before we can begin planning our return trip to Lebanon, so pray that we can figure out insurance and timing without stress.
  • We have several teams and individuals coming to visit Lebanon beginning in June, so pray for us to be energized to help with the planning and training pre-arrival, and be ready to hit the ground running when we return to Lebanon in May.
  • Annie is healing well, but her hips were pretty beat up during the pregnancy and delivery, so prayers for continued healing.
  • The original purpose of coming back to the States in November was to finish fundraising and we are still only 2/3 funded.

Since we have had very little chance to write a real update about things happening in Lebanon, we wanted to share with you two ways to get up to date.

First, we have an awesome blog that a wonderful woman connected with Horizons kept as she visited Lebanon last month. Please CLICK HERE to read about her trip. Included are pictures of the center, and stories about what has been happening this past month. It is very exciting.

Pray4MENA

And, as always, you can sign up for the Pray4MENA updates. MENA stands for Middle East and North Africa, which is the region we are working in, and these updates will tell you all about the people on our immediate and larger team. CLICK HERE to check those out.

Pray For The Middle East

Today was supposed to be a Bible Study post on Romans, which is the Bible Study Louis and I are doing, but he is sick. Instead, I was thinking about the amazing things happening here, and wanted to make sure people knew about them. Additionally, this week the emails and Skype calls asking about The Situation over here have increased dramatically. I am not sure why this week was different, but I wanted to share with you again that Pray4MENA.org has daily and weekly updates on prayer requests and praise reports happening all over the Middle East. We have had not just 1 but 2 people in ISIS come to Christ recently!

With all the exciting things God is doing, there is still desperation for prayer every day. Please be in prayer for those people coming from war-torn, traumatic situations. They are on our heart as we meet them, pray with them, and minister to them at the center.

Liss Family Send Offs: Phoenix & Tucson

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TWO DATES!

TWO LOCATIONS!

TWO CHANCES TO SAY GOODBYE!

April 27th

5pm-7pm

St. John’s Lutheran Church

7205 N. 51st Ave. Glendale, AZ 85301

May 3rd

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Mt. Zion Lutheran Church

4520 W Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85746

Potluck Meal:

Please bring your favorite dish to share.

The Lisses have bought plane tickets and are heading out this May! Please come see Annie, David Ezekiel, and Louis off as they head overseas to be missionaries in Beirut, Lebanon.

Listen to them share about their excitement and prayer requests and learn how you can partner and stay connected with them while they are in Lebanon.

To Donate to Louis and Annie’s Horizons International account mail any checks (with Annie & Louis Liss written in the memo) to

Horizons International
PO Box 18478
Boulder, CO 80308

Or go online to horizonsinternational.org/contact/donate

SAVE THE DATE!

Lebanon Send Off & Launch

Phoenix:

April 27, 2014
5:00 PM
St. John’s Lutheran Church

 

Tucson:

May 3, 2014

11:00 AM

Mt.Zion Lutheran Church

Come and bring anyone who might be interested in partnering with us to fund our mission work in Lebanon or find out more. Our team is desperate for us, and we are leaving this May in faith that God is going to provide the remaining funds.

Our team leader sent us a list of just a few of the things happening there and we want to be able to tell you the stories first hand from that country. So, the week following this Launch we are getting on a plane and leaving. (I am publishing this blog post as we are looking at plane tickets.)

Pierre, our team leader just sent us this encouragement in our email correspondence with each other:

Once you arrive you will be able to send back tons and tons of stories of God doing miracles and changing lives. This week a man’s shriveled hand was mostly healed and he’s writing with it, which he couldn’t do before , a woman’s face that had been saggy from her stroke was restored , a kid came out of a coma, Jihan came to Christ 6 days after she came from Syria and is eating up the word if God. A teenage kid named Roksha prayed to accept Christ last week, Boutros has a carpenter’s assistant named Ahmed who came to Christ a couple weeks ago, my dad preached last Thursday and over 30 people responded to the altar call. There are more new believers than we can follow up on.”

