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.

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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.