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.

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10 Days & Counting! America, Here We Come!

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I really love this picture of Davy looking out over Lebanon and seeing the song he made up, “Our City”! What a beautiful moment.

If you want to receive our contact information when we get American phone numbers for the month we are in the States, make sure you are on our email list by CLICKING HERE!

This week we so appreciate those of you praying with us. If you are on our prayer team (which you can join by CLICKING HERE) you have been receiving detailed prayer requests straight to your email each day. Next week we are going to continue praying about these same 7 topics, and I will report a little bit on what we prayed about this current week. If you would like to receive our prayer letters in your email, please CLICK HERE!

kyrie-surgery-fundraiser-main-picture

Our fundraising site for Kyrie has been such a success! Because we budget to travel every 3 months and this trip comes after only 2 months, and it is much more expensive to fly to America than Cyprus, our budget is struggling to manage this lurch in timing. On the site we asked for people to provide meals by either having us over to eat or by bringng a freezer meal to one of our parents’ houses. However, the link has not been working for people. Please don’t despair. You can just send us an email or comment below and we can coordinate with you. If you would like to give toward the travel costs and appointments surrounding the surgery, there is still time to donate on the GiveForward site (you can give on the site up until the day of the surgery, December 28th).

food

Of course, if God is putting it on your heart in these times of prayer to join with us financially for a one time or repeat donation to support our ministry here in Lebanon, the high schoolers and visitors we hope to increase our time with and curriculum for and the expenses of life, you can always become one of our financial partners through the Horizons Donation Page, which has many options for joining with us as well. Just put Louis Liss in the memo. This will go towards our future here in Lebanon.

The final plug I have for today is about an upcoming Writing Challenge Annie is putting on. The purpose is to kickstart the blogging habit in the New Year. If you would like to Join this FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge, CLICK HERE! If you want to follow Annie’s blogs through this challenge so you can pray and stay up to date during our month in America, or if you are hoping to finish that Christmas letter by February, or if you also want to kickstart a writing habit for a journal, prayer life, or blog, this Challenge is for you, too! Please join Annie. You will only get the Prompts if you CLICK HERE! The Challenge begins December 15th!

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.

Referrals

Maybe you cannot give at this time, or you wish you could give more to our ministry. You are a vital part of our work through your prayers and encouragement. Financially we are relying on God, and praying for people to be drawn into this work. At church this past Sunday one man encouraged me greatly when he said, “You are doing work that we should have been doing for a long time now.” Ministry to Muslims is relatively new work. As recently as fifteen years ago people thought Muslims could not be converted. When Louis and I were at our first training held by the founder of Horizons International, he said, “There are more people sitting in trainings about how to reach out to Muslims than there are people doing ministry to Muslims.”

So, we need you. We have been asking everyone who is willing to help us to pray about five names to refer to us. What this means is praying about people you know who might be interested in partnering with us financially. These would be people, churches, or groups who have the financial means, or who have an interest in global evangelism or working with Muslims. There are many ways you can refer them to us:

1) Plan an appointment where we can meet an individual or small group.

2) Invite us to an event at which people you think may be interested will attend and introduce us there.

3) Write a letter of introduction to the person whether by email, written, phone or in conversation. Then give us the information to follow up with that person.

4) Give us the name and contact information for a referral and we will tell them you referred us. Or, if preferred we can just use the names without telling them that you referred us.

As you can see there are many ways you can help us to get that last 60% of our budget in the next month. We really want to be fully funded by the end of March.

February Prayer Letter

5% Raised

4.7% of our $40,000 total amount to go and 5.6% of our monthly $5000 goal has been reached!Total in account: $1,889
Total monthly pledges: $280

Back in the beginning of this prayer letter we asked for prayers that we would not over-commit here while fundraising. While all of the ministry we are doing here in Arizona may be what God is calling us to do, we need better time management skills in order to make appointments with people and begin asking people for money. We have gone from Chayah, to baby showers, to Chayah, to Via de Cristo, to Tirosh with each of those being the main focus. Fundraising has been on the back burner and needs to be a priority.

