Back In Beirut

We just finished a 2 month tour of the states where we spoke at 7 churches in 8 weeks! We want to thank the unbelievable support from the incredible servant hearts of our supporters. It brings us to tears when we think of the countless hours of prayers, e-mails, and events that you have committed to us through the years. Because of you the hungry are being fed, the lost are being found, and the gospel is being preached throughout the world. Thank you.

Baptism

Kyrie Rebekah Liss was baptized on August 18, 2018. The following Sunday when Pastor Dan Valisakos asked her what happened to her. She boldly replied, “My daddy got my dress all wet!” Now every time we read about baptism in our family Bible times she stops the reading to remind us that she got baptized, too!

Discipleship

I remember when we left for a visa trip two years ago and Annie “accidentally” chose a hotel without WiFi. When we returned to Lebanon my phone exploded with over 1,000 missed messages. That was when we began realizing I was doing too much and needed help from the national staff. We hired three people to help with my work load and spent a year helping them transition into their new positions. After returning this summer it was unbelievable to feel missed but no longer the only one holding things together. The staff is thriving and growing in experience every day.

School

Because of all your support, David and Rebekah were able to start school this week. The only struggle was convincing Rebekah that she would have to return home each day. Predictably, she has already made lifelong friends so she doesn’t have to worry about bridesmaids at this point. David showed marked improvement in Arabic last year after one of our high schoolers began coming over each week to tutor him. David will be starting French this year and Annie is going to take an online class in French so we can better help Davey with his trilingual education.

Expansion

Doors have been swinging open with our new ministry center out in the Beqaa Valley where over 500,000 refugees live in camps working as farm laborers. At the beginning of the summer one of our staff, named Yusef, was put in charge of running the daily services and distribution at the center but was still commuting three hours each way every day. I was praying for long term staff to move to the area so Jesus can be shown in more incarnational ways. Over the last six months we have had two families and two single women volunteer to be part of our ministry expansion team to the Beqaa. Stay tuned for news about the exciting growth of our outreach facility.

Prayer Requests

  1. Family: Pray for the kids returning to school, that they would be able to share Jesus with their peers and teachers.
  2. Ministry: Pray for grace filled sound doctrine as we are beginning our year of curriculum development this year.
  3. Future: Pray for the team in the Beqaa Valley to have a singular vision and direction for the long term growth of the gospel.
  4. School: Annie has decided to take a month in France to do a French language intensive. Pray for this month of separation for the family.

Passionate Paradox

Paradox 1

     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.

 

 

Halfway Point of Our Summer

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.

Engage

 

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.

What Did I Miss?

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.

10 Ways to Give Solid-As-A-Rock Support to Your Missionaries

Give Us Solid-As-A-Rock Support

We have not been the best at updates over the years. We have been learning to parent two kids, how to balance language classes and ministry and communication and rest. Now that we have reached the end of our first 3 years in Lebanon, we have taken a step back to reevaluate some of the Moral Support needs we have.

No Money Down

These first 8 ways to give us Solid-As-A-Rock Support living in Lebanon are Absolutely FREE! Nothing feels better than free. The first thing I want to emphasize is that we desperately need the partnerships that are not financially based in addition to the financial partnerships from many of you committing to donate to our ministry. We need relationships, in English, with people who have been there for us, who know our hearts, who we miss desperately, who have the chance to see saguaros right outside their windows, or eat at Eegee’s, or watch football the same day it is being played. We miss this part of our old life, and we miss all of you!

So, here are 10 ideas to give us, your very own missionary family, rock solid moral support:


#1: Download
Whatsapp and/or Skype to stay in communication with the Lisses

#2: Sign up for the Prayer Letter and commit to reply when you get a newsletter in your inbox.

#3: Join our Prayer Warrior Team and commit to reply when you get an alert by writing out your prayer in an email.

