Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Note from Jonathan!!

Dictated over the phone Oct. 25, 2016        
To my faithful friends and family,
I want to thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers for Joyce and I, especially since we were married here in So. Sudan.

So. Sudan is going thru a very difficult time, but in the midst of this trial God’s grace is there. Fear and war have chased a lot of people from their homes, but God’s faithful love is pursuing them.

The work is going forward and the Gospel is continuing to be preached as God helps the staff of Operation Nehemiah here on the ground. There have been times where myself and other staff have been in danger, but God has kept us in the shadow of His wings.

I have been blessed to have been able to preach on the radio regularly and my hope is that God will open people’s hearts to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by His Spirit.

Joyce and I are doing well, but continue to pray for Joyce’s health. Her health has improved, but she is still not at 100% yet. Also, be praying for us that Joyce can get her passport and visa in this time of government upheaval, so we can come to see all of you. There are 2 different roads to take for the paper work process.  Both need God's intervening hand, so we’re seeking the Lord to lead us in the way we should go.

We appreciate your prayers for all the staff here, that God would give us courage and confident trust in Him to protect us and to advance His work.

We are really missing all of you and are hoping to come as soon as God makes a way. I’ve been sharing with my wife,  Joyce, of the many friends and family who’ve been supporting us in many ways. I am really excited for her to meet all of you!

Rubanga tutu koco anya ruga     God bless you all!
Amande anyi America ga si.      We will see you from America.
Nyolu Okpwo Yesu to!                  Stay strong in Jesus!           

  Jonathan and Joyce Lueken

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lueken Family Update - October 2016

As I (Roger) look out the windows of the front parlor of Maplewood B&B  in Otis, MA our new (1850) home,  I can see the wind blowing the leaves that have fallen in a frantic dance upon the wind. The leaves are changing colors... beautiful  reds, pinks, yellows, the colors ranging from subdued to vivid, almost fluorescent shades that grab your attention. The air is cold & crisp on this October day,  as I ponder the question, How did we get here? And how could so much happen in such a short time? It can only be by God’s hand & faithful direction of our steps even when we were not aware of it.

It’s been a busy season of packing to move after returning from Africa & unpacking while also setting up the B&B which opened in June. Right as we were expecting our first guests, Roger’s dear sister, Nancy, suddenly passed into eternity with Jesus & we travelled  to Minnesota. Her departure has left a huge hole in many hearts, as Nancy was like a 2nd mother to Roger & caretaker for their mom & helped out many in the family in many ways. She is greatly missed!

The B&B was busy most of the summer, but since fall, we’ve had guests here & there.      

We are open year round & since it’s our home we can welcome friends & family to stay with us as long as we do not bump out paying guests.   Our schedule is wide open, so this slower season is the perfect time to come, catch up, enjoy some R &R & sweet fellowship.  Check out the new updated website:

We have talked and prayed with Jonathan almost daily since late June. Then on July 8th civil war broke out in the capitol of Juba (60 miles NW of Borongole). Jon & Joyce had hoped to go to Juba on July 10th to get Joyce a passport.  We have been on our knees crying out to our Father on behalf of the dear people of South Sudan.  We have never in our lives prayed as much as we have in the past months, on so many levels, since our return from Africa!

Later in July, most of the women and children had fled from that area of So. Sudan to Uganda to stay with relatives or to refugee camps, while a dozen men, including Jon, stayed on in the village & William Levi & family remained on the farmland working the fields and meeting with local officials until their departure to the states Aug. 1.

[See the CBN report from the village after civil war broke out
 & be sure to view the VIDEO report from Borongole during this time]

In late July,  Joyce bravely returned to South Sudan to join Jon in Borongole,  as it became clear that a union sooner than November was best. 
A week later, Jon & Joyce were married on July 30th with only a few family members &  friends  present, so we are looking forward to their home coming to the US when we can really celebrate their marriage.