At the same time, we see God’s great blessing in providing people willing to give. What a blessing each donation has been. Thank you to all who have donated money, time, hugs, love, or any other form of Agape. We are truly blessed to be in the family of God.

DONATE / VOLUNTEER

You can be a part of our ministry. To find out more about Horizons International and what we are doing, CLICK HERE.To give some money to our account or become a monthly contributor, CLICK HERE.

Make sure to use our names, Annie & Louis Liss for any donations.

We also still need someone willing to mail out a print version of this newsletter each month. I will provide addresses and names and you will donate postage, printing, and envelopes. This is such an important piece that we want to make sure is taken care of by someone in the USA before we leave. CLICK HERE to add this option to your profile.

Middle East Update

Louis feels strongly that he should update our supporters about the Middle East. However, our communication is still in a young marriage stage. Due to still learning about each other’s communication styles and needs this February newsletter has come out a little late. Please forgive us and keep praying for us. Great things are happening and we want to let you know all about them.  Therefore, the Middle East Update by Louis Liss will be moving to its own newsletter. This way Louis can update you as events occur or questions are asked instead of being restricted to a monthly letter. We have changed the options, therefore, on our sign up list. We promised that we would not burden your inbox with many emails, so you will not be automatically opted in. If you would like to receive Louis’ Middle East Update, pleaseCLICK HERE to change your preferences.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Louis and I have been together 8 years from beginning to date December 14th, 2005 to now. The challenge I want to present is to pause and consider this verse again: “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Often we pass over this verse faster than others in our readings because we know it by heart. Think on the sacrifice of Jesus to give you eternal life, an undeserved life better than your best day here on Earth. Yes, there is suffering, but God only requires momentary suffering of you; it will only last zero to a maximum of 120 years and then you will never suffer again. I have been reading an excellent book called The Well, by Mark Hill the lead singer of Casting Crowns. It reminded me this month that I am not entitled to anything just because Louis and I are still in America.

“Do you understand what you signed up for when you asked God to forgive your sins and save your soul? Do you understand who God is in your life? Do you understand you don’t get saved so life will be easier? Do you understand Christ purchased you with a price and you belong to him? You are not your own, and when you are not your own, you don’t have rights. On this earth, we are entitled to nothing but the hope of glory…Jesus didn’t endure everything he endured so we wouldn’t lose our jobs or not get cancer. We don’t need to be saved so we’ll be happy. We need to be saved because we’re dead in our trespasses and bound for hell. Believers still have some pretty cruddy days. But the anchor of the soul is the truth that Jesus walks them with us.” (pages 140, 141)This lesson has been extremely necessary to me this past month. I have not been that fun to be around because I have a list of things to do that keeps getting longer, my life isn’t entirely comfortable all the time, my plans fall apart. It’s tough in the middle of my circumstances to keep my eyes fixed on the goal for which Christ calls me heavenward. When I focus on the stresses of life it is easy to lose focus on what the big picture is: That God sent His only son for me and the battle is already won. Pray for us that we may remember that the Gospel is not only for us to share with others but an essential piece of our everyday practical relationships with each other, -Annie

First Babysitter: A 5-year-old?

The beautiful Liliana was David’s caretaker for an evening of missionary discussions. In truth we were with her the entire time, and it was amazing how much the two of them enjoyed each other. She told him stories and he smiled and laughed. She was overjoyed to change his diaper, and did quite a good job of it, too. I was quite amused and entertained by her joy and passion for caring for David.

However, more recently I had to leave my baby for the Tirosh weekend. It is all well and good to say that I have committed my baby to God and leave my fears at His feet until I had to leave my baby for approximately 60 hours. I was an anxious wreck leading up to Tirosh. Even when there was a plan, I didn’t feel better. Even when I had pumped enough bottles for him, I didn’t feel better. I kept telling people, including Louis, that I had given it to God, but I did not. In reading John again I realized once again the importance of not just “playing religion”. When the woman at the well tries to impress Jesus with Samaritan religious practices, and when the 5,000 come across to Capernaum and do the same, Jesus’ response is to draw them to Himself. I need to draw near to Jesus. As I realized this, I felt greater peace flood over me. I told David, “I want you to know that ministry is worth it. I want you to know that you are loved. These youth might not know that. I have years and years with you to tell you, show you, and even send you to Tirosh so that you know you are loved. These kids are only going to be in my ministry radius for a few days. You can show them Agape by staying with your Cadee while I show them Agape by being on the weekend.”

