Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. – Job 8:7 NIV
Most Living Waters for the World (LWW) water teams don’t start off thinking their water partnerships will number in the double digits. Even the team that installed the very first LWW water purification system wasn’t sure they would continue beyond their first one. Thank God they did! Their persistence led to the creation of a global ministry with more than 1,000 water partners!
The Presbytery of Transylvania also started their LWW partnership with humble hopes. Joanie Lukins recalled how a chance encounter with LWW led to more for her presbytery. She said, “In 2001, I saw a brochure for LWW at a General Assembly meeting. No one was at the booth, but I picked up the brochure. Coincidentally, my church had just completed a long-term project helping to build a school in Mexico. I knew one of the big problems was that the kids were sick all the time from dirty water. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to put a water system in this school?’ That was my objective, to be a one-and-done. However, while we were working with the school, Carlos MacGregor, a pastor in a nearby community, came to see what we were doing. He said, ‘I could use one of these in my town. Why don’t you help us put one of these in my church?’ We thought ‘why not?’ We went to his church in 2004 and helped them put in a water system. While we were there, two other pastors came and asked for systems in their towns.”
(Photo: Members of the Presbytery of Transylvania water team on a recent visit to Mexico. Joanie Lukins is third from the left.)
Since then, the presbytery has partnered with a total of 18 communities on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to install or update water purification systems and provide health education programs. Joanie described theirs as a “long-term, steady commitment rather than a burst of energy.” Over the years, over 50 different people have participated in one of the presbytery’s water partnerships. Joanie said, “We have to let people know that this is not rocket science - it is only a matter of heart. The skills you receive at Clean Water U develop further as you create new partnerships. Don’t expect to be the best the first time you go. Understand that if you make that commitment, it will grow.”
Most recently, the water team grew their commitment by covenanting with San Jose Carpizo, Mexico. This village is the most remote and smallest with which they have ever partnered. With fewer than a thousand residents, it is the kind of place that might escape an outsider’s notice. But the presbytery team took notice early on thanks to persistent communication from local leaders. Their eagerness and commitment to change lives through clean water was exceptional.
San Jose Carpizo's hospitality also amazed the team members. The community greeted them with an archway of balloons, a banner proclaiming “Welcome,” and a poster painted with LWW’s logo.
The Transylvania Presbytery water team was enthusiastically welcomed to San Jose Caripizo.
The pastor’s wife greeted them with tears in her eyes. She told them, “I’ve been in this community for 34 years, but I never dreamed that this little community would receive the great privilege of clean water.”
Pastor Carlos Burgos and his wife Abigail have served the church in San Carpizo for 35 years.
Joanie observed, “The people of San Jose Carpizo are joyful and generous, with a faith that goes deeper than the surface conditions. Their gratitude for the ‘privilege of clean water’ is humbling, and reminds us that everything in life is pure gift from God!” But Joanie also felt strongly that clean water was more than a privilege. She said, “I pray for the day when clean water is considered a basic human right.”
A young member of the community enjoys a drink of safe water from San Jose Carpizo's LWW system.
This sense of justice has motivated Joanie and the Presbytery of Transylvania to persist in their LWW ministry. It has propelled them along a 16 year journey of transformational water partnerships. But remember, this longstanding mission didn’t start with a grand ambition. It started with the humble idea of helping a few children stay healthy enough to attend school.
From the hands and hearts of many like the Presbytery of Transylvania and San Jose Carpizo have flowed millions upon millions of gallons of clean water.