Wednesday, January 31, 2018

HEALTH UPDATE & ANSWERED PRAYER


Not only Joyce, but both Roger + I, Emma + Josh  have had our health struggles...  


Spring 2017, Rog & I wondered if we had Lyme + we were led to a doctor who offered  to do a extensive testing to eliminate other possibilities + treat us for Lyme if all came back negative. We found that I had a virus (as do alot of Baby Boomers) which is called “the silent killer” b/c it usually has no symptoms, but fortunately for me, I was among the 1/3 who have symptoms of difficulty concentrating, disorganized thinking, memory loss & brain fog, as I had an extremely high load of the Hepatitis C virus! I was treated last summer + I am beginning to be able to hold onto immediate thoughts, but I still struggle with ADD like symptoms, some memory loss & things I use to love to do, that overwhelm me. But God has used this to slow me down + I constantly pray for His help!

Roger, was discovered to have very low B12 (the normal range 200-900) but in other countries if you are below 500 they bring your levels up because you can have DEMENTIA-LIKE SYMPTOMS,  which explains a lot.  Low B12 effects sleep, mood + can cause “IRRESVERSIBLE” NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGE. It takes several months of taking B12 supplements (1 mg of methylcobalamin-B12 losenges under the tongue) before seeing any improvement. By July, Roger was like a new person with more energy than I’ve ever known him to have + improved visual acuity (where mine has really deteriorated) … But it appears he has neurological damage resulting from low B12. When he sleeps his legs move or jump every 30 to 40 seconds ~Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, His sleep is constantly interrupted. so he still needs 10 hours sleep + a nap.  This new doctor has directed us to see a neurologist, though we have found that Magnesium (a relaxant) helps minimize his nighttime leg movements (and eliminates my Restless Legs Syndrome).

While Roger was in the later 300’s for B12, Emma was lower than him and Joyce was 252!! And their PCP’s said nothing!!!  After all they were in the “normal range”, but at the BOTTOM! Our infectious disease doctor says for optimal health we should be 800 – 1200.

NEXT TIME YOU SEE YOUR DR. ASK FOR
A HEP C SCREENING +
TO KNOW YOUR B12 LEVEL

Because we saw such a great improvement in Roger’s energy level, when Joyce’s B12 was at the bottom of normal, she started on B12 sublingual supplements as well as iron + her health + stamina have improved greatly. She is no longer sick all the time + she sings + jokes with us + is much more energetic + fun!!   She says, she has never felt more lighthearted and carefree!!  Praise God!

Josh is also facing some health issues, as he started having some minor seizures (sensory overload) that seem to occur in clusters but weeks apart. These seizures closely resemble Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, but tests have been inconclusive.  So he had to leave his job that required a lot of travel + he got a job right in Scituate, that he likes doing, not far from where his girlfriend, Mary, works, with hopes to start school in graphic design in the fall.

With all the busyness + concern for Joyce + Patience (who is healthy as can be + so much fun,) Jon put off connecting with a doctor till now + will see his new PCP soon. Meanwhile, he has been studying all he can get his hands on to lay a foundation in health, anatomy, vaccinations, nutrition, prevention + math (to get his GED soon). The Lord is guiding him step by step. Unusual training possibilities have opened up. This SOLO Wilderness/Survival EMT course is right down Jon’s ally + more transferable to Africa that has little infrastructure. This course is also a prerequisite for another intensive advanced EMT course in Tropical Medicine in August which will include hands on training in intravenous that Jon needs.

