Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Story #2 Chapter 2

This is the second Chapter in our second "How we met" story, brought to us by Jolene Dueck...........


Leo writing,
I had grown up in Costa Rica, Central America. I never really imagined myself marrying outside of Costa Rica or much less living in USA. The latin culture and Spanish language were a part of who I was and am. Russian Mennonite background and spoke the Plat Duetsch at home, picked up Spanish interacting with my neighbors and got my third language (English) at school. It was only after I had gone to SMBI in PA at the age of 24 that I made some life long friends that became very important to me as they journeyed with me through the loss of my parents. Marcus Yoder being one of these friends and since they lived in Ohio I would come here often and also go to the same church. (MVDOH) I would first become aquainted with the Eicher family in 2008. Her brother Jason would become a close friend after that. I would meet Jolene during different occasions.My friend Olger said to me one day, Leo I think Jolene and you would be the perfect couple. I smiled and said, I will think about it. Planning to dismiss it from my mind ASAP. (one of my requirements was the my wife be shorter than me and I thought she was taller then I, which ended up not being so :) sigh ) I am older by this time and also having gone through some extensive struggles I started questioning God and his purposes for my life. I still believed that God existed. I wanted that relationship with Him but it always felt like something I had to pursue, something I had to work for, it seemed like I was never good enough, I never quite attained what I should. My view of God was like a Father that was either absent or waiting for a chance to knock me onto my knees again, take away anything I cherished, anything I loved would be taken from me. The dating relationships never worked, I would do everything the right way and it was never good enough. I lost my father and mother and then a relationship didn't work out, I lost my oldest sister and by now I am struggling with intense anger. In 2008 I told God that if He exists and He wants to have a relationship with me it will have to be Him pursuing me, Him finding me. I can't pretend I have life when I feel like I don't.  I walked away from God and left the church I had always been a part of in Costa Rica. Meanwhile I am still in contact with Marcus. The church of MVDOH and many others are praying for me.  Jason, Brian Miller and myself went on a trip to South America, one of the best ones of my life, and it was a time of being and asking questions. I went through some very difficult times and it felt dark and hopeless. The tunnel seemed to have no end and the wilderness seemed to extend as far as I could see. I came to the point where I gave up hope. All this time I would always maintain a minimal contact with the MVDOH church group and even though I knew that by now there was not a chance that Jolene and me would ever date I could never quite get her out of my head. In beginning of 2010 I was completely exhausted and tired of life. I wished God would just let me die. This is when Marcus told me to just come to Ohio for a while. I got my ticket, don't remember how I got to the airport, just remember arriving and being given permission to board at Ezra Wengerds for 6 weeks and we decided to take it one day at a time. I remember working in Marcus's woods with tears rolling down my face. The grace that I so longed to experince was washing me clean and the need to perform and be good enough was gone. I was not good enough and would never be but for Jesus. I wept the tears that had been kept inside for the last few years and I fould a safe place express them and just be. During this time Jolene is going to Canada which couldn't happen soon enough because every time I saw her I was more attracted to her. She understood me like no one ever had before. I also knew that it could never happen. She finally left and that left an ache inside of me but at the same time I knew it was for the better. This was April and May. All this time I am praying and asking God to allow me to forget her and focus on my own life. In August Jolene's aunt Sara passed away and she came home for the funeral. I told God that if He didn't stop me I would tell Jolene that I like her and would like to start a relationship with her. God didn't stop me and so she found out that I wanted her to start a relationship with me. Well the next 2 years seemed like the longest 2 years of my life but also ended being what we both needed.
Jolene again- When he became part of our youth group at Mohican Valley, I was the older single that avoided too much interaction with him because I was sure everyone would get ideas and I was pretty sure I wasn't interested. You see, I was on the early stages of my journey and a relationship like this was just riskier business than I was willing to take on. We overlapped a month at the same church. I moved to Canada to be secretary at Beaver Lake Camp which is God's code position for, "serious renovation of the heart".� Be aware, that when God calls you into service, he plans to do the greatest work in your own heart.
We started dating ½ a year into my 2 year term of service. I have to tell you all I wasn't a piece of cake at this point either. But as the time moved on and God moved people into my life to help me to trust again and Leo won my heart and trust over and over in those days as he still does today.
I don't see our story as a glamorous Romeo and Juliette story...and yet as time rolls on... I do. I've been a tough cookie to crack. A rose bud refusing to trust, open and bloom... It's taken a lot of sweat and blood on Leo's part as well as on the part of his prayer warriors...constantly pouring love...reassuring love...calling to trust. Calling out. That's how Jesus loves us. O there were serious times of stretching. When Leo asked me to marry him... that was a serious call to trust. I didn't think I was ready. I don't know if I'd ever have felt ready.

Thank you, Jolene, for sharing your heart and your story with us! Many blessings to you and Leo as you anticipate starting a new chapter in your lives as Parents in just a few months!!

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