The Saga Continues aka Never Use Humana

It turns out that our insurance company has spun us around too long and now Kyrie’s surgery has been cancelled. The hospital requires 14 days prior to be cleared, but we are past that now, so the surgery was cancelled. While we are furious, we have some hope in that the doctor thinks she might be big enough now to do the procedure in his office, so we are praying that the waiver with our insurance goes through prior to September 1st, which is the new date to attempt this procedure in his office. Please pray for us.

Many people are just as confused as we are in this process, so I would like to take a moment to put in Summary This Process from Kyrie’s Birth to Now.

  • Louis and I chose to have Kyrie here in the States because of the trauma of taking Davy to the hospital two days into our move to Lebanon. We also desperately want our children to know their family here (whether through blood or otherwise). This is a decision we will take up into prayer in the future as we continue to have children.
  • Upon arriving in the States we entered into the process of getting insurance that would cover us having Kyrie and any problems that might ensue for any of us while we were here. (In the future Humana will NOT be an insurance we choose). The numbers on paper looked good, and we were saved from thousands of dollars in the hospital having her by getting insurance.
  • When Kyrie was born the pediatrician that comes to see the babies found that she had an imperforate hymen. I, Annie, had this as well, but it was not discovered until I was about 8 and had had many infections, and it was quite traumatic for me to get the procedure done. So, we were blessed to find out about the need for surgery so early on.
  • We immediately made appointments for Davy and Kyrie to see our pediatrician here, but then found out that while our pediatrician does work with Humana they do not work with the specific Humana plan we have, making him out of network. Our idea of having a pediatrician we could always come to in the States was gone, and the referral he had given us for the surgery was also worthless. So we spent some time finding an in network pediatrician. The one we found has too many patients and not enough pediatricians, so every appointment we make is a month or so out. By the time we saw her to get another referral months were passing.
  • With the referral we made an appointment with a surgeon, but the earliest they could see us was June.
    At this point we made the decision for Louis and Davy to go to Lebanon without Kyrie and I in May. We had teams coming to Lebanon for our first sets of summer trips for VBS and we needed to have Louis there for that. We sent Davy in the hope that the surgery would happen soon after the consult and we could join them ASAP.
  • The teams went well, great in fact, but Davy did not handle the separation well. He was having a terrible time, as were we all, and the consult led to a surgery date of August 27th. So, we brought the boys back in the beginning of July. We took time in Colorado to check in with Horizons.
  • When we got back to Arizona in the middle of July, Louis spent an entire day on the phone with Humana to determine how the procedure would be covered. We made sure to do it over a month before so that there would be no surprises. We gave all the information to the surgeon’s office who said that it sounded routine.
  • Now it is August, her surgery is approaching and we receive a call from the surgeon’s office saying that Humana has denied coverage. Two more days Louis has now sat on the phone with Humana, our primary care pediatrician, and the surgeon’s office. The information we had at first, Humana claims, is wrong. And now that it is a week away from the surgery, the surgeon’s office cannot keep our place in line at the hospital, so the surgery has been cancelled for August 27th. The surgeon’s office and our pediatrician are very nice and on our side of this and have been working hard to help us out and get us back together as a family and back to Lebanon. Humana has blocked us at every turn. We are hopeful now that Kyrie is big enough to have the procedure accomplished in office at the surgeon’s on September 1st.

    Please pray:

    • For the doctors and assistants who have been tirelessly working alongside us to get this taken care of now.
    • For the increasing stress to not take a toll (Louis and I have both begun to get sick during all of this and have had several minor injuries that I just know are a result of the stress. Davy and I have begun have nightmares every night again as well.)
    • For us to be able to put our energy into our work for Horizons and in discipling our senders here in the States (Look forward to some announcements soon of workshops we would like to do with those of you interested in learning more about ways to help out our mission to Lebanon and other missionaries you may know.)
    • For clarity as we make decisions for our family
    • For comfort in this time of disappointment and frustration