Emma has been taking iron since being severely anemic over a year ago & is now also taking B12 as she is lower than Roger. She is working part time in eastern MA + is getting a 2nd job at a bakery. She loves baking, + was our baker both times we ran a B&B. She is living in our old apartment in the other half of my mother’s house, which is a God send to our family as my mom needs someone there with her most of the time + Em does overnights.  I have traveled out to stay with my mother 2 days a week since August sharing daytime coverage with my siblings.  Interestingly enough my Hep C brain issues have given me a lot of compassion + understanding of the frustration + scariness of having declining memory, as well as, Roger’s life-long inability to juggle. We really need each other more, b/c together we have a whole brain… what I forget, he remembers. God surely uses all things together for good!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read all this + join us in the praise of our God, Who has been overwhelming faithful in  so many, many ways. By your prayers, you have been vital co-workers with us, so we can rejoice together in all He has done that we can see + even more for all that we cannot see that He is doing in answer to our prayers!!  We do walk by FAITH IN A GREAT & MIGHTY GOD, so we no longer seek a particular outcome, but seek to see His hand + His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. WE PRAY DAILY TOGETHER FOR THOSE IN SOUTH SUDAN + OTHERS…
HOW CAN WE PRAY FOR YOU???

We now live ¼ of a mile from LEE EXIT 2 in western Mass. Easy on & off of the Mass Pike, 12 miles from the NY border. So if you’re ever passing thru COME VISIT! We also have 2 guest rooms for friends to stay!  Our address: 23 Tyringham Rd. Lee, MA 01238 (GPS: Big Y 10 Pleasant St. Lee, MA – we are across the street).

Clinging to our faithful God is life changing! 
                                                  
Keep clinging! Us, Lueken’s



1.Operation Nehemiah Missions website www.operationsnehemiah.org
To Donate on the website, scroll to the bottom - Choose "option #2 " with monthly donation option  
(we get 96.8% of your donation)



2.PayPal onlighthouse@gmail.com with monthly donation option (we get 96.8% of donations)



3.Mail checks to Operation Nehemiah c/o 23 Tyringham Rd. Lee, MA 01238          (we get 100% of your donation)



Recent blog updates & pictures at www.fromjoninafrica.blogspot.com


William’s updates of  latest news of developments in South Sudan www.operationsnehemiah.org


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Amazed at what God has done that we can see in 2017!! Praise Him for all He is doing that we cannot see in 2018!!


What an eventful, prayer-filled year!!  So eventful that we couldn’t take the time to keep you informed. Our  updates were spotty at best. I can honestly say that April to November felt like the busiest 8 months of my life! A year of crying out to God for so much +seeing His hand, even in little things, that gave us the faith to believe for greater things than we could ask or imagine…
Now to HIM WHO IS ABLE to carry out HIS PURPOSES

superabundantly MORE than all that we dare ask or think

[infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams],

according to His power that is at work within us,
to Him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations forever +ever. Eph. 3:20-21



Looking back on 2017 with tremendous gratitude !!!

A quieter winter & spring of B&B guests about one week a month which freed  me (Patty) up to spend hours on the phone with Jon, constantly praying as we tried to maneuver the visa process. Joyce didn’t get the copy of her 3rd corrected passport until March 23rd,  leaving us 2 ½ months before Joyce would be at the end of her 8th month + unable to fly. For the next 2 months, we spent more than 2200 minutes each month on the phone, talking, working on paperwork & praying for God to direct the next step.

A man’s mind plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.”
Proverbs 16:9


 First, Jon’s Petition to request approval for Joyce to even apply for a visa usually takes 5 months + each of the 3 embassies we contacted told us to go to the other + we did not know what to do. Then out of the blue on May 9th, we got an email from an embassy worker who asked us to send our request to have the Petition expedited and she saw to it that our request made it to Nairobi, Kenya the next day!! It was expedited & approved in one week on May 17th!

I cried! but it left me with a SURE HOPE that God was with us!



Less than 3 weeks remained... After filling out Joyce’s visa application, we spent days securing proof of everything, even a financial sponsor. Then on Tues May 23 we secured the ONLY VISA APPTMNT AVAILABLE, so Jon & Joyce packed THAT night + left Wed. morning to drive 10 hours to the airport to fly to Nairobi Kenya at 2 am Thurs. for a 7am, 2 day health assessment. They stayed in Nairobi (GOD PROVIDED FREE HOUSING!) until the day after her Tues. May 30 appoitment. + her VISA WAS APPROVED!