#4: Email the family. You can send letters to Louis, Annie, David, or Kyrie through email. You can even write letters to the other people we are working with that God puts on your heart. Don’t have our emails

#5: Share what we are doing with your small group and church. This is something that we cannot do on our own. If we write a blog post every week, we still cannot gain new partners or let new people to churches that support us know what we are doing. The only way we can do this is through people declaring that we are a part of their ministry.

#6: Share a mission moment for us. Please ask your church to let you speak once a month or once every other month for 2 minutes to share about what we are doing.

#7: Share our link to sign up for our prayer letter. Become an advocate for our ministry. Due to limited internet and time, we do not have a great social media presence. But many of you do. Use your network to share our posts and pictures on Pinterest, Instagram, facebook, Twitter, etc. (An extra way you could help would be to help us figure out how to add those links to our blog)

#8: Encourage others to use this list. Ask your small group to come together to write letters or share with their own communities about the ministry you are helping us accomplish in Lebanon.

On The Cheap

Some of you out there want to give money to something tangible, gifts rather than just deposit money into an account. We are happy to share different small gifts that we could use, for those of you who love to give gifts.

Gifts

#9: Clothing for the kids.

This is so fun to buy for many people, and we have been receiving multiple requests for the kids sizes. When we are returning to the States for visits this is a wonderful opportunity to stock up on reasonably priced clothes for the kids. Clothing here in Lebanon is about 3 times what we would pay in America.

Kyrie is ready for size 4T and 5T summer and fall clothes.

David’s only clothing needs are for his school uniform because he is fully stocked with everyday clothing. He is in size 7, moving into 8. His school uniform is currently a white shirt and navy blue or jeans bottoms.

These sizes are subject to change, of course.

#9: Amazon Gift Card / Books

We have an Amazon Prime account, so there are many forms of media we can get for free. You could give toward our Amazon account by buying us a digital gift card. This way we can purchase ebooks such as the kids’ homeschool books, and a few authors not available through our libraries. Louis would be able to get movies as well.

If you read an amazing book and want to recommend it, why not gift it to us via Kindle? We have a Kindle as well as the Kindle app on all of our devices. When you find the book on Amazon ebooks choose the option “Give as Gift” and you can email us the gift!

We do also love holding actual books in our hands, and the kids love reading so buying real books is a wonderful gift as well.

I know there are other gift ideas out there, and we can always use medicine, vitamins, and odds and ends from America, so send us an email if this is the type of support you are interested in offering.

#10: Save this list!

Maybe these things are not all possible for you right now. But in the future, as you want to get more involved, or someone near you wants to know how to stay connected to us and help us, you can pull this list out and share it all over again. Print it out to file, bookmark the page, or save it in your email as important.

A Few Bonus Ideas:

#11: Meet with us. 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.

#12: Financial Commitment. If God is leading you to become a financial partner, CLICK HERE to donate through Horizons. Write Louis Liss in the designation / memo.

How To Use Your Pen in the Battle

The Power of Prayer

Many of you really do pray for us, and we are so blessed. We have had a few times in our lives when we went on trips without asking for prayer, and we could always feel the difference. It was not a good feeling to feel that we were spiritually disconnected from our global community, and now we always make prayer the first requirement we tell interns and new staff to gather in their partnership development.

We can go without money. God has ways of providing food and shelter and clothing and supplies when we have a low month. Prayer is something we cannot live without. Especially with the call to prayer from the local mosque coming in through our windows throughout the day.

Join Our New Prayer Chain

If you haven’t already signed up for our quarterly Prayer Week Challenge, please CLICK HERE to sign up. Four times a year we take one week to pray and fast, and we encourage you to join us. On this list you will also be informed of anything urgent or personal that needs immediate prayer but we do not feel comfortable or appropriate to post in the public setting. If you are serious about prayer for us, you have to be on this prayer chain list.

The Pen Is Mightier

I am sure that you have all been there, when you share a prayer request and then go home, but you still feel hopeless or lost. It is so important to pray together, and to be able to share encouragement with each other in our prayer lives. To make prayer an outpouring instead of just a time of filling up.

