Posts tagged Mexico
Todd and Maria Luke - September 2019 Update

“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.

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San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary - July 2019 Update

Dear friends and companions in the ministry,

Warm greetings from Mérida, Yucatán. What follows is a brief overview of the recent activities and new initiatives that San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary is undertaking. With your help, the witness of the church in Mexico and other Latin American countries is being strengthened.

From June 2 to 4 we held our Continuing Education conference for pastors and leaders. There were 122 pastors and leaders of 10 different Presbyteries of the states of Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Mexico City in attendance. The theme was "The Theology of the Covenant" by Dr. Jonathan Gerstner, president of Yucatán International Academy.

On Friday, June 7 we celebrated our graduation service and the end of the academic cycle that started in August 2018. We had thirty-six graduates:

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer - April 2019 Update

Dear friends,

This beautiful little girl with her pet was sitting on a doorstep in Lijiang, China. Martha and I traveled there for a two-week sixty-fifth birthday present. The trip was wonderful and in Shangri-La, Tibet we had a day of snow! Many of you see snow every year but for us, it was a cool novelty. This trip was mostly sightseeing. We did meet a few brothers and sisters but they had very limited English so we were not able to learn a great deal except that they had about twenty people in their home Bible study (without a pastor) on Mondays because Sunday is a workday. We are praying for a pastor to Lijiang as the population is Buddhist and atheist.

Our daughter Kristen is stronger now after the horrible accident in December. Thank you for your many notes of condolence. She is planning on going to Curitiba, Brazil to volunteer six weeks in a home the Independent Presbyterian Church has established for children of domestic abuse. She will be there from May 16 to June 26 so we ask for your prayers for her travel and being able to get along in Portuguese.

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Todd and Maria Luke - January 2019 Update

Gary is from Memphis and was scheduled to have both knees replaced on December 19. Last summer, he and a coworker (Greg) joined a cistern-building mission team that consisted mostly of folks from another church. Neither Gary nor Greg had been to Xpujil before, nor had anyone else from their church.

A couple months later, Gary sent me an email. He touted an affordable, easy to use, long-lasting water filter that attaches easily to a bucket. The Sawyer PointONE filter pores are so small (0.1 micron absolute) that no bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E.Coli, Cholera, and Typhoid can get through. It has been used for years throughout the world in places with living conditions similar to the Xpujil region. To hammer home the filter’s effectiveness, Gary sent me a video. In it, he poured pond water into a bucket equipped with the filter, and then drank the water that flowed from it.

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Sureste Presbyterian Theological Seminary - December Update

Sureste Theological Seminary in Villahermosa, Tabasco is a place of strategic involvement for ministry in and from Mexico. Its youthful student body reflects the enthusiasm present in the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico as both the largest Protestant denomination in the country and the largest Reformed body in the Americas.

During 2018, with the help of congregations and individuals in the United States, The Outreach Foundation provided up to half of the tuition as well as room and board for fifteen promising students. Hear from some of them in their own words:

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Todd and Maria Luke

“If you are willing to give up your life to God, he’ll give it back. Not the way you expect it, but as something greater.” Below please find one tiny snapshot of what happens when a bunch of regular folks like you and me take a step of faith that looks to be so foolish.

Fifty-one Cisterns Built in Six Villages in 2018
Fifty-one cisterns were way beyond our expectations this year, but the Lord graciously worked through those mentioned above. Several supporters play important roles in this clean water story without stepping foot in Mexico, while other contributors never leave there.

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer - July 2018 Update

Dear friends,

Greetings from Yucatán. Martha and I were traveling during much of May. We had a wonderful first-time trip to Israel. Our tour took us to see many sites that are mentioned in the Scriptures, and we learned a great deal. We really liked the Jordan River, Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, and of course Jerusalem. What surprised us most was just how small the country really is. We had heard that before we left, but now we know for ourselves that it is really small. Would we go back? In a heartbeat. We were blessed to have been able to go and will savor many memories.