You do not know how important each one of you is to our lives. Without your prayers, concern, and love we would not be able to do any of this. We are battling loneliness and fear and culture shock all the time, but are able to see the hundreds of you that are supporting us by receiving this newsletter, and we know that you are behind us 100%. That is why we are running to you now with our need. We need prayer more than ever. Please ask your churches, small groups, friends, pastors, and anyone you can think of to join us in prayer as we approach this September 1st appointment. Thank you.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Philippians 1:3-5

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I Know I Don’t Know But Soon I’ll Understand – By Louis Liss

Thank you so much for your support over this last season of ministry. David and I returned to Lebanon 7 weeks ago while Annie and Kyrie stayed in America awaiting the impending surgery. I have always been gifted with a strong reliance on God’s plans above my own. I have often been the one counseling that God is in charge even if we don’t understand what He is doing. For now almost 2 months I have had a trying time of challenges and frustrations. This time has been concurrent with my devotional life as I have spent the last few years returning time and time again to John 15. Jesus continually calls me to trim what is not of Him so that the fruit that He has prepared can receive the light and attention it deserves. Right now I am going through a season of Spirit motivation and Spirit resilience. Tragically my default is apathy and I have relied heavily on my wonderful wife to speak inspiration into my life. Now that I only can speak to her when both she and I are exhausted, Annie and I have had to tap into our reserves of resilience to hear clearly what God wants for each day and rise early each morning to share the Gospel with the lost.

From this tumultuous ordeal God has been producing the following fruit:

  1. 6 Months ago Annie and I heard God calling us to start a new project where teams from around the world come and put on a VBS. We spent the next half a year planning and preparing a team of 12 from Denver to come and launch this new VBS Export project. Our national staff thought we might get 50 kids. Instead we got 150 kids. Every day kids poured in to hear the Gospel and have fun with our international team and national staff. We now have a new program to host each summer for kids to receive the Gospel and become disciples.
  2. We are establishing a silk road of Chinese missionaries from Hong Kong to begin sending teams and interns to learn how to reach the 23,000,000 Muslims in China.
  3. One of our missiological mottos is “Arab to Arab Ministry”. This week we are hosting our first Arab American team from San Francisco who is reaching out in Arabic to disciple new believers and pray for others to accept the Lord.
  4. I met with a leader of Walk Through The Bible to get more discipleship curriculum into the hands of our National staff as more and more people are coming to Christ in need of discipleship.
  5. We had two weeks of free clinics. From the people who served at these clinics some showed interest in returning to become local interns.

Though the fruit may be obvious, the attacks of feeling defeated, alone, and inadequate are constant. David has struggled immensely and because our organization does not recommend families separate for longer than 2 months, David and I will be returning to the states in time for Kyrie’s surgery. This has not worked out the way we planned at all and I don’t yet know why, but I know whether in this life or the next at some point I will understand.

Please pray for:

    David and I to get our exit visas this week so we can leave the country.

    Our flight back to America to be safe and uneventful.

    For the surgery to be blessed by God and in His timing.

Good News

    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.

Psalm 4 & A Davy Application

Overview:

God hears the Psalmist’s cry. God has given relief from his distress. People bring him shame and speak vain words, seeking after lies, but God has set apart the godly for himself. The Psalmist is taking his anger and meditating silently, putting his trust in God. Others complain that there is nothing good. God fills the Psalmist’s heart with joy, which is better than the wine and food of the other people. Peace reigns in his life because he knows that God is in control, and he knows that God hears him.

Characters:

The Psalmist, “God of my righteousness”, men, the godly.

Key Verse:

Verse 8 “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Cross References:

Psalm 3:5 “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.”

Psalm 16:9 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”

Leviticus 25:18, 19 “Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely. The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and dwell in it securely.”

Leviticus 26:5 “Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.”

Deuteronomy 33:28 “So Israel lived in safety, Jacob lived alone, in a land of grain and wine, whose heavens drop down dew.”

Conclusion:

    I am blessed to have God. He is the one protecting me and taking care of every day and night. Lately fireworks have been going off in the night because of the World Cup, Davy has not been going to sleep well, and there is always more to do. But, since committing to waking up before Louis and Davy so I could have quiet time, I cannot just stay up with excuses (Pinterest would really help me calm down…If I just read the rest of this book…If I just do the rest of the dishes…). I must do as Christ has called me, Annie, to do. I must go to sleep and rise early to meet with Him. Because of this commitment, I am seeing the fruits of it in my days. My nights, therefore, are less stressful because I know that God will continue to guard, comfort, and protect us all. He fills my heart with joy and peace throughout the day. And I can come to him easily because I know He hears me.