Wed. May 31, they flew back to Uganda via GOD’S MIRACULOUS PROVISION as they had run out of funds (a missionary friend from another country felt led to wire them money). Then they traveled 10 hours back up north to the So Sudan border on Thurs night.; packed & said goodbye to family & friends Fri & Sat + traveled back 10 hours south back to the airport on Sunday.  They flew to the US on Monday, the first day of her 37th week.  AND even with her visa in hand they almost did not let her board the plane!!!!!!!!!!!


An entire year process was accomplished in one month! Every step of the way we witnessed God’s miraculous intervention overcoming obstacle after obstacle.

So amazing, but it kept us on our knees! 

They arrived in Boston June 6th!
The high that day was 48 degrees!!




Longed for family reunion! 




Josh, Em, Mary, Rog, Patty, Joyce, Jon 






God connected us with a wonderful midwife & after countless doctors appointments & lots of testing through the month of June...  
PATIENCE ROZANA arrived on July 8th weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz & 19 3/4 in.

Then we found out the cloud was moving!! Just as the children of Israel, God was moving us on + we had no idea where. We were confident that HE HAD A PLAN, so after a busy summer at Maplewood, we moved in with friends who had planned to use their newly renovated space for AirB+B in order to have income for their ministry & travels to Kenya Africa. So our rent helps them as they have a ministry to children & families there.

Packing to move was difficult b/c we now had this cute little distraction + her first few months were colicky, so it was wonderful that Auntie Em was there to share the “burden” of jiggling the little munchin” she affectionately named Pookie, before Emma moved out to eastern MA in early October.
Auntie Em and Pookie 




Four weeks after moving, we had a planned ministry trip to the Midwest to introduce Joyce to family + supportive friends/churches.  I was so overwhelmed at the thought of a trip after moving (w/my compromised brain issues – see Health Update post) that I cried out to the Lord over & over one night, + woke with the thought, STOP UNPACKING. So I had Roger take all the boxes back to storage + they are still there! When we finally returned to our new home in early Nov, we just needed to have a season of rest since moving + traveling, especially for Jon + Joyce! Since they got married their life had been so intensely difficult in so many ways. When I think back, I almost can't believe it myself all that they went through. How soon we forget all the amazing things that God did to protect them + part the Red Sea to get them here! We are just like the children of Israel, we forget + yet, our wondrous Father + precious Saviour never give up on us.

Over the holidays it was so nice to just stay home; be a family in our new place; reflect on God's goodness + focus more fully on what the season is about.  Having Joyce here makes everything special (like homeschooling again)  We explain more about the Scriptures; the message of the carols; view more things that have to do with Christ's birth + the Gospel !!!




Our lives are never in a vacuum, as you well know, concerns for family & friends, circumstances + emotions swirl around + force us to trust that God is with them + us.  You have been a huge part of this adventure as you have prayed. So we rejoice together! His faithfulness through it all is wonderfully overwhelming! I can't thank Him enough!! So much is out of our control in this life, but God is so faithful to hear our cries + answer according to His great wisdom + power for our good + His glory!                                                                                           

  In 2018, we hope to visit many churches & friends, old & new.
We will go wherever invited, if at all possible, as the Lord provides. Just call us 774-254-4336 or email plueken55@gmail.com or jonlueken@gmail.com   
New address:

c/o Herring 23 TYRINGHAM RD, LEE MA
01238


Abi (grandpa) + Patience at 6 mos

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Difficulty & Blessedness of Waiting

Be strong & let your heart take courage, all you who wait for & hope for & expect the Lord! Ps 31:24

Times of waiting & need, when things are completely out of our control, bring us to the Lord & keep us looking to Him, building our faith like nothing else. That has been the story of our lives this past year or more.