Jon & Joyce left So Sudan with the Levi’s as they departed Africa & they were dropped off with family in northern Uganda where God provided an abandoned “fixer-upper” hut for them to stay in so they can be together while Jon is there in Uganda. Their hoped for honeymoon was interrupted by Joyce having a serious bout with malaria that put her down for days. When she finally came through & felt strong enough to travel, they spent a few days in Gulu, Uganda where she had a thorough medical exam and has been on several medicines since then and is slowly feeling “somehow” better, as they say in So. Sudan.

During that time, the fighting in the area around the village escalated & for a time all have left Boronogle . We are praying for peace so that people can return soon before all is lost.

Meanwhile, some staff men, including Jonathan, have gone back into So. Sudan to stay on Gordon Mountain radio station south of the fighting,  in order to continue broadcasting the Gospel  to those remaining in So Sudan & in Refugee Camps in Uganda.

Jon preached daily for a few weeks on the book of Nehemiah, then returned to be with Joyce in Uganda for a time,  taking her back for a medical re-check to find that her presenting symptoms require a little more time & medicine.  They were blessed to have that time back together, but he recently returned to be on the radio. It is very hard for them to be apart.

Talking & praying with Jon has been so fruitful, as he & we see our daily need for His grace to have hearts that recognize our need for the Father of tender mercy for ourselves,  in order to extend mercy & grace to others. Many times Jon confesses his own weakness, & we encourage him to hold onto the truth that we ARE weak, but our God is strong.

Very often Jon says, “But God is there!” & “All I can do is pray.” 

What better place to be, than to be hemmed in where our only source of help is God.

Thankful that He forgives us when we fail, believing that God’s power is perfected in our weakness.  Those who are forgiven much, love much.  Asking Him to make us a people after His own heart.

Joshua finished his 3 years serving in the Army from Fort Drum, NY and moved back to eastern MA in May, just a week before we moved to western MA! He and his girlfriend Mary are doing well.

 God has been very good to Josh, as he got back the same job he had before he enlisted. He is looking into schooling in 2017. Meanwhile, he takes every chance he can to enjoy his love of fishing as he reaches out to veterans through Fishing Buddies for Veterans.

 Emma is finding that the Berkshires is a great area to pursue her love of art illustration & writing. She is the resident baker for the B&B guests & everyone loves her cinnamon swirl bread.

She is seeking Nannying jobs to fill her time while the B&B has slowed down and to save money toward courses and a car to get her there. Our Honda is no longer road worthy so we only have our 3 seater manual truck.  We definitely need a car for when Jon & Joyce return so we can travel together and Emma can get herself to work & classes. PRAYING about our need for a second vehicle?

PLEASE PRAY for South Sudan especially for those displaced from their homes with family elsewhere or in Refugee Camps.  Asking the Lord to shine His light in their hearts and minds, bringing them closer to Himself, leading them to pray, just as we need to gather to pray for our nation.

Pray also for the staff men of Operation  Nehemiah, as they camp out at the radio station. Pray also for the needed funds to put in a well at the radio station & better housing. They are currently hand digging a latrine, as things are right now, water & food has to be brought to the men who stay in two rooms on Gordon Mountain along with all the radio equipment.  Asking the Lord to knit their hearts together in Him as they proclaim together the Good News. & pray together!

Pray for Roger who was on a heart monitor b/c his EKG showed his heart rate was 39 beats per minute (normal is 60-100 & his normal is in the 50’s) The results showed his heart rate was from 37 bpm to 75 bpm. So they are doing a stress test to confirm ROGER’S NEED FOR A PACEMAKER.  This is actually good news, if this helps Roger’s exhaustion problem as his need for sleep has increased to needing 12 to 13 hours of sleep a day.

Also, OUR ROLE WITH OPERATION NEHEMIAH has been scaled back so that we will not be traveling extensively as we had been and will not be putting out updates, but instead focusing on PRAYER & SUPPORTING JON & JOYCE UNDER THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT of Operation Nehemiah.  If Roger’s health improves, our hope is that he could get a part time job that could supply what we need to live on and then the $800 of monthly support that we share with Jonathan, could go exclusively to Jon & Joyce and needs in So. Sudan.

