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:  www.maplewoodlodging.com

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
www.operationsnehemiah.org Scroll to the bottom & CHOOSE OPTION #2
PayPal onlighthouse@gmail.com
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)