I would have despaired had I not believed 
that I would see the goodness of the Lord 
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord
Be strong & let your heart take courage;  
Yes, wait for & confidently expect the Lord

Ps 27:13-14

Things have not yet stabilized in So Sudan, but the longing to return to their homes is strong & we pray earnestly with those of Borongole, that God would build their faith in the waiting & ready them to return when He opens the door.  

Jon & Joyce are also longing & have done a great deal of waiting to finally make it  to the US.

These times of delay & waiting force us to consider our God & ask ourselves … Does He see?  Is He able? Does He have a plan? YES, YES, YES!!!! He is more than able & cares more than we can imagine, but He also knows so much that we do not know & cares so much for us that He desires to do MORE than we are asking. So he calls us to “walk by “faith” & trust His timing & to wait on Him!!

As Jon’s friend and fellow radio presenter, Andama, said to encourage Jon when he was very down: 
 “If God was not there, there would be reason to be discouraged… God will delay for a specific purpose.”  
As they always say,“Rubanga a a” = God is there!

Waiting is a blessing b/c of Whom we wait upon. Our Father by his Spirit builds our  faith in Christ Jesus [that leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust
confidence in His power, wisdom & goodness.]” 
 Col 1:4 AMP  Col 1:4 AMP. 


When we consider what He has already done for us, [by becoming one of us & giving His life for us; that “He Who knew no sin became sin for us” & gave us His righteousness] we can rest assured that He hears our cry & is more than able to intervene in all that concerns us. We are finding that times of waiting on Him, though hard, are precious times that we come to know Him more, as we believe for His purposes to be accomplished in our hearts as we wait on Him!!

Behold, the Lord’s eye is upon those who fear Him, 
who wait for Him & hope in His mercy & loving-kindness Psalm 33:18

Jon & Joyce have spent a lot of time praying & waiting on the Lord with so much out of their control. They've been in training to run to Him. This has drawn them closer to God & each other. 


Mid-Dec., Jon & Joyce flew to the capitol of Juba, So Sudan, for her passport, b/c it was too dangerous to make the 2 hr trip by road. BUT there was an error in her passport & then the passport machine broke, so they had to return home & wait. Once the new copy was available, they prayed for weeks for a way to get the passport, so Jon would not have to fly back again to Juba & repeat all that risk & expense. With no mail service in the country, they have had to trust that God's timing is perfect & if He parted the Red Sea, He could deliver her passport at the time HE KNOWS BEST! Believing HE IS DOING FAR MORE AS WE WAIT!!!

I waited patiently & expectantly for the Lord; & He inclined to me & heard my cry. Ps 40:1

Finally, on Jan. 20th Joyce's "corrected" passport was hand delivered to them. 
It was scanned and sent to William to get the VISA PROCESS underway... 
BUT Feb. 1 receiving the copy of her passport, we realized there is still a major error as her name was not correctly changed to Gune (Goonay) Joyce Lueken, so 
THEY MUST TRAVEL TO JUBA ONCE AGAIN 
& b/c of court involvement to change the name  it will COST $1000 for a new passport.

Feb. 6, Jon had to go 8 hrs. to the Embassy in Kampala in southern Uganda while he is fighting malaria, in order to get himself a new passport b/c when he goes into So Sudan he pays $100 for a visa & each time they cover a page w/ the visa, so all pages of his passport are used up.
But the Embassy turned him away and he had to wait for an appointment, in order to travel back to South Sudan. Finally, He got an emergency passport on 2/17 & the day he got back, he had to take Joyce to the nearest hospital 2 hrs. away b/c of serious abdominal pain that returned. An ultrasound showed the baby is fine, but her kidney is inflamed & she is being treated for kidney infection. 

So as they face yet MORE delays,

WE ASK YOU TO JOIN IN PRAYER for MORE 

than we could hope or imagine 

as we WAIT ON HIM!! 


