Todd’s Dec. ’16 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I am excited because I hold in my hand two scraps of paper ripped from a spiral notebook. Each chit has five names—heads of households currently preparing to build cisterns with our Mexican and American partners in January. Even better, there are other pieces of paper with more names of families ready to build in February, May, June, and July. These families sought us out this past summer and fall. They see how our cisterns help meet their need for an abundant and accessible supply of rainwater, and carefully observed how their neighbors teamed up with us to build them. Now, they want to become our newest partners.

I thank you for wanting to be our partner, too. Through prayer, work, time and generous giving, you encourage the development of this unique partnership that combines peoples’ talents to address a big problem—the lack of clean water for thousands of families in the Xpujil region.

Together, we built cisterns with 35 families in 2016, and 404 since 2002. We hope to work with another thirty-five to forty families in 2017. With your help, it can happen.

The effort needed to build cisterns often occurs in quick bursts—a fortnight, a week, a weekend, or however long it takes to offer a prayer or decide how to allocate the fruit of your God-given talent and labor. This is true for our partners on BOTH sides of the border.

Just as the commitment to partnership begins way before construction begins, it does not end once a cistern is built. This is why every year, during the first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, Victor, Felipe, Raul, Andy, and I meet with the cistern owners in their respective villages. We ask about any cistern problems (so we can fix them), and collect repayment money from families that have committed to repay either 25% (if built before 2011) or 100% of the construction materials cost. Because our loans are interest free and require no collateral, repayments are really voluntary gifts of love and gratitude.

At the meetings, we thank God and one another because the cisterns are a result of this unique collaboration. Gratitude was present where eight of nine families in a village made a repayment this year; a man gave for the first time in ten years; and a woman set aside $200 pesos for the sixth year in a row. Gratitude was strengthened by the folks who participated in the meetings even though they couldn’t make a repayment at that moment.

Loving gratitude can unsettle. Age eighty-something Margarita made a $1,000 peso repayment (about $50 dollars). Awaiting the receipt, she mentioned that her husband’s health is failing. Upon learning her new balance, she jogged out of the meeting to get more money to pay it off—ignoring my plea not to do so. She returned with the money and said, “We want to settle the account now, before my husband dies.”

Should I have accepted either of Margarita’s repayments? The Bible includes an account of a woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. Some rebuked her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Can the worth of a gift exceed its monetary value?

Throughout 2017, please pray for God to use our ministry to open eyes and ears, including our own. May we see that what draws us to this partnership is found in infinitely greater measure through a relationship with Jesus. He chose to come down from heaven to experience hunger, thirst, cold, pain, loneliness, rejection—and much, much worse. Why? Because Jesus and his Father love us more than we can ever imagine. What a gift. Let’s receive it, and share it with others.

Always yours.

Todd Luke Cell: (847) 867-0085 email: web site:

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