Warning: this is going to be a long newsletter. So if you are like us and just want the simple facts, feel free to scroll to the bottom for the extremely short version:) But come on, you know you want the juicy details.
So, to say that an update from The Mannchens is long overdue would be a pretty big understatement, but sometimes you have to wait until things make enough sense to put into words. 2014 was a year of waiting, doubt, regrouping and total dependency on God to see the forest through the trees. After a year of uncertainty, loss and confusion, we have received new direction, vision for our future and are excited to be able to invite you all to be a part of where God is taking us and the new things he has in store. But before that, we want to honor you as our lovely supporters, people actively invested in the work God has given us to do, and be transparent about what the last months have looked like for us as a a family and ministry.
As some of you who have been following us may recall, the start of 2014 had us planning to spread our team, Pick a Pocket, out into three different locations: Herrnhut, Nürnberg and Florida. As we began to plan full throttle towards this change we realized the Lord had different plans. As members of our team began moving from Herrmnut to Florida and Nürnberg in order to prepare the way for the others that were to follow, it became apparent that something was changing. There was a large stirring in our team of people who felt that it was time to go on a different journey, calling them away from Pick A Pocket and (in most cases) YWAM Herrnhut/Nürnberg/Sarasota as well. Each situation was different and unique to the person it belonged to. On August 12th we prayed out and released over 25 of our members. Needless to say, this was an extremely heart breaking and difficult time for everyone involved.
Over the last five months, the remaining Pick a Pocket team (2 in Florida, 5 in Nürnberg and 1 in Ethiopia) took time to mourn this loss, focus on the lord and wait until He released us again for future vision. All our plans were on hold. We released our venue, Wildnis, in Herrnhut due to the lack of manpower to run it and handed it over to our YWAM base to continue running. Our projects on the field were sustained in order to honor those dependent on us, but all our plans for how to move forward with them had to be put on pause because we simply didn't have the capacity to do so.
As a family, us Mannchens alongside a few others, continued moving forward with pioneering in Nürnberg. It was a very taxing time. 5 months of not having housing, while trying to pioneer and YWAM base and School alongside dealing with everything that was going on with our Pick a Pocket team, was, to say the least, exhausting, painful and beyond difficult to handle. It was a breaking point for us. We had no clue how to move forward. Or if we even wanted to. But God was faithful. He blessed us with a beautiful apartment in the city for us to rest in and regain strength and vision. And after a long season of being completely dried out, God constantly reminded us that He wasn't done with us yet.
"Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! …I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
The start of 2015 brought our team the feeling of being released to start again! We had taken our time of reflection, learning from our mistakes, forgiving and letting go seriously. Now, it was time to prosper, move forward with authority and ownership of the ministry the Lord has entrusted us with, and dive right back into those deep big oceans. God gave this ministry life and He will not let it sink. We were filled with new vision for our music, photography, field projects, God's heart for the poor and our calling. From recording our new album, outreaches in Ethiopia to India and speaking in Florida DTS. The lord was speaking and we were listening. And now, we are able to bring them to you.
LIZ and the LIONS
RECORD IN ATLANTA
In December we flew to America to record our album! YEAH WE DID!
We had no idea how this was going to happen. After loosing two members of the band in 2014 we honestly didn't think this album stood a chance of getting recorded anytime soon. The idea of using music anymore to reach out to people felt pointless. Recording felt uninspiring and all in all we were done.... but of course... God wasn't. Little sucker.
Our brother in law Misha called us with the idea of recording in a studio in Atlanta with him. Something about this clicked inside us and we felt we should jump on the opportunity. Within a few months God gave us enough passion, creativity and desire to not only write more songs but finish the album as a whole. We went to Atlanta and recorded all the tracks!
We believe this album will be the best we've ever created. It was created out of a place of raw, vulnerable emotions that only can be reached when you completely surrender. We had no choice this year but to open up our hands and say "there's nothing we hold onto. Take it all!"
The album will hopefully be released this summer and toured this fall! Stay tuned for details!
The last thing you’ve heard about Ethiopia was our plans to transition the Koshe project to Bloom Addis, a profitable hostel that offered our girls job opportunities to prosper and support them for their future. We were completely committed to this vision. We started planning, proposing business plans, licensing, fundraising, creating media works and artwork for the new project. However, like the rest of 2014, things changed.... man, lets just say it: things fell apart!
After constant conversations with our team member down in Ethiopia, who has been leading this project the past years, we realized that our plans for Bloom Addis were not going to happen. In order to protect the privacy and security of the girls, we think it best to not go into deep explanation of why. What we can say though, with great sorrow in our hearts but great certainty, is that the Koshe project needs to come to an end. After much prayer and deliberation, we see that this will be what is best for them. We believe God has future plans for our girls and we desire to continue to be in relationship and close communication with them, joining them and encouraging them in prayer as they seek what God has in store. However, the current project, as it is, is not effective and healthy for the girls anymore. They need something new, and although we have dreams and ideas of our own, we know that it's time for us to step back and allow room for God to give birth to whatever that 'new' thing might be.
Our plan is to go down in the beginning of February and properly close this project out. We want to spend time with our teammate, the girls and the locals who have been helping us run this project the last 6 years. We want to give thanks to God, honor the country and the people and lay this project down in the most honorable and respectful way we can. After that, we are going to pray and seek the Lord for what he has for us, the girls and for Pick a Pocket in Ethiopia. Perhaps it’s something new. Perhaps it’s not. But we feel called to go and find out.