Although we know many of you are praying for us, and we can feel the love and blessings of those prayers across the ocean, we would be so much more blessed if we could hear from you as well. When you pray for us, it would be wonderful to get a little message from you as simple as: “Just said a prayer for you.”

In our time of living in Lebanon it has been a steep learning curve of how to balance communication home and the work here. It has been especially hard because we are not the most tech-savvy, and we love to live as simply as possible. However, we are turning over a new leaf with a renewed commitment to letting you know our needs, prayers, adventures, and stories.

Please join us in this commitment by recommitting to being in communication with us.

You Can Help

Share our newsletter at your church and small group.

Prepare a place at your church or a time in your small group to share what we post about. Pray with others for our needs. So often we are working through things that many people back home have skills and ideas to help with. We would love to be in conversation with you about the pieces of our ministry you feel invested in or interested in.

Print our newsletter and put in the narthex or hand it out to your small group.

Most churches are willing to put our posts in their own newsletters or as a bulletin insert. However, we have not had the time or energy to figure out how to do this, so it has fallen by the wayside. A person willing to take the blog posts appropriate for these mediums to format them for these places would be so appreciated. Please let me know if this is you!

Please send pictures, video messages via Skype or Whatsapp, news of life.

We are out of touch with our families, Annie doesn’t use facebook or other social media, and we feel like we have lost many of you. Whatsapp is a completely free app on your phone that allows for texting, video and audio messages and calls. Download it to your phone and email us your phone number and we can connect via Whatsapp. Skype is the other way we communicate with people, so share your info with us and set up a weekly or monthly time we can chat with you.

Email

Email is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with us because you can commit to replying when a new post comes to your inbox. The replies get sent directly to our email. If you do not receive these blog posts in your email CLICK HERE to sign up for the daily, weekly, or monthly email from the blog. Additionally, you can sign up for Annie’s Blog HERE.

Meet With Annie

Sit face to face with Annie and pray with her and talk through how you can commit to communicate with our family, stay in the know about our ministry, and help us stay connected to all of you.

Dates are Posted: Get Your Appointment with Annie

On Our Way Home for the Summer!

Annie and the kids are coming back to the States for the summer to fundraise for our new budget for this next term of missionary work in Lebanon.

CLICK HERE

to set up a time to meet with Annie.

This may be too soon for most of you to be thinking about July and August plans, but for some of you out there reading this you know the dates you will be traveling already. I now have the dates I will be traveling and I want to be able to see as many of you as possible for this summer in the States, so please do not hesitate to sign up.

Ways that you can help out now:

Talk to your pastor about a day and time I could come and share about our work in Lebanon and needs.

Invite a few people who you think may be interested to have a small group sharing instead of one on one with you.

Talk to your Bible study or small group about having me come and share about our missionary adventures.

Set up an appointment with me so I can share with you personally.

Here’s how it works:

First, click the link and it will take you to a Google Calendar. The dates I will be in the States are June 27 – August 21. If you book an appointment early enough you will see a screen that says, “There are no appointment slots available until Jun 6, 2017 with a link to look for appointments further ahead. Click that blue link and it will take you to the dates I am available to meet with people to talk about Lebanon.

Second, scroll through the calendar to the dates you know you are free. Some of the days I already know which city I will be in, but some are entirely open so far.

Select one or multiple slots depending on how long you would like to visit for, or if you want to include a meal in the visit. Once you click on an appointment slot it will ask you to fill in details. Here is where you let me know who you are and which city you are in. This is a planning tool for me, so it can be changed as we get closer and adjusted for real times then. You do not need to use this area to put contact information because the appointmenst are public on this calendar, so just your name and city are enough for me to plan for.

Based on the plans I have made so far, I have given all my free time as appointment slots on this calendar. I do not truly intend on spending every slot meeting with people, but this is a good starting point for me, so please don’t hesitate thinking you will be taking away my time. I am coming to see you! You are an essential piece to what we are doing in Lebanon, and the people willing to take time to hear from me will be doing me a great service. Thank you for your prayers and caring for us!

