Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Walking Behind the Water at Silver Falls

Not knowing where you are travelling more than a few days in advance has its tensions, but also its joys. The lead we received at Camp Berachah to head to Silver Falls State Park was a great tip indeed, because we got to see something that most praire folks don't get too - waterfalls, and lots of them!

Silver Falls State Park has 10 falls on a 8 mile trail loop. While we didin't do the whole loop, we did hike 5 miles with our kids, and they all did great! They have some serious stamina for hiking, and we were very proud of them (having lots of cool snacks along sure helped them, and me!). The falls come from two very small and shallow creeks, and it is quite a sight to see a 150+ foot waterfall coming out of a 2 foot shallow creek. The heavy mist in the air made for a bit of a rain forest feel, and also created lots of moss hanging on the trees.

For some of the larger falls we started walking well above the falls, travelled down a switchback trail till we got halfway down and then we actually walked under the falls! The caverns behind the falls were huge in some spots, and for other falls you could almost reach out and touch the water. We then travelled further down the trail till we got to the creek at the bottom.
Silver Falls was a great first stop on our tour of Oregon State Parks. We are now on the coast, and look forward to many more stops in this amazingly beautiful part of the world. Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, God has blessed us with some unusually warm weather for this time of year!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Living in "The Valley of Blessing"

Have you ever found yourself living in the Valley of Blessing? Living in a place where God is worshipped, Christ is glorified, people love each other and serve with a joyful heart, God's creation is awe inspiring, food is abundant, and there is a putt-putt course?

A putt-putt course? Yes that's right, and not only that but a Frisbee golf course, 3 gyms, nature trails, and a fireplace in the dining lodge!

Berachah is the Hebrew word meaning valley of blessing, and we truly have been blessed by the amazing staff here at this 160 acre Christian camp near Auburn, Washington. As a Pastor family, we were welcomed to stay in the Hillside Lodge, given two rooms, and all our meals for the "fee" of $10 a night! Because there was no one else staying at the lodge during our entire stay, we literally had the whole 2 floor, 78 room building, plus use of a large conference room (and big screen TV to watch movies!) all to our self.

On Monday morning of this week we didn't know where we would be staying after leaving Seattle on Tuesday. But God always knows what his kids need. We found the info for this Camp in the Focus on the Family Pastor Resource book, and the camp graciously welcomed us on short notice. While we have been here we have met many people from Oregon, where we will be travelling to today, and they have given us suggestions and ideas of where to stay. So when we leave here at noon we will be heading to Silver Falls State Park, where there are two room cabins to rent for a reasonable rate, and a hiking trail that leads to 10 waterfalls, some of which you can actually go behind and walk under! Should be fun.

God is truly amazing. We are seeking to live faithfully for him and again and again he astounds us with his goodness and grace. Just in case you think it is all rosy, we still have issues as a family, including some this morning, which we have to work and pray through. It goes to show that we are still very much sinners in need of a savior.

So we say with the Apostle Paul "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31) Our hope is in the cross, our joy is in the cross. God is bringing me to a greater understanding of how much we as a family need Christ, and just how truly great a Savior he is. We seek to live in a manner that points others to Him, and we are thankful that we are having fun and growing to love each other more. Enjoy celebrating Christ in your home, and may you find much to rejoice in!

Monday, October 22, 2007

To God be the Glory: No longer Homeless and Jobless!

If anyone would have told me back the fall of 2006 that God would direct us on a journey of leaving a great ministry position at GMC, selling our home, deciding to go on a 5 month "Adventure with God" trip across N.A. (including Seattle -see above) with no knowledge of where we would end up, I would have said, "Sounds like a radical, faith-stretching experience which I don't know if I'm up for."

And then if they would have said that I would get a call the day after I resigned which would lead to us to community I had never heard of where there is a great, healthy church in search of a pastor, and that I would be able to candidate almost completely before we leave on our trip, and then find out via an email on my laptop while sitting in my hotel in Seattle (see below)less than 3 months after my job was done that the church had been completely united in calling me as their pastor, I would have said, "Now that is a miracle that I know only God could do."