We know that like us, many of you have taken a vested interest in praying for and financially supporting these young women and the way that God has allowed us into their lives.Please know that our desire is in no way to “drop the girls.” We are still figuring out what it is the Lord wants us to do in order to support them, but for the time being, we honestly don’t know. Would you please continue to stand with us in prayer and believe with us in His beautiful future for them! If you desire to continue showing your support for Pick A Pocket and being involved with the plans God has for these young women, would you consider standing with us financially in order to properly close this project out? As a team we are desiring to go down there and finish what we started… together. However, with the timing of everything being very short, we need huge things to happen financially in a very short amount of time.
FINANCIAL NEEDS FOR THIS OUTREACH:
Total Cost For Uli & Liz: $1,425/ 1,254.788 €
Raised: $1,135/ 1,000 €
Mannchen Needs: $340/ 299€
Breakdown Of Cost
Flights (for 2) : $1,135/ 1,000 €-RAISED YAHOO!!!!!
Visas (for 2): $40/ 35€
Ground transportation:$30/ 25€
Housing (for 2): $170/ 150€
We find this positively hilarious, but some how, us Manchens have been asked, for the second year in a row, to come speak at the YWAM Herrnhut DTS in FLORIDA. We find it funny because we never imagined we would be DTS speakers, let alone good at it… but apparently they really liked us last year and are pretty earnestly fighting for us to come again this year. Unfortunately the school has an extremely tight budget right now and at the moment is unable to pay for our flights.
Two years ago our base responded to a challenge the Lord gave us of lowering the cost of our DTS (Discipleship Training School: www.mission-live.de) This decision has welcomed many more students from around the world to be able to come and be trained for missions, which is incredible and worth it all! However it has also required much more faith for finances on our end as a community to cover the cost of running a school… for instance, speaker cost. So, we want to help the school out by helping with the cost of these flights in order to get us there.
FINANCIAL NEEDS FOR THIS TRIP:
Total Cost For Uli & Liz: $2,000/ 1,761 €
Raised: $0 :(
Mannchen needs: $2,000/ 1, 761 €
Breakdown Of Cost
Flights (for 2): $2,000/ 1,761 €
In our last update, we brought to you our excitement and involvement with the launching of The Pillalu House in Vijaywada, India and we are so happy to say that is still on track! Pillalu is a compassionate response to the needs of orphaned children denied the stability of a home and a family. We are partnering with our friend Raj in order to bring monthly support and a long term sustainable income for this orphanage.
As a team, we want to go visit The Pillalu House at the end of April.
We want to spend time with Raj and the children, as well as nail down a business plan for the future. Our hopes are to familiarize ourselves with Indian culture as whole but also this specific village in order to help Raj figure out how to self sustain this project long-term.
Artistically we are approaching this trip in two ways. We want to use our practical skills in communication and design by using this time to make a media packet that will be used for future fundraising and awareness of The Pillalu House. This will hopefully include a short film, brochure and online component. Creatively, we want to take this time to immerse ourselves in Gods heart for The Pellalu House, the children, Raj and his family, the village, all of it. From there, we are hoping to be able to take these experiences and the things that God opens our eyes to into our respective mediums, and create a dynamic, traveling exhibition that will help us promote this project. We want to spend time creating with and for the people of Vijaywada and teaching the Pillalu kids how to be musicians, fine artists, photographers, dancers or whatever else God has gifted them in!
Upon our return, we will begin to create a game plan for how to move forward in supporting Raj's ministry, and organizing all of the artwork plus the new Liz and the Lions (add link to our Facebook) album launch into a tour that will raise money and awareness for The Pillalu House. Stay tuned for more information on that front!
In order to make this happen we need to get the team to India. Investing in this short term outreach, will be a seed that plants investment into impacting and blessing the future of these little lions. As we are a small team, and each fill many roles in the things that need to be done, it is crucial that all of us be there Would you consider sowing into our involvement with The Pillalu House by financially supporting us in getting there?
FINANCIAL NEEDS FOR THIS OUTREACH:
Total Cost For Uli & Liz: $2,020/ 1,778 €
Raised: $0 :(
Mannchen needs: $2,020/ 1,778 €
Breakdown Of Cost
Flights (for 2): $1,600/ 1,400 €
Visas (for 2):$120/ 100 €
Ground transportation and food (for 2): $300/ 265€
THE SHORT VERSION:
In 2014 we hit rock bottom, it sucked, God pulled us out. WEeeeEee. Pick a Pocket, and ourselves are now doing great, and moving forward. We will start the year off by going to Ethiopia and closing down our 5 year long Koshe project (but it's good, don't worry.) And then move forward to India where we will start pioneering a new project that supports orphans (yay!) In the meantime we have recorded an new Liz and the Lions album which will hopefully be released this summer and we are also trying to get to Florida to speak in a DTS! Phewwww, that was a lot shorter!
In order to make both these outreaches and trips happen, as a family we are in need of:
Looking at that number makes us wish that we would have mastered teleportation by now... dang it. But this is what missions is. These are simply the cost and financial needs we have when saying yes to going to these places and yes to what God wants to do there. So, as a family, we take on these challenges with great faith and excitement knowing that God has a plan for us. That being said, please stand with us in this. Stand with us for God's Kingdom in these lands. For the future of the children in Ethiopia and India. For the call to missions God has for the DTS students in Florid. For our future. For Pick a Pocket's future. Stand with us in believing the God can use art to bring life and a future to the poorest of the poor. For nothing is to big for the Lord.
CONGRATULATIONS, you made it through the longest newsletter ever- YOU ROCK! We love you and we hope you know we appreciate all the love and support you throw our way! For any further questions or comments on any of these topics, feel free to shoot us an email: email@example.com
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LOVE & ROCKETS