Praying for Jon & Joyce believing that God is ordering their steps, so that JON & JOYCE CAN COME HERE TO THE U.S. FOR MEDICAL TRAINING & for rest and for us to celebrate with them their union as man & wife! Jon looks forward to introducing Joyce to you! They just found out that they can apply for a passport in Uganda instead of risking a trip to Juba, So Sudan, but it takes 2 to 3 months to get it, whereas in Juba it takes a week. It is the only door open to them right now, so we are praying for a miracle intervention to get her passport & visa soon.

We also feel an urgency  to gather together with others to pray for our nation!!!

We are so thankful for all of you who have come along side us & continue to remember us, Jon & Joyce, as well as, the dear people who do the majority of the work on the ground in South Sudan. We really do need each other in the Body of Christ.  We/they could not do what we do without your loving support & prayers.

Praying that God will continue to stoke the fire that is being fanned through trials, with an increasing awareness of our great need for Him, giving us a listening ear, an honest voice, a child’s simple trust & love.

Much Grace & Gratitude, Roger, Patty & Emma

To Donate to help Jon & Joyce come here for Medical Training and R&R Scroll to the bottom & CHOOSE OPTION #2
Mail checks to Operation Nehemiah PO BOX 502, Otis, MA 01253 (They get 100% of donations by mail, PayPal takes 3%)
COME VISIT US AT Maplewood B&B  266 North Main Road  Otis, MA 01253
(Next to Brother Darryl's FISH MARKET)

Monday, June 13, 2016

A personal update from me, Jonathan!

This is a personal update from me, Jonathan Lueken, whom you haven’t heard from for a long time. 

For the Last 7 months I have been staying in Borongole, Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan and working with Operation Nehemiah. Our vision is rebuilding this new nation spiritually and physically by God’s Grace and promoting Sustainability.

For three years I have been privileged to join hands with the ground team, under Country Director Timothy Levi and Senior Pastor Michael Levi in South Sudan. There are many areas of work here, including rebuilding the family spiritually, biblical discipleship, agriculture, medical, brick production, radio broadcasting, and building Godly infrastructure.  As the Director of Sustainable living, here in Borongole, my time has been full and productive. William Levi, [Founder and overseer of Operation Nehemiah], has been here with his family since the beginning of May (2016) to encourage and declare the vision that God has given him for South Sudan. God is doing an exciting work through the Mission to the hearts of the people in our community.
Since 2013, God has drawn me into the Great Commission here in South Sudan and I have been so blessed to work alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ.  It has become clear that my calling is to be here long term, learning from and sharing life with the Christians here, who have become my family. I now am putting down roots here in many ways. 
One of these ways is God leading me towards marriage with a Godly young woman living here in Borongole, South Sudan.  I have been in a courtship since December with Joyce Gune Kenyi, niece of both William and Pastor Michael Levi.
She loves the Lord with all her heart and is the hardest working young woman I have ever met. She has a true servant’s heart and is currently helping in the Nehemiah Field Clinic, working alongside me, as I now head up the Medical department. I have seen God growing us in our faith as we have come to know each other and have faced the trials of sickness together on quite a few occasions.

