Before we came back to the States in December, I posted an overview of our budget changes for this coming year and our progress for 2016.
Since our return to Lebanon we have been having some paradigm shifts as we look at our future in Lebanon.
Initially we came with a 2 year goal in mind. We were coming with an open ended plan, but for my sanity and the sake of those we were asking to join as partners we said we were coming to Lebanon “For at least 2 years.”
Those first 2 years were nothing like we thought they would be, and full of so many joys and sorrows. For instance, the first 2 years after being sent out, I was only in Lebanon for a year and 3 months. When we came back after my unexpected year in America we decided to add a year to our first term and truly complete 2 years in Lebanon. It has been so full of changes and adjustments, that it doesn’t even really seem like it has been 3 years, while simultaneously feeling like it has been a decade!
Through prayer we have decided that Louis is going to dig in for another 3 year term here. We have new goals, and we believe 3 years is a good amount of time to get dug in on those goals and to continue our ongoing work. With this decision made, we can shift our fundraising to a bigger picture view. Rather than just focus on one month at a time, we can look at the whole 3 years and work toward the goals for our budget, while planning in some of the ventures we hope to be starting.
We are getting involved with our local church. They recently bought a center of their own, and we are hoping to be able to work with them as well. In order to be able to truly commit to them it has become apparent that we will need a car.
We have finally achieved our goal of making our home a place people will visit! We are going through our coffee, cakes, cookies, and water at a rapid rate, and it is so exciting! We love having people over to have the personal conversations not meant for an office, and to allow our family the space they need instead of dragging the kids around.
Arabic has been going so well, and we are recognizing the different ways in which we learn and the different topics we have to learn the vocabulary to speak well. In the upcoming year Annie is going to enter a student role to learn some new skills and also in Arabic to break the plateau effect in order to begin speaking.
Louis got a promotion because he has been doing three jobs worth of work. This is great, and we are also seeing ways we want to expand our ministry as he grows in competence and leadership here.
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.
$8,239.05 per month
Currently Pledged: $2,742 per month (33% of Monthly Goal)
Contributions: $2,848.97 (35% of Monthly Goal)
Online Giving Fees: $19.74
Administration Fee: $284.90
Balance in Account at the end of January: $1,871.91
Total Contributions so far into 2017: $5,494.35 (6% of 2017 Goal)
1 New Partner!
Contributions: $2,432.26 (30% of Monthly Goal)
Reimbursements: $1,595.84 (Ministry Expenses in America)
Online Giving Fees: $17.17
Administration Fee: $243.23
Balance in Account at the end of January: $848.04
Total Contributions so far into 2017: $7.926.61 (8% of 2017 Goal)
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. Write Louis Liss in the memo.
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 sign up to meet with Annie while she is in America to hear about everything we have been doing the last 3 years in Lebanon.
First off, thank you to everyone who has joined with us in prayer the last few weeks. If you fasted and prayed along with Louis that Friday or any day since we so appreciate it. We truly do need your prayers far more than your money, and this would have been a terrible time if not for your prayers lifting us up.
We have good news!
Because this time apart has been so hard on all four of us, and through much prayer, God has given us peace about Louis and Davy returning in the beginning of July. YAY!!!
Kids Camp VBS was a success.
There were 150 kids at the VBS run by our first team every day. The gospel was preached, and relationships were built, so our goals were met. We are hopeful that some of the people from the team will return to Lebanon in the future with this same church group and as interns. We would like churches that partner with us to begin to build a yearly or biennially (every other year) team to return and continue to build on the relationships and work done.
In addition to the VBS the team helped with our food distribution by packing bags. We were able to order more food because we knew this team would be there, so more families can be aided through the summer months with the additional food packaged. They participated in the evening services and attended church with the Syrian refugees.
We were also thrilled to be able to improve accommodation options before their arrival so that they could stay in our new guest house. The male members of the team still stayed at the center, and the whole team got to experience the full immersion into another language at the center. It was a great team, and we were blessed to have them. Contrary to the past, this team was able to support and serve our staff instead of be a burden on them. We were very glad to have found a way to make this work because we know that the way that a person gets into long term missions is through a short term trip, and the way that churches and individuals can best invest in their missionaries is to continue to learn about and understand the mission they are on. We want to provide churches and individuals the opportunity to come to Lebanon to help out at the center because we know it disciples them.
One very exciting part of this trip was the acceptance and involvement of our staff. From the shaky beginning when Louis and I became “In charge of the foreigners” until now there has been radical change. A wonderful sign of their love for this team as well as an exciting opportunity we had to share the gospel in a tangible and lasting way is that the team was able to hand out picture Bibles in Arabic to the kids at the end of the camp that showed up with our staff members the last day! God provides.
Between now and when Louis arrives we will have another team coming. They will not be running a VBS because they were able to gather a team with a majority knowing Arabic. We are hoping to have them join the ministries already happening, take over some teachings, and be at the center in the same way our staff is with less guidance and oversight. They will be able to jump into discipleship and in depth ministry with all ages at the center. Then, with both of those debriefs in his back pocket, Louis will hop on a plane and head home.
What We Will Be Doing With Our Extra Time In America
These two very different teams will help us continue to shape our curriculum for orientation and training of individuals and teams coming to Lebanon. The experiences we have had in Tirosh, Via de Cristo, and Chayah have all prepared us for being able to easily identify the roots of issues that come up and determine how best to handle them in the future. Photography, dress code, gender issues, etc. We are using the debriefs that Louis has and will have completed to make trainings, orientations, etc. effective and always better.
If you are thinking that you would like to join a team or host a team to Lebanon in the future, just let us know and we can begin helping you determine what would be necessary to plan a trip.
We’re here at last! As soon as we got to Pierre & Gigi’s apartment Davy was off and running to play with Rami. They are having a great time together. This morning Rami didn’t want to go to daycare so that he could stay and play with “Baby David”. They are attached at the hip already.
Today we went shopping for our new apartment. First we measured and got to walk through and decide where we wanted things and then we went to buy a fridge, a washer, and a dryer. As I am typing this Louis and Pierre are off buying Davy his mattress and our water cooler. We are learning all about the electricity and how to work a gas stove.
We began to plan out our language route today as well. This is one of the methods that we learned about in our training that we are very excited to begin using. The idea is to take one day to meet as many people along a specific route as possible. Hopefully these are people who will be there every day. From the 50 or so people we try to meet that first day we will find 3-7 with whom we could visit every day along the route to practice Arabic (and later French). Shop owners are great because they expect people to come in and the chatting times are short so that we won’t be staying long. There are many shops right around our apartment, so we are going to begin working on our memorized dialogue to begin our walk once we move in and my walking blister from Rome goes away. A reason we love this language project so much is that it initiates relationships right away.