Dear Class of ’69,
Patt and I send you our belated congratulations on your recent historic “40th Anniversary Class Reunion.” Also our Christmas and New Year’s Greetings. We really enjoy getting annual Christmas cards from so many of you. Like us, some of you are already grandparents!
I had really hoped to be in town to see many of you at your reunion – but as usual, I was out of the country. I especially wanted to be in town because 1969 was also the official beginning of “The New Directions” – originally the “Y Teen Caravan.” Little could we have realized that what we thought was going to be a short hiatus in our lives at the YMCA would develop into a life-long ministry! And because of people like Dell Bright, so much of our early ministry was focused at WHS – where each of my four children later graduated as “Bull Dogs.”
Many of you in the “Class of 69” were in those early Bible Studies I led for students in the various high schools around the city and county. Some of you also were an active part of The New Directions during your high school years and traveled with us to countries like Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, Haiti and the Grand Caymans. We never imagined that God would grow that ministry from “Alamance County to around the world,” as I often describe it. And like you, we have been celebrating 4 decades of God’s faithfulness. For Patt and me it has been an ever-expanding ministry to the poor and needy in the Two-Thirds World in the love and compassion of Christ.
Little did I realize that one of your own, Lewis Lucke, would be on a parallel track helping to empower the poor through the USA Government. As you can see from his attached picture and resume, Lew held prestigious and powerful positions with USAID in a number of underdeveloped countries. He also held Ambassadorships along the way as America’s highest representative where he served. Unfortunately, Lew and I were largely unaware of each other’s work to uplift and empower the poor – often in the same countries at the same time! I am thankful and honored that he was also a musician for the NDs his senior year at WHS. So he is also one of “our own” also.
Our loss of touch with each other all changed recently when Lew and I met in Haiti for a long weekend – the very days immediately following your Class Reunion! We had a great time re-visiting a country that both of us passionately love – even though it continues to hold the sad title of: “The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.” To this day Haiti continues to be the country that NDI has had the most involvement in – leading groups there multiple times a year. Some of you receiving this email went there on the very first trip in 1969. Lew and I plan to meet there again sometime in 2010 – and would love to see some of you go with us. Your classmate, Dan Apple has already signed on!
I have attached a few pictures of “Ambassador Lewis Lucke” in Haiti with me right after your Class Reunion. Hope you enjoy them. Lew is also a very gifted author and wrote a great book I highly recommend: Waiting For Rain; Life & development in Mali, West Africa. Patt and I especially loved the book since we have traveled and ministered in the fabled city of Timbuktu, Mali, that Lew also writes about. Order it through Amazon if you can find it. It is a timely read by one of your classmates who has really “made a difference” – and continues to do so for the disenfranchised and marginalized peoples in Underdeveloped Countries. His book will make you “proud to be an American!”
I also included some photos of Dan Apple and his family.
If you would like to be on my general email list, you can sign up on our Contact page. I would love to keep you updated on my on-going travels and ministry around the world in behalf of the spiritually and physically poor.
Again, congratulations on your historic “Class of ’69 Reunion. Hope I will be in town for your “45th Reunion” in 2014…
In His Faithful Love,
JL & Patt
PS: When you many of you receive this email blast, I will be traveling and ministering in India, Nepal and Bhutan from Jan. 6 – 23. I would covet your prayers for this first trip of 2010 which will be very intense, diverse and fast moving.
Lew visiting one of the house-building projects outside Port-au-Prince
Lew with two of our partners, Mr. & Mrs. Esperandieu Pierre (left) and Pastor & Mrs. Edner Jeanty, Jr (right)
Lew with Dr. Chavannes Jeune, presidential candidate and close friend and partner of JL
Lew & JL with Dr. Jeune after a wonderful dinner briefing on Haiti
As a member of the WHS “Class of 69,” Dan Apple was also a member of the “Original NDs.” He traveled to Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti on the earliest mission trips we took. Like Lew Lucke, Dan returned to Haiti on his own to work one summer—painting radio towers, which no one but Dan would do! He went on to have a stellar career with the FBI and Lab Corps. It has been a joy to see Dan and Judy through the years as they have returned to Burlington to visit family. Recently he was back for the funeral of his mother, who was a legend in her own right! Patt and I enjoyed our brief visit with Dan, Judy, Ben and Scott around the funeral. He has made the “Class of ‘09” proud!
Dan Apple, Judy and their sons, Ben & Scott
Dan and his sons—some of America’s finest
Patt and Judy together at the funeral
Dan & Judy’s sons, Ben and Scott, who make you proud to be an American