Todd and Maria Luke - September 2019 Update

Campeche, Mexico

“Few things are more transformative than to go to another culture where many of your assumptions are not shared. You have to examine what you’ve always taken for granted – that your point of view is right.”

Dear friends,

Our little cistern partnership continues to roll along. Thank God for your participation.

Fifty-six family-owned cisterns were built in 2019. Our Mexican partners Victor, Raul, Isaias, Ezequias, Felipe, Lucas, and Diego guided nine American teams at the work sites. Seventy-six Americans came to Xpujil to lend a helping hand. They came from places like Jonesboro, AR; Los Angeles and Hollywood, CA; Northbrook, Gurnee, Evergreen Park, and Palos Park, IL; Caruthersville, MO; Roxboro, NC; Moncks Corner, SC; Brownsville, Collierville, Germantown, and Memphis, TN; and also towns in New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Our mission team members’ ages ranged from 14 to 77.

In January, our work crews began to use three new cistern molds that were built in Chetumal during the fall of 2018. We had a total of six molds at our disposal in 2019. Previously, we had never worked with more than three molds at a time. With six molds, we could work at six different sites, each with its own mold. Not having to move molds from site to site during the work week really boosted our efficiency. The three new molds were paid for with Mexican cistern-owner loan repayment funds.

“God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans . . .”
The first mission team of the year was putting the finishing touches on 2019’s first wall pours in the village of Carmen Dos. The eighth and final load of concrete mix was being poured from the wheelbarrow into one of the shiny new molds. Suddenly, the welds failed in a crucial area, two sections of the exterior mold disconnected, and wet concrete flowed out like lava from a volcano. In order to finish, the gap had to be closed. Our leader, Victor Guzman, pulled a “MacGyver” and fixed the problem with his grandson Ezequias in about forty-five minutes using items he found at the worksite. Meanwhile, the American team ate lunch. After that, we poured walls where the three older molds were set up. The next day, Felipe Torres, our “problem solver” partner from Xpujil, brought his welding equipment to Carmen Dos to inspect and strengthen the welds on the new molds.

The third mission of January rolled into Xpujil on a Monday. They agreed to test whether a Monday to Monday schedule might work better than our regular Tuesday to Tuesday routine. On day one, the group arrived to work in the village of Nuevo Campanario with great enthusiasm. The construction materials were there, but no personnel. So, we drove to Castilla Brito to look for our work leaders. As it turned out, I had miscommunicated with our Mexican partners. So, instead of building cisterns, they were working to complete construction on the new pastor’s home in Castilla Brito. The new pastor (Eleazar) and his wife (Elizabeth) were scheduled to arrive later in the week. In the end, the house was ready on time, and the cistern work began on Thursday. The Americans worked for three days and lightened the load for our Mexican partners by moving tens of tons of sand and gravel. This hiccup enabled the team to take a field trip through the middle of the peninsula. They saw how Mennonite communities influenced nearby Mayan villages, and they spent a night in Merida – one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere.

Another day one surprise. Before breakfast, Felipe told me that there was no cement at the work sites. No cement means no work. While the group ate, Felipe and I found another supplier to deliver 180 bags of cement by 11:00 a.m. (All thanks to God, and Jose Luis from “El Poblano.”) The 180 bags arrived at noon, and the Americans became acquainted with their new Mexican partners by unloading each of the 112-pound bags together. Over 20,000 pounds were unloaded. After that, we poured four floors together.

Over the summer, two American youth groups ran a small evening Vacation Bible School for about forty-five children in Castilla Brito. I love to watch the teens and children worship in song, learn God’s story, and play together. But I am particularly touched by something that often occurs before VBS. As the van full of teens approaches the church, there are Castilla kids playing in front of the church, waiting for our arrival. When they see the van, the children jump up and down for joy. You can see their anticipation and excitement from one hundred yards away! This even happens before the first day of VBS. Relationship, continuity, trust, and love for God’s sake. These are a few of my favorite things.

This happened often: during a pause in the action, a Mexican partner graciously offered the Americans: coconuts, dragon fruit, Jamaica tea, horchata, some other cold drink, a chair to sit on, a bathroom, or a shady place to eat lunch. In every instance, the hospitality was deeply appreciated.

The Lord continues to work through our American and Mexican partners to bring the gift of clean water to hundreds of families in our corner of Mexico. Your prayers, time, talents, and gifts keep us moving forward and changing lives. Praise be to God. Thank you.

Check your calendar. Assemble your own group of five to ten people (or more) to partner with us in 2020. These weeks are still open: January 21-28; February 18-25; March 3-10; May 26-June 2; June 30-July 7; July 14-21; July 28-August 4. Or if there is a time that works better for your group, just let me know. We are very flexible.

We are deeply grateful for your partnership with us and we pray for God’s blessings over families we encounter through this ministry. We pray blessings over you, and we hope you will plan another visit to these villages to witness firsthand the transformation of life.

Todd Luke
(847) 867-0085 (cell)

Read more about the Luke’s ministry HERE.

The Outreach Foundation is seeking $4,200 per month for support funds for Todd Luke and $2,000 for the cost of one cistern. Make a gift HERE or by sending a check to our office.