”Now to Him Who, by His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose & do superabundantly MORE
far over & above all that we [dare] ask or think 
[infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]— TO HIM BE THE GLORY in the church & in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen” 
Eph. 3:20-21

Join us as we pray for the MORE...

provision of an extended visa 
(a year or more, not just the usual 3 months) 
that allows them to stay as long as God knows they need to be here to get: 

desperately needed  medical training for Jon,

for rest & restoration of health

 provision to travel to meet many of you 
who have been praying for them

 & to have their baby here in June/July 

& any other WONDERFUL PLANS HE HAS in store!!

 Christmas 2016 [married for 6 months]

PRAY for the hearts of the people of South Sudan who have waited for years to have a normal, stable life that they have never known. 

Also God seems to be opening 
an unprecedented door of opportunity 
to make a huge difference in the country... 
beyond belief!  [stay tuned] 
PRAISE OUR MIGHTY & WONDROUS GOD!! 


"For a wide door of opportunity for effectual service has opened to me there, [a great and promising one], and [there are] many adversaries. 
1 Corinthians 16:9Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Meanwhile, we are soaking in the wonder of the blessing & privilege of living here at Maplewood Lodging & 1850 B&B! We so enjoy meeting & serving the B&B guests and have been delighted to have friends come to stay with us as our personal guests!! We love it out here & can’t wait to share it with you!!

Many of you know, Roger had a pacemaker heart implant in mid-November. He definitely has more energy & does not sleep as long, but we find he still needs naps. When he thinks he’s the bionic man and neglects that fact, we still deal with some of the same issues as before though not as frequently. Prayerfully, thankful!

I expectantly wait for the Lord, & in His word do I hope. Psalm 130:5


And I, too, am starting to have a few of the same issues as Roger, so we are earnestly praying and asking God to direct & provide so that we can see a local Osteopath, who has helped some friends here, to get to the root of the cause of various physical, mental & emotional symptoms. Meanwhile, God is working in me personally, some needed compassion that I was lacking for Roger through the years.  He uses all things for good.
  
Be still & rest in the Lordwait for Him 
patiently lean yourself upon Him
Ps 37:7a


Emma got her driver’s license & is taking online art classes. Projects from Lesson 1 & 2

   
We have been w/o a 2nd vehicle that Emma can drive since Oct, so we’ve prayed & waited & recently we were offered a car, a gift from the Lord, through friends. This is very timely, as Emma just last week started 2 more part time jobs, one as a nanny & the other at an afterschool program.  She needs wheels to get to her multiple jobs each week & we need more than a 3-seater truck for when Jon & Joyce come. God knew.


Josh & Mary have a new puppy that is growing very quickly & the new love of their lives.  Josh’s love of the quiet, peacefulness of fishing, has him traveling to find ice fishing spots as he is able & the weather cooperates & he is enjoying creating videos of his adventures on his Youtube channel “Fin Slayer”… takes after Papa Flynn & Uncle Dan L.

Your love, support & prayers 
have been such a great source of encouragement. 
We appreciate so much you praying with us as we look to the One Who works in our hearts & the hearts of others as we all look to Him for what ONLY HE CAN DO.
There is much to look to Him for in own our personal lives, concerning South Sudan & here in this Nation. Believing that His Kingdom has come & His will is being done in so many ways that we cannot see!!

And therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you;
& He lifts Himself up [on the cross],
that He may have mercy on you & show loving-kindness to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him
[for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, 
& His matchless, unbroken companionship] Isaiah 30:18 AMP

Waiting on the Lord for this grand reunion with much Grace and Gratitude,
Roger & Patty, & Emma                                                            

Operation Nehemiah Missions website www.operationsnehemiah.org  Choose "option #2 " PayPal onlighthouse@gmail.com
Mail checks to
Operation Nehemiah PO Box 502, Otis, MA 01253    
                              
VISIT us at: Maplewood B&B 266 North Main Rd  Otis MA 01253 
MAILING address: PO BOX 502 OTIS, MA 01253