Yesterday during my quiet time I was praying for Davy. Louis went to the center for a big chunk of the day and would be going again in the evening. It is the longest Louis has left us alone since we got here, so I knew it would be a tough day with Davy. I prayed that Davy would have peace and not worry about Daddy. During Louis’ and my Bible Study on Romans in the morning, Davy began to stress out and get very upset. We stopped and prayed and he felt better. This happened throughout the day. It was a different day and our little toddler was thrown off by it. While God did not give him complete calmness and peace, I was equipped to handle and know what was happening with my baby. Because of this, I knew God had heard my prayer. Knowing that made it not matter that He didn’t do as I had asked.

Davy consistently lists the people he misses and wants to pray for. “Pray!” he will announce, slapping his hands together. We will ask him what he wants to pray for, and he will say a name or a list of names or he will say “Miss!” meaning he misses someone, something, or somewhere. We will pray together. This week we hung pictures of family and friends, and he sits on his bed looking at the pictures and prays on his own, too. It is important to me that he knows God hears our prayers, so we spend some time every Sunday on Anamnesis, remembering what God has done for us. This Psalm expresses all of that.

Jesus in the Psalm:

    I love the wording “O God of my righteousness” in verse 1, and the commentary says this about it, “David confesses his sole dependence on God’s “righteousness”—his commitment to do what is right and to rescue his covenant people.”* It is true that we are not righteous apart from him, and we must recognize our need for a Savior, for someone who is righteous. When we are seen as righteous, we know it is all God’s work in us. “This principle of God establishing his name through his people assures Christians that God will answer their “call” (v. 3).”*

My commentary also makes an interesting comment, that this is an “evening psalm”, which is a psalm that talks about the events of the day. As we go to bed, we hand over the day to God in this way. An application could be to use this Psalm as a sort of template to pray through in the evening.

Let’s look at the flow of this Psalm:

  1. Verse 1
    1. David remembers what God has done for him
    2. David confesses his sole dependence on God’s righteousness
    3. With confidence in the Redeemer’s righteousness rather than his own, David boldly asks God to be gracious

Hebrews 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

  1. Verse 2
    1. David recognizes the problems around him
    2. And gives them over to God
  2. Verse 3
    1. David asks God to defend because God has “set apart” the “godly” for himself
    2. We can be assured that God will answer our call, too
  3. Verse 4 and 5
    1. We know we are God’s priority so we can call on him with trust, giving him our anger instead of taking care of it ourselves

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”

  1. Verses 6-7
    1. The light of God’s face brings joy to his children but fear to our enemies (Exodus 14:24 Deuteronomy 30:6-7)
  2. Verse 8
    1. The remembrance of righteousness in verse 1 provides hope for the future
    2. The shepherd boy turned king rests in the promise that the Good Shepherd makes us “dwell in safety”

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

  1. We have faith in this Savior who loves us with tender care, too.

Here is an example:

My Savior, the One who sees the entire day behind me and before me, as I put Davy down I see the people you have called into your family with us. You do the calling and I ask that you call those who we love, but are still distant from You. So many around us are walking without a Savior, without truly living a life of meaning. I know you hear me, and as I lay down to sleep, I can give over my anger and resentments and hurts from this day to you. Many of them cannot be solved because the world does not know what it is doing. But the light of your face is made apparent every day, and I pray that you shine brightly around us at all times as a family. I have great hope that you will not only give us peace and rest this night, but You will draw near to others this night in dreams, visions, and a longing for you. Bring our loved one into the fold. Amen and goodnight, Sweet and Precious Jesus.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in. For instance, the outline is my own way of summarizing the information in the commentary to make it applicable today.

It would be wonderful to get a collection of bedtime prayers from you. If you rewrite this Psalm and feel comfortable, please post it in the comments.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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