Mission Partner Update - Johan & Lilli Lukasse, July 2024

Posted July 09, 2024

"Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land."
(Proverbs 25:25, ESV)

This Bible verse really appealed to me because I found it so applicable to our own situation. Lilli and I have not been to church since the beginning of February, and we have not been able to follow the developments in the spiritual field of missions and church planting as we have been used to and appreciated. This came after my fall on February 16, which resulted in a broken hip and hospitalization. I have fallen a few more times since then, which has led to two more hospital admissions and even more rehabilitation. So we have run out of information a bit.

However, a phone call from Tome Fernandes in Portugal broke that dry spell on the day before Pentecost.

Refreshed by news from a distant land while in the hospital in May, I received a call from Tome Fernandes who wanted to inform me about the progress of the church planting work in the “Park of the Nations” in Lisbon. There, with the help of many brothers and sisters from home and abroad, we worked for seven years with the aim of creating a Biblical church in that part of Lisbon. We have shared that fascinating story with you in our information letters over the years. We had prayerfully set a goal when we started: a minimum number of people who would come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord, along with a place to hold the services. That was a real struggle, but God in His great mercy and love made us successful.

During his call, Tome invited me to share in the joy and gratitude that the congregation now consists of about 60 people! And that they would be blessing a new pastor on the day of Pentecost.

This new couple, Giovani and Kethryn Schubert, are well-trained and dedicated workers. They come from Brazil, even though their name suggests their roots are in Germany. The church meets every Sunday evening in the auditorium of the International School.

Our conversation was interrupted by the doctor who came in to say that I could go home that day. I have never experienced such a festive Pentecost day. During the last hours in the hospital, I believed and praised God. It was cool water on a thirsty land. Lilli shared in the joy.

A second blessing and cool water from a distant land

We were privileged to also hear from Luke Bajenski. He was the pivotal figure in our action in Poland and is a wonderful spiritual leader and capable brother. The whole campaign and many fresh ideas came from him. He later moved to California (USA) with his family (his wife is American). He told us that he would be making a trip to Poland because his father, one of the leading pastors in the evangelical church in Poland, is retiring as he is 75 years old. Luke wanted to stop in and visit with us as his transit was through Amsterdam to Warsaw. Luke had his grown son Alex with him. The last time I saw Alex was in Poland when he was a little boy of 6.

They spent the day with us and we ate together in a Biblical way, even though for this occasion the menu was Belgian fries. We had much to catch up on and learned how their lives were progressing now that they live in the USA.

Stephanie (Shackelford) Cervantes was my assistant during the time that both of these actions were running. She was of great value in getting everything organized. We are still in touch through the exchange of newsletters that she and I still send and have contact via video calls from time to time as well.
The constant trickle of cool water which we experience in the many encouraging letters and cards which keep coming does us much good. While we cannot thank all the senders personally, it is indeed refreshing water from nearby lands and neighborhoods.
How are we doing?
My fall on February 16th and the following hospital stays are taking their toll. As well as the rehabilitation exercises which I still do. I am fairly weakened by all this. Lilli had carpal tunnel surgery on her hand, which all went well except she still has pain in her wrist. Lilli is very tired, too. She said, “Maybe I have burnout.” We have enough family help, but she still has to "manage" everything. I had thought I could help a little more with the small household chores, but in practice, it is disappointing that I cannot. We are getting through it, though, but are still enduring a difficult time. We are happy and grateful that we still have each other. Our children are also a great help. Last Sunday we went to church again. Esther came to pick us up because I am still not allowed to drive the car. It was a blessing to be there.
One last message
On August 18th we will celebrate being married 65 years, which is a Brilliant anniversary. We will celebrate with thanksgiving to God in the family circle.

The Lord is good to us and we praise His name every day!

Heartfelt greetings, Johan and Lilli.

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