 Seeking God’s will in this relationship, the Lord has  made this clear to both Joyce and I that He is the one who brought us together and I am very sure that I have met my best friend for life. With Godly counseling, we are preparing and planning for marriage. Our desire is to have a wedding in the month of November here in South Sudan (Yes, this is something of a destination wedding!)
There is much to be put into place before that and the focus now is continuing premarital counseling and looking to meet some of the obligations required in African marriage. One of these priorities is a “blessing” (also known as a Dowry) to be paid by the young man to the young women’s family.  It is my desire to be able to give generously to the family who is blessing me with Joyce. This is a cultural tradition that has Hebrew biblical roots and is standard for marriage here. The ancient Hebrew wedding’s requirement involving payment of dowry by the bridegroom to the family of the bride which is still practiced here in this Hebraic culture, where Joyce is raised, is a kind of foreshadowing of the relationship between Jesus the Messiah and His bride, the Church.  Jesus purchased his bride, the church (all believers) by shedding of His blood on the Cross.  I am praying for the provision of that gift to give to my future-in-laws, who are giving their faithful daughter into my care. I appreciate your prayers as I enter this new phase of life and prepare to lead a new family.
Prayer needs:
1-      The dowry for the family of my bride as explained above $7000
2-     To build a small house on the mission property for Joyce and I $10,000
3-      For our Wedding planning in November 2016 when we pray my family in the USA can come.
4-      Pray for our relationship as we continue in premarital counseling as we lead up to the wedding
5-      Our desire to travel together to the USA together to visit friends and family after the wedding in November.
Joyce and I greatly appreciate your continued prayers and support as we look to start a family together. Please also pray for all the Families who are working with Operation Nehemiah here in South Sudan and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to go forward. Thank you for praying as we seek God's guidance in this new adventure!
Rubanga kola nito   (God be with you)                                                                     
Jonathan,  Director for Biblical Sustainable living & working w/ Operation Nehemiah Missions 
We are excited for Jon and love Joyce dearly. We have been earnestly praying for them as God works to unite them in the months ahead. We would ask you to pray that God would enable us by His gracious working to be involved in creative ways in the wedding preparations and planning and that He would work out the details to make it possible for us to be there for the wedding. 
Jon cannot receive mail as there is no mail service in South Sudan. In order for him to receive anything it must be hand carried through us. But if you'd like to communicate anything directly to him, you could send him an email. Email:
Anything else must be sent via the options listed below. 
NOTE OUR NEW  Personal & Operation Nehemiah MAILING ADDRESS:
PO Box 502, Otis, MA 01253

Donations can be made on the Operation Nehemiah Missions website
Scroll to the bottom - Choose "option #2 "
All contributions are tax deductible.

Make checks out to: Operation Nehemiah PO Box 502, Otis, MA 01253
Our physical address is:     266 North Main Road  Otis MA 01253


Saturday, May 21, 2016

News about Jon & Josh & our Adventures in the Berkshires

We've moved to the Berkshires & are endeavoring to settle in to our personal 3 room apartment, as well as, readying Maplewood B & B for guests in hopes to officially open June 1. We have some reservations already throughout the summer and some friends coming to stay with us this week, which is a blessing!

If you've not yet read  the story of how the Lord directed us here:]

I also found an old real estate listing when Maplewood Lodgings was for sale with lots of pictures of the property. Check it out and we hope you'll come and sit in our backyard by the river with us!

We are excited about co-laboring with Kevin & Melissa Rousseau, the new owners, to run the B & B for them, as well as, working together for Operation Nehemiah, as Kevin is on the Op. Neh. Board of Directors. We are also 1/2 hour from the Levi's home, which is Operation Nehemiah Headquarters and 1/2 hour from Hannah Levi's parents who are also on the board and our good friends, Rob and Ruth Kirkman. This is huge for us, so that we can meet and pray regularly together.

Jonathan has been on the ground in Borongole, South Sudan since he arrived with us in early December and early in May William & Hannah Levi and their 6 children along with 3 others from the states arrived on the ground in Borongole  and will be there for their longest stay yet till mid August.

Jon is just getting over another bout of malaria and accepting the disappointment of not being able to work with one of the US team who is a farmer and worked diligently the past 12 days to plant in the village and in the farmland before he returned to the States. Now please pray with us for consistent rain so the the seedlings will thrive.

Jon has seen this two weeks of rest as important... giving him needed time with the Lord AND with the young lady that he has begun a relationship with. Actually, our trip there in Dec. was initiated so that we could meet her South Sudanese family as the customs require. We love Joyce and if you remember Emma shared about her friend Joyce in her newsletter "Africa from the Eyes of an American Girl" after our first trip.