After Israel we went to our retreat with The Antioch Partners, which is held every three years. Mission folks from around the world gathered about an hour north of Budapest. It was great to see friends and hear the great things God is doing in so many places around the world. This time, however, it seems odd to be two of the “seniors” in the crowd. I remember not so long ago looking at the white-haired missionaries and admiring that they were still serving in their older years. Well now we have the white hair and we still enjoying serving in God’s great task of shepherding in the Kingdom of God.

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Berea Presbyterian Seminary - June 2018 Update

Equipping God’s people for ministry, Berea Presbyterian Theological Seminary is committed to developing leaders to serve faithfully and effectively, primarily among the Ch’ol people in Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas. The Ch’ol language, which can be traced directly to its Mayan origins, is the native tongue of approximately 150,000 people in the state. 40,000 of those are monolingual (Ch’ol only) speakers.

Since the 1940s when pioneer mission work among the Ch’ol people was first undertaken by Presbyterians, much attention has been given to appreciating their language, cultural identity and formation of their own leaders. When the growth of the churches indicated the need for more formal theological education, Berea Bible Institute was established with support from missionaries from the Reformed Church of America and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

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San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary - May 2018 Update

Over its 36 years of ministry San Pablo Presbyterian Theological Seminary has trained almost eight hundred students from twenty-one of the thirty Mexican states. The Yucatán Peninsula is known in the U.S. for the splendid beaches of the Cancun area, a 700-mile shoreline, and its astonishing Mayan ruins. Not as common is to find people who see the region as a place that has experienced a remarkable multiplication of Presbyterian congregations over the last decades.

The initial classes of the San Pablo Seminary were held on September 19, 1982 in the facilities of Divine Savior Presbyterian Church with Rev. Lucio Ek Canul as the first full- time instructor and Rev. David Brainerd Legters as the first president. The son of a missionary couple that coordinated the translation of the New Testament, Legters’ first language was Mayan, his second was English, and his third was Spanish.

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Todd and Maria Luke - May 2018 Update

Dear friends,

Below, you can read about:
•    twentieth anniversary for sanctuary 
•    twenty cisterns in January and February  
•    “Curious Creature” paradigm success
•    new cistern molds with a 10cm annulus
•    five cisterns in March and April – Mexican labor, Mexican funding  
•    invitation for 2019

Happy 20th Xpujil Sanctuary
The Xpujil Presbyterian Church sanctuary opened in the spring of 1998. Presbyterians from across Calakmul County recently joined the local congregation for a special worship service to celebrate the twentieth anniversary. Stories were shared about the early days of our new partnership, rooted in a simple “Amigos en Cristo” spirit. Also remembered were those Mexican men and women who came to Xpujil to teach, preach, and lead: Pastor Francisco Chan, Pastor Manuel Pech, Pastor Francisco Mutul, Obrera Ernestina Chan Pantí, Pastor Isaias Beh, Obrera Vernonica, y Obrero Abdiel. God used our little partnership to bring them to the region and make their families feel at home. Twenty years later, the Xpujil church is active and serving their neighbors.

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer - December 2017 Update

Dear friends,

Martha and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy, Happy New Year. We have been blessed this year, your prayers and support have kept us preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Southern Mexico, Colombia and Chile.  We are so honored to have you as a part of the ministry our Lord has laid upon our hearts. Only one thing we ask, please write us ‘de vez en cuando’ – once in a while. Of course, we get emails and Martha is big on Facebook but we really want you to know it is not a problem to answer your emails or phone calls. We want you to feel a part of what we are doing because you are! In fact, come and visit. We have extra bedrooms and plenty of coffee to share.

Let me mention three prayer requests for 2018: 
First is our ministry with theological education, especially San Pablo Seminary in Mérida, Yucatán and Berea Seminary, Palenque, Chiapas. Both of these schools are teaching solid Reformed theology but have severe financial challenges. The best thing to do is to help with scholarships as this accomplishes two things at once. The students get to study, and the professors get paid. The Outreach Foundation is the best way to send scholarship funds. $160 dollars a month pays for room, board, tuition and books in Chiapas. Mérida is $200 a month. There is no future for the Church without leadership formation. The life of a pastor in Mexico is tough, yet young people who could be entering other professions are stepping forward, so we do want to encourage them.

