Todd’s August 2015 Summary:

Cistern Ministry Friends:

It began with a father/son trip and ended with a group of high schoolers. In between there were folks who remember when Kennedy was shot, college students, more high school kids, and a family of five with children in elementary and middle school. Every group came to serve God and others through cistern construction, but each had unique experiences. As an eyewitness, I delight in watchingthe Holy Spirit move around unexpectedly.

Our little partnership reminds me that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do so we cannot boast or pat ourselves on the back.

Your generous prayers and gifts gave our cistern ministry the opportunity to build twenty-seven new cisterns in six different villages. In other words, we entered long-term partnerships with twenty-seven families where our challenge is to reflect and hopefully spread a spirit of gratitude to God and love of neighbor. We pray these new ties will grow into something more than just a shared interest for clean water. Nevertheless, we are excited that every year 324,000 gallons of rainwater—12,000 gallons per family—will be collected and drawn from these new cisterns.
Overall, this summer’s weather was very cooperative. It never kept us from working, and we suffered only a handful of hours at the mercy of a blazing hot Mexican sun. Clouds, we like you.

One day in late June, we worked under overcast skies and occasional drizzleat a home located outside of a village on an open landscape. Situated between two hillsides, the contours of the land funneled a steady breeze directly through our work zone. Upon finishing a concrete pour, the recipient family surprised us witha steaming pot of hot chocolate. This unexpected gift warmed our insides that had been chilled by the wind blowing through our rain damp clothes.

Generous 2014 donations allowed us to build two new cistern molds which made the 2015 construction process easier and more efficient by cutting in half the number of wall pours—from four to two. Because our foremen can start three cisterns per week, one more mold would make our crews even more efficient, and give each mission team more to do. The new mold will probably cost about $3,300 dollars. If we request the new mold by mid-October, then it should be ready before cistern construction season resumes in January. Gifts to help cover that cost are certainly welcome.

Seven American mission teams came to work in 2015. I was happy to do most of the driving for the groups in their rented vans. The Toyota Hiaceprovided the best ride. It seats ten (with luggage) comfortably, eleven a little less so. The smaller tires, manual transmission, and aerodynamic design make it easier to handle and more gas efficient than the Ford Club Wagon.

Of course, good weather and transportation don’t matter if there is trouble at the work sites. Thanks to our cistern building partners from Castilla Brito—Victor, Raul, and a combination of Felipe, Diego, or Alfonso—all went very smoothly. Eachwork day was well coordinated, and we had plenty to do—our sore muscles could attest to that.The local crew laboredfrom sunrise to sunset five or usually six days a week, but they never seemed exhausted or down. Instead, they kept the working mood upbeat and positive. Thank you for leading us with such a joyful spirit.

Continuing a long tradition of fantastic summer interns, we had another great one this year. For five weeks,Teddy Kruzich (age 16) of Evergreen Park, Illinois worked with us. Teddy’s father, Jerry, came to Xpujil many years ago with his church’s mission team. Three years ago, Jerry returned with his wife, Kristin, and two sons, Teddy and Alex, for a week of cistern work. Last December, Teddy emailed me to ask if he could spend the summer with us. The rest is history. He ate, drank,worshiped, worked (really, really hard), and recreated with mission partners from Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Between visiting mission teams, Teddy assistedVictor’s work crew wherever they were working. Thanks, Teddy.

Looking ahead, now is a great time to plan a mission trip for 2016. We hope to host seven or eight mission teams between January and July. Currently, we have a full group scheduled for January 5-12, but we have room for three to five people for a scheduled January 12-19 trip. Yes, the weather is very nice that time of year.

All dates for February through April are open. As for the summer, open blocks are available from May 24-31; June 13-28; and July 11-27.

Everyone, thank you for your continued support for this ministry. Please let me know how I can help you and your friends remain involved with our little clean water partnership.

Todd Luke

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