Jon and Joyce are working together in the Nehemiah medical clinic in the village. They make a good team and they are both diligent workers, so their biggest challenge is finding time to sit and talk together. 

Jon & Joyce 

 Together in the medical clinic
Jon testing for Malaria

On May 1st we were able to send 3 bags of medical supplies and discipleship packs for the families including children's books. Many people donated funds and actual medical supplies. So much was donated that we could not send it all!! So we are ready with more supplies and clothing for the next trip over.

Josh, as of May 2nd, is out of the Army and he left Fort Drum and moved east the same week we moved west, so there are new adventures for him ahead as well! He  has been blessed to return to work for his former employer and good friend, Dave Axberg... a job he really enjoyed before he enlisted. He also has plans to start school in Boston in early 2017 and has been enjoying a bit of fishing... like every day lately... his Papa would be jealous and proud.

                                      We love Mary... Here she is with her two favorite guys!!

Emma was so excited initially about helping do the baking for the B & B, but as the time of our departure neared, she struggled with leaving our church & family.  

Emma's new do... ready for new adventures
 Emma assistant directed and performed with friends in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

So far God has been meeting her in special ways and we trust His good plan for her and all of us.

 Cousins enjoy exploring the Farmington River in our new backyard!
Anna Flynn was our first visitor & helped Emma unpack & organize her new loft area in the barn.

The last time we were all together!

Prayers for all of our children in these times of transition & new adventures are a blessing!

The wonderful thing about being here at Maplewood, is that the Rousseau's want to see this property used for the Lord as He leads. We have beds for 7 in the three rooms upstairs and some overflow options if needed. We will do our best to accommodate you. So consider coming to visit us!!! It is so peaceful here, especially sitting in our backyard by the river, so come join us. 


PO Box 502, Otis, MA 01253

If you come to visit our physical address is:

266 North Main Road  Otis MA 01253

(We are 12 miles south of the Mass Pike (90). Take LEE EXIT 2  & go left onto Rte 20 for about 7 miles and then Right onto Rte 8 toward OTIS, follow exactly 5 miles & you'll see The Other Brother Daryl's Fish Mkt on the Left and Maplewood is immediately after.

Much grace,  Roger & Patty Lueken & family

Operation Nehemiah Missions website 

To Donate on the website, scroll to the bottom - Choose "option #2 "

Mail checks to Operation Nehemiah PO Box 502, Otis, MA 01253

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Packing to move, packing 6 more bags to send to So Sudan & YARDSALE 4/29-30

Thank you for your caring prayers as I (Patty) recover from malaria. I am feeling well & working on getting back my stamina. Trying to do a little each day toward packing up our personal belongings in order to move just after Mother's Day 5/9/16 to our new home & adventure as Inn Keepers at Maplewood Lodgings in Otis, MA, Berkshire County.

BUT, our first task is to pack up all the wonderful donations we have already received of clothing, shoes, soccer balls, sewing kits & discipleship material that are piled high in our small living room (first pic). The duffle bags we ordered arrived and we filled four with 50 pounds each of donations!! The second picture shows you how much we still have left over and then some. This pic does not include the two more bags of donated medical supplies and discipleship materials & more stuff that Jon requested.
 God is good and His people are so generous!!!

We also plan to have a YARD SALE on Fri./Sat. APRIL 29 & 30 here at 86 E. Bacon St. Plainville, MA, in order to raise the funds needed to purchase additional medical supplies and discipleship materials, as well as, to cover the cost of extra baggage fees to get them on the plane with the Levi's on May 1. 

If anyone local wants to donate yard sale items to sell, Roger can use his truck to pick them up. And any donations toward the cost of last minute purchases and extra baggage fees would be a huge blessing!!
WE'D LOVE FOR YOU TO STOP BY & VISIT US before we move west over those two days 4/29 & 30 if you're free!!!

