Todd and Maria Luke - June 2017 Update
May is the wild card month for the Xpujil region’s agrarian communities. With immeasurable toil, families have cleared their land and are ready to plant. But sowing seed must wait until the rain returns. So, the farmers wonder. Will soaking rains come in May or in June? The good news is, some rain has already fallen – enough to refill our nearly empty guest house cistern. But more is needed.
Here is a worthwhile prayer: Lord, send the rains that refill family cisterns and farmers’ hopes.
May is also festival time in the county seat, Xpujil. Two weeks of games, rides, food stands, and men who hawk blankets, pots, utensils, and pans with their voices electronically amplified to eleven. Eleven is also the volume level setting for the nightly concert/dances which begin, appropriately, at 11:00 p.m. and last until the break of dawn.
Our Xpujil guest house, manse, and parsonage are two blocks from this commotion. The nightly wall of sound crashes over our yard like a weapon of sleep destruction. Earplugs and white noise makers are useless against it. The bass makes everything resonate –walls, mattresses, pillows, and people.
Meanwhile, in a small village far, far away; five families – our newest local Mexican partners – are performing the required prep work for their soon-to-be-built cisterns: using chainsaws to craft boards and poles, transporting the lumber from the woods, digging foundations, cutting and tying rebar, and collecting water for concrete mixing. Foundation pouring began on May 24.
Due to the nocturnal festival noise in Xpujil, our first summer mission team was not scheduled to arrive until May 23. I prayed for quiet nights and also for strength, health, and safety for our American and Mexican partners. May the Holy Spirit use our unique relationship to open eyes to see the Father’s loving hand that guides, protects, and provides for us every single day.
SO FAR IN 2017
Two mission teams visited in January and another two in February. They built cisterns in Cana Brava (ten), Manantial (five), and La Virgencita (five). The group members represented churches in Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, and South Carolina. And they came in all shapes and sizes. There were three millennial couples in their 30s taking a break from their kids; a handful of twenty-something single men and women; some retired husband and wife combos; a few gentlemen in their seventies giving their wives back home a breather; and some working empty nester couples in their fifties. To round things out, we had a super-charged teenager and a couple of pastors. It all goes to show that almost anybody can serve through this partnership. So, if you know anyone interested in crossing cultures and experiencing a unique kind of relationship, then let them know that we have a shovel and bucket with their name on it.
This was our first time working in the village of La Virgencita. As with anything new, you never know what to expect. I am so happy to report that God’s love and care for the foreigner flowed freely through the cistern recipient families and their neighbors. The people of La Virgencita provided hospitality through simple acts like: available bathrooms, chairs set out in the shade, gifts of fruit and refreshments, hugs, and conversations about family and daily life. There were open homes and open hearts. The number of smiles on the faces of the families, laborers, and children far outnumbered the bags of cement we mixed.
BEHIND THE SCENES PEOPLE
We hope to build twenty-five cisterns this summer. To meet this goal our head foreman, Victor Guzman, will be extremely busy as he manages and guides our cistern partners through the complex construction process. He will dedicate more than eight weeks of his time from late May through early August. There is a sacrificial component to Victor’s commitment. Aside from being away from his family, Victor will also be away from his fields. First and foremost, Victor is a farmer. His family’s food will come mostly from their own farmland. Victor has worked hard to prepare the soil, but he needs someone to plant and care for his crops during the early phases of growth. The person who will see that task through is Victor’s son, Felipe. Thank you, Felipe.
As Felipe helps his dad, there are also those who make it possible for our American partners to have the opportunity to work with us. The three “thirty-something” team members I mentioned above could not have joined us in January without the help from those who took care of their children. It’s safe to say that most folks that come to Xpujil are able to do so thanks to sacrifices made by others who stayed behind. Let’s thank and pray for those who selflessly give their time and gifts to enable others to participate in our little ministry. These “behind the scenes” people may never step foot in Mexico, but they are a valuable part of this partnership. Thank you.
I hope that all our partners will continue to pray for one another and the work we do in gratitude to our Father who gives us everything.
William Tanner of Moncks Corner, South Carolina created a fantastic video about our cistern partnership. Please, check it out by clicking HERE.
Read more about the Luke's ministry by clicking HERE.
Outreach is seeking $4,200 per month for the Luke’s support and program funds.