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Luke 4:35b-38
The youth who just attended Tirosh still need your prayers. When Louis went through Tirosh 13 years ago he received Jesus as his personal Savior a few months after the Tirosh retreat weekend. That could be the story for any of these kids. The time after a mountain top experience is often harder than other times, so please lift up these youth in your prayers. -Annie

December Prayer Letter

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to theLord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:27-28

We love David Ezekiel Liss!

Family Ministry

David has been prayed over every day since we knew we were pregnant. We have read the Bible to him in the womb, and we have sought all of your prayers. Now he is here, and we have continued to strengthen our resolve that the most important thing in our lives is that David know Jesus Christ. Each day we read him a chapter of the Bible beginning in Genesis. Today, December 1st, David is 25 days old so we read Genesis chapter 25. In addition, we pray with him now, knowing that everything going on around him is making first impressions. David’s first prayer request was answered November 14th! When we went to the hospital to have David our cats were left somewhat freer than previously. We were not here to lock them up each night, and when we returned Judah was missing. We didn’t see Judah for the first couple days we were home, and so we all three prayed together that Judah would come home and then we told David that now we needed to trust that God would send him home. November 14th Judah reappeared! We are so blessed to have this child in our family, and we want to commit him to the Lord. We know that he truly belongs to God.

We Are Serious

Louis and Annie are some of the strangest people.
People thought this when our wedding was a tad bit peculiar, if they didn’t think so when we stopped kissing for a year and a half prior to getting married. We were serious about making our wedding point to Jesus Christ. We were married on a Saturday and we showed up at church the next Sunday. Our baby was born on November 6th and we were released from the hospital November 8th. We went straight home to pick up Louis’ mom to take her to Via de Cristo.  We took him to Saturday evening Buenas Noches (aka Mananitas). We drove up that night so Louis could preach at Concordia Lutheran on Sunday. Finally, we returned Sunday afternoon to attend Clausura at the end of Via de Cristo.
Of course, we brought Baby David.Why do we have these seemingly crazy, exhausting adventures? Because we are serious about bringing Jesus Christ to the nations, doing it as a family, and never looking back. Yes we were exhausted, but God called us to do these things and He, therefore, gives us the strength. Also, we want people to understand that we are not going to Lebanon just for fun. We are going to be working just as hard at bringing Jesus to them, reconciliation to the churches there, and living out the 4th day. We also want our baby to know his family: the community of believers all around us who we expect to pour just as much love (and more) onto David as you all do on Louis and I.

Middle East Moment

I’ve been to this point meaning to use our prayer letters to update our supporters on the spiritual side of what you may or may not have seen on the news. Right now Syria is in the middle of their continuing civil war. God is able to use these battles to inspire thousands of Syrians to pour over the border into Beirut where they can freely hear the gospel. Lebanon is one of the only Muslim nations where it is not against the law to convert to Christianity. Our Horizons center “Hope for the Nations” is suffering from an amazing problem: too many people. Pray that Christian leaders would lay aside their prejudices and reach out to the Syrian refugees with the Gospel in words and action.

Fundraising Update

Currently In Account: $389.60Need In Account: $25,000

Need Per Month: $5,816

The reason that we need such a large amount in our account to leave is for all of the initial one time costs of moving to Lebanon. Travel costs, an apartment (

they ask for several months in advance for rent, utilities, and water) , furniture, and a car.  All of these one time expenses total up to $19,000. After that we will be living at much the same cost of living as here in Arizona.Support Us Financially:
Click Here To Support Us

We are meeting with people who would like to know more. 
Call or email us to set up a meeting about specific projects we will be working on and a greater understanding of what you would be supporting with your investment.