So much has been happening in our lives that keeps us constantly on our knees, crying out to God for physical healing and restoration of relationships, and for God to do what we cannot do on so many levels. It is a time where God has shown us our prayers are way too small for a God so great!! The Battle is His and we praise the King of kings & our Father, Who is able, powerful and more willing than we can imagine.  To Him be the glory!!!

Thank you for taking time to read this and for your prayers & support.

Much grace,  Roger & Patty Lueken & family
(774) 254-4336 Finally able to get Roger a replacement phone (774) 210-2800

Operation Nehemiah Missions website 
To Donate on the website, scroll to the bottom - Choose "option #2 "
Mail checks to Operation Nehemiah PO Box 2401, Plainville, MA 02762 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Two bags sent to South Sudan... 6 more to go!!

I (Patty) have just gotten home from the hospital after fighting an unexpected case of Malaria over the past two weeks. As a result, we never got to have a planned visit with Timothy Levi, Country Director of Operation Nehemiah South Sudan, while he was here these past three weeks. We can hardly beleive it. We are so glad we at least could make it to the airport on 4/5 to see Timothy off! 

AND we were able to send him with 2 extra bags filled with 16 separate packages each containing a study Bible and 4 other books from The Gospel Coalition & Peacemaker Ministries for each household in the village!!! We sent lots of donated medical supplies and other items Jon requested! Also God provided through 2 generous donors the $200 for each extra bag! We are so thankful and so excited about what God will do with these discipleship tools for every household!!

In the next several weeks we will not only be packing to move to the Berkshires after Mother's Day, but we will also be packing more of the above plus all the clothes & shoes we still have waiting to go over to South Sudan to send with the Levi's May 1st . We will include additional things that Jon cannot get over there; and Christian music that proclaim the Gospel for the radio station. One young man, who loves music, has really taken an interest in the Keith & Kristyn Getty's Hymn's Cd that we brought over with us donated by Gospel Coalition . He has been gathering other young people together along with Jon to pray together and sing their hymns.  

Here is what he wrote to me... "before asking for anything from Him, we went on and we sung from the Modern and Traditional Hymns that you gave me. Song number 3 BY FAITH, we managed to follow it from the book while playing it on the Computer, and other teachings came from Psalms 88,Psalms 5:1-6, Isaiah 58, Romans 3:21-31, Romans 11:33, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalms 138.  And a song was again sung from the same book Number 9 IN CHRIST ALONE.  This is how we came together to cry out to God and we learn that we have to walk by faith not by sight and we even prayed for all of you. So this is how God has revealed Himself to us today, His Love, mercy, wonders, were all clearly showed to us,our prayers were about many things,we prayed for God's restoration of broken relationships,broken hearts,spirit of forgiveness,prayer for different countries."

Jon is so excited as he participates with these young people singing these songs that are filled with the message of the Gospel. One  young man who joined them is a Ugandan worker and new to the village, whose younger siblings live with his grandparent b/c both his parents were killed, and he had to leave school after elementary level to work. 

We are overjoyed to see these direct answers to the prayer burden we have had to see the beauty of the Lord and His Good News go forth into the hearts of the dear people of South Sudan.

Thank you for your prayers for us as we make this transition to our new home in western MA. These past couple of months since returning from Africa have been some of the hardest months we've ever faced for multiple reasons.

When faced with trials on every side,  we know the outcome is secure.
And Christ will have the prize for which He died, an inheritance of nations. 


We know God's plan ahead is a good one for us as a family and for the ministry, as we can meet and PRAY with William and Hannah and the other Operation Nehemiah Board Members on a regular basis. 

He is with us through it all, bringing about His purposes for our good and His glory!!
Clinging to Him as never before, Roger, Patty & Emma

Jesus, Draw me ever nearer  As I labor through the storm
You have called me to this passage  And I'll follow, though I'm worn

*May this journey bring a blessing  
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my hearts testing  
With Your likeness let me wake

Jesus, guide me through the tempest  
Keep my spirit stayed and sure
When the midnight meets the morning  
Let me love You even more
Let the treasures of the trial  
Form within me as I go

And at the end of this long passage