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Sureste Presbyterian Theological Seminary- December 2017 Update

Good News Amidst Natural Disasters in Mexico

The 8.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and neighboring Oaxaca and Tabasco on September 8th resulted in a death toll of at least 90 people, with thousands of people injured. At least 70,000 people were displaced due to significant home and infrastructure damage. Felt strongly in places as far off as Mexico City and Guatemala City, it was described by President Enrique Pena Nieto as the worst earthquake to have hit Mexico in a century. Shortly after that on September 19th, Mexico City and its surrounding areas saw 370 people killed and 6,000 injured from the effects of a 7.1 earthquake in the Greater Mexico City area. 

The Outreach Foundation’s partner, The National Presbyterian Church of Mexico, became actively involved in demonstrating Christ’s love through relief efforts by opening the facilities of its national headquarters to receive donations for those displaced by the destruction from the earthquakes as well as from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katia flooding in Veracruz.

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer - June 2017 Update

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus, Savior and Redeemer of God’s elect,

We have had some very busy months here. I have been teaching at both San Pablo and the Mints program. Mints is a non-residence program that has become popular in many countries. Here in Mérida, I had nine students (four pastors and five lay folks) for Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and now with the same group I have just started Patristics (theologians from the first seven or eight centuries of church history). The picture here is a few of the students at Gethsemane. 

I was officially installed in the Seguidores de Cristo (Followers of Christ) mission church as pastor for a period of up to three years. In the Mexican Presbyterian church, pastors are installed for one year (pastor oficiante), for three years (pastor comisionado) and up to five years (pastor instalado). 

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Todd and Maria Luke - June 2017 Update

Dear friends,

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.  

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer (Antioch Partners) - January 2017 Update

From Mérida, Martha and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

We want to thank each of you, our blessed supporters, for your faithfulness during the past year. Additionally we want to thank the staff of The Antioch Partners, our sending agency, who take care of our insurance, tax and budgeting needs so we can focus on our ministry, and the team of The Outreach Foundation which supports theological education and leadership development around the world. May your cup overflow with the grace of the Lord.

This year we are also especially grateful to have Guillen with us. There were some scary weeks while he was in the hospital, six weeks in neo-natal intensive care. 

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Todd and Maria Luke (Outreach) - September 2016 Update

A Few Cistern Numbers
2016 Cisterns Built: 32        
2016 Repayments: $17,000 Pesos
Total Cisterns Built: 401
Number of Cisterns to Be Built Later This Summer: 3

Two of the next three cisterns will be built by partnering with families run by single mothers. The third cistern is for a family living in Cristobal Colon. It will be our first time working in that village. That cistern will have 1/3 more volume. The family will cover 40% of material costs up front and all the expenses related to the larger size. 

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Don and Martha Wehmeyer (Antioch Partners) - June 2016 Update

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings from Don and Martha Wehmeyer in Yucatan. I am teaching an intensive course for pastors working on their master’s degree called “Three Medieval Theologians.” I am going to use Benedict, Bernard and Kempis to see how each one treats the topic of humility. This is the greatest tool to fight against hubris, the greatest of the deadly sins. So this is a class that will be hard to grade: should the students be trying to get an A or an F? 

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Todd and Maria Luke (Outreach) - December 2015 Update

Dear friends,  

Twenty years ago, I packed a bag to move to Xpujil full-time. Thanks to you, I can look back with tons of great memories and look ahead with hope and excitement. 

From my front row seat, I marvel at this ministry that, by design, leans heavily on its partners. Your participation and commitment allow us to continue to make an impact in the Xpujil region. I am blessed to be a part of it. Hundreds of families, from both sides of the border, dedicate time, talents, and treasure to form this unique partnership. Thank you for your role. Truly, I cannot thank you enough.

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