If you didn’t click already, HERE IS THE LINK to make an appointment with me this summer!

Coming Back to America!

Yikes! You haven’t heard from us since December 30!

Then we were writing to tell you about our extreme excitement about Kyrie Rebekah’s healing. She was completely healed, and is a completely different child now with joy and energy! It is so fun to have her in our lives, and we are so blessed by God that she is well!

We Have Been Keeping Busy

While I feel badly for not keeping you up to date, looking back over the past months, there really hasn’t been any time.

Especially leading up to our trip to America, Kyrie’s surgery put everything on hold for us. When we returned it was a brand new beginning for Annie and has allowed so much ministry to expand from our homes and hearts because of the great healing in our lives.

We need to tell you all the amazing things happening, and we also want to let you know about new opportunities coming! It is an exciting time here in Lebanon.

We are right here in the middle of it, a strategic point of battle for the Kingdom. We are still receiving new believers into the center every week, discipling believers from fifteen or more different backgrounds, and starting some new ventures Beirut and throughout Lebanon.

A Timeline to Summarize 2017 So Far

So many other things have been happening with job changes, our team growing, and getting ready for summer teams and interns. Hopefully you can hear some of these stories more in depth by visiting with Annie when she comes to the States this summer. We bought our tickets for her partnership development trip back to the States for July and August.

May (So Far)

  • Engaging Islam Institute being held in Beirut at our center.
  • Louis got a promotion since it was determined he is doing the equivalent of 3 different full time jobs.
  • We attended a church picnic and had several meaningful and intentional interactions to deepen our engagement with our church here in Lebanon

You Can Help!

Annie and the kids are coming back this summer! I want to see as many of you as possible to share what we have been doing, the goals we have met, and what we are planning on doing with our new term.

In order to best plan my trip, I have a small survey I would like for you to fill out.

Thank You For Everything: The Procedure Was Successful! Kyrie Rebekah Is All Better!

Dear Friends and Family,

    We cannot express with words how overwhelmed we have been from the outpouring of support, prayers, and encouragement from our sending community. Let me give a quick summary of the issue and then an update on Kyrie’s improvement:

For an in depth timeline of the past 21 months CLICK HERE

  • March 28th, 2015: Kyrie was born with an imperforate hymen that blocked fluids necessary for menses. Shortly after being diagnosed, a cist appeared in the area of the hymen causing sores, puss, and continual pain.
  • We applied for the procedure to be covered with our insurance at the time and was denied.
  • We attempted a painful out-patient procedure without anesthesia which was unsuccessful.
  • We applied for two international insurance companies and were denied because of a pre-existing condition requiring a surgery they wouldn’t cover anyway.
  • We attempted the painful out-patient procedure again without result.
  • November 2015: Our family returned to Lebanon
  • The pain grew steadily worse and Kyrie began sleeping 15-20 hours a day to manage the pain.
  • We attempted to get the surgery done in Lebanon but there was no one at our Lebanese hospital who was equipped to perform this uncommon procedure on a child so young.
  • December 2016: We returned to America to have the pediatric urological surgery with a specialist.
  • One week prior to the procedure the bulge from the cist subsided.
  • Prior to inducing the general anesthesia we attempted the painful out-patient procedure one last time and this time it was successful!!!
  • We asked our specialist how it was possible for the cist to subside enough for the procedure to be successful and he answered, “You must have had a lot of people praying for you. God must not have wanted her to be put to sleep.”

Kyrie did not have to go under and she has made a 180% change. She is bubbly, laughing, and awake all the time.

She is ALL better!

This is possible because of God’s response to all of your prayers and support. God has shown a sign of His provision in the wilderness. Though our sorrow and struggle has lasted for countless nights, His joy has come in the morning. We could not have gotten through this period of our lives without you all being an ever present comfort to us. We can’t wait for you to meet our joyful little delighted daughter that has been encased in pain for so long. Thank you, thank you, thank you. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

With Deepest Affection,

Louis, Annie, David, & Kyrie Liss

Financial Prayer Report

A $5000 Blessing!