Well, God has done the miracle, and shown his goodness and grace, and for most of you reading this, you have been praying along with us for God's leading to take place, and it has. The big question really is "Why is my (dare I say our) faith so small?" What has transpired in the lives of the Dueck 6 this past year demonstrates what all of us know to be true, yet often find so hard to believe - that when we submit ourselves to God, and step out in faith, he will be faithful.

Proverbs 3:5-6 is a verse I memorized years ago, but it now means so much more:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and he will direct your paths.

The people of Calvary Baptist Church in Emo are excited about us arriving, and we are very excited that we know where will be going to serve God as a family when we finish our trip. We plan to be back in Winnipeg at the end of January, and spend some time with family and friends before moving out to Emo in the 2nd week of February. We hope to get settled into the parsonage and get the kids into school before I officially start work on February 18.

If you don't know what a parsonage is, it is a house owned by the church and given to the pastor to live in. The house is right in Emo, a block from the church, and it will be a great home for us as we settle into small town life and get to know people in town. We are still praying that God will in the near future provide for us some land and a house outside of town, which will allow for a garden, a place for the animals (including Lois' chickens!), and some forests for me and the boys to use to explore and hopefully build something out of.

So, while it was fun to say "We're homeless and jobless and loving it!" I am very thankful to now say "God has provided a new home for us where our family can grow to be all that he wants us to be, and provided a ministry position where I can use my gifts together with Lois to glorify God as we seek to equip his people for the extending of his kingdom."

Our God has done "exceedingly more than all we could ask or imagine." He is truly the main character of this story, and we are amazed as we look back and see his hand in everything, right down to our initial feelings of restlessness back in the spring of 2006. God is faithful, and he is to be trusted. We rejoice at his goodness, and praise him together with you for his kindess towards us his children.

Kids Interviews! Read' em While There Here!

The "Your Home is a Van News"
Reporter: Lorianne M. Dueck

Here in Seattle (literally the World's Biggest Car Wash), I have had the chance to interview the Dueck 6 about what they have enjoyed about this wacky weathered place. And here they are!!!!
Hello Dueck 6!
Hi Lorianne!

I'm here to interview you, so who would like to go first? Anyway, how about you start Stephen.

Okay Stephen what did you enjoy about Seattle?
I liked the Space Needle.
You mean that big pointy building in the picture?


Now why did you like it?

Well it was cool and really high. I also liked the pointy thing on the top.

That's nice.
I know!

Any thing else?

Yes I liked shopping for my animal buddies.

Who are they?

Well there is Twitch the Hamster and Iggy the Chameleon.
Great! Thanks Stephen

Here's Joseph. What did yo like Jo?

The yummy food at the hotel. I could have waffles every day!

I agree. I joined you for breakfast more than once and the bacon and eggs were supurb!!! Is that all?
I liked lots of other stuff to but thats all I want to say.
Thanks Joseph.

Now onto Caleb. What did you like Caleb?
I enjoyed the Arcade and the World War II Exibit at the Museum of Flight.

Sounds cool. I knew you would say Arcade.
Yes. And we actually won some stuffed animals!
Thats wonderful.

I personaly enjoyed almost everything, but a few highlights were the Aquarium, the Zoo and the High School Musical Play. In the Aquarium we saw an octopus and got to touch animals in the touch pools. The Zoo had many cool animals!!! Zebras and Elepants, Hippos and Wild Dogs, Bats and Boas, they all show how amazing God is. High School Musical was a great evening activity that I really enjoyed with my mom.

Well it is time to interview the parents. Here they are. Hello! What did you enjoy so far Mrs Dueck?

I enjoyed the walk along the beach and looking at shells. The touch pools were also very interesting. I enjoyed the things we did that included the ocean. These things are new to me since I am a Prarie Girl.