We need to be there. Right now those are just stories that are happening there, but that is just a taste of what is happening and our team needs us. We have a heart for discipleship to follow up with these people. We are being called, and we are changing our strategy from asking for money to just leaping out in faith. God will provide. Plenty of people know the need, and it is time to GO!

For many of you who have been with us along the way you are sharing our mix of emotions: Excitement, apprehension, nerves of all sorts. We are finally going! Now is the time to pledge a monthly, quarterly, or annual amount. We are running low on time for one on one meetings, and if you want to meet or visit with us, please contact us!

Many of you are giving to other short term missionaries, and we are thrilled because we have not been able to pour into those people (e.g. Charlie Wheeler). Please continue the commitments you have made. If you are considering giving to us after these short-term commitments end, let us know so we can keep track of the pledges.

Bombings In Beirut

This was posted by our team leaders in Beirut in our team’s blog, Pray4Mena.org and we thought many of you would be interested in reading it.

Bombings in Beirut – Some Perspective

Every time there’s a new series of bombings, many people ask how we can continue to work in an environment like Beirut. They want to know how to interpret what they see on the news. But one question I have for them is whether they are really much safer where they live.

The two most recent bombings, like many in the past, are a reflection of the sectarian tension between Sunnis and Shiites, which is manifesting itself openly in the Syrian war, and boiling up from time to time in Lebanon.

This will likely continue to happen, and it’s possible that it could escalate, although we are praying that it doesn’t. So far it’s not really more than the weird “usual” of Lebanon, which tends to have assassinations and/or bombings every few months.

But for perspective, some good frames of reference are the murder rates and violent crime rates in the US. There were 500 murders in Chicago in 2012.  All the bombing victims in Beirut each year are a lot less than that, even though the Beirut metro area has a comparable population to that of Chicago, which has 2.7 million residents. Even the US department of state admits that violent crime is rare in Lebanon, so I doubt that annual murders plus bombings in Beirut would even approach half of the murders in Chicago.

But we should also remember that fatalities from car accidents are far far more likely than deaths from bombings in Beirut, or even murders in Detroit, where 1 in 1832 residents were murdered in 2012. Car accidents are the leading cause of death in most places, with the exception of some, like Ohio, where in 2007 drug overdoses surpassed motor vehicle crashes for the first time on record , or Vermont who loses more people to heroin than cars or guns, as I learned yesterday from a speech by Vermont’s governor, who devoted his entire state of the state address to heroin.

This illustrates the fact that, no matter where you live, life is dangerous. I don’t mean for this to trivialize the political and ethnic violence in the MENA region, and we certainly need to continue to pray for peace in MENA. However, having a realistic view of the world requires an acknowledgement of the frailty of human life everywhere, which should lead us to a deeper trust in God, who sustains us through every moment.

Pray for Chicago, for Ohio, and for Vermont, and don’t forget to pray for MENA!

http://pray4mena.org/2014/01/11/bombings-in-beirut-some-perspective/

Upcoming Training

We want to let you all know about the training that we are going to this April. So here is a summary of the information pulled from the website (Click Here to see the complete website). We will be attending the Compass training from March 31 through April 26 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Compass is designed to help cross-cultural missionaries develop skills and attitudes to successfully make it through culture shock and adaptation. Many missionaries last a short time on the mission field because there is a lack of pre-field training, and there are huge expectations set on them. One of the ways in which Compass will help with this is by giving us tools to acquire new languages quickly, which will make us more effective immediately. This will allow us to connect with the people we meet in their heart language. We will learn techniques in entering a new culture in areas of stress, team dynamics, conflicts, Sabbath rest, and relationship skills.

Your prayers are essential as we experience this opportunity together as a family. It has been many years since we have attended a training instead of running it ourselves. Davy has never had an experience of being in daycare throughout the day as he will there. I (Annie) am very nervous about it all, but feel that the Holy Spirit has been calling me out onto the ledge, to live less in safety, and more in vulnerability. I want to find God in every experience instead of relying on comfort and routine. I am excited to see what God is going to do with us there, and how we will be able to change our attitudes and increase our hope and joyfulness in these times of uncertainty.