Throughout the week those of you signed up for our prayer team will receive in depth prayer requests for this next season of our ministry in Lebanon. If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? The first prayer letter goes out at 7:00AM Arizona Time!
If just a quick prayer and topic is best for you, each day on our blog the prayer for that day will be posted. The prayer team will receive in depth, personal, and private prayer requests not meant to be shared on social media. Thanks for praying!
Over the past 5 years we have set aside one week each season to stop.
Fast, Pray, and Seek God’s Direction.
It is so easy to get caught up in the never-ending onslaught of each day until one day we look back and wonder whether we are actually pursuing God’s direction for our lives. Every season for the past two years we have taken a week of prayer, and we want to invite you to be a part of this week with us from October 28 – November 3.
We will be fasting according to the specific recommendations of the fast, but you are welcome to join us by following the theme of the fast which is to separate ourselves from the choice foods in our lives. Annie has decided to fast from coffee, which made me want to reconsider the whole idea (just kidding).
The prayer challenge will work the same as in past years, which means that the prayer for the day and main theme will be posted on the blog and facebook, but the in depth prayer needs will only be sent via email to our Prayer Warriors. This is a team of people who have a desire to pray more intimately for us. These emails may include information that cannot be posted publicly, so we ask that you commit to keeping them within your prayer groups.
Thank you for your unbelievable love and support. We couldn’t be here without you.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the appointment page is confusing, I made a walkthrough HERE.
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.
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!
#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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In preparation for the trip we want to invite you to join us for one week of prayer about the biggest things happening in our lives in this season.
Each day we will email you with how to pray with us and for us on topic that day. Because this blog is a public forum we will be putting our specific prayers only in the email version for the week, so please join our Prayer Team to get the details of our prayer needs.
The added benefit of signing up for these rather than stopping by our blog each day is that you can reply. Please let us know that you are praying with a quick reply each day. Even just a quick, “I prayed for you,” reply will encourage us greatly.
In addition, if you haven’t already, SIGN UP to meet with Annie in the States to hear more stories and upcoming ministry here in Lebanon. This isn’t just about giving money or raising money, but about continuing to build relationships with all of you.
We need more than just funding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
When I was in 4th Grade we did a unit on countries. My teacher gave us a booklet with the most basic information about a country in Africa where they speak Swahili. We learned maybe five words in Swahili, saw where the country was on the map, and learned about food and the safari type land in the area. I obviously didn’t master the material because I don’t remember the country, words, or food.
When it came time to pick our own countries I ended up doing Peru.
Why do I remember the day we learned about that country at all? Because sitting in my seat, holding that grey cardstock booklet, God called me. It was a clear call, and I was so sure of it that I didn’t get excited at all. It was as normal as my teacher saying, “You’re going to need a pencil, so please get one out now.”
The call sat like a stone in my stomache for years. I remained as sure of it as in that initial moment, and have never wavered from believing God would accomplish His Call. Along the way I have been annoyed at the timing, confused by the places I have ended up, but I still know that God called me to be a missionary in Africa.
When people come to Lebanon we want to know their expectations, what they hope to get out of the trip, why they feel the need to come. My answer is that God called me. Beyond that I usually can’t think of a reason. I don’t have the attachment to a people group or socioeconomic status or refugees, I only have God’s call sitting firmly inside of me.
Perhaps you are called to women, youth, artists, peers, large groups, small groups, unreached, ill, or battered people. Maybe you aren’t in a position to do what you have been called to do yet. Is there a way to equip yourself for that call where you are right now?
In my years here in Lebanon I have learned so much about loss. How could I have gone to Africa, a continent torn apart by wars, racial divides, and illness without empathy? I did not come to Lebanon with empathy. But now, this past month, I finally celebrated victory in that area. As we have been doing trauma counseling, I am finally learning the precious gift of empathy.
I needed these years of learning empathy and a vast number of other lessons. In addition, God has given me the gift of having the time to raise my children and to learn how to do that in a similar environment to America so that I would have a little less adjustment. I am blessed to be in Lebanon for this season. I am storing up lessons for the calling.
If you want to hear more stories about how Louis and Annie became missionaries, ended up in Lebanon, and what we are doing to help the refugees and Lebanese, please sign up to meet with Annie while she is in the States. This is the perfect time to connect with our ministry and be a part of our story.
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!
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).
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!