Last night I wrote this report, filled in the tables, but did not have the internet to schedule the post. Since our income and expense reports come about 2 months behind, I only had through September to use. Today I opened my email to find October’s report in my inbox. I decided to add the numbers from October and reformat the first table. When I opened the form, I found that we had received a one time donation of $5000 in October! This is a huge answer to prayer! For October our income was 149% of our monthly goal. Yay God!!! This is a perfect example of God giving us what we need, like the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. There have been months that our Horizons account has ended the month at $0 this year, but God provides. It is His cash flow we are working with.

Louis and I pride ourselves on being transparent with people about our ministry. We want to share our ministry with you on all levels, including financial. Especially since we are always hoping to gain new financial partners. We are always looking for God’s provision through you all so we can invest even more into the ministries we have a passion for: high schoolers, training and curriculum development, church relations, parenting, and education, to name a few.

As this year draws to a close and we look toward those opportunities we want to focus in on, big projects we need to start saving up for, and regular cost of living and inflation raises, we have to raise our budget. Today’s report is a financial report, so it isn’t as fun to read as others, but we believe it to be a very important piece to share with you all.

This first table is a quick look at our financial situation throughout the year so far.

2016

Monthly Average Contributions Contributions Total Explanation

2015

$5,041.22

85% Throughout 2015

$7,289.83 to start 2016

11% of 2016 Total

In 2015 our Monthly Budget was $5,502.50.

In September 2015 we were at 111% for our annual goal.

1st Quarter January – March

$2,680.17

54% of goal

$15,330.35

26%

The large drop in our average monthly percent is in part because of raising our budget for 2016, but in part because we have had donors begin to drop off who have completed their initial commitment to us.

2nd Quarter April – June

$5,094.41

118%

$32,776.54

55%

Half way through the year we were pleased to be also half way funded for the year.

3rd Quarter July – September

$2,718.73

55%

$40,932.73

%69

October

$7,308.55
149%
$48,248.28
81%
This leaves us with $11,056.68 still needed to meet our goal for the year.

Looking forward, the following two tables are the budget sheets for 2017.

Expense Monthly Amount Change from 2016 Explanation
Living Expenses We have added Health Insurance (which under the ACA is no longer reimbursable for nonprofits) and the Minister’s Housing Allowance in addition to our salary. While the money comes to us in one paycheck, we want to be clear about the expenses we plan on having, so we added these two as separate categories.
Salary $3,642 This is a 13% raise. Our Member Care told us that we should be raising our salary about 5%-10% each year. We have never raised our salary above the minimum allowed by the board until this year. All of our budget raises in the past have related solely to ministry expenses.
Health Insurance $600 This is a new category. We have been paying for health insurance for Louis and David this year, but in 2017 Annie and Kyrie will also be eligible, finally. We are getting international health insurance that will cover us in any country.
Minister’s Housing Allowance $1195.70 This is a new category. Louis is ordained and commissioned, but we had not filed the paperwork to officially be able to take the tax deduction at the time we wrote our 2016 budget. We used what we actually spent this year to create this part of the budget. Beneath this Staff Budget we have included the Annual Estimated Expenses for the Minister’s Housing Allowance for you all as well.
Social Security & Medicare $415.98
Total Living Expenses $5,853.68 We only receive this amount after taxes, and if there is money in our Horizons account, so our salary is approved by the people giving in support of our ministry and time here in Lebanon.
Reimbursable Ministry Expenses These are the expenses for which we are able to receive a reimbursement from our Horizons account.
Visa Trips $828 We combined the categories that equal up to visa trips. We have increased the budget for Kyrie who will be required to purchase a seat in 2017 and to account for an annual trip to America. While the paperwork will hopefully one day work out for us to be able to stay in country for longer than three months at a time, currently we have to leave every three months. We do not take vacation days in Lebanon, but use 3 trips for family retreats and 1 trip for partnership development.
Conferences & Meetings $50 Same as 2016 This monthly plan of $50 allows us to attend a conference each year and the Horizons Staff Summit every other year.
Postage & Printing $25 Lower than 2016 Mostly we use this for receiving care packages and mailing out prayer cards during our partnership development month.
Ministry Meals & Gifts $85 Lower than 2016 While this culture is one of gifts, and we do take people out to eat often, we prefer to use our salary and not try to keep reimbursement files of what business was discussed.
Supplies & Materials $15 Lower than 2016 Mostly we use this to buy supplies for administrating the three guest houses here in Lebanon.
Total Reimbursable Ministry Expenses $1,003 Lower than 2016
Administration Fee $685.66 10% of the Total This is the overhead fee Horizons takes out automatically when someone donates to our account.
Total Monthly Staff Budget $7,542.34 This is $2,600 more per month than in 2016 We decreased our reimbursable budget significantly because the way our taxes work out now it is much easier to get paid in our paycheck for a great many of the ministry jobs we have instead of turning in reimbursement forms every few days. So much of our regular day to day life is reimbursable that we have been unable to manage the paperwork it would take. By taking the appropriate steps we are making decisions that are good for our donors.
Worksheet for Estimating Housing Expenses for the Minister’s Housing Allowance Annual Estimated Expenses Explanation
Housing Rental Payments $8,400 This is our rent, but the owner could raise it any time he wants to, or charge us a renewal fee.
Generator $574 Generator electricity. We currently pay for the 5amp generator, which is the lowest and cheapest available.
EDL $621 Government “good” electricity. This is the only electricity we can wash clothes, heat water, or run A/C and heaters with.
Garbage, Common area electricity, etc. $492 We pay for several services in one lump sum each month, which we have finally begun to grasp the full range of with the Arabic we now know. Feel free to ask for more information.
Water $457
Internet $750 Our internet is not unlimited, but is not the worst (although that is a matter of debate between the two of us at times).
Skype $45 We refill our minutes as needed and now can use Skype to call American phones.
Phone $360 We keep this cost down by using WhatsApp instead of minutes the majority of the time.
Structural Repairs & Maintenance $200 We do not get to choose what gets repaired or maintained outside of our apartment, so we were blessed that these were only $200 in the year we used to pick these numbers. However, in the time since we turned in this form we have received the bill for elevator maintenance done in our building, and that alone cost $220 due before we leave for the States.
Gardening, Landscaping, & Pest Control $575 This year we spent $500 creating a garden space on our balcony and pest control costs $75 each year to get our apartment sprayed. We were blessed they have stopped using the pesticides that force us to stay in a hotel for the night, and we were able to stay home during and after the spraying. This is a new thing for Lebanon to have safer pesticides.
Furnishings, Decorations, & Cleaning $570 Bringing Kyrie meant that we had to buy her furniture. We plan on upgrading the kids to beds in the next few years as well. Davy sleeps on a fold out couch right now and Kyrie in a crib still.
10% Allowance for Unplanned Expenses $1,304.40 So smart that the tax form includes this. Hopefully we will not have to use it.
Total $14,348.40

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.

For those of you still reading, perhaps because you skipped past all those tables, 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 our Surgery Fundraiser Team (to help us cover the expenses of this surgery and the trip surrounding it). 

WE CREATED APPOINTMENT SLOTS FOR MEETING WITH US FOR MEALS, EITHER TO HAND OFF A FREEZER MEAL FOR OUR FAMILY OR TO TAKE US OUT TO EAT DURING OUR TIME IN AMERICA. CLICK HERE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO FEED US, BUT CAN’T FIT THOSE TIMES, CONSIDER DONATING THAT MEAL AMOUNT TO OUR FUNDRAISER FOR KYRIE’S SURGERY OR MAILING IT TO OUR HOUSE.