Thank you. And here's Mr Dueck.

I enjoyed the Mars Hill Church. Actually, we came to Seattle specifically so we could attend this church. I really wanted to hear Mark Driscoll preach in person, which God was gracious enough to allow. The sermon was very good, as he talked about how suffering is there for the purpose of God to work in us and through us. He is a very godly preacher.

Yes he is. But I am NOT into really loud music. The floor was even vibrating!!

Well thats all the interviews for now. Thanks Duecks!!

Bye Lorianne!

What a nice family.
Well, would you look at that, the sun is shining in Seattle! I'd better leave while it is. See you next time on the "Your Home is a Van News"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Spirit of God at Work on the Weekend

Well, the whirlwind weekend of flying, driving, crossing the border (2x each way), visiting, praying, speaking, sharing, and laughing is over. God again showed his love for our family and the work of his Spirit as he answered our two specific requests:

1. That He would be glorified as I shared "my story as a part of His story" in the candidating process at Emo. While I was in Emo for less than 24 hours, God was preparing everything in advance, including a 5 hour planned Hydro outage which made for a nice atmosphere (while it was a new concept to me, they said it happens a few times a year, and always on Sunday!). The church was full, the people were excited to hear what I had to say, and God allowed me to share of his goodnes in my life. I gave my testimony/faith story in the morning, we had a potluck lunch (if we do end up in Emo, I would encourage all our Wpg friends and family to come visit on potluck Sundays because these people really know how to throw a potluck!), and then I showed some pictures of the family. After that I shared my vision for church ministry, and the floor was opened for questions.

The whole weekend was amazing, but what really demonstrated to everyone there that God's hand was at work were the questions asked by a 10(?) year old girl. I don't know her name, but after she asked a nice intro questions and a few others in the crowd asked some personal and theological questions, she asked two questions which blew us all away: "If you came to our church what would you change about our service?" And then a little later she put up her hand again and asked, "What do you think of small groups?" I think most of us were somewhat stunned by her questions (especially her mother!), but they truly were God-designed questions that once answered, helped the church see more of what I was about.

2. That Lois and the kids would have a great time in Abbotsford without me. God has his children all over the world and two of them who we didn't really know until last Thursday are Rudy and Uli Janzen. They own a farm about 5 minutes from the airport (which made for a very easy pickup and drop off for me!), and together with their brother Walter they graciously hosted our family and loved them well. They fed the family, entertained the kids with horse rides, scooter rides, and tractor rides, and took them to church. God graciously used them to bless us, and in his Providence allowed us to bless them just by being us!

So thank you all for praying, both for myself and for the rest of the Dueck 6. The members of Calvary Baptist Church will be voting this coming Sunday on whether or not they sense God has chosen us to be their next Pastor couple. And the way God has been leading, and with the feedback we have already received, we pray that we will be getting a very positive email on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Back in Winnipeg on the Way to Emo

It is Saturday, 12:30 am Wpg time and I have just spent a great hour or so talking with my folks who I haven't seen for a month. God in his gracious providence has orchestrated it that the Calvary Baptist Church family in Emo wants me to come back and speak this Sunday in an official candidating role for the position of lead (and only!) pastor in their great church. God's timing in this is evident because I flew in from Abbotsford B.C. where Lois and the kids can stay with friends, and not from Seattle where they would be staying in a hotel. Another clear sign of God's goodness is that my Dad had lung cancer surgery this past Tuesday and just arrived home today. Coming back now allows me to see him and Mom, and be with him for a bit as he recovers.

So if you happen to read this before Sunday, please pray that God would allow me to speak honestly about what he has done and is doing in my life, and that I would glorify him not only in what I say, but how I say it. And please pray for Lois and the kids, who are on their own for three days after us having been together as a family almost 24/7 for the last 30 days.

And if you happen to read this after Sunday, that is okay too because you can pray for the church as they continue to discern whether the Dueck 6 is the right fit for them as a congregation. And you can pray for safety for us as I fly back to Abbotsford on Monday before we all head off for a week of big city tourism in Seattle, Washington.

May you be encouraged by the verses that God brought to my attention to share with my parents as they go through a time of struggle:

Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Give thanks unto the Lord!

The Beauty of B.C.'s Okanogan Valley

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness at night.
Psalm 92:1-2

It is Thanksgiving weekend, 2007 and our Adventure with God trip finds us in Abbotsford, B.C. We have been on the road for almost a month now, and we truly much to praise God about, and enough material to fill a whole song book of praises. We are currently staying with some relatives who our family has never met (okay, I played with them when I was a toddler but that doesn't count!), and they have specifically said that they want to host us and feed us and not have us pay anything while we are here - wow! God is blessing us so richly through his children across the country, and we humbly say thank you.
The longer we are away from Winnipeg, the more we recognize the power of prayer. We as a family prayed for months before we left, and many people joined with us. Even more, I believe that many of you who read this must be praying for us now, for that is the only way we can explain the goodness and grace that God has showered upon us. So let me share with you some of what we are thankful for.

First off, we are having fun! In the many years of ministry and going to school and having babies, life in our house was pretty chaotic and busy. Now however, we have time to pull over at the side of the road high up in the B.C. mountians and have a snowball fight and build a snowman (thankfully the roads weren't icy!). We have also played games together, laughed together and read a great book for night time storytime called A Basket of Flowers. It was written in the 18th century, and is both a compelling and captiviating read, and a hope filled book that demonstrates the truth that God is sovereign and his Providence never ever fails us. Check out for more great classic books. (And thanks Terra and Martin for giving this book to us, and opening up our eyes to some profound literature which we might never have found!)

We were also really blessed to stay with Henry and Judy Klassen, the Pastor couple who married us 14 years ago. They graciously opened their home in Grand Forks B.C. to us for two nights, fed us well, and shared with us how God has led them and continues to lead them as they pastor the MB church in town. We were blessed by their wisdom, especially as we are in the process of entering a different ministry role. And the fact that Judy refused to let Lois help with any type of dishes just demonstrated how much God was caring for us through these great people.

After leaving their home this past Tuesday, we headed for Hosanna Way, a retreat house in the mountains near Republic, Washington. The drive from Grand Forks was less than an hour (which made for a really short travel day!), and our whole time there was just an amazing gift from God. For four nights we had this whole mobile home to ourselves: three bedrooms, two bathrooms, fire place, deck, deer out the front door, wild turkeys out the back, and absolute quiet everywhere else. Having been with people and travelling for a while, we really needed the rest. And it was a rest for us as parents because not only did we have access to this house, we could also use another cabin on the property as a second home.

And did I mention the animals? Every day our kids got to feed the horses, donkey, cow and the goats. Lois got to collect eggs from the chickens a few times, and we all got to play with Casey, the ball obessesed, incredibly friendly and energetic dog. We could send the kids down to the cabin and they would play and feed the animals for hours.

Carl and Tammy are the owners of this 75 acre ranch and it is their desire to bless pastors with a place to stay (for free!) where they and their families can relax, rest, and be refreshed before heading back to fast paced life of ministry. Even though we aren't heading back to anything right away, we were so blessed to be there. The scenery was truly amazing, and I even got some log cabin building tips from them. (I hope to someday be able to build something out of logs, even if it is just a shed!)

I could tell you more of what has been happening, but you are probably tuning out already after another one of my long posts - sorry! All of what I have written, and what the pictures show, are examples of God's goodness. But even if all I had to say was it has been colder than normal (which it has been), I ran over a train track and broke our exhaust system (which I did), and our kids still are causing us stress with their loud voices and need to be entertained (which they are), God would still be good, because he is always good. He has met our greatest need, to be saved from our sins, and given us hope for life eternal with Him. Everything else is just a bonus.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and don't forget to declare his